As more and more proteins and supplements hit the market every day, it has become increasingly difficult to know the meaning of all the terminology and jargon used. Now, you may be familiar with what collagen is and how it can be beneficial. After all, it’s now widely reported that collagen has stunning effects when keeping your skin and hair healthy.
This is somewhat common knowledge nowadays in the health and fitness markets. But it seems like a lot of new forms of collagen are popping up - powder, coffee, gel, pills. And now, understanding what hydrolysis and hydrolyzed collagen is and how it differs from other protein types.
What does it all mean? Why don’t we just use normal collagen?
In this article, we will explain not only the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen but why it is easier for your body to absorb and use in a hydrolyzed form. We’ll also cover how hydrolysis works and if it matters when it comes to collagen supplements (hint: it does).
What is Hydrolyzed Collagen?
So, let’s just get into one of the questions we get the most: what is hydrolyzed collagen?
In short, hydrolyzed collagen, also called collagen peptides, is broken down into a smaller size than regular collagen molecules. This makes it easier for the human body to absorb all of the collagen protein you are taking.
Collagen, in general, is an abundant animal protein (there is no vegan source of collagen). Humans produce it naturally, and it’s a vital part of our bones, muscles, ligaments, skin, and tendons. In many ways, collagen is our foundation - it provides our body with structural support, and it gives our skin elasticity.
Eventually, as we age, our collagen production slows, causing wrinkles and potential joint issues in old age. The only way to curb some of these factors is by using a collagen supplement or making sure you eat a diet high in collagen, which can be difficult.
Now to get to why we should use hydrolyzed collagen.
Collagen, in its natural state, is not very easy for the human body to absorb. To make it more bioavailable to us, we have to break it down a little first. By using the chemical process known as hydrolysis, water can be used to break the molecules into two highly digestible parts.
You have probably also heard the terminology collagen peptides used before. This is essentially synonymous with hydrolyzed collagen. The descriptor “peptides” is describing a compound consisting of two or more amino acids linked together. When the process of hydrolysis has occurred, the collagen has simply been broken down into easily dissolvable amino acids.
To be fully digested by a human, we need to consider the size of the hydrolyzed collagen molecule. Collagen, in its original form, is a very large molecule that your body may not absorb in its entirety.
However, once collagen has moved through the process of hydrolysis, it becomes more bioavailable and your body can start reaping the benefits shortly after you ingest it. What’s more, hydrolyzed collagen is super effective and easy to use because it is essentially tasteless and odorless.
Why Final Hydrolyzed Molecule Size is Important
To get to the nitty-gritty of why hydrolysis is essential, we need to discuss the size of collagen molecules before and after hydrolysis. To do this, we use a unit of mass known as a dalton, which is used to express the masses of atoms and molecules. It is often used in the field of biochemistry.
When collagen is in its original form, the collagen molecules will be around 30,000 daltons. For reference, the pores in the stomach are around 4,000 dalton. And most hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides are only hydrolyzed to approximately 10,000 daltons. So, that means they’re still about 2.5 times bigger than stomach pores. To be fully absorbed - or to absorb enough of it - this hydrolyzed collagen has to be cut down in our bodies to be a size suitable for digestion.
Frog Fuel’s collagen proteins are “nano-hydrolyzed” to a size of 2,000 daltons.
We use a natural fruit enzyme in our hydrolysis process, allowing us to have collagen that’s still a bioavailable protein, but less than 1% its original size.
What that means for you is that our collagen protein is digested almost immediately - and that you need to ingest less than most other proteins to get the full protein benefits.
Just to compare, whey protein isolate is around 18,000 daltons. This is a big reason we talk about absorption when discussing the difference between whey protein and collagen protein. The small molecular size of Frog Fuel makes it possible for 100% digestibility within 15 minutes. That means that it is digested in your gut before it even reaches your small intestine. Whey protein isolate is only 1% digested in the same time frame and took over an hour to digest completely according to a university study.
Based on that study, Frog Fuel protein digests 4X faster than the leading whey isolate protein.
To describe this in terms we often see on protein packaging, we will use grams as the unit of measurement.
So, when you ingest 15 grams of Frog Fuel nano-hydrolyzed collagen® protein, your body gets 15 grams of protein. Whereas if you ingest 15 grams of whey isolate or other, larger hydrolyzed collagen, you might only get 10 grams, 6 grams, or 2 grams depending on how big the molecules are.
The fact that protein molecules from other brands are so much larger is why the serving sizes can be 30oz or more in a single protein shake. When the protein molecules are too big, you could need to ingest 30 or more grams of protein just for your body to actually absorb 10-15 grams of protein.
When the molecules are too large for our bodies to fully digest, most of the protein that’s ingested goes through your system as waste.
5 Benefits of Hydrolyzed Collagen
We have plenty of other posts and studies about the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen protein, but since you’re already here, we’ll run you through five of them. Keep in mind that, while hydrolyzed collagen protein is especially helpful for athletes and weightlifters, it can (and should) be used on your rest day as a part of a well-rounded supplement routine.
1. May Help Heal Wounds and Injuries
With such an impressive amino acid profile and fortification, hydrolyzed collagen protein may be effective for wound and injury recovery.
In fact, we’ve seen it! We have many customers that have come to us looking for a recovery solution after surgery or a sport’s injury. And our fortified collagen proteins have been shown to heal wounds in patients at up to 2x the rate in an eight week period.
Because it is fortified to be a complete protein, has a high amino acid profile, and digests completely in 15 minutes, Frog Fuel is considered a medical-grade hydrolyzed collagen protein and is trusted by almost 4,000 medical facilities. It can be - and is - used safely for long term care, wound treatment, bedsores, joint surgeries and even during dialysis.
2. May Support Joint Health
Hydrolyzed collagen protein is also known to alleviate joint pain in people that suffer from osteoarthritis and chronic joint pain. It can also help athletes keep their joints strong and healthy while increasing mobility and decreasing recovery time.
Hydrolyzed collagen helps to maintain the integrity of your cartilage, therefore protecting your joints. It may also help to reduce some inflammation that causes joint pain as well.
3. May Help Build and Preserve Existing Lean Muscle
Hydrolyzed collagen is proven to help maintain the nitrogen balance and preserve lean muscle. It has the same muscle-building qualities as many other protein sources like peas and soy. In some cases, due to the extra amino acids, it can help improve body composition and build up your lean muscle better than other familiar protein sources.
While gaining and preserving muscle is vital to athletes, it can also benefit individuals that lose muscle mass as they age. Collagen can enable people with age-related muscle loss to potentially increase their muscle growth and strength.
The three primary benefits of hydrolyzed collagen may be to heal wounds, support healthy joints, and preserve lean muscle. Still, there are a few other health benefits that can come from the use of a hydrolyzed collagen supplement.
4. Can Give you Healthy Hair, Nails and Skin
Just as collagen promotes healthy skin, it has the same impact on your hair and nails. It has been reported that collagen can promote strong nail health and prevent brittleness. With the added strength, it is possible that an increase in healthy growth can occur in the hair and nails as well.
5. Aids in Gut Health
Unfortunately, we cannot say with scientific certainty that hydrolyzed collagen can improve the symptoms related to leaky gut syndrome. However, there have been many health professionals that promote the use of collagen supplements to help patients suffering from it.
There is still very little medical research in regards to leaky gut syndrome. That being said, collagen has not been used in an attempt to cure leaky gut syndrome; it has been implemented to try and alleviate some common symptoms associated. One of the primary symptoms associated with leaky gut syndrome is skin irritations and issues. Since collagen is known to improve the health of skin, it has been used to attempt to lessen the symptoms.
Frog Fuel Hydrolyzed Collagen
There are a lot of low-quality supplements out there, especially when it comes to hydrolyzed collagen protein.
We designed our products to meet our needs as former Navy-SEALS and athletes ourselves. And unlike a lot of the brands out there, we actually use our products every single day to reach peak performance. That’s why we believe wholeheartedly that we’ve designed the most powerful protein in the world. (And many of our customers agree. Read the reviews.)
Our hydrolyzed collagen is pre-digested using a fruit enzyme so the collagen is broken down to a molecular level of just 2000 daltons. With hydrolysis, we’re offering a fast-absorbing (we’re talking 15 minutes) and exceedingly beneficial hydrolyzed collagen protein source so you can perform at your peak, always.Frog Fuel Power is a complete protein source with 15 grams of enzyme-hydrolyzed collagen protein that will digest up to 4x faster than the leading whey proteins. So whether you’re an athlete looking to support and build your lean muscle, want to promote overall health, or are working to recover from surgery, our liquid collagen protein will definitely be beneficial.