Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up 25% to 35% of the body’s protein content. It is found primarily in tendons, ligaments and skin, and is also abundant in the cornea, cartilage, bones, blood vessels, the gut, and intervertebral discs. Collagen is what gives these connective tissues their strength and elasticity.
As we age, our skin gradually loses its collagen, resulting in a loss of elasticity, sagging and the formation of wrinkles. And it’s not just our skin –our bones grow weaker, our breasts sag, our wounds heal slower, we become less flexible, we start needing reading glasses, our hair grows brittle, our blood vessels harden– all because of a loss of collagen in our tissues!
However, while aging is the primary cause of collagen loss, there are other contributors including lack of sleep, UV radiation, environmental pollution, stress, unhealthy eating habits, smoking and alcoholism.
With all of these factors that we are constantly being exposed to everyday in our busy lives, our bodies can no longer generate more collagen than we lose, and it’s become essential to help our cells replenish the collagen lost.
What is hydrolyzed collagen peptide?
Hydrolysis breaks down the molecular bonds between collagen strands into small peptides, the building blocks of collagen.
The question is: Why hydrolyze at all? Why not just take the collagen as it is?
One reason is that there are many different kinds of collagen. Naturally, the collagen in our eyes, bones and skin, for example, can’t be exactly the same. However, all these varieties of collagen are built from different combinations of the same amino acids. Thus, providing the building blocks allows the body to synthesize the type of collagen most suited to its needs.
Another main reason lies in the molecular weight of collagen as measured in Daltons (Da). Research has found that the optimal molecular weight for absorption into human cells is 3,000 Da. Collagen has a molecular weight of 300,000 Da and is hence very difficult for our cells to absorb as is.
By hydrolyzing collagen into its component peptides, the bioavailability increases dramatically because the peptides have a molecular weight between 2,000 and 5,000 Da. Studies have proven the bioavailability of collagen peptides, showing up to 90% absorption into cells within just six hours.