The collagen supplement market has experienced a soaring increase over the past few years.
With purported benefits such as improved skin complexion and reduced joint pain, consumers are thinking up clever ways to sneak some extra collagen into their diets. Interestingly, adding it to coffee is one of them.
This article examines whether you should put collagen in your coffee.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a dense, insoluble, and fibrous protein found in bones, muscle, skin, and tendons. It makes up one-third of total body protein by weight.
While there are many types of collagen, 80–90% of the type found in your body is made up of (1Trusted Source):
Type I: skin, tendons, ligaments, bone, dentin, and interstitial tissues
Type II: cartilage throughout your body, vitreous humor of the eye
Type III: skin, muscles, and blood vessels
As you age, your body produces less collagen, resulting in a structural decline in skin and bone tissues. This can lead to wrinkles and a weakening of joint cartilage.
One potential way to counteract this process is to increase your collagen intake from foods like bone broth, or use a collagen supplement.
Collagen is a major body protein comprising the bulk of your connective tissue, such as your skin and bones. While there are numerous types, the most common ones in your body are types I, II, and III.
Types of collagen supplements
While collagen can be obtained from the diet, a more measurable way of increasing your intake is to take it in supplement form.
Collagen supplements come from a variety of sources, though the most common ones come from pork, cattle, and marine sources. These are all predominantly type 1 collagen.
Vegan collagen supplements are also available, thanks to advances in technology in which genetically modified yeast and bacteria are used.
Most collagen supplements come hydrolyzed into peptides, meaning they’re already broken down. This makes them easier for your body to digest and incorporate into connective tissue.
The majority of collagen supplements come in powder or liquid form, as well as either flavored or unflavored. Many people prefer the unflavored variety, as it can be added to foods and beverages without affecting the taste.
Though there are several types of collagen supplements, most of them come from pork, cattle, or marine sources — all of which are mostly type I collagen.
Top 3 potential benefits
When supplementing with collagen, there several potential benefits that people may be after.
The top 3 science-backed benefits of collagen supplements are listed below.
1. May improve skin complexion
Considering that your body produces less collagen as you age, skin elasticity and hydration are affected, potentially leading to increased wrinkles.
Some people take collagen supplements to counteract this process, with some research backing these claims.
For example, one study found that taking oral collagen supplements enhanced skin elasticity, hydration, and collagen density (2Trusted Source).
Topical collagen lotions and creams are also popular, though they don’t appear to be as effective as oral supplements, according to the data (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
That said, supplementing with collagen protein may help reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles and dryness.
2. May relieve joint pain
The cartilage surrounding your joints is made up of collagen fibers.
Similarly to the reduction of collagen levels in your skin as you age, structural changes occur within the cartilage throughout your body.
This can lead to joint pain in some instances due to arthritis, which is characterized by inflammation of the joints.
Some studies have shown that taking a collagen supplement may improve symptoms of joint pain caused by arthritis (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Thus, if you experience joint pain, supplementing with collagen protein may provide some relief.
3. May prevent bone loss with aging
Your bones are also made up of collagen protein fibers.
As collagen production declines with age, bone mass slowly decreases, potentially leading to bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Some research has shown that collagen supplements may help prevent bone breakdown and associated diseases (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
If you experience reduced bone mineral density, collagen supplements —along with adequate calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus intake — may be a worthwhile investment to help preserve bone mass.
Collagen supplements have been associated with several potential benefits, including improved skin complexion, joint pain relief, and bone loss prevention.
Adding it to your coffee
Various trends have accompanied the rising popularity of collagen supplements, including adding collagen peptides to coffee.
Many see this as an ideal way to incorporate more collagen into their diets.
Due to its rather neutral taste, the unflavored version can be easily added to foods and beverages without significantly affecting their flavor.
Still, you may wonder whether adding collagen to your coffee or other hot beverages could negatively affect these proteins.
Is collagen destroyed by heat?
When adding collagen to coffee, the main concern may be the effect of higher temperatures on the quality of the supplement.
Generally, when exposed to high temperatures or acidic and alkaline solutions, proteins become denatured, changing their structure slightly.
This is important because collagen peptides are usually made by exposing animal hides to an acidic or alkaline solution to release the collagen. Then the hides are cooked in water at a temperature of up to 190ºF (88ºC) to further extract collagen peptides (8Trusted Source).
This means that collagen supplements on the market are in a denatured or slightly predigested form, which improves their absorption in the digestive tract.
Still, if collagen proteins are exposed to even higher temperatures, a process called degradation can occur, further breaking down the protein. At this point, the protein may not function the same, rendering the supplement useless.
One study exposing collagen proteins to temperatures of 302–788ºF (150–420ºC) observed that their initial degradation occurred at around 302ºF (150ºC) (9Trusted Source).
That said, coffee is typically brewed at 195–205ºF (90–96ºC) — a much lower temperature range.
Thus, as long as your coffee is below 302ºF (150ºC) when you add your collagen supplement, the quality of the powder is unlikely to be affected (10).
How to use it
Simply follow the steps below to add collagen to your coffee.
Brew your coffee in the usual fashion.
Measure a serving of collagen protein, usually about 20 grams.
Gently stir the powder into your coffee until it’s fully dissolved.
Butter coffee and collagen
A popular trend that has emerged in recent years is adding butter and/or MCT oil to your coffee, resulting in a beverage called butter coffee or bulletproof coffee.
Followers of this trend claim that it can suppress appetite, promote weight loss, and increase mental clarity.
While not much data exists to back these claims, adding butter to your coffee may help people on a very low carb keto diet stay in ketosis, a state in which your body uses mostly fat for energy (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
Butter coffee is also popular with intermittent fasting, a practice that involves abstaining from food for designated periods. Although technically, consuming coffee containing fat is breaking your fast (13Trusted Source).
Furthermore, some people add collagen protein to their butter coffee to reap some of the benefits that collagen may provide.
That said, adding collagen to butter coffee does not appear to provide benefits beyond those associated with adding it to regular coffee, though data in this area is lacking.
Generally, collagen protein can be safely added to hot coffee, as brewing temperatures are usually below the point at which collagen proteins break down. It can also be added to buttered or bulletproof coffee, though it may not provide additional benefits.
Other foods and drinks to add it to
While it’s most common to consume collagen peptides with coffee, it can also be added to other hot or cold foods and beverages, including:
When adding collagen to other hot foods and beverages, it’s best to add them toward the end of cooking or preparation when temperatures are slightly reduced to avoid degradation.
If adding collagen to cold foods and beverages, solubility may become an issue, thus additional mixing may be required.
Considering that most collagen supplements are tasteless and odorless, adding them to foods and beverages should not impact their flavor.
Collagen can also be added to other hot and cold foods or beverages. It does not usually affect the taste but may require additional mixing to ensure the powder dissolves properly.
The bottom line
Collagen protein supplements have rapidly increased in popularity over the past few years due to various associated benefits, such as increased skin elasticity, wrinkle reduction, and reduced joint pain.
Scientific research suggests that adding collagen powder to hot coffee has no effect on supplement quality when the coffee is brewed within the traditional temperature range of 195–205ºF (90–96ºC).
Considering that collagen supplements are generally quite safe, adding them as a part of an overall nutritious diet may be a worthwhile investment.
If you’re interested in trying collagen supplements, they’re widely available in stores and online.
As with any supplement, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before adding collagen to your routine.
Author: Daniel Preiato
Source: Health Line: Should You Add Collagen to Your Coffee?