Collagen has become a popular ingredient that is now commonly found in sports supplements, skin serums and anti-aging formulations alike. However, a quick stroll through the supplement section of your favorite health store to pick up some collagen powder can easily leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. From gelatin to hydrolyzed collagen to collagen peptides, there are tons of different collagen varieties out there, making it incredibly challenging to know which ones are worth the price tag.
So what’s the difference between hydrolyzed collagen vs. collagen peptides and what collagen supplement is right for you? Here’s what you need to know.
After finishing this article, read about collagen benefits and how to use this protein in your diet.
What Are Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides?
Often considered the most abundant type of protein, collagen can be found throughout the body in the muscles, tendons, joints, skin and digestive system. Not only does it help hold the body together, but it also gives the skin elasticity and helps facilitate the turnover of dead skin cells to slow signs of aging.
As you get older, collagen production starts to naturally slow down, enhancing certain signs of aging like sagging skin, joint pain and wrinkles. Several lifestyle factors can also cause collagen levels to plummet prematurely, including smoking, excessive sun exposure and an unhealthy diet.
Taking collagen powder is an easy and effective way to boost collagen levels and slow symptoms. However, there are tons of collagen supplements on the market, each with minute differences in terms of absorption and benefits. In addition to being derived from different sources, certain types of collagen have also been processed differently, leading to changes in the way that they’re handled by the body.
Pure hydrolyzed collagen peptides, in particular, have been broken down into individual collagen peptides, which makes it much easier for the body to use and absorb. These supplements go by a number of different names, including hydrolyzed collagen powder, collagen hydrolysate and collagen peptides.
Hydrolyzed Collagen vs. Collagen Peptides?
Although many supplements don different labels, there is actually no real distinction between hydrolyzed collagen vs. collagen peptides. Both types of collagen have undergone a process called hydrolyzation, which breaks them down into individual hydrolyzed collagen peptides to maximize absorption by the body.
In addition to being more bioavailable, hydrolyzed collagen peptides have a lower molecular weight and can dissolve quickly into nearly any liquid, making it easy to get the most collagen peptides benefits for your body possible.
Benefits of Collagen Peptides and Hydrolyzed Collagen
1. Boosts Muscle Mass
Collagen can help improve body composition and increase lean body mass, bumping up metabolism and allowing your body to burn more calories at rest. A study in The British Journal of Nutrition actually found that combining collagen peptide supplementation with resistance training improved lean body mass and muscle strength while also decreasing fat mass compared to a placebo.
Collagen also contains amino acids like glycine, which helps boost muscle protein mass and protects against muscle wasting. Glutamine, another amino acid found in collagen, can help improve muscle recovery and reduce soreness after exercise.
2. Supports Gut Health
Some collagen peptides research has found that supplementing with collagen could bring big benefits when it comes to gut health. In particular, it may aid in the treatment and prevention of leaky gut syndrome, a condition in which the lining of the gut is weakened. This allows particles to pass from the digestive tract to the blood, which can result in inflammation, impaired nutrient absorption and decreased immunity.
According to a 2017 study in Food & Function, collagen peptides were effective at strengthening the intestinal barrier, which could potentially help treat and prevent leaky gut syndrome. Another study out of Heraklion, Greece reported that serum levels of collagen were decreased in people with inflammatory bowel disease, suggesting that collagen peptides may play a role in inflammation as well.
3. Reduces Joint Pain
Joint pain is one of the hallmark signs of getting older, and it’s often caused by a decrease in collagen, which is responsible for decreasing inflammation and helping joints and tendons move more easily. Fortunately, one of the top hydrolyzed collagen benefits is its ability to ease joint pain and decrease symptoms often associated with older age, such as swelling and stiffness.
A study in the International Journal of Medical Sciences showed that using collagen was able to improve several aspects of physical function in people with osteoarthritis while also enhancing overall quality of life. Similarly, another study conducted by Beth Israel Hospital in Boston found that collagen supplementation reduced swelling and tenderness of the joints for those with rheumatoid arthritis within just three months.
4. Improves Hair and Skin Health
Collagen is a major component of the hair, skin and nails, so it should come as no surprise that adding a dose of hydrolyzed collagen to your daily routine can be incredibly beneficial.
In fact, a 2014 study actually found that collagen peptides improved skin moisture and elasticity in older women after just four weeks of supplementation. Plus, an animal model conducted by the Department of Molecular Medicine at the University of Padova also reported that collagen could be therapeutic against hair loss and skin-related diseases.
5. Preserves Bone Density
Another common sign of aging is bone loss, which can lead to weakened bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Hydrolyzed collagen can help block the breakdown of bones, keeping them strong to reduce the risk of fractures and preserve bone density.
Interestingly, a study out of Tallahassee found that taking 5 grams of collagen per day alongside a calcium supplement was more effective at decreasing the levels of certain proteins involved in the breakdown of bones than taking a calcium supplement alone. Collagen peptides have also been shown to increase bone mineral density by up to 7 percent in postmenopausal women.
6. Enhances Heart Health
As the leading cause of death in the U.S. and around the globe, heart disease is a serious problem that affects millions each year. In addition to making modifications to your diet and lifestyle, collagen peptides may be able to help support heart health and aid in the prevention of heart disease.
Hydrolyzed collagen contains an amino acid known as proline, which may play a role in regulating blood pressure and arterial stiffness. In fact, according to a 2017 study in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, supplementing with collagen can help increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol while also reducing arterial stiffness, both of which are important factors when it comes to heart disease.
Potential Side Effects of Hydrolyzed Collagen and Collagen Peptides
Although there are several benefits of collagen peptides, there are a few hydrolyzed collagen side effects to consider as well. For example, some types of collagen are made from common food allergens, including shellfish and eggs. If you’re allergic to these foods, it’s important to pay close attention to the ingredients list of your supplement to avoid symptoms like itching, swelling and hives. Some of the other potential collagen peptides side effects include heartburn, constipation and fatigue.
Selecting a high-quality supplement made from pure hydrolyzed collagen peptides can help minimize the risk of adverse side effects and ensure you’re getting the most for your money. Ideally, the best collagen peptides supplements should be purchased from reputable retailers and made from sources that are free of antibiotics, chemicals and heavy metals that could be harmful to health.
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