What Is Hydrolyzed Collagen?

Cyclists fueled with hydrolyzed collagen peptides are pedaling through a sun-drenched road on a competitive cycling race day

As more and more protein supplements hit the market every day, it has become increasingly difficult to know the meaning of all the terminology and jargon used. If you’ve been looking into the benefits of collagen protein, you may be wondering: What is hydrolyzed collagen?

It seems like a lot of new forms of collagen are popping up - powder, coffee, gel, pills. And now, if you want to get the most out of your collagen supplement, it’s important to understand what hydrolyzed collagen is and how it differs from other protein types.

So what is hydrolyzed collagen? In this article, we will examine what hydrolyzed collagen is, how it is made, and if it matters regarding collagen supplements (hint: It does). 

If you’re ready to get into the technical bits of what hydrolyzed collagen is, then strap in.

What is hydrolyzed collagen?

Let’s get into one of the questions we get asked most: What is hydrolyzed collagen? 

In short, hydrolyzed collagen, also called collagen peptides, is collagen protein that is broken down into smaller pieces than regular collagen molecules. This makes it easier for the human body to absorb.

Collagen is an abundant animal protein (which is why you can’t find vegan collagen). Humans produce it naturally, and it provides vital structural support to our bones, muscles, ligaments, skin, and tendons.

Our collagen production slows as we age, causing wrinkles and potential joint issues. The only way to curb some of these factors is by using a collagen supplement or ensuring you eat a diet high in collagen, which can be difficult. 

In its natural state, collagen is not very easy for the human body to absorb. To make it more bioavailable, we must first break it down. By using the chemical process known as hydrolysis, water can be used to break the molecules into two highly digestible parts. 

Once collagen has moved through hydrolysis, it becomes more bioavailable, and your body can start reaping the benefits of your collagen supplement shortly after you ingest it. 

Why molecule size is important

Now that you know what hydrolyzed collagen is, let’s understand why hydrolysis is essential. To do that, we need to discuss the size of collagen molecules before and after hydrolysis. 

To measure molecule size, we use a unit of mass known as a dalton. 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 daltons. 

Most hydrolyzed 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 create a bioavailable collagen protein that is less than 1% its original size. 

 What that means for you is that our hydrolyzed collagen peptides will give you the most immediate digestion - and that you need to ingest less than most other proteins to get the full benefit.

 Just to compare, collagen protein vs. whey protein; whey protein isolate is around 18,000 daltons. This is a big reason we talk about the protein absorption rate when discussing what hydrolyzed collagen is and the cons of protein powder

The small molecular size of Frog Fuel makes it possible for 100% digestibility within 15 minutes. That means it is digested in your gut before reaching your small intestine.

Frog Fuel protein digests 4X faster than the leading whey isolate protein. 

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 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 30 ounces or more in a single protein shake. When the protein molecules are too big, you might need to ingest 30 or more grams of protein just to absorb 10-15 grams of protein. 

When the molecules are too large for our bodies to fully digest, most of the ingested protein simply goes to waste.

The benefits of hydrolyzed collagen

Knowing what hydrolyzed collagen is, you may already be picturing a few hydrolyzed collagen benefits in your head. Here are some of our favorite benefits of hydrolyzed collagen.

Hydrolyzed collagen may help heal wounds and injuries

Hydrolyzed collagen may be one of the best muscle repair supplements after injury.

Many customers have come to us looking for a recovery solution after surgery or a sports injury, and our fortified collagen protein has been shown to heal wounds in patients at up to 2x the normal rate.

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, bed sores, joint surgeries, and even during dialysis. 

Hydrolyzed collagen may support joint health

Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are 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 for joints can help maintain your cartilage's integrity, therefore protecting your joints. It may also help reduce some inflammation that causes joint pain.

Hydrolyzed collagen may help build and preserve lean muscle

Hydrolyzed collagen has the same muscle-building qualities as many other protein sources like pea and soy. In some cases, due to the extra amino acids, it can improve body composition and build up your lean muscle better than other 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.

Hydrolyzed collagen may give you healthier hair, nails, and skin

Collagen has been shown to set back the clock on skin aging by improving elasticity and decreasing wrinkles.

Just as collagen may help improve 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 in hair.

Now that you know what hydrolyzed collagen is, and some of its potential benefits, it’s time to learn how to properly add a hydrolyzed collagen supplement to your routine. 

The proper dosage of hydrolyzed collagen

As we’ve discussed, hydrolyzed collagen is what is easiest for your body to absorb. This means that when you take a 15g serving of Frog Fuel nano-hydrolyzed collagen, your body may absorb all 15g of protein. 

With that said, the proper dosage of hydrolyzed collagen depends on various factors, including your size, gender, and lifestyle. That being said, studies have found taking anywhere from 2.5 grams to 15 grams of collagen to be effective.

In general, it’s recommended that you intake 0.36 grams of protein per pound every day. This means if you weigh 200 pounds, it’s recommended that you get at least 72g of protein in your daily diet. 

Studies have shown that when supplementing with collagen, 36% of your daily protein intake can come from collagen peptides.

So now that you have an idea how much collagen you can take, are there any side effects of collagen that you need to be worried about?

Possible side effects of collagen supplements

Collagen comes with minimal side effects, which is a big reason many people use it over whey. With that being said, some people may experience mild side effects when taking collagen.

If you’re allergic to eggs, fish, or shellfish, then make sure your collagen supplement isn’t made with any of these ingredients as fillers or encapsulants.

There aren’t many reported side effects of collagen supplementation, but some people have reported a slight loss in appetite. We can wager that the loss in appetite may be due to the fact that an increase in protein intake will make you feel fuller.

It’s also possible that you may experience mild symptoms like bloating, feelings of fullness, and a too much protein stomach ache if you take too much of your protein supplement.

FAQs about hydrolyzed collagen

As we wind down this article, there are still a few frequently asked questions we get surrounding what hydrolyzed collagen is and is used for - and we’d like to answer them for you!

What is the difference between hydrolyzed collagen and regular collagen?

When looking at what is hydrolyzed collagen vs regular collagen, the main difference is that hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides are broken down into small protein chains. This means hydrolyzed collagen is what is easier for your body to absorb.

What is hydrolyzed collagen good for?

What is hydrolyzed collagen good for? So many things! 

Collagen is what your body uses to ensure your skin, hair, nails, muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments are in healthy working order. When you take a hydrolyzed collagen supplement, your body can put it to work protecting all those connective tissues. 

When should I take hydrolyzed collagen?

The best time to take collagen depends on your personal preference, how your body reacts to collagen supplements, and the benefits you’re looking to obtain. 

Some people like to take collagen in the morning blended into their morning smoothie, while others take it at night before sleep. The bottom line is that you should commit to taking collagen at the time when you’re most likely to follow through. 

What are the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen supplements?

By now, it should be clear what hydrolyzed collagen is, but let’s make sure you're clear about its benefits. Supplementing hydrolyzed collagen benefits everyone, from athletes in their prime to people in their 50s and on.

Some benefits of collagen supplementation include that it may help heal wounds, may support joint health, may build and preserve lean muscle, and may give you healthier hair.

Is hydrolyzed collagen safe?

Just like regular collagen, hydrolyzed collagen is safe to take on a daily basis. Just make sure you get your supplement from a trusted source and read the label carefully.

Which hydrolyzed collagen is best?

Now that you know what hydrolyzed collagen is, your next question may be, “what is the best hydrolyzed collagen?” We believe the answer is Frog Fuel, because we have the most bioavailable collagen on the market. 

While most hydrolyzed collagen products on the market are hydrolyzed to 10,000 daltons, Frog Fuel’s collagen proteins are “nano-hydrolyzed” to a size of 2,000 daltons.

Frog Fuel: the most bioavailable hydrolyzed collagen

There are a lot of low-quality collagen supplements out there, and that applies to hydrolyzed collagen, too! 

We designed our products to meet our needs as former Navy-SEALS and athletes. And unlike many brands, we use our products every day to reach peak performance. 

That’s why we believe wholeheartedly that we’ve designed the most powerful protein in the world. (And based on our reviews, many of our customers agree.)

With our nano-hydrolyzed collagen, we’re offering a fast-absorbing (we’re talking 15 minutes) and exceedingly beneficial collagen protein source so you can perform at your best, always. 

Frog Fuel collagen 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 is what hydrolyzed collagen you are looking for. 

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