What Exactly Is Hydrolyzed Collagen? We Explain + 4 Benefits | mindbodygreen

Collagen supplements are so popular because of how well they support overall well-being; from glowing skin and glossy hair to stronger muscles and flexible joints. But if you've started researching the popular powders, you've likely seen a few confusing terms pop up: "hydrolyzed collagen," "hydrolysis," and "collagen hydrolysate." What exactly do these mean? Here's everything you need to know. 

Collagen is a family of fibrous proteins that are the most abundant proteins in our body. However, when we supplement with collagen, sourced from cow hides and fish scales, that collagen needs to be broken down first so our bodies can use it. This version is called hydrolyzed collagen (also know as collagen hydrolysate) and is created through a process called hydrolysis, where water molecules rupture the chemical bonds. Undenatured Type 11 Collagen

What Exactly Is Hydrolyzed Collagen? We Explain + 4 Benefits | mindbodygreen

The one-step beauty routine for youthful skin, healthy hair & strong nails.*

"Collagen is a complex protein made of three chains of amino acids, whereas hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that is broken down into small protein chains, called collagen peptides, that are made of a few amino acids," explains Nour Zibdeh, M.S., RDN, CLT.

Technically, this means that all collagen supplements are hydrolyzed, but they are just broken down to varying degrees. When collagen is completely hydrolyzed, it's easy to use because it dissolves in liquids—even water. It's also essentially tasteless and odorless, which is why it's so convenient to add to a ton of different recipes.

As collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, there are so many benefits to taking a collagen. Certain lifestyle factors can damage collagen or decrease levels in your body (such as smoking, excess sugar intake, and exposure to ultraviolet light).

In addition collagen synthesis decreases with age, so it's even more important to provide your body with the building blocks it needs to stimulate collagen production.

Specifically, research shows that supplementing with collagen supports...

Research shows there are benefits to taking anywhere from 2.5 grams to upwards of 20 grams daily (depending on the benefit you're looking for.

For skin benefits, studies show that a range of 2.5 to 10 grams a day can be beneficial whereas for muscle health you may want to aim for 15 to 20 grams daily. For a further breakdown, check out this guide.

Collagen powder is easy to sneak into recipes (especially mbg's unflavored or chocolate beauty & gut collagen+). You can add it to oatmeal or smoothies or to hot or cold liquids (like coffee or matcha). For more inspiration, check out these tried-and-true options.

Collagen supplements are generally considered safe with no (or few) side effects. As with any powdered supplement, there may be some digestive discomfort. But for the most part, it should be smooth sailing.

And if you have specific questions about whether hydrolyzed collagen is right for you, it's best to chat with your healthcare provider.

If collagen has not been broken down all the way, it's partially hydrolyzed and commonly called gelatin, which you can find as a supplement, but it's not as common. Gelatin supplements contain larger peptides and don't dissolve as easily in liquids. Gelatin is often used to make gummies or as a thickener, as it gels when mixed with liquids. Because it's not completely broken down, gelatin is more likely to cause upset stomach and bloating because of the larger units of peptides.

Collagen is not vegan-friendly, as it only comes from animal sources. 

This depends on your goals with taking collagen. But research shows anywhere from 2.5 grams to 20 grams daily is beneficial for health. Check out this story for more info. 

There is no difference. Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has been turned into collagen peptides through the process of hydrolysis. The two are commonly used interchangeably. 

Hydrolyzed collagen is simply collagen that's been broken down into easily digestible peptides and in this format it's better able to be absorbed by the body. If you're picking up a collagen supplement powder, it's been hydrolyzed, regardless of whether that's on the label or not.

If you're unsure what type of collagen supplement is best for you, here's our top picks (for overall best, skin, hair, and more).

The one-step beauty routine for youthful skin, healthy hair & strong nails.*

Gretchen Lidicker is an mbg health contributor, content strategist, and the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. She holds a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University.

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What Exactly Is Hydrolyzed Collagen? We Explain + 4 Benefits | mindbodygreen

Anti-Wrinkle Tripeptide Collagen * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.