It’s no secret that collagen holds the key to many incredible health benefits. However, all the terminology can sometimes be quite confusing. Collagen peptides are gaining popularity because of their numerous benefits. Hydrolyzed collagens are also taking the stage, but what’s the difference between the two? In this article, I’m taking a deep dive into collagen peptides vs hydrolyzed collagen, which is right for you, and the best sources of each.

Believe it or not, collagen isn’t a single protein. It’s actually a complex group of proteins made up of amino acids. Glycerine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine are some of these amino acids. These amino acids serve as the building blocks that form nearly everything in our bodies. Yes, this includes tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, muscles, and gut lining. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It’s often called the glue that holds everything together. This is often why it’s becoming such a staple in people’s health journeys.

What are Collagen Peptides

Remember how we talked about amino acids create collagen proteins? Well, peptides are also made from amino acids. In fact, peptides are short chains made up of two or more amino acids linked together by a peptide bond. Collagen peptides come from the complex bundle of amino acids we call collagen. A natural process known as enzymatic hydrolysis breaks down large collagen molecules into smaller peptides. This makes them more bioavailable and easier to absorb.

You can get collagen peptides from the food you eat. You can also source them from different types of collagen supplements. The best food sources for collagen peptides include bovine, chicken, and fish. Always opt for organic, non-GMO, grass-fed options when available. There are also varying types of collagen supplements that offer collagen peptides. Many come in powdered form. Not all collagen powders are created equal, however. I’ll talk more about this in a bit, but for now, let’s discuss the various roles collagen peptides play in the body.

What Role Do Collagen Peptides Play

Collagen peptides work behind the scenes day and night to keep your body functioning. Let’s consider bone and joint health. These peptides help promote new collagen and proteoglycans in the supporting cartilage. This helps increase mobility and can reduce discomfort as you go about your day. They also assist in increasing bone density and strength1 Collagen peptides also support healthy muscle growth and repair. This helps when maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise.

Additionally, collagen peptides play a vital role in skin health. They assist in wound healing, as well as fighting off signs of skin aging. They’re also involved in gut health. One amino acid in particular, called glycine, helps strengthen the gut lining2  In effect, this encourages healthy digestion. This is why taking quality collagen powders can improve symptoms related to leaky gut and other digestive conditions.

What is Hydrolyzed Collagen

So you see, collagen peptides are the result of breaking down pieces of collagen protein. What does that make hydrolyzed collagen? Some people use these terms interchangeably. In essence, hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has broken down into smaller peptides. Sounds simple enough, but there’s a reason this process is so needed. It’s an important one, so stick around.

The process of hydrolyzing proteins can be a bit complex. It involves breaking up the coils that create the triple helix found in collagen proteins. Once the coils separate, a process called enzymatic hydrolysis turns the long, coiled protein chains into shorter chains with lower molecular weight3 This process happens for many reasons. One reason is to make this valuable protein easier to absorb in the body. This can be especially helpful to those following The Myers Way® or other AIP protocols.

Hydrolyzed collagen also helps combat signs of skin aging. It does this by stimulating the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Taking quality hydrolyzed collagen powder supplements is an easy way to look and feel your best!

Where Does Hydrolyzed Collagen Come From

Here’s the deal: your body can’t process collagen in its whole form. It must break down in order to be fully utilized. Thankfully, you can find quality hydrolyzed collagen powders in many supplements today.

If you’re wondering where does hydrolyzed collagen come from, look no further than your nearest supplement store. You’ll find quite a few options to help fill these nutritional gaps there. However, when looking for hydrolyzed collagen powders, be sure to verify where they source their collagen. Animal sources, such as hydrolyzed bovine collagen, are a great choice. You may also find marine, chicken, or eggshell varieties. Keep in mind that anyone following an elimination diet should avoid eggs.

Collagen Peptides vs Hydrolyzed Collagen

Collagen Collagen Peptides - Collagen Peptides vs Hydrolyzed Collagen - Amy Myers MD®

Now you’ve learned about what collagen peptides are. You also know what hydrolyzed collagen is. What’s the difference between the two? Also, how do you know if you should pick collagen powders that offer collagen peptides vs hydrolyzed collagen? Peptides are the end product when a complex collagen protein breaks down into shorter amino acid chains. Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen protein that breaks down into smaller peptides.

Some might argue there is no difference between the two. In fact, some people use these terms interchangeably. Good news! Both collagen peptides vs hydrolyzed collagen come with optimal absorption in mind. Collagen peptides work to build and repair new and existing collagen proteins. This helps strengthen your skin, hair, joints, and gut lining. Let’s go over the types of collagen supplements to help you find the right fit for you.

Types of Collagen Supplements

There are so many types of collagen supplements on the market today. You can often find collagen powders, liquids, and capsules at every health store you visit. What I love about our collagen products is the flexibility they offer. There’s an option that fits almost every schedule and lifestyle. They’re also gluten free, dairy free, and easy to incorporate.

Collagen Protein Capsules

If you’re not a fan of mixing powder into your drink, capsules are a great way to go. My Collagen Protein Capsules offer a convenient, no-mess, travel-friendly option for getting this nutrient into your diet. Six capsules give you three grams of bovine collagen peptides. This nourishes your joints and keeps your gut health in check. Plus, it’s encased in bovine gelatin instead of vegetable cellulose. Gelatin is easier on the stomach and offers an extra boost of collagen!

Collagen Protein

A classic all-star when it comes to gut, skin, and hair health, my Collagen Protein is second to none. This hydrolyzed beef collagen powder offers a whopping 11 grams of protein per scoop! It’s the easiest way to promote lean muscle, bone support, and joint health. It’s also virtually tasteless and mixes well in hot or cold drinks!

Spectrum 5 Collagen™

Many collagen powders only offer one or two collagen types. My Spectrum 5 Collagen™ offers all five collagen types for whole-body support. This protein powder is the first ever multi-collagen formulated by a medical doctor. It’s made with eight grams of hydrolyzed eggshell, bovine, and marine collagen. Together, this supports firmer, more youthful-looking skin. It also helps you maintain flexible joints and mobility.

Paleo Protein Collection

Perhaps my favorites of all the collagen products I offer are my Paleo Protein powders. These AIP friendly collagen protein powders come in five delicious flavors including Mocha Latte, Double Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream, and Vanilla Bean. Not only do they taste amazing, but they offer some of the cleanest hydrolyzed protein on the market!

Final Word on Collagen Peptides vs Hydrolyzed Collagen

Collagen truly is a wonder protein. This complex bundle of amino acids offers some of the greatest support our body needs. Plus, it’s found everywhere in the body. It’s no wonder it’s called the glue that holds everything together!

Collagen needs to break down for you to enjoy its benefits. Collagen peptides come from broken-down pieces of collagen. This leaves you with a shorter amino acid chain. These shorter chains make them easier to digest and absorb. Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that undergoes an enzymatic process. The purpose of this is to unravel the tight chains of the original collagen protein. This “breaking apart” also enables great bioavailability.

Your ideal collagen protein will look different depending on your preferences. If you like mixing fun flavors into your shakes and smoothies, give my Paleo Protein Collection a try. If you’re looking to get back more youthful skin and hair, my Spectrum 5 Collagen™ is a great choice. You may travel a lot and need something you can take quickly and easily. My Collagen Protein Capsules are a simple and ideal way to get the nutrients you need without the mess and hassle of powders.

Article Sources

  1. Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides in Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: Long-Term Observation in Postmenopausal Women. Denise Zdzieblik, Steffen Oesser, and Daniel König. J Bone Metab. 2021.
  2. Dietary Supplementation with Glycine Enhances Intestinal Mucosal Integrity and Ameliorates Inflammation in C57BL/6J Mice with High-Fat Diet–Induced Obesity. Jingqing Chen, Yuchen Yang, et al.. The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 151 Issue 7. 2021.
  3. Hydrolyzed Collagen—Sources and Applications. Arely León-López, Arely León-López, et al. Molecules. 2019.