How Collagen Powder is Made and Why it Matters to Your Health.
New evidence has recently emerged adding even more weight to the fact that not all collagen powders are equal.
Recently, we published an article giving 10 tips to apply before choosing a collagen brand, and it was by far our most widely read. (If you haven’t read it already, you can find it HERE.)
Well, further to that article, new evidence (link at bottom of article) has been published in the peer-reviewed science journal Nutrients, revealing that the different processes under which hydrolyzed collagen is made, can have a huge impact on the health benefits of the end product.
Basically, there are two ways to produce Hydrolyzed Collagen. One is good, the other bad. Pick the brand that uses the bad way and you are simply getting a less effective product.
The team of Danish scientists conducted the study with two collagen-containing products; one made the good way and one made the not-so-good way. They wanted to see if the increase in circulating amino acids would be faster and more pronounced after ingestion when comparing collagen produced by the two methods.
Now, there are many health reasons why people take hydrolyzed collagen. The amino acids and unique peptides of collagen are proven to assist in the key health areas of joints and mobility, bones and muscles, gut health, as well as skin, hair and nails.
However, in order to exert any potential beneficial effects, optimal digestion and absorption of amino acids and peptides components of collagen is pivotal. Protein digestibility generally varies depending on dietary source and processing methods .
Collagen peptides are bioactive. This means that once taken up by our body, they can make an impact in our tissues or cells. For this to work, the peptides need to be absorbed by our intestines. Efficient absorption is crucial for our body to benefit from collagen peptide supplementation. It makes the peptides available in our bloodstream and ready for transport to all target tissues. Because Hydrolyzed Collagen is easily digested with maximum absorption it becomes highly available in our bloodstream, even as quickly as just one hour after intake. We call this high bioavailability.
As mentioned, there are two ways in which manufacturers process hydrolyzed collagen. Pick the brand that uses the poorer method and not only do you short change yourself as far as health outcomes go, but you might as well be throwing away your money!
You see, extracted collagen (from its raw material source generally cows or fish) can be processed using either enzymatic hydrolysis or an acid-exposure process to produce hydrolyzed collagen.
The study found that the enzymatic hydrolysis is by far the best, as it is carried out by the natural action of proteolytic enzymes (alcalase, papain, pepsin, and others). Its solubility and functional activity (antioxidant, antimicrobial) are related to the type and degree of hydrolysis as well as the type of enzyme used in the process.
Reputable collagen producers, like Peptan, (a global leader in the production Hydrolysed Collagen) know this, and use the enzymatic process. However, not all producers use this best-practice method.
Acidic hydrolysis uses chemical products and acids such as acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, and phosphoric acid, or alkaline solutions during the extraction process. These two types of extraction are strongly corrosive and produce a high salt concentration and acidic residues in the final product .
Although the acid-base method is simple, the reaction environment is more extreme, which is not conducive to maintaining biological activity. The acidic or alkaline waste solution produced after extraction must be treated appropriately. Otherwise, some harmful by-products will be made and will cause environmental pollution .
And here’s the kicker.
Collagen is characterized by its high content of the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, however, to exert any beneficial effects it is essential that collagen is optimally absorbed.
The researchers conducting the study found that the absorption rate and bioavailability of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline are significantly higher for enzymatically produced collagen when compared with the alternative method.
So, with the enzymatic process, not only was there more of the critical collagen forming amino acids detected in the blood stream, but more was absorbed from the blood stream into the body!
The study demonstrated that ingestion of enzymatically hydrolyzed collagen protein results in greater blood plasma content of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline in comparison with the ingestion of nonenzymatically produced hydrolyzed collagen.
So why is Glycine, Proline and Hydroxyproline so important?
Well, these amino acids are critical for collagen synthesis in our bodies. They make up almost 60% of the total amino acids in collagen, which accounts for one-third of proteins in animals and humans. Health supplements that focus on increasing the amino acid components of bodily collagen have been shown to improve collagen synthesis of collagen-rich tissues such as ligaments and bones and potentially slow the degenerative process in Osteo Arthritis (OA) affected joints.
Glycine plays an important role in metabolic regulation, anti-oxidative reactions, and neurological function. Thus, this nutrient has been used to: (1) prevent tissue injury; (2) enhance anti-oxidative capacity; (3) promote protein synthesis and wound healing; (4) improve immunity; and (5) treat metabolic disorders in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, ischemia-reperfusion injuries, cancers, and various inflammatory diseases. (4)
Both proline and hydroxyproline are vital for collagen biosynthesis, structure, and strength.
Studies have shown that there is a reduction of hydroxyproline in skin collagen content after menopause, and changes in collagen content have also been identified, with the hydroxyproline content in connective tissue from women with stress incontinence being 40% lower than in continent women.
Glycine, proline and hydroxyproline have been connected with the potential beneficial effects of collagen supplementation on tendinopathy and articular joint pain experienced in both OA patients and athletes. As net collagen synthesis is negative in OA patients, enhancing collagen synthesis has been proposed to help regeneration of cartilage .
So, the out-take is, when choosing a hydrolyzed collagen brand, make sure the brand uses the enzymatic process. Otherwise, you just may not be getting the full effect of this functional food supplement........and wasting your money.
CollagenX uses 100% Peptan in all our products. Peptan is produced using the enzymatic process.
Link to study HERE