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Hydrolyzed Collagen vs. Non-Hydrolyzed Collagen Benefits

Female athlete tuning in to a podcast on the benefits of collagen peptide protein while running on a treadmill in a modern gym


Whether you already use Frog Fuel collagen supplements or not, you've probably noticed that some supplements in the collagen market are hydrolyzed while others are not. What you may not know is that hydrolyzed collagen benefits you differently from non-hydrolyzed collagen.

As a consumer, seeing hydrolyzed collagen in a supplement’s description may not mean much at first glance. But it can dramatically impact the effectiveness of how your body processes your collagen supplement. 

In almost every case we’ve been able to find, hydrolyzed collagen benefits far outweigh the benefits of non-hydrolyzed collagen, but why?

In this article, we will help you discover hydrolyzed collagen benefits along with some of the primary differences between hydrolyzed and non-hydrolyzed collagen. That way, you will be equipped with the knowledge you need to choose the right collagen supplement to fuel your workouts. 

Hydrolyzed collagen vs. non-hydrolyzed collagen

To put it simply, the difference between hydrolyzed collagen and non-hydrolyzed collagen is the molecule size. 

When collagen is in the natural form, each molecule is around 30,000 daltons. Daltons are a unit of mass used to express the size of atoms and molecules, and you’ll see them used in biochemistry quite often. 

The dalton size is essential for collagen supplements because when you consume collagen, each molecule has to be small enough to be absorbed through your stomach pores. 

Human stomach pores can only fit molecules that are 4,000 daltons or less. 

So, if collagen in the original molecule size is consumed, it is hardly bioavailable. Sure, you may be able to break it down a little to absorb some of the collagen, but you will end up passing most of it through your system before it can be fully absorbed. 

That’s where the process of hydrolysis comes into play. Hydrolyzed collagen (also known as collagen peptide protein) is still collagen, but hydrolysis has broken down the molecules into a smaller dalton size. 

Most standard hydrolyzed collagen is broken down to be 10,000 daltons. As we know from our stomach pore size, that’s still too big. So, to fully absorb collagen, your body needs to break it down even more to be fully digestible. 

If there isn’t that much of a difference in dalton size, are there really that many hydrolyzed collagen benefits versus non-hydrolyzed collagen ones?

Understanding the hydrolysis of collagen

The definition of hydrolysis is: “A chemical process of decomposition involving the splitting of a bond and the addition of the hydrogen cation and the hydroxide anion of water.”

As mentioned, to get collagen peptide proteins or hydrolyzed collagen, the collagen molecules must go through hydrolysis. The word peptides describes a compound consisting of two or more amino acids linked, in this case, collagen, a protein made up of amino acids. 

So, when collagen has been through hydrolysis, it means that the collagen molecule has been separated into two highly digestible amino acids. 

Hydrolyzed collagen vs. nano-hydrolyzed collagen

Hydrolyzed collagen can also be nano-hydrolyzed. Since the standard process of hydrolysis only breaks collagen molecules down to 10,000 daltons and your stomach pores can only fit a molecule that is 4,000 daltons, nano-hydrolyzed collagen helps to make the collagen even easier to absorb. 

Frog Fuel’s collagen proteins are nano-hydrolyzed. To do this, a natural fruit enzyme is added to the hydrolysis process. The additional digestive enzyme helps break the collagen molecule down to less than 1% of the original size - 2,000 daltons.

That’s what makes Frog Fuel liquid collagen protein so effective. Although other collagen protein supplements will also contain the same amount of protein per serving, not all protein will be absorbed. With Frog Fuel, because of the nano-hydrolyzed collagen molecules, when you consume 15g of protein, your body is absorbing 15g of protein. 

The size of the collagen molecule is essential to the effectiveness of the supplement. Other collagen brands may also have larger serving sizes to combat the issue of digestibility. While the molecule size does play a significant role in absorption, everyone’s protein absorption rate may change based on other biological factors. 

5 hydrolyzed collagen benefits for athletes 

While there are many hydrolyzed collagen benefits, keep in mind that standard hydrolyzed collagen still may not be as easy to absorb as nano-hydrolyzed collagen. So, when considering the hydrolyzed collagen benefits we will list below, remember that molecule size plays a big role in the effectiveness of the collagen after consumption. 

Additionally, the five hydrolyzed collagen benefits we will focus on are specifically targeted for athletes. That means that beyond the athletic application, there are several other hydrolyzed collagen benefits as well. 

1. Hydrolyzed collagen may help with faster muscle recovery

Many athletes that use Frog Fuel collagen protein are happy to discover that one of the hydrolyzed collagen benefits may be faster muscle recovery. Part of the reason that hydrolyzed collagen may help with muscle recovery and muscle soreness is the same reason that it is such an effective supplement for wound and injury recovery. 

Hydrolyzed collagen’s amino acid profile is precisely what your body needs to help your muscles recover after a hard workout. That’s because during and after exercise, oxidation, inflammation, and microlesions in your muscles cause protein loss. This muscle loss tends to be exaggerated when you participate in high-intensity or endurance exercises. 

When you exercise, there is a decrease in protein synthesis. That’s why athletes with high protein diets benefit. When consuming a protein, especially one like hydrolyzed collagen, you are replenishing the lost proteins and increasing muscle anabolism. 

An important note is that collagen isn’t naturally a complete protein. Frog Fuel collagen protein has been fortified with the additional amino acids necessary to make it a complete protein. These additional amino acids may help your body recover even more efficiently post-workout. 

2. Hydrolyzed collagen may help with lean muscle formation 

Along with helping with muscle recovery, one of the hydrolyzed collagen benefits athletes should be aware of is that it may help with lean muscle formation. As you know from the previous section, the amino acid complex that hydrolyzed collagen has may improve protein synthesis during and after a workout. 

Hydrolyzed collagen has similar muscle-building properties to other protein sources, but because of the amino acids specific to collagen synthesis, it may build lean muscle tissue easier. 

3. Hydrolyzed collagen may help you recover from sports injuries faster

If you’ve had a sports injury, then you know that no matter what it is, you want it to heal much faster than it actually does. But did you know that anytime your body is recovering from an injury, whether it be a muscle rupture, a torn tendon, or a joint issue, collagen is one of the main proteins necessary for your body to make the repair?

When the body is healing from an injury, specifically muscle injuries, it uses muscle regeneration and production of connective scar tissues. To perform this type of healing process, your body needs to produce collagen proteins. That’s why we had to include injury recovery within our list of hydrolyzed collagen benefits for athletes. 

As you age, your body naturally produces less collagen. That’s why you may notice that it takes longer to recover when you’re 35 versus 18. So, when you do have a sports injury, introducing hydrolyzed collagen into your diet may help give your body the tools it needs to synthesize more collagen and help you heal. 

All sports injury treatments will vary, but because Frog Fuel collagen protein uses the same formula as our medical-grade ProT Gold, it has made its way into medical nutrition therapies - including sports injury treatment. Trusted by over 3,000 medical facilities, the ProT Gold formula is effective because of the fast 15-minute absorption rate. 

4. Hydrolyzed collagen may help reduce joint pain 

Many athletes experience some level of joint pain at least a time or two. If you have consistent joint pain during or after exercise, then of the hydrolyzed collagen benefits we’ve listed, this one will be the most appealing. 

One of the general benefits that collagen has long been tested for is alleviating joint pain associated with arthritis. More research has started to be conducted regarding hydrolyzed collagen benefits and joint pain in general, including increasing joint mobility and reducing joint pain in athletes. 

The main reason collagen is thought to benefit your joints is because it helps maintain the integrity of cartilage and other joint tissue structures and reduce joint swelling

While joint pain is common even for non-athletes, high-impact activities often performed during exercise add additional stress to the joint structure. 

Helping your body maintain a healthy and fully-supported joint structure can come from introducing hydrolyzed collagen to your workout routine because it gives your body additional support and amino acids to keep up with the additional stress. 

Many athletes see the introduction of Frog Fuel collagen protein to their diet as one of their injury prevention tactics. 

5. Hydrolyzed collagen may help improve overall athletic performance

Beyond the many other hydrolyzed collagen benefits for athletes, the amino acid profile makes collagen beneficial for general athletic performance. The amino acids in collagen help support the need to replenish collagen in your body during and after exercise. 

That’s why Frog Fuel works well for both a pre, during, and post-workout supplement.

Although hydrolyzed collagen benefits are vast, athletes must remember that not all collagen is created equal. Non-hydrolyzed, hydrolyzed, and nano-hydrolyzed collagen all have different absorption rates. Plus, there are also differences in types of collagen found within supplements. 

Frog Fuel contains more than one type of collagen to be a well-rounded supplement that helps target joints, muscles, and other tissues vital to athletic performance. 

Choosing a hydrolyzed collagen to fuel your workouts

We can all agree that hydrolyzed collagen benefits us more than collagen supplements that have not gone through hydrolysis. However, after reading this article, you may also agree that nano-hydrolyzed collagen has more benefits than even hydrolyzed collagen. 

Frog Fuel collagen protein was designed to help athletes reach peak performance during each and every training session. To do this, we decided to create a complete protein that can be absorbed within 15 minutes. That fast-absorption is only possible because Frog Fuel is a nano-hydrolyzed collagen supplement. 

If you’re looking to get all of the hydrolyzed collagen benefits we discussed in this article, consider a nano-hydrolyzed supplement to support lean muscle growth, muscle recovery, and overall athletic performance.