In one day, your heart will beat more than 100,000 times. It will pump around 2,000 gallons of blood, and that blood will flow through a vast network of arteries, veins, and capillaries. And “vast” is probably an understatement – if you took all of your blood vessels and laid them out in one line, it would stretch over 60,000 miles.
Now, let’s talk about an unsung hero in this extraordinary process – collagen
Collagen is the largest and most abundant protein in your body. It is mostly found in connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and skin, and it is abundant in your blood vessels. It provides structure for your arteries, and so they need collagen to stay strong.
Simply put, collagen is a protein that provides structure to much of your body, including bones, skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and other organs. The word originates from the Greek word "kólla," which means glue. So think of collagen as the "glue" that holds all these things together.
Your body produces collagen naturally on its own, but production begins to decline as we grow older. Because of this, some people see unwanted changes like weaker joints, thinning hair, dry skin, or brittle nails. As a result, some people up their collagen intake in an effort to promote healthier hair, skin, nails, joints, and bones. And the easiest way to get more collagen in your diet is by using hydrolyzed collagen
as a dietary supplement.
What is hydrolyzed collagen?
Collagen, in its unhydrolyzed form, is formed from three very long chains of over 1,000 amino acids. This is what gives it the strength to serve as a building block for our bodies — but it also makes it difficult to break down during digestion.
And so that’s where the “hydrolyzed” in “hydrolyzed collagen” comes in to play. Hydrolysis is the process used to convert collagen into smaller molecules. So, simply put, hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has undergone a conversion process that allows it to be used more efficiently as a dietary supplement
Hydrolyzed collagen is made from the same amino acids as collagen, but it has different properties. It is made from much shorter chains of amino acids, and this makes it easier to break down into a form that can enter your bloodstream upon digestion.
One other important note – hydrolyzed collagen
and collagen peptides
are typically used interchangeably. Hydrolysis is the process by which full length collagen is broken down, and collagen peptides are the result. These peptides subsequently travel throughout your body, repairing your skin, bones, and joints.
Benefits of hydrolyzed collagen
As you age, your body’s ability to produce collagen on its own falls off, and this collagen deficiency affects each person and each organ in different ways. For some people, it may mean sagging skin or muscles. For others, it could lead to degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis.
It is possible to get extra collagen through your diet, but it would require high consumption of gelatinous meats, bone broth, and poultry skins. Consequently, doctors and scientists came up with hydrolyzed collagen to both make up for our natural decrease in collagen production and to provide an easier means of obtaining it.
So, why should you take hydrolyzed collagen? Typically, people use collagen supplements to address one or more of the following areas:
Skin toning, thickening, and complexion
Skin is the body’s largest organ and can comprise 15 percent of a person’s total weight. And collagen is a major component of your skin – it forms more than 75% of the dry weight of your skin, providing volume to keep it plump and healthy.
Hydrolyzed collagen has been shown to benefit skin by improving elasticity, hydration, and thickness. This is likely because it can help stimulate your body to produce collagen on its own since it contains three important amino acids (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) that your body uses to make new collagen.
In one study
, women who took hydrolyzed collagen over an eight-week period experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity compared to those who did not take the supplement. Another study
observed women who drank a beverage mixed with hydrolyzed collagen daily for 12 weeks. They found that these women experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared to a control group
Joint pain relief
Joint pain is a common problem, and it’s becoming increasingly prevalent. According to the CDC
, an estimated 22.7% (54.4 million) of adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. They are estimating that by the year 2040, 78.4 million (25.9% of the projected total adult population) adults will have it.
The normal medical remedies for arthritis – taking medications like aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, or even stronger drugs like cortisone – just cover up the pain as long as you’re on the drug. They provide temporary relief, but they just disguise the symptoms and don’t address the underlying issues.
Conversely, hydrolyzed collagen has been shown to help to rebuild the structure of the joints
. Researchers theorize that this could be because hydrolyzed collagen accumulates in your cartilage and stimulate production of more collagen.
For one study
, 73 athletes consumed 10 grams of collagen per day for 24 weeks. They experienced a significant decrease in joint pain compared to a control groupAnother study
analyzed adults who took two grams of collagen per day for 70 days. They saw a substantial reduction in joint pain, and it was easier for them to remain active compared to those who did not take it.
Collagen is a major component of our nail beds. And so when our collagen production starts to decline, our nails start losing some of the support, leading to brittle nails. Signs of brittle nails include surface roughness, raggedness, and peeling.
Hydrolyzed collagen contains arginine, an amino acid that carries nitric oxide through your capillaries and into your nail beds. This essentially feeds your nail beds with what they need for stronger health and growth.
One study analyzed the nail growth rate and frequency of cracked/chipped nails among participants who took hydrolyzed collagen. Ultimately, it showed
that hydrolyzed collagen promoted “an increase of 12% nail growth rate and a decrease of 42% in the frequency of broken nails.”
How to use hydrolyzed collagen
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself the best way to get more collagen in your diet. To help you answer that question, let’s play a game called “Pick a Door.”
Door #1: Mounds of poultry skins and gelatinous meats alongside a stack of bones that you can use to make bone broth. You can get collagen from these sources – all you have to do is spend hours preparing the meats and simmering the bones in water.
Door #2: Three to six capsules containing collagen powder derived from one or more of the following food sources:
- Grass fed, pasture raised cows
- Wild caught deep sea fish
- Chicken bone broth from USDA certified chickens
- Eggshells from USDA certified hatcheries
The collagen has already been hydrolyzed in order to produce pure collagen peptides that allow your body to easily absorb and distribute the collagen in your body to all the joints, hair skin and nails, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
All you need to do is grab a glass of water and swallow the capsules to get 2,000-3,000 milligrams of collagen.
Door #3: One scoop of collagen peptides powder that you can mix into water, coffee, a protein shake, or a beverage of your choosing. It is made from the highest quality grass-fed and pasture-raised, non-GMO bovine raised in USDA approved facilities. Add one scoop to get 10-11 grams of pure collagen.
If your goal is convenience and efficiency, it’s a safe bet you’re going with what’s behind Door #2 or Door #3. And so deciding between the capsules or the powder is merely a matter of preference.
Some people prefer the pills because they’re quick and easy – all you need is a glass of water and you’re good to go. But if you’re already in the habit of mixing a protein shake or drinking coffee in the morning, adding a scoop of collagen powder is a nice way to get a substantial amount of collagen.
If you’re looking for some specific examples of how to enjoy hydrolyzed collagen, we will leave you with a few options:
- Add one or two scoops of Multi Collagen Peptides Powder to your morning coffee.
- Keep a bottle of Pure Collagen Peptides Pills or Multi Collagen Peptides Pills in your purse, gym bag, or desk so you can get your collagen on-the-go.
- Mix in one or two scoops of unflavored Pure Collagen Peptides Powder to your post-workout protein shake.
- You can mix the Multi Collagen Peptides Powder and the Pure Collagen Peptides Powder with water, but keep in mind that it mixes best with warm or room temperature water. If you want it cold, mix the collagen powder at room temperature and then add ice.