Collagen Peptides or hydrolyzed collagen has been getting a lot of attention lately, so much so that supplements made with hydrolyzed collagen are among the most popular health and beauty products on the market today.
But what exactly is hydrolyzed collagen? How does it differ from non-hydrolysed collagen? And in what ways does it benefit the body? The following is a helpful introduction to hydrolyzed collagen and its role in supporting healthy and beautiful skin.
First things first, what is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is made up of amino acids, (protein building blocks), and can be found in our skin, bones, joints, muscles, hair, and nails.
Collagen is a complex structural protein that maintains strength and flexibility throughout the body. Considered a vital structural building block, collagen is often compared to the scaffolding of a building; an invisible support system that holds the body together and keeps it strong. It also helps to support supple skin and youthful looks.
Unfortunately, normal collagen production declines with age, causing our skin to lose elasticity. As we age, collagen cross-linking and depletion can lead to common signs of aging in the skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
This can lead to visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging skin. For this reason, getting additional collagen from dietary supplements may provide added support as we get older.
What’s the difference between collagen and hydrolyzed collagen?
The complex collagen molecule itself has a high molecular weight and size which means it may not be absorbed as well as hydrolyzed collagen.
Hydrolyzed collagen is simply collagen that has been broken down, through a process called hydrolysis, into smaller amino acid chains called collagen peptides, which are more readily absorbed by the body. Hydrolyzed collagen provides the building blocks our bodies need to make collagen.
You will often see the terms hydrolyzed collagen, collagen peptides, and collagen hydrolysate used interchangeably on dietary supplements. They refer to the process of breaking down the collagen molecule to be better absorbed.
Why do I need a collagen supplement? Can’t I just eat more meat and fish?
We typically do not consume the parts of animals and fish that provide collagen. In addition, the small amount consumed is often considerably less than the amount demonstrated in human studies to offer benefits. Thus, it makes sense to get additional collagen from dietary supplements.
Taking a readily absorbable hydrolyzed collagen supplement supports healthy collagen synthesis and provides us with the amino acids our bodies need to produce important proteins, such as those in our hair and nails.
Not to mention collagen supplements are extremely convenient. Instead of trying to load up on beef, pork, and chicken, dietary collagen is often available in a powder supplement that mixes easily with beverages and soft foods.