Collagen supplements are broken down, digestible forms of collagen (derived from animals like cows, fish, and chickens), usually in a powdered form. These are often referred to as hydrolyzed collagen, collagen hydrolysate, collagen peptides, or gelatin. They are broken down through controlled processes called hydrolysis, where water molecules rupture the chemical bonds in these animal derived collagen proteins. 

“Collagen is a complex protein made of three chains of amino acids, whereas hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that is broken down into small protein chains, called collagen peptides, that are made of a few amino acids,” explains Nour Zibdeh, M.S., RDN, CLT. Those amino acids are things like proline, lysine, alanine, and glutamate (to name a select few).

Once ingested these short peptides and amino acids are absorbed into the body through the small intestine. In the body, they travel throughout, supporting your body’s natural production of collagen via the fibroblasts (or the things in our cells that create collagen and elastin.) You can then reap the benefits of this in your skin, bones, joints, hair, nails and muscles.*