Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you've read, heard, or saw someone touting the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
It makes your hair shine!
It lifts sagging skin!
It heals your gut and eliminates joint pain!
Sure, this all sounds great in theory, but is any of it true in practice?
Let's take a closer look at collagen hydrolysate.
What Is Hydrolyzed Collagen and How Is It Different from Regular Collagen Powder?
Collagen is often called the "glue" that holds all your cells together due to its high concentration in your soft and connective tissue.
It's technically a protein -- and the most abundant protein in the human body, in fact.
Collagen protein holds eight of your nine essential amino acids -- 19 amino acids in total -- the building blocks of muscle and protein.
Plus, collagen also supplies one amino acid that you can't find in other proteins: hydroxyproline.
Keep in mind that amino acids in protein aren't balanced. When you take collagen protein powder in your smoothie, you get higher levels of glycine and proline. (1)
Okay, But What Is Hydrolyzed Collagen?
Collagen hydrolysate, aka hydrolyzed collagen, means that it's easier for your body to digest, in lay terms.
By consuming certain foods, your body can make collagen on its own through hydrolysis.
When you buy collagen peptide supplements, a manufacturer has already done this.
Your body has a tough time breaking down, processing, and using collagen on its own. Manufacturers break the amino acid bonds and turn regular collagen into collagen peptides.
Not only are collagen hydrolysate peptides easier to digest, but they're also tasteless, odorless, and dissolve in cold liquids- so they're much more versatile.
What Are the Health Benefits of Collagen Protein?
It's hard to believe that something so simple can supply so many health benefits.
Remember that collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and collagen production slows down as you age.
Supplementing collagen can help you stay youthful and healthy inside and out!
1. Reduces Wrinkles and Improves Skin Elasticity
Skincare companies often combine collagen and hyaluronic acid in products to reduce wrinkles and improve skin health.
However, most of the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen for improving skin elasticity come from ingesting it.
Studies show that women who consumed collagen daily saw a dramatic reduction in wrinkles and fine lines. (2)
Plus, it boosts hydration too- which is essential to a youthful glow.
2. Supports Bone Health and Reduces Joint Pain
Many people reach for glucosamine and chondroitin as a natural treatment for joint pain.
However, studies don't back up the claims that these supplements do anything to improve joint health.
Hydrolyzed collagen is a different story. Your connective tissue needs collagen protein and its amino acids to function.
Studies show that supplementing collagen can reduce age-related joint pain and keep joints flexible across the body.
People who took collagen daily not only reported a reduction in joint pain and inflammation but were finally able to exercise again without pain. (3)
3. Boosts Muscle Mass
Did you know that your muscle mass deteriorates up to 5% every ten years after you turn 30?
Well, up to 10% of your muscle mass is collagen protein. (4)
It's no coincidence that this is when collagen production starts to slow down as well.
Collagen is an effective tool for reducing age-related muscle loss. (5)
You don't have to wait though. As a protein packed with amino acids, collagen protein powder is an excellent addition to any athlete's arsenal.
4. May Help Heal a Leaky Gut
While the scientific research doesn't back up the claim just yet, people with leaky gut syndrome swear that collagen peptides help reduce symptoms and heal their digestive tract.
5. Prevents Bone Loss
Collagen is present in almost every cell across your body -- including your bones.
Bone loss is common with age as collagen production declines.
Fortunately, studies show that supplementing hydrolyzed collagen peptides can prevent bones from breaking down which leads to osteoporosis.
Women who consumed collagen daily had 7% higher scores on bone mineral density tests than women who didn't. (6)
Can't I Just Eat Bone Broth?
Yes and no.
Bone broth from grass-fed cows is an excellent ingredient to add to your diet -- especially if you're going keto or paleo.
It's nutritious and low in carbohydrates.
However, bone broth only holds very minimal levels of collagen protein. Yes, it's better than nothing, but it's even better to take more collagen peptides through powders and supplements.
Plus, the type of collagen in bone broth isn't as easy for your body to digest and use as the kind in collagen powder supplements.
How to Choose the Best Collagen Supplements
Collagen is an awesome supplement to add to your routine because there are virtually no side effects.
That's one reason experts recommend it for bone health. (7)
It's important to choose a hydrolyzed collagen supplement powder made from the highest quality ingredients and by a brand that runs rigorous tests for quality and contaminants.
Unfortunately, vegan collagen doesn't exist.
If you're vegan, you can consume more foods that help increase collagen production in your body, like leafy greens, but you can't take collagen protein powder.
However, collagen is generally keto-friendly (and gluten-free) so long as you stay within your daily protein amount to maintain ketosis.
How to Take Collagen Protein
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are easy to add to your diet.
High-quality collagen is unflavored, odorless, and dissolves in hot or cold liquids.
Add a scoop to your morning workout smoothie. Stir some collagen powder into your soups. Give your morning coffee a boost. Make some collagen chia pudding.
The possibilities are endless!