To put it simply: yes, all collagen is hydrolyzed … but there are different levels of hydrolyzation. In this process, protein (more specifically, its amino acids) has been broken down into smaller units, making collagen more easily digestible for humans because we wouldn’t be able to absorb the nutrients if we just ate cow hides or bones.
Fully hydrolyzed collagen (key word here being “fully”) is soluble in both cold and hot liquids. Unflavored and 100% pure, they are easy to mix into smoothies, fresh fruit juice, or even water. The description might sound familiar to Vital Proteins fans.
This type of hydrolyzed collagen is better known as our popular Collagen Peptides but can also be referred to as Collagen Hydrolysate. As we know, natural collagen production begins to decline as we grow older, which is why some people prefer to up their collagen intake with our products in an effort to continue helping the promotion of healthy hair, skin, nails and bones.
It’s for your body’s benefit. As we mentioned before, the hydrolyzation process breaks down the protein’s amino acid chains. This makes the nutrients – for collagen, its important amino acids are called arginine, proline, glycine and hydroxyproline – easier and faster to digest by consumers.
Since hydrolyzed collagen can quickly dissolve in liquids of different temperatures, it’s no surprise that collagen that is partially hydrolyzed isn’t as versatile when it comes to its solubility. That’s not to say partially hydrolyzed collagen isn’t versatile in other ways, however. But more on that later.
Collagen that is partially hydrolyzed is referred to as gelatin. We offer a partially hydrolyzed collagen product called Beef Gelatin. Unlike our Collagen Peptides, our Beef Gelatin does not get broken down by enzymes, a crucial step that makes Collagen Peptides soluble in both hot and cold liquids. Skipping this step is what makes Beef Gelatin partially hydrolyzed and only easily soluble in hot liquids.
Its molecular weight is higher than that of peptides, and is mostly used in soups, stews and highly nutritious desserts. It offers the same amino acids, but is not as soluble in cold water. A warmer temperature is needed to mix well into recipes. In fact, our Beef Gelatin solidifies in cold liquid, making it an ideal ingredient for folks looking to make protein gummies or are simply needing a thickener for soups, custards, and stews. The same “binding” or thickening effect can’t be achieved with Collagen Peptides.
Using Beef Gelatin may help ease digestion, strengthen joints and bones, improve the health of hair, skin, and nails. Beef Gelatin helps the body digest food you might not be used to eating. Beef Gelatin is slower to digest, moves through the GI tract further and coats the small intestine. It’s particularly beneficial for people in gut-healing diets like GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet), AIP (Autoimmune Paleo Protocol), or SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet).
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Choosing hydrolyzed collagen or collagen that is partially hydrolyzed is up to personal preference and diet. Our Collagen Peptides are quicker to digest; they are usually a go-to for those who want to easily ingest collagen with their ice-cold water, as an example. On the other hand, someone with sensitive gut health may want to look into our Beef Gelatin.