It is commonplace for consumers to heap spoonfuls of collagen powder into their morning coffee thinking they are doing the right thing. It has been marketed for years as one of the daily ways of consuming collagen. As a PhD who has studied collagen for 10 years, I want to tell you why NOT to put collagen in hot beverages, like your morning coffee.
There are scientific concepts that we simply observe and know to be true. A glass of iced tea will sweat. Eggs left in the car will spoil. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar will stay separated. You know why these things are happening, but likely not on a molecular level unless you’re a scientist. I am a collagen scientist here to answer some basic questions.
Do you need to take collagen daily?Short answer, yes for many, many physiological reasons. (Link to why eating collagen everyday is so important journal article)
Should you put it in your hot coffee?Short answer, no. Do not put collagen in hot coffee or any hot beverage, no matter what any brand tells you. I like to say Eat Don’t Heat. Scientists don’t randomly microwave or heat up the collagen before studying its affects, so you shouldn’t either.
What does science tell us about collagen in hot beverages?Most of us have seen the cute cartoon double helix in Jurassic Park as it explains how DNA works. But, did you know there is a triple helix? Have you seen this term associated with any collagen product on the market? I doubt it. Collagen’s entire structure is a triple helix – that is what makes it special. It looks similar to that double helix, but with three strands instead of two. Pretty neat, if you ask me.
Why should you care about collagen’s triple helix?The triple helix is temperature sensitive. That means the triple helix will fall apart at temperatures around body temperature.
What happens when you put collagen in hot coffee?When you put collagen peptides in your hot coffee, a liquid that is well above most melting temperatures for triple helices, you are melting them. This is why it is easier to dissolve collagen powder into hot coffee as opposed to cold liquid. But you do not want to melt them as it reduces collagen’s benefits.
How does eating, not heating collagen impact your visible results?Studies have shown that intact triple helical peptides have a more impactful presence on things such as dermal thickness, epidermal hydration, and collagen precursors in the blood. So, by not melting it, you are allowing more of it to get to the areas you care about and help make new full size collagen encouraging more glowing skin, stronger nails and shiny hair. And I would much rather eat a delicious treat like Glow Beauty Fuel bars fortified with unheated collagen and 100% recommended beauty supplements any day.