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What Is Hydrolyzed Collagen?

2 min read

collagen molecule

By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

In shopping for a collagen product, you may have noticed the words “hydrolyzed collagen” or “hydrolyzed collagen peptides” on the label. What does hydrolyzed mean and how is it different from regular collagen?

Collagen is a structural, fibrous protein found in the connective tissues, skin, ligaments and tendons in the body. It makes up about one-third of your body’s total protein. It is the “glue” that holds the body together. 

In order to maintain structure in your body, collagen is a tough protein. This means intact collagen is not easy to breakdown when consumed. Have you ever eaten chicken skin? It is pretty rubbery and difficult to chew because of the collagen.

Collagen is a structural, fibrous protein found in the connective tissues, skin, ligaments and tendons in the body. ... It is the “glue” that holds the body together. 

To get the benefits from eating collagen, it must be broken down into its individual amino acids. This can happen either by cooking collagen-rich foods for a long period of time, such as in the case of bone broth, or through a process called hydrolysis. 

Hydrolysis is a chemical process that breaks up the collagen protein into smaller pieces called peptides. First, the animal hides and connective tissues are exposed to either an acidic or alkaline substance to pull apart the amino acid structure. They may also be exposed to certain enzymes to break down protein molecules even further. Hydrolysis can also be achieved by exposing collagen to high heat and pressure. The method of extraction can change the quality and how the product is used.

Collagen can be either fully or partially hydrolyzed. When it is partially hydrolyzed, the result is gelatin.

Although many of us are familiar with collagen supplements for skin and joint health, hydrolyzed collagen has many other uses in food and pharmaceuticals. They can be used to replace fat in various foods, reducing calories while increasing protein. It is added to fruit juices and soups to increase nutritional value. Collagen can also be used for pharmaceuticals and in other medical treatments such as collagen injections. 

How to Take Hydrolyzed Collagen

Collagen supplements are safe for most people, since hydrolyzed collagen is just a type of protein. But if you have an allergy to the source of the collagen, such as beef or fish, then you should avoid taking these as supplements. If you have any concerns about taking collagen or how much you should take, always speak to your doctor first. 

Since the protein is completely broken down in hydrolyzed collagen supplements, this means that it can be dissolved into any liquid. Hydrolyzed collagen peptides have no odor nor flavor, so many people choose to put it into coffee or smoothies as a simple way to get their daily collagen dose. Since there has no optimal dosage determined for collagen at this time, it is best to follow the recommendations on the product label.

No matter how you choose to take your hydrolyzed collagen, the important thing is consistency. Find an easy way to add it to your daily routine and take it regularly. Your joints and skin will thank you!

Native Origins Collagen Peptides

Research shows that regular collagen supplementation is required to maintain its anti-aging benefits.

Learn How Collagen Peptides Support Healthy Hair, Skin, Nails and Joints