Collagen Hydrolysate : What Does the Science Say?

Collagen Protein, also known as collagen hydrolysate (CH), is a pre-digested protein supplement made up of the building blocks of protein: amino acids. It’s an animal-based food (cow, porcine, fish) very similar to jell-o gelatin, but has been processed differently to easily dissolve into hot or cold liquids and does not solidify when chilled. This makes it a super easy meal on the go!

CH is particularly rich in the amino acids proline and glycine [7], which have been linked to a wide array of health benefits discussed below.

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Proline is known to improve symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA), and aid in tissue repair. Collagen is made up of 15% proline, which also helps maintain the integrity of skin.

Glycine is involved in a whole host of bodily processes including liver detoxification, gut health, weight loss/ management, and improved sleep.

With all the hype that’s been surrounding CH lately, let’s get right down to the nitty gritty– which health claims does the scientific evidence support?

Claim #1: Tighter, firmer, more youthful skin

What the science says:

If you’ve got an aversion to needles, and prefer not to try the facial fillers… this news may come as a big relief!

A 4-week study of women aged 35-55, found that a daily intake of just ½ to 1 teaspoon of CH resulted in a significant improvement in skin elasticity. The improvements continued to remain sizeable at 8-weeks, though supplementation of CH had been discontinued [5].

In another 4-week study of women in their 30’s, supplementation with ½ to 2 teaspoons of CH resulted in a substantial improvement in the moisture content of facial skin [6].

Claim #2: Joint health

What the science says:

In a 2008 study [1], a group of otherwise healthy athletes with activity-related joint pain showed marked improvements in joint pain at rest, and when walking, standing, carrying objects, and lifting. CH could prove a useful addition to an athlete’s recovery regimen.

A 2010 study [2] showed that supplementing with 2tsp enzymatic hydrated collagen is therapeutically superior to glucosamine sulfate in alleviating OA symptoms.

Claim #3: Weight management and/ or weight loss

What the science says:

In a 2008 issue of The European Journal of Pharmacology [3], glycine is said to possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and has the ability to increase the protein adiponectin. Also considered a hormone, adiponectin is a key player in regulating glucose levels, and making sure those fatty acids get broken down. This can be particularly useful in cases of obesity and diabetes Type 2.

A 2002 study [4] showed that oral administration of glycine improved insulin sensitivity.


What the science says:

Claim #4: Improved sleep

What the science says:

The high glycine content in CH may be useful in improving sleep quality, and shortening the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. A 2012 study showed that just 3g (a little more than a half teaspoon) of glycine taken before bedtime helped to improve sleep quality in those with light insomnia and occasional sleep restrictions [8].

Claim #5: Gut health

What the science says:

 A 2002 study using rats revealed that rinsing damaged intestinal tissue with a 20% glycine solution prevented the injury from progressing to a breakdown of gut barrier function- a commonly observed condition in the seriously ill [9].

Claim #6: Aids in liver detox

What the science says:

Glycine is an important component of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH), which helps prevent cell damage. GSH is also a major player in Phase II liver detoxification. In this phase, previously fat soluble toxins are made water soluble, allowing the body to purge them via urination. High doses of CH have been shown to significantly improve the results of certain blood markers in those with chronic fatty liver disease [10].

Can I use CH as a meal substitute?

With about 6 grams of protein per tablespoon, CH is a convenient way to add bioavailable protein to the diet. Because it contains only 8 of 9 essential amino acids, I recommend it be taken in addition to a balanced diet. CH contains no tryptophan, and is low in isoleucine, threonine, and methionine [7]. Alternatively, fortified CH drinks are available now, and are frequently used for those requiring wound healing and for elderly populations who need extra help maintaining lean body mass. In a study comparing whey protein to a fortified CH drink, CH came out on top for increasing the amino acid profile in a group of women in their early 70’s over a period of 15 days [11].

Generally speaking, how much should I take?

Both gelatin and collagen hydrolysate are considered highly digestible, though CH is molecularly much smaller in size and therefore, could conceivably be absorbed by the body in a shorter time span.   For the average person, ¾ to 1 tablespoon daily should do the trick.

Are there side effects?

Side effects can include digestive disturbances (bloating, diarrhea, flatulence), and are usually seen with much larger doses.

All written contents are copyright 2015 by Vivian Kanchian], Holistic Nutrition Expert.


No reuse or re-publication without permission. Please note that the information provided on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any illness or medical condition. Consult a doctor before beginning any diet or exercise regimen or before taking vitamins or supplements. Statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.














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