In recent years, collagen supplements have gained popularity as a way to promote healthy skin, joints and hair. Two of the most common variants of this supplement are hydrolyzed collagen and standard collagen.
In the following, we will try to analyze the differences between these two types of collagen and review their health benefits.
We have repeatedly talked about collagen because of its importance in supporting the structure of the skin. It is an essential protein that constitutes a significant part of the skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles and joints in our body.
Unfortunately, as we age, the body’s natural production of collagen begins to decline, resulting in wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and joint pain.
If you want to know more about collagen, types and functions, you can find more information in the entry we have included in the glossary.
Differences between collagen and hydrolyzed collagen
Hydrolyzed collagen and standard collagen are two forms of supplements that can provide skin, joint and overall health benefits. However, due to its greater bioavailability, hydrolyzed collagen may be the preferred choice for those seeking faster and more effective results.
Hydrolyzed collagen is a form of collagen that has undergone a hydrolysis process, which breaks down the proteins into smaller fragments, known as collagen peptides. These peptides are easier to digest and absorb by the body compared to standard collagen.
This type of collagen is usually extracted from animal sources, such as bones and cartilage from cattle or poultry.
To obtain this collagen, hydrolysis is used, which can be enzymatic or chemical. During the process, collagen is broken down into collagen peptides by the action of enzymes or acids. This fragmentation facilitates the digestion and absorption of collagen in the gastrointestinal tract.
After hydrolysis, the collagen peptides are dried and purified to remove impurities and ensure the quality and safety of the final product.
Standard collagen, on the other hand, is a collagen protein in its undecomposed form. It is usually found in the form of collagen powder or capsules. Although it is less readily absorbed by the body compared to hydrolyzed collagen, it can still provide health benefits when taken properly.
This type of collagen is also obtained from animals, but the process of obtaining it is different, since thermal treatments or enzymatic digestion are carried out to separate the collagen from other tissue components.
Differences in absorption
Hydrolysis of collagen results in smaller peptides that are more water soluble and have higher bioavailability compared to standard collagen. This means that the hydrolyzed collagen is more easily absorbed in the small intestine and can be transported to the tissues that need it throughout the body.
Because of its ability to increase collagen synthesis and improve absorption, hydrolyzed collagen is commonly used to improve skin health, reduce wrinkles, increase skin hydration and relieve joint pain.
While standard collagen is useful in medical applications such as reconstructive surgery, where standard collagen patches or strips can be used to repair damaged tissue. This is because it retains its structure in the form of long collagen fibers, which are similar to those found naturally in the body.
Both hydrolyzed collagen and standard collagen can offer skin benefits such as wrinkle reduction and improved hydration. However, due to the higher bioavailability of hydrolyzed collagen, faster results may be observed.
Are collagen supplements useful?
There is not yet a definitive answer to this question, mainly because there have not yet been enough studies showing a positive effect of collagen supplements on the general or specific health of individuals.
However, there are some studies with good results, which show that hydrolyzed collagen can reduce pain and improve joint movement in people over 50 years of age. This study was published in 2015 by biologist Teresa Figueres and chemical engineer Esther Basés.
Another study from 2021, reviewed the effect of hydrolyzed collagen supplements on skin aging and resulted in improved elasticity, skin hydration and reduced wrinkles.
What these studies show, and the fact that there is still no clear answer, is that there is still much to be studied and that advances in technology can lead to better compounds and supplements.
What scientists do agree on is that a healthy person, without diseases, who maintains a healthy lifestyle, does not need to consume supplements. However, people who are overweight, menopausal, with tissue deterioration, etc., can benefit from the intake of hydrolyzed collagen, always under the supervision of a professional and accompanied by an effective lifestyle change.