When it comes to adding collagen to coffee, there are a lot of questions out there. Things like "is it beneficial?" or "does the heat damage the collagen itself?" are just some of the many asks that come up. And we hear you.
So, to clear up the topic once and for all, we went straight to the scientific literature. Keep reading to see what a review of the literature by Daniel Jackson, Ph.D. has to say about mixing the two as part of your lifestyle.
First things first, discerning fact from fiction. "There have recently been questions about dissolving collagen supplements in hot beverages and how that might affect the collagen peptides. For example, some posts have suggested that collagen peptides will melt because of the heat causing them to lose their effectiveness in the body," Dr. Jackson says.
Referring to the peer-reviewed, scientific literature is the best way to get an objective answer: "First, it is important to note that few studies have addressed this question directly and until head-to-head, placebo-controlled human studies compare the effects of collagen peptides dissolved in cold liquids vs those dissolved in hot liquids, there won’t be a definitive answer," he says.
Furthering this point, he says, "While it’s still not clear how collagen peptides work, a handful of studies suggest the increased intake of certain amino acids (e.g. proline, hydroxyproline and glycine) may play a role, but there isn’t much literature to suggest that a complex, native protein structure (i.e. that might melt in hot liquid) is part of the mechanism of action."
Take a look below at a few studies that provide more info.
"At the molecular level, proteins are incredibly complex and organized structures that are very sensitive to changes in their surroundings. When proteins are broken apart or exposed to pH and temperature changes, they quickly lose their ability to function as they would in their usual environment, in part because they denature/unfold," he says. "As described in some review articles, collagen peptides are produced by a process that usually involves denaturing and digesting the collagen protein, which means it shouldn’t matter if the collagen is dissolved in a hot liquid because most collagen supplements are already denatured and hydrolyzed."
According to an article in the journal Nutrients, enzymatically hydrolyzed collagen may have a a greater bioavailability than non-enzymatically hydrolyzed collagen. There are also studies that suggest denatured, hydrolyzed collagen peptides are bioavailable and there is evidence from clinical studies in humans, which demonstrates beneficial effects of these denatured, hydrolyzed peptides.
So, you have the insight. Now you may be asking, "how will it impact me?" A 2016 clinical study, which evaluated daily consumption of collagen peptides dissolved in a hot beverage for 8 weeks, demonstrated significant improvements in skin moisture, skin elasticity and skin texture for participants who consumed the collagen dissolved in hot liquid compared with the participants in the placebo group who did not receive collagen peptides. Basically, this study showed beneficial effects for human participants when their daily collagen peptides were dissolved in a hot liquid. These results are similar to results from other studies that used collagen peptides dissolved in cold beverages. While this is not a direct, head-to-head comparison, it does illustrate the point that heat shouldn’t be a concern for collagen peptides that are already denatured and digested.
When it comes to your collagen intake, coffee or not, it's important to be mindful of your unique makeup. In short, the benefits of collagen peptides may vary between individuals. That said, there is evidence from peer-reviewed clinical studies, which indicates that collagen peptides are bioavailable in humans and there is additional evidence that they can have beneficial effects for some people.
Now you know!
___Disclosure: Dr. Jackson received compensation to perform a literature review for studies about collagen peptides; this compensation was not dependent on the outcome of the review.