Adding collagen to your coffee is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to use it - but can adding collagen to hot drinks affect how well it works in the body? Time to sort the facts from the fiction!
What is all the hype about collagen coffee?
Collagen coffee is popular amongst many different lifestyles including Keto, Paleo and Carnivore. It is all about supplementing your collagen levels in the human body, which is often lacking in the modern diet due to a preference for conventional cuts of meat vs. tendons, bones, skin etc.
Collagen peptides are a great way to top up your intake of essential amino acids, protein and to help mitigate the impact of ageing from declining collagen production (which begins in our 20's!). Collagen Peptides are a powdered form of collagen which is neutral in flavour and dissolves easily, making it ideal for adding to coffee and other hot drinks - as well as meals.
Collagen and hot drinks: fact vs. fiction
As the popularity of collagen supplements has soared, so has the discussion around which is the best way to take it! Like all things nutrition, the debate and discussion is endless. So, we're here to separate the collagen facts from fiction - before this thing boils over!
One of the hottest topics in the world of collagen supplements is the golden question "should I be adding collagen to hot drinks?" Some collagen enthusiasts wouldn't start the day any other way than with a collagen coffee. Others think this would damage the collagen and reduce how well it works in the body. So who's right? Take a look at the evidence and decide for yourself!
Collagen research is a work in progress
It should be noted that there is currently no scientific research out there which looks into the specifics of comparing the efficacy of collagen peptides in hot vs. cold drinks, however there are papers that showcase positive results on skin and joint health where the participants have ingested the collagen peptides in hot beverages (there was also a placebo in this study too).
Title of paper:
Ingestion of bioactive collagen hydrolysates enhance facial skin moisture and elasticity and reduce facial ageing signs in a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study
This paper, in our opinion goes to support the hypothesis that the use of collagen peptides (hydrolysed collagen) in hot drinks and that the collagen is not impacted by the hot water and/or stomach acid: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26840887/
* this paper may require you to pay to view the full article , however here is a snippet that showcases the application of hot drinks.
Is collagen destroyed by heat?
Let's take a look at some of the common arguments against adding collagen to hot drinks, and why they're more fiction than fact.
"Higher temperatures reduce the quality of collagen"
Like most molecules, proteins like collagen are influenced by their environment. Things like temperature and pH can change how a protein is structured and so how it works in the body.
This is actually something which we can utilise to our advantage. You see, collagen in its whole form is not the same as Collagen Peptides. Collagen Peptides are whole/native collagen which has already gone through a change in structure to break the collagen molecules into Peptides (the native collagen is Hydrolysed). These Peptides are then readily absorbed by the body. At Hunter & Gather we use a non-solvent enzymatic method to create our Collagen Peptides.
So, whilst it is true that proteins are sensitive to changing heat and pH levels - Peptides are actually already deliberately broken down to provide collagen in an easy to absorb form and are therefore not impacted by heat in relation to quality.
This paper supports the use of enzymatic hydrolysed collagen peptides over non-enzymatic - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31086034/
"Adding collagen to hot drinks denatures the protein and breaks it down before the body can absorb it!"
Most collagen is already broken down and "denatured" as part of the production process. Therefore, it is irrelevant to suggest that collagen peptides added to a hot liquid will be broken down further, because it is hydrolysed and denatured to start with.
This is actually a good thing as it increases the absorbability and bioavailability of collagen once in the body, for maximum benefit . Hence why hydrolysed collagen peptides are the gold standard of collagen supplements! There are papers to support the use of hydrolysed collagen (peptides) to improve your skin, hair, nail, bone and joint health.
Hydrolysis breaks collagen down from a chewy, tough and often indigestible raw ingredient - to a light, neutral flavoured and easily dissolved powder.
"It's better to take collagen tablets than to add collagen powder to coffee!"
As well as being available as a powder, you can also get collagen supplements in tablet or capsule form. This means that you can swallow them down with a drink just like you would with a vitamin or mineral supplement.
Many people argue that this will preserve the nutrients better than dissolving powdered collagen in a hot drink. Not only are hot drinks very unlikely to affect the preservation of collagen peptides as we have already discussed, but getting your collagen in a tablet or capsule form could be from an inferior source.
Unless they are of a very high quality, making collagen powder into a tablet or capsule form almost always involves the addition of bulking agents, fillers and preservatives. You also get a much smaller serving of collagen peptides per capsule, which can be financially costly (typically 10-30x more expensive per gram!).
With a pure Collagen Peptide powder you can utilise it in drinks, food, or meals and it is just one simple ingredient. There is no hiding behind capsules, where often the capsule are also made from vegetarian Hypromellose capsules (also know as Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose which is a chemically manufactured polymer).
We say no thanks to that!
How do you like your coffee in the morning?
Analysis, graphs and statistics aside, we can also turn to our common sense and intuition when deciding if we would like to add collagen to our coffee and other hot drinks.
Coffee is typically brewed at 90-96°C, a much lower temperature range than that referred to in many studies on this subject. Even if such studies were peer reviewed and able to prove that temperatures of 250-300°C would in fact degrade collagen molecules, that is far hotter than any cuppa you would make.
There is no reason why a collagen supplement - accidentally or otherwise - would be exposed to these extremely high temperatures. In fact, they're hotter than most domestic ovens can reach!
We have also seen anecdotally the amazing feedback and results from our customers who use collagen solely in their morning cuppa. You can read our verified reviews here.
Can I use collagen in cooking?
As good quality collagen peptides will be neutral in flavour and dissolve easily, they're also great for adding to healthy, real food recipes.
You can stir your collagen peptides into soups, broths, dressings, sauces, marinades and much more to boost your intake of essential amino acids.
Check out some of our favourite Real Food recipes with added collagen:
How to choose the best collagen to add to drinks
Hunter & Gather Collagen Peptides are unflavoured and so won't alter the taste of your coffee. They easily dissolve and can be added to all hot drinks, as well as cold drinks and meals.
Our hydrolysed collagen peptides is made using an innovative enzymatic process without the use of solvents or GMOs. Each batch is tested to ensure it is free from contaminants and of the best possible quality. Oh, and it comes in a beautiful and full recyclable plastic-free pouch too!
Learn more about the benefits of collagen peptides
However you choose to enjoy your collagen, getting it daily is a great way to promote optimal health including stronger joints and bones, glowing hair and nails and enhanced gut function. Learn more in our articles below: