The most abundant protein in the human body, collagen is focused throughout our bones, ligaments, joints, and, of course, skin. There’s a lot collagen can do for health. But when it comes to hydrolyzed collagen vs. denatured collagen in supplements, which form works best? Let’s find out.
It’s collagen peptides that keeps our skin smooth and young-looking. Excessive sun exposure, for example, causes premature aging, which decreases the amount of collagen in our skin. The result is wrinkles and older-looking skin.
What’s more, collagen is also essential to maintain the health of our joints and connective tissue.
To fight back against the natural decline of collagen due to aging, you can eat collagen-rich foods and take collagen supplements.
Studies show that collagen supplementation will offset the effects of the aging process on collagen levels while improving skin elasticity and moisture.
Collagen supplementation can also improve joint flexion and connective tissue health.
While overall collagen supplementation is ideal, there are two distinct forms of collagen that may be able to maximize the benefits you receive: hydrolyzed collagen vs. denatured collagen.
Types of Collagen
Before we discuss the differences between hydrolyzed collagen and denatured collagen, it’ll be important to point out the three types of overall collagen products. Hydrolyzed and denatured collagen wind up in one of the three category types, depending on where they are sourced.
- Ideal for skin care, beauty (hair, nails), and physical fitness products
- Highest quality
- Most accessible – Easily digested or absorbed
- Exclusively found in cartilage-based products
- Usually sourced from chicken bones
- Not ideal for skin care (anti-aging)
- Perfect for supporting joint and connective tissue health
- Easily assimilated via supplement, cream, lotion, etc
- Type I and Type III collagen products are often taken together
Best Sources of Hydrolyzed and Denatured Collagen
There are a variety of sources of collagen. Below are the most common sources listed from best to mediocre.
- Studies suggest fish is the best source for collagen production
- Supply Type I Collagen
- Highest nutrient content
- Ideal for supplements
- High cost
Cattle / Cows
- Great nutrient content
- Able to be used in a variety of collagen-based products
- Decent nutrient content – Not nearly as good as fish
- Can be used in many collagen-based products
- Low cost
- Found in nearly all Type II collagen products (sternal)
- Excellent for cartilage health and not much else – Will primarily be used in joint supplements
- Not ideal for skin-care products
- Low cost
Hydrolyzed collagen (also called collagen hydrolysate) is made by using a process called hydrolysis. This is when water is used to breakdown the bonds within a substance, making them smaller and smaller. Animal sources such as hides and bones are gathered, boiled, dried, and pulverized.
The end result of this process is the collagen powder that you’ll find in supplements, beauty products, collagen protein powders, and skin-care creams, for example. Where this powder ends up depends on the source of the collagen.
Like hydrolyzed collagen, denatured collagen is animal-sourced and eventually pulverized.
However, instead of utilizing water to breakdown the bonds within the animal source, denatured collagen is made with a heat source such as an oven or direct flame.
The heat breaks down hides or bones. They are then crushed into fine collagen powder.
Hydrolyzed Collagen vs. Denatured Collagen: Which is Better?
While very similar in structure and benefits, hydrolyzed and denatured collagen are made with different processes. The processes directly impact the collagen benefits you receive.
Regardless of the source, heat tends to destroy more nutrients than the process of hydrolysis; however, the absorption rate will remain unchanged.
Hydrolyzed collagen is far more studied and widely used, especially with popular brands. Denatured collagen tends to be the more cost-effective option, especially if you are looking for a collagen that focuses on supporting cartilage health and not skin health, also known as a Type II collagen.
Which collagen should I use?
Overall, both hydrolyzed and denatured collagen can support health. But hydrolyzed collagen is better.
Hydrolyzed collagen, specifically Type I and Type III, absorbs quickly. Most importantly, hydrolyzed collagen types have been the subject of numerous studies confirming its benefits related to skin health, anti-aging properties, and joint health.
What’s more, collagen may also be a natural and effective way to support healthy digestion. This has very important implications for those suffering from conditions such as leaky guy, indigestion, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
How Much Collage Should I Take Each Day?
The amount of collagen that you can take per day in supplement form will vary widely based on the form you take it and the brand you use.
- In general, if you are in good health without skin problems, joint issues, or persistent connective tissue pain then you can take between 5 and 10 grams per day.
If you are experiencing joint issues or having trouble with your skin in the form of acne, for example, you can safely increase this to 15 grams each day.
Some supplement brands may not contain nearly this much and in those cases, you would want to take the supplement as directed.
Best Hydrolyzed Collagen Brands
Not all hydrolyzed collagen products are the same. Here are two high quality brands that we recommend.
Using the highest quality collagen sources, BioCell Collagen contains all three types of collagen. This means that it’s going to be able to support not only your skin health but also the health of your joints, connective tissue, and digestion.
- One BioCell Collagen study found that subjects taking BioCell Collagen demonstrated up to a 30% improvement in joint movement while reporting a decrease in joint pain.
Another collagen supplement that focuses on joint health, this undenatured Type II collagen product also has scientific backing in the form of four clinical studies.
- One research study published in Nutrition Journal focused on pain and limited mobility from osteoarthritis. The study found that only 40 mg per day of UC-II supported joint health and alleviated soreness and pain associated with the arthritis.
If you are experiencing daily soreness and pain in your joints; if you want to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles from your face; or if you simply want to support your overall health, collagen is the answer.
Hydrolyzed collagen and denatured collagen are two of the most popular forms of the compound.
While hydrolyzed collagen is the better choice, both have been shown to significantly improve joint health, promote digestion, enhance skin health, and support the condition of your hair, nails, connective tissue, and cartilage.