The classical approach to the production of bioactive peptides involves finding a suitable protein source, hydrolyzing it using enzymes or microbial fermentation, and confirming the peptide sequences. Unfortunately, the published literature has not taken a systemic approach to optimize multiple parameters at once. Instead, scientists have relied on trial and error and the systemic design of experiments. This approach, however, has not yet yielded the desired results.
When used as oral supplements, peptides are best absorbed when they are intact. As they are not digested during oral administration, they must be dissolved in the stomach or absorbed as part of a protein hydrolysate. Although the precise mechanism of absorption is not known, the absorption of intact peptides is critical. Lundquist et al. reviewed the absorption of peptides in human skin.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of peptides. Food-derived peptides have been shown to be more natural than those produced by enzymatic hydrolysis, and many people believe they are safer. While the specific structure of these peptides is not completely known, they are typically composed of two to twenty amino acids. In addition, food-derived phenylalanine is naturally occurring, which increases the chances of absorption. In the long run, this type of peptide can serve as a functional food and nutraceutical.
Another benefit of bioactive peptides is their ability to be absorbed as standalone molecules or as part of a protein hydrolysate. While absorption of intact peptides is important for oral use of these compounds, the specific mechanisms are unknown. More research is needed to determine how these compounds are absorbed by the body. So, for now, we can safely say that bioactive peptides are a great way to increase skin health.
There are many challenges to the production of peptides, and the methods to make them are not always easy to develop. For example, some peptides are not suitable for oral use, and their enzymatic hydrolysis is expensive and time-consuming. But food-derived phenylpropylpropyl peptides are generally considered to be more natural. This has advantages, but also disadvantages.