The collagen supplement market has experienced a soaring increase over the past few years.
Consumers are thinking of clever ways to sneak some extra collagen into their diets with purported benefits such as improved skin complexion and reduced joint pain. 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, muscles, 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:
- Type I: skin, tendons, ligaments, bone, dentin, and interstitial tissues
- Type II: cartilage throughout your body, the 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.
Summary: Collagen is a significant 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 various origins, though the most common being 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.
Most collagen supplements are either flavored or unflavored in powder or liquid form. Many people prefer the unflavored variety, as it can be added to foods and beverages without affecting the taste.
Summary: 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 of supplementing with collagen
When supplementing with collagen, there are several potential benefits that people may be after.
The top 3 science-backed benefits of collagen supplements are listed below.
1. Collagen may improve skin complexion
Since 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.
Topical collagen lotions and creams are also popular, though they don’t appear to be as effective as oral supplements, according to the data.
Supplementing collagen protein may help reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles and dryness.
2. Collagen may relieve joint pain
The cartilage surrounding your joints is made up of collagen fibers.
Along with collagen levels in your skin decreasing as you age, structural changes occur within the cartilage throughout your body.
This can lead to joint pain due to arthritis, a condition characterized by inflammation.
Some studies have shown that taking a collagen supplement may improve symptoms of joint pain caused by arthritis.
Suggested read: 6 health benefits of taking collagen supplements
Thus, if you experience joint pain, supplementing with collagen protein may provide some relief.
3. Collagen 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.
Research shows that collagen supplements may help prevent bone breakdown and associated diseases.
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.
Summary: Collagen supplements have been associated with several potential benefits, including improved skin complexion, joint pain relief, and bone loss prevention.
Adding collagen 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 relatively neutral taste, the unflavored version can easily be 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 temperatures up to 190ºF (88ºC) to extract collagen peptides further.
Suggested read: Collagen — What is it and what is it good for?
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, degradation can further break down the protein if collagen proteins are exposed to even higher temperatures. 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).
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.
How to add collagen to your coffee
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 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 coffee may help people on a very low-carb keto diet stay in ketosis, a state where your body primarily uses fat for energy.
Butter coffee is also popular with intermittent fasting, which involves abstaining from food for designated periods. Although technically, consuming coffee that contains fat breaks your fast.
Furthermore, some people add collagen protein to their butter coffee to reap some of the benefits 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.
Summary: 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 collagen 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:
Suggested read: 5 evidence-based ways collagen may improve your hair
- mashed potatoes
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, and additional mixing may be required.
Since most collagen supplements are tasteless and odorless, adding them to foods and beverages should not affect their flavor.
Summary: Collagen can be added to various hot and cold foods or beverages. It does not usually affect the taste but may require additional mixing to ensure the powder dissolves properly.
Collagen protein supplements have rapidly increased in popularity over the past few years due to various associated benefits, such as increased skin elasticity and reduced wrinkles and joint pain.
Research suggests that adding collagen powder to hot coffee does not affect supplement quality when the coffee is brewed within the traditional temperature range of 195–205ºF (90–96ºC).
Considering that collagen supplements are generally relatively safe, adding them to 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.