What’s Hydrolyzed Collagen?

Hydrolyzed collagen is a supplement with proven positive effects on people’s health. For example, it seems to be a possible anti-inflammatory agent. What else does the evidence say?
What’s Hydrolyzed Collagen?

Last update: 14 October, 2021

Hydrolyzed collagen is a supplement that comes from sheep bones and cartilage. Its main goal is to increase the synthesis of this protein to strengthen the joints.

In addition, as a study published in the journal Nutrients states, it’s also a good way to keep the skin, bones, and hair healthy. How do you take it? What are its advantages? Below, we’ll tell you all about it.

Collagen synthesis

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It has a triple helix structure, and is part of the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.

The body endogenously synthesizes it from the amino acids that you get through the food you eat. The three types of collagen in the body are the following:

  • I. Found in the skin, hair, nails, organs, bones, and ligaments.
  • II. This type is part of cartilage.
  • III. Found in bones, cartilage, dentin, tendons, and other connective tissues.

Certain dietary strategies can increase the production of this protein. One of these strategies, which is evidenced by scientific literature, consists of increasing your vitamin C intake.

According to a study published in the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, the regular consumption of gelatin can be an effective way to increase collagen synthesis.

In fact, doctors recommend athletes with joint or tendon injuries to consume this product to boost the recovery process.

However, another series of products for this same purpose doesn’t produce the expected results. A perfect example is shark cartilage.

This supplement was created to repair and improve tendon functionality. However, science doesn’t support its use. In fact, it’s discouraged in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.

Some gelatin in a glass cup.
Experts associate gelatin consumption with increased collagen synthesis.

Is hydrolyzed collagen useful?

Now we’ll focus on consuming collagen itself as a supplement. Several studies detected this substance in the composition of many different cosmetic products. However, science doesn’t offer concise data on which types of collagen are best suited for these purposes.

On the other hand, as far as osteoarthritis is concerned, supplementation with type 2 collagen can produce an improvement in knee joints, according to some evidence. Furthermore, the body tolerates it well. Despite this, experts don’t yet know the precise action mechanisms of this supplement. As such, they need to conduct more studies to clarify these processes.

Meanwhile, they also evidenced an anti-inflammatory effect of this substance on cartilage or joint injuries. Hydrolyzed collagen seems to be chondroprotective and helps regenerate damaged cartilage.

Existing articles study the effect of this substance in post-traumatic osteoarthritis, but not in cartilage regeneration.

Sometimes, supplements that contain this type of collagen are enriched with vitamin C or magnesium. This seems to enhance the properties of the product.

Collagen supplements.
Studies on hydrolyzed collagen aren’t entirely conclusive. Nevertheless, experts attribute some benefits to it.

There aren’t enough studies on hydrolyzed collagen

For now, scientific literature defends the use of hydrolyzed collagen for the improvement of certain joint-related problems. The regular consumption of this supplement seems to be relatively effective, especially for knee injuries.

In addition, many manufacturers add it to cosmetic beauty products due to its skin or hair appearance improvement properties. However, the action mechanisms used by this substance aren’t entirely clear. Experts need to conduct more studies to understand them.

In addition to this, experts need to conduct more clinical trials to assess its application in tendon-related problems or degenerative conditions, beyond post-traumatic episodes. In short, this is a safe supplement that doesn’t have apparent side effects under the doses stipulated by the manufacturers.

Although it may be helpful, it won’t lead to improved performance in healthy individuals. Neither does it seem to help prevent injuries. For this reason, if you suffer any type of injury, it’s best to go and see a doctor or specialist.

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  • Bolke L, Schlippe G, Gerß J, Voss W. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2494. Published 2019 Oct 17. doi:10.3390/nu11102494