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Many foods and supplements lose their nutritional value (enzymes, vitamins) when you heat them up. But when it comes to collagen supplements, does heat matter?
Fortunately, collagen protein is heat stable. Collagen peptides can withstand heat up to 572°F, making collagen one of the few protein powders that’s good for cooking and baking. Let’s take a look at why.
In this article you will learn:
- Does heat damage collagen supplements?
- The molecular stability of collagen
- Are all collagens created equal when exposed to heat?
- What happens to collagen during cooking and baking
- What happens to collagen in hot liquids
- The bottom line: should you heat your collagen supplement?
Heat does not damage collagen supplements – provided you’re cooking at a reasonable temperature. Collagen proteins keep their integrity up to 572°F (300°C) by folding and unfolding in response to the changing heat.
Above 572°F, collagen undergoes a type of degradation that’s irreversible. But 572°F is hotter than broil settings on most ovens, so unless you’re taking a blowtorch to your collagen protein, you shouldn’t run into any cooking issues. This is especially great news for those of you that add collagen powder to your morning coffee for extra amino acids that support shining hair and younger looking skin.
One of the main concerns about heating collagen protein is that once heated, the proteins are “denatured.” This sounds scary, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with denaturing proteins. In fact, the denaturing process happens naturally in your body every time you consume protein. In other words, collagen, once ingested, is “denatured,” or changed from its original form by your body temperature, enzymes, and stomach acid.
Collagen protein is really stable. Your body has to work to break it down, digest it, and reassemble it into your own collagen. Collagen’s stability means if you ate it in its natural form – say, by chewing on cowhide or fish skin and scales – you actually wouldn’t absorb a good percentage of the protein.
Collagen peptides (powder), on the other hand, are very absorbable. Collagen peptides (also called hydrolyzed collagen) are already denatured – they’re broken down into smaller molecules that are more bioavailable than straight collagen. Collagen peptides show up in your bloodstream a couple of hours after you eat them.
So, gnawing on a marrow bone is cool, but all of our collagen supplements are already broken down into peptides for maximum bioavailability.
The higher the number of amino acids in a peptide, the more stable it is at higher temperatures. Collagen Types I and III, the kinds found in our bovine and marine collagen products, have the highest percentage of amino acids, making them the most heat tolerant. Bovine collagen contains both Types I and III, while marine collagen is mostly Type I – the kind that strengthens and smoothens skin and hair.
Protein helps curb cravings and provides steady energy by keeping your blood sugar more stable. Protein is also more satiating than fat or carbs, and it increases your metabolism, which makes protein great for burning fat while staying full. Collagen peptides can be your secret weapon for keeping lean.
For a protein-packed pancake that will keep you full all morning, add a couple of scoops of collagen peptides to your favorite pancake recipe. Collagen’s neutral flavor makes it great in smoothies and baked goods, too.
Collagen peptides are good in hot liquids, too. Water boils at 212°F (100°C), well below the temperature at which collagen Types 1 and 3 become unstable. Collagen adds thickness and protein to soups. And if you’re looking for a low-carb or keto-friendly breakfast, add collagen peptides for quick and easy protein in your morning coffee or tea. Check out our Dairy-Free Keto Coffee Recipe for inspiration!
Collagen and heat DO mix – in ways that are both delicious and healthy. Collagen is an easily digestible, high-quality source of protein. You can pick up our grass-fed bovine collagen here and try adding it to coffee, pancakes, or soup. It’s good stuff.
What are your favorite ways to cook with or drink collagen? Let us know in the comments below!
Also published on Medium.