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What’s the difference between marine collagen peptides and hydrolysed collagen?

NW by Natasha Whiting
21 September 2022

What’s the difference between marine collagen peptides and hydrolysed collagen?

Marine collagen peptides or hydrolysed collagen? These are interchangeable names for the same product – there is no difference between the two; it’s just a matter of semantics. But why are there two different names for the same thing in the collagen industry?

In this article, we will explore the roots of where these two names come from. Essentially, the phrase ‘collagen peptides’ is a description of the end product, while ‘hydrolysed collagen’ is based in a description of the process by which collagen peptides are created. It is comparable to a product like wheat flour:

• The name ‘wheat flour’ is what we call the end product.
• You could also call it ‘ground wheat’ as an alternative name that encapsulates the grinding process.

So the short answer is that ‘hydrolysed collagen’ is simply another way of saying ‘collagen peptides’, which we call marine collagen peptides when they are derived from the skin and scales of fish.

So should I say marine collagen peptides or hydrolysed collagen?

There is no wrong answer here – collagen peptides and hydrolysed collagen are both completely legitimate names for the same product.

The peptides used in collagen supplements are derived from the large collagen molecules present in fish skin and scales (or the bones of cows, pigs and other animals). These peptides are extracted via hydrolysis and represent the key bioactive component of the supplements. You could argue that ‘collagen peptides’ makes the most sense to use as it is these bioactive and highly bioavailable peptides that are absorbed into the body and lead to the various health and cosmetic benefits of taking collagen supplements.

What is collagen, exactly?

Collagen is a fundamental structural protein that exists in the skin, bones and tissues of animals. In essence, it is what holds the body together, providing structure, strength cohesion and elasticity to:

• Skin
• Bones
• Tendons
• Ligaments
• Cartilage
• Muscles

There are various different types of collagen in the body. Type I collagen is composed of long, neatly packed fibres that provide tensile strength for the skin as well as tendons and ligaments. Type II collagen, meanwhile, is made up of shorter fibres that help make up the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between bones in many of the body’s joints. All types of collagen perform essential roles in maintaining good health in the body.

As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen – this actually begins from an early age (as early as our twenties). The result of this is the signs of ageing, which become particularly pronounced in middle age and beyond. We will experience visible issues like wrinkles and fine lines in the skin or thinning of the hair, and less visible ones like stiff, aching joints and even a decrease in bone density. This all happens largely because we have less collagen to provide the structural support to the very fibres of our bodies.

The collagen that is used to make marine collagen peptides comes from fish, primarily the skin and scales. But it can also be sourced from the skin and bone of animals like cows and pigs to form gelatine, from which peptides can be made via hydrolysis.

Hydrolysation: what exactly are bovine, porcine and marine collagen peptides?

Collagen peptides are short chains of amino acids derived from full-length collagen. The molecules of native collagen are quite large – too large for the human digestive system to absorb into the bloodstream. This is why enzymatic hydrolysis is used to extract the collagen; it breaks down those large molecules into the smaller, more bioavailable collagen peptides that can be absorbed through digestion to provide the fuel our bodies need to ramp up collagen production.

So the native collagen (like the skin and scales that are by-products of the fishing industry) must go through a softening process to release the marine collagen peptides from their bonds and extracted safely. A collagen molecule is composed of three long chains of amino acids which combine to form a triple helix with a substantial molecular weight. The collagen peptides that are extracted are part of an insoluble and very robust matrix of collagen fibres.

The process of enzymatic hydrolysis involves the application of a specific enzyme following the collagen’s reaction with water. This process breaks down the peptide bonds to enable the extraction of the individual peptides. The degree of this hydrolysis dictates the average molecular weight of the final product, and the marine collagen peptides that Kollo uses are broken down sufficiently for maximum bioavailability for the user. This means it is very easy for the digestive system to absorb the key nutrients into the bloodstream.

The hydrolysis process is subject to strict control to ensure a consistent end product that can be accurately reproduced.

What are the benefits of marine collagen peptides (hydrolysed collagen)?

Collagen peptides are bioactive ingredients. This means that, once they pass into the bloodstream, they have an influence on the activity of various cells in the body. One scientifically proven effect is that hydrolysed collagen can stimulate the skin’s fibroblasts to produce more hyaluronic acid, which is important for healthy skin hydration.

Bioactive collagen peptides can also assist in the repairing of damaged tissue in the body. This includes structural support for the skin, maintenance of healthy bone density and contributing to strong, voluminous hair. This is why collagen supplements are so popular in the cosmetic, health and fitness industries.

Here are some of the benefits you can experience from consuming marine collagen peptides from a supplement like Kollo:

Improved join health

There are various scientific studies that have demonstrated that hydrolysed collagen can be beneficial for the health of our joints. They can help reduce inflammation around joints and protect the cartilage against degradation. As a result, people with joint conditions and those of us with age-related aches and pains may experience improvements in mobility and comfort in our joints.

Reduction in the signs of skin ageing

One of the most popular uses of collagen peptides is to slow the visible signs of ageing like sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles. There has been lots of research into the ability of hydrolysed collagen to aid in skin beauty. The results have shown that the benefits can be experienced by people of different ethnicities and varying skin types, and it can take as little as two months to see the benefits.

Bone density

Bone health is very important, particularly as we get older. When women go through the menopause, the reduction in oestrogen can cause collagen levels to drop drastically. Bones are mainly comprised of collagen and calcium salts, so that drop in collagen levels can cause bone density to decrease, leaving bones more prone to breaking.

Collagen peptides have been shown to boost the bone remodelling process to maintain bone density. In fact, a recent study found that peptide supplementation can influence the way bone cells are metabolised on many levels to help the body maintain its bone strength.

Sports recovery

Many athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts use collagen peptides to recover faster from workouts and training. During strenuous activity, the fibres of our muscles are strained and we get micro-tears that need time to heal, thereby strengthening the muscles.

Protein is essential for the repair and strengthening of muscle tissue, and collagen peptides include many of the amino acids required to achieve this. As such, they can reduce recovery time to help you get back to training and improving performance.

The bottom line

Whether you call them marine collagen peptides or hydrolysed collagen, one thing is for certain: the contents of high-quality marine collagen supplements have many science-backed benefits for your health, beauty and fitness. They are slightly different names for the same thing, and that thing is something that has revolutionised the way we think about keeping healthy in the modern age.

If you would like to learn more about how Kollo makes the best use of collagen peptides to ensure you get the maximum benefits, we invite you to check out these clinical studies and explore elsewhere on our website. If you have any further questions about Kollo or collagen supplements in general, you may find answers on our blog or you can always contact us to get some answers.

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