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Myth - Does Collagen Powder Survive Stomach Acid?

collagen powder or collagen capsules

Here we continue our collagen myth-busting series with a look at some of the latest confusion doing the rounds. 

If you’re a little frustrated by all the mixed messages from this industry, we share your angst! Collagen need not be a complicated topic, but unfortunately, much misinformation pervades. A reminder that you can always contact us directly, visit our FAQs or find a wealth of additional information on our collagen blog.  

We speak truths, not marketing gimmicks, and we’re here to help. 

But firstly, why trust Edible Health?

Co-founders Corinna and Simon were some of the very first pioneers in the UK collagen supplement industry. 

Back then, collagen was nowhere near the buzzword it is today. People were only just waking up to how beneficial it could be to their health and wellbeing. After nearly dying from supplements, it was imperative for Corinna to work with only the very best quality product on the market from an ethical manufacturer. After much research around the globe, their persistence and refusal to compromise led them to a cutting-edge, world-leading manufacturer.

At last, they found a science-backed business that shared their viion for premium quality and full safety. It is essential to understand this point because collagen is not defined as a medical product and so companies are not mandated to back any claims with science. This makes the industry a breeding ground for collagen cowboys who are out to do no more than round up a quick quid. In contrast, Edible Health’s manufacturer undertakes randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies, and they regularly invest back into their science, lab facilities, staff expertise and university/research partnerships. 

This fastidious commitment to world-leading standards and innovation gives Edible Health confidence in our product, knowledge and information. 

So, let’s slay another collagen myth! Does stomach acid compromise collagen powder, and is it better to take collagen capsules? 

Does stomach acid compromise collagen powder? 

There’s a big push at the moment suggesting that collagen capsules stand a better chance of surviving stomach acids. The belief is that a capsule’s outer lining will protect the powder within from being destroyed by acids and is therefore superior to collagen powder. 

Not true. 

Stomach acid is required to enable the body to break down food so that it can digest and absorb nutrients more efficiently. In fact, without stomach acid, your body would not be able to break down any food, not even protein, regardless of whether it’s collagen or a piece of steak.

To break down food, as well as protect us from toxins, bacteria or other nasties we may inadvertently take in, stomach acid needs to be highly acidic. Acidity is measured on a pH scale. This scale ranges from 0 to 14. The lower the pH level, the stronger the acidity. To give you some context, battery acid has a pH of 0. Stomach acid has a pH of 1-2. On the basis that this is acidic enough to dissolve bones, a capsule wouldn’t stand a chance against this. So, effectively, capsules actually offer no protection whatsoever against stomach acid. In addition, stomach acid does not compromise digestion of any foods, but is actually critical for it.

However, Edible Health’s collagen powder does not actually start getting digested until the small intestines (after the stomach). Studies undertaken by our manufacturer have observed no collagen degradation in the stomach whatsoever.

It is actually in the small intestine where digestion occurs from acids and enzymes breaking down longer chains of protein molecules (peptides) into shorter peptides and individual amino acids that are more readily absorbed.

These short peptides and amino acids can do two things - they can trigger an immuno-response to encourage the body to produce collagen or they can cross the epithelial wall, into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, dedicated transporters help the short peptides and free amino acids to then travel through to cells, which is where all the good work begins!

Is it better to take collagen capsules?

In short, no.

Capsules not only have a fraction of the dose of powder but are also combined with nasty additives. This is because collagen is a very sticky and hygroscopic (attracts water from the atmosphere) powder, and without these nasties, it is challenging to fill into tiny little capsules.

As a result, you pay 10-20 times more gram per gram of collagen (don’t be fooled by the purchase price).

Let's consider it this way: A single 13 gram serving of Edible Health Bovine Collagen will cost around 65p and a tub will last 30 days. To get the same 13 grams serving from capsules, you would not only have to take 26 capsules per day (because 2 capsules are only 1 gram), but the bottle would run out in 3½ days, meaning you would have to buy 8½ bottles of capsules just to get the same amount of collagen for the same number of days as our powder.

This makes capsules with a 1-gram daily serving not only 13 times weaker than our powder, but over eight times more expensive. Plus with capsules you have no way of knowing the quality of the collagen and you’ll be ingesting all manner of additives and nasties.  

At around 80p per gram of collagen (compared to about £4-5), a tub of powder will give you 10-20 times more collagen in a serving, and you will be able to test the quality from how it dissolves, tastes and smells and know with 100% certainty that it contains no nasties.

Why not read this detailed article about collagen powder versus liquids, pills and gummies? You’ll be amazed when you compare cost, efficacy, value for money and quality of ingredients. 

Is there anything at all that confuses you when it comes to collagen? Have you heard any potential white lies, furphies or marketing ploys that need to be set straight? Don’t forget to reach out to us, as we’re always very keen to argue fiction with fact!

Take-home points

  • We need stomach acid, it is essential for breaking down food and digesting and absorbing nutrients more efficiently
  • Edible Health collagen digestion begins in the small intestine, there is no observation of it being degraded in the stomach 
  • When it comes to collagen powder, enzymes break down its long peptides (chains of protein molecules) into shorter peptides and individual amino acids
  • These short peptides and amino acids can trigger an immuno-response to encourage the body to produce collagen
  • They can also cross the epithelial wall and into the bloodstream, where dedicated transporters help them to then travel through to cells, which is where they begin to do their good work 
  • Capsules offer just a fraction of the amount of collagen that a serving of pure collagen powder can provide 
  • They also include other additives 
  • Capsules are more expensive than powder 

The information we have provided herewith, and all linked materials, are not intended nor should they be construed as medical advice. Moreover, the information herewith should not be used as a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions and consult your General Practitioner for advice specific for you.