Collagen has been a popular buzzword for a number of years now—and for good reason! The many benefits of collagen for skin, hair, nails, joints and bones have long been known and understood. But for people just starting out on their collagen journey, the many foreign words they see surrounding collagen can make it all very confusing. What are amino acids? What about Proline, Glycine and Hydroxyproline? So, what on earth are hydrolyzed collagen peptides?
If you’ve come across any of these terms in your search for the perfect collagen blend to add to your diet and your daily routine, and have wondered what all of this means, you’ve now come across the right page! This article will take you through what all of these terms mean, and explain how they make collagen the powerful ingredient it is.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and is responsible for giving structure to your skin, hair, nails, bones and joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Very commonly known as the “glue” that holds all of these together, collagen production starts slowing down around the age of 25. This is the age when most people start seeing the first few signs of ageing, such as laugh lines around their mouth, eye and forehead wrinkles or dull, uneven skin-tone, thinning hair or even sore joints, all of these major causes stemmed from the decline in collagen production within the body. It is estimated that your body produces one to two percent less collagen every year beginning as early as age 25!
The body combines amino acids (the building blocks of proteins, like collagen) to produce natural collagen. The most important amino acids required for the production of collagen in the body are proline, glycine and hydroxyproline.
What are hydrolyzed collagen peptides?
Simply put, all collagen supplements found today are hydrolyzed. The only difference is in the level of hydrolyzation. But what is hydrolysis and hydrolyzed collagen peptide in the first place?
The collagen molecule in its original form is too large for it to be absorbed by the body. In order to benefit from collagen, it needs to be broken down into soluble proteins before the body can use it to strengthen bones and nails, tighten skin and provide structure to the muscles. This is done through a process called hydrolysis, and the final product is called a hydrolyzed collagen peptide, or collagen hydrolysate.
During hydrolysis, water is reduced to break the molecular bonds of the collagen protein, essentially breaking it down into its amino acids or peptides. The resulting product is a flavourless, colourless and odourless substance that is easily soluble in all liquids, even hot water as it is heat-stable as well. This makes the amino acids easier for the body to combine into collagen.
What can hydrolyzed collagen peptides do for the body?
Because there aren’t many foods with a high enough collagen count, and the collagen that is present in these sources is usually in parts that we generally do not eat, such as tendons, bones, ligaments and offal, getting your dose of collagen peptides through a secondary source is optimal for best results.
Here’s what hydrolyzed collagen peptides can do for your body:
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides and skin health
Collagen makes up at least 75% of your skin’s dry weight, and is the glue that keeps it looking, supple, hydrated, fresh and youthful. As we get older, collagen production in the body slows, and exposure to free radicals such as harsh UV rays, stress, air pollution, high-sugars or salt, alcohol, smoking and a poor diet further contribute towards collagen breakdown within the body.
A large review of scientific literature conducted in 2019 included 11 clinical studies found that supplementing a normal diet with hydrolyzed collagen peptides increased skin hydration and elasticity and also increased collagen density in the skin. Another study with 120 participants conducted in 2017 showed that participants reported an increase in hydration (95%), elasticity (91.6%), strength (81.7%) and thickness (91.7%) after taking a nutricosmetic formulation with 50 mL of hydrolyzed collagen. Overall skin elasticity increased by over 9.1% in just 90 days!
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides and joint health
Because collagen plays a major part in strengthening our ligaments, tendons and joints, and holding our joints together, the degeneration of collagen in the body can lead to several degenerative joint disorders and weakness. A growing body of research has found that hydrolyzed collagen peptides can help relieve joint pain and slow down cartilage degeneration as you age, and give more strength and structure to our tendons and ligaments as we age.
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides and muscle mass
Want to supercharge your workout but don’t want to spend the rest of the week with sore muscles? Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are part of the answer. A study conducted in elderly men showed that resistance training supplemented with hydrolyzed collagen improved fat-free body mass and also increased muscle strength when compared to the placebo group. In another study with younger men, the results were similar.
Another study focusing on rate of wound healing in 2019 found that of 31 men who had suffered 20% to 30% burns over their total body surface, half were given collagen and half were given a placebo. Of the two groups, the collagen group reported a Hazard ratio of 3.7 times compared to the control group, meaning their skin reacted better and healed better than the placebo group.
Whether you want to improve joint health or supercharge your workouts, support the signs of ageing, improve skin elasticity or maintain a youthful appearance for longer, hydrolyzed collagen peptides are your friend! Because there are little to no side effects of taking this protein, they’re relatively safe and can be taken by anyone.