Is Hydrolyzed Collagen a Miracle Cure?
Hydrolyzed collagen has been shown in studies to promote joint health and may give relief from chronic pain diseases.

Collagen is a protein found abundantly in your body, particularly in the connective tissues, bones, and skin. It contributes 33 percent of the body's total protein and 75 percent of the dry weight of the skin.

Hydrolyzed collagen (collagen peptides) is hydrolyzed form of collagen.

  • Collagen undergoes a chemical process called hydrolysis where the complex protein is broken down into smaller particles called amino acids and peptides.
  • As you age, the collagen production decreases resulting in the development of wrinkles, loss of elasticity of the skin, and various other signs of aging.
  • Hydrolyzed collagen is taken as supplements to improve skin health, reduce wrinkles, keep the skin hydrated, and reduce other signs of aging.

Hydrolyzed collagen supplements are available as powder, capsules, and topical applicants. These products did show good results in terms of improving skin health, joint health, and others. However, there is no definitive evidence for the claims, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved hydrolyzed collagen for such treatments.

The FDA does not regulate supplements including hydrolyzed collagen. However, the administration has recalled various supplements that were marketed under false claims. Thus, hydrolyzed collagen is no longer considered a miracle cure.

Why is hydrolyzed collagen considered beneficial?

Bioactive hydrolyzed collagen, absorbed into the bloodstream, can have several effects on the functioning of cells in the body. Collagen peptides can encourage fibroblasts (cells that form connective tissue) in the skin to produce more hyaluronic acid, which is necessary for skin hydration.

Bioactive collagen peptides were believed to aid in the restoration of damaged tissue in the body. It can help preserve bone density, provide structural support to the skin, and contribute to good hair. Hence, collagen peptides are used for several health, cosmetic, and fitness purposes.

Various scientific investigations revealed that collagen peptides can enhance joint health by preventing cartilage degradation and reducing inflammation around the joint. Hydrolyzed collagen can alleviate your joint issues by increasing mobility and minimizing discomfort.

What is the administered dosage of hydrolyzed collagen?

Collagen supplements are often taken orally, as a pill, capsule, or powder. Because of its antioxidant and antibacterial characteristics, hydrolyzed collagen is commonly used as a component in dietary supplements. It can be obtained by the consumption of bone broth or pork skin.

Dosages range from 2.5 grams to 30 grams per day, depending on the condition that is being treated.

It is crucial to understand that not all collagen supplements are created equal. Many over-the-counter hydrolyzed collagen supplements contain other substances, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and minerals, which can make determining the proper dosage for a certain disease more difficult. Adulteration of these supplements remains a major concern.

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5 health benefits of hydrolyzed collagen

1. Joint health

Joint discomfort affects both children and adults. Most people older than 50 years suffer from persistent joint pain. Pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are the conventional therapy. However, these medications have negative side effects.

Experts have been looking for alternate ways, such as collagen hydrolysate, to manage joint discomfort.

  • In a sample of 200 people older than 50 years, hydrolyzed collagen (12 grams per day for six months) decreased back pain compared to placebo.
  • A study with 97 collegiate athletes from Pennsylvania State University revealed that six months of collagen supplementation decreased activity-related joint discomfort compared to a placebo.
  • A 2019 meta-analysis found that collagen supplements are beneficial to lower osteoarthritis symptoms based on symptom scores.

Although these findings are encouraging, you should get medical advice before exclusively using collagen to alleviate joint discomfort.

2. Osteoporosis

Hydrolyzed collagen can help prevent and cure mild osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a type of arthritis that affects the bones and is a prevalent condition among the elderly and young individuals. 

  • Several studies implied that hydrolyzed collagen enhances bone and muscle mass, lowering the odds of developing the illness, and aiding in its treatment.
  • Another recent study found that consuming collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen regularly boosts indicators for decreased bone breakdown and enhanced mineral density.

Nonetheless, further research is needed to determine how effectively hydrolyzed collagen supplements can help against osteoporosis.

3. Skin health

Collagen is the primary protein that supports the structure of the skin, making it tight, elastic, and smooth. However, the collagen matrix in the skin begins to degrade with time. Wrinkles, fine lines, and other symptoms of aging arise when this occurs.

Sun exposure has a negative influence on the collagen matrix of the skin. To repair ultraviolet-induced damage and maintain healthy skin, you must produce collagen continuously in the body. However, with advancing age collagen production decreases.

Hydrolyzed collagen supplies basic ingredients and boosts internal collagen formation, which enhances skin health.

  • In one trial, 69 women aged 35 to 55 years were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or hydrolyzed collagen for eight weeks. After eight weeks, the collagen groups had significantly improved skin elasticity.
  • Another placebo-controlled, double-blind, trial discovered that collagen supplementation improved skin appearance in women with mild cellulite.

Though longer-term research is needed, the overall result is that collagen appears to be beneficial to skin health.

4. Anti-aging

Hydrolyzed collagen may help you live a long and healthy life in addition to improving your skin and joints. Unfortunately, no human research exists to back up this claim.

Some animal studies showed that glycine, an amino acid found in collagen peptides, may delay cellular aging.

In one research, mice fed diets containing 8 or 12 percent glycine lived about 30 percent longer than mice fed 2.3 percent glycine. Researchers believe this lifespan impact is due to glycine's involvement to remove the amino acid methionine, which is found in meat.

Taking hydrolyzed collagen will not prevent aging. However, it may help:

  • Reduce the negative effects of consuming a lot of methionine-rich meat.
  • Boosts internal collagen production, which usually diminishes with age.

5. Gut health

The intestines contain bacteria that help with your digestion and metabolism. These “good bacteria” play a role in your immune regulation. Imbalance in these bacterial colonies (dysbiosis) is known to trigger many conditions, such as diabetes mellites, autoimmune diseases, and so on.

Though scientific trials have not demonstrated that collagen protein can help with intestinal bacterial colonies, many supporters of collagen claim that collagen is essential for maintaining the intestinal barrier.

While it is too soon to declare that hydrolyzed collagen heals your gut, the evidence is promising and can be tried provided your physician okays it.

Bottom line

One of the most prevalent proteins in the human body is collagen. It can be found in the skin, bone tissue, cartilage, tendons, etc. Hydrolyzed collagen supplements are created by enzymatically breaking down lengthy collagen strands into smaller molecules that could be readily ingested and absorbed more effectively than ordinary gelatin-based goods, such as Jell-O or gummy bears.

Hydrolyzed collagen has been shown in studies to promote joint health and may give relief from chronic pain diseases, such as arthritis. However, there is not enough evidence to make it a US Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy for these conditions.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/30/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

León-López A, Morales-Peñaloza A, Martínez-Juárez VM, Vargas-Torres A, Zeugolis DI, Aguirre-Álvarez G. Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and Applications. Molecules. 2019;24(22):4031. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891674/

B Lupu MA, Gradisteanu Pircalabioru G, Chifiriuc MC, Albulescu R, Tanase C. Beneficial effects of food supplements based on hydrolyzed collagen for skin care (Review). Exp Ther Med. 2020;20(1):12-17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271718/

WebMD. Health Benefits of Collagen Powder. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-collagen-powder#