Hydrolyzed Collagen: Definition & Explanation

Hydrolisiertes Kollagen: Definition & Erklärung

You have probably heard the term hydrolyzed collagen in connection with anti-aging products. However, in addition to skin-tightening effects, it also has numerous other health-promoting properties.

In this article, we explain what is meant by the term hydrolyzed collagen and explain the different types, recommended intake and possible side effects. After reading you will be up to date and know all about hydrolyzed collagen.

the essentials in brief

  • Hydrolyzed collagen is a collagen protein and is legally classified as food. In this context, "hydrolyzed" means that the collagen has undergone a so-called hydrolysis process.
  • It can be easily absorbed by your body and has positive effects on your muscles, joints and skin.
  • Hydrolyzed collagen is available as a dietary supplement in powder, capsule, and tablet form. It is also used in the cosmetics industry in numerous moisturizing and skin-tightening creams.

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Glossary entry: The term hydrolyzed collagen explained in detail

Below we have summarized and explained the most important facts about hydrolyzed collagen for you. We have also prepared the recommended intake and possible side effects for you so that you can quickly get an overview.

What is hydrolyzed collagen and where does it come from?

Hydrolyzed collagen is made from the structural protein collagen and can legally be classified as food. The term "hydrolyzed" means that the collagen protein has gone through a so-called hydrolysis process. A substance is dissolved into its individual components together with water.

Unlike other proteins, however, hydrolyzed collagen is not a normal protein but an incomplete protein, as it lacks crucial amino acids.


In addition to many other health-promoting properties, hydrolyzed collagen also has positive effects on the skin. It can make your skin firmer, more elastic, and hydrated (Image source: Chris Jarvis/Unsplash).

Hydrolyzed collagen occurs naturally in muscle and connective tissue in humans and animals. As a dietary supplement, it is typically derived from animal by-products such as connective tissue, skin, and bones.

How does hydrolyzed collagen work?

Hydrolyzed collagen can be easily absorbed by the body and, compared to other proteins, has a large amount of the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Your body needs these amino acids to produce its own collagen. (8th)

Positive effects on the muscles

A study was able to show that collagen was better able to protect lean muscle mass from degradation than other proteins in older people on a low-protein diet. (1) This shows that collagen can also be used in old age as a supplementary source of protein to maintain existing muscle mass.

Positive effects on joints and skin

Some studies have shown that taking hydrolyzed collagen can reduce joint pain and increase cartilage density.

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(2,3,7) Increased cartilage density can have a positive effect on the joints, especially in older people, by making them more resistant to injuries and certain diseases. (5.6)

There is still very little scientific evidence on the positive effects of hydrolyzed collagen on the skin.

However, a study has already shown that collagen protein, together with vitamin C and glucosamine, can have positive effects on the skin in terms of moisture, smoothness and elasticity. (4)

What are the recommended intakes?

Various studies have shown that around 10 g of collagen hydrolyzate per day are sufficient to have a positive effect on the joints. (2.3)

In order to achieve a positive effect in terms of maintaining lean muscle mass, again 0.4 g per kg of body weight per day is necessary. (1) So please pay attention to the correct dosage in order to bring about only the desired effects.

What types of hydrolyzed collagen are there?

Hydrolyzed collagen is commercially available as a dietary supplement in the following dosage forms:

  • powder
  • tablets
  • capsules

The advantages and disadvantages of each variant are explained in more detail in the following table.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
powder odorless and tasteless, easily soluble in water unwieldy for on the go
tablets easy dosing, practical for on the go delayed onset of action, often contain additives
capsules easy dosing, practical for on the go delayed onset of action

The powder form is certainly best for at home, as it can be individually dosed and is usually a bit cheaper. If you are going away for a few days or travel a lot, you will be more likely to opt for the capsule or tablet form, as these are much easier to transport and dose.

For local application on the skin, hydrolyzed collagen is also used in numerous skin care products, such as moisturizing and skin-tightening creams. Our tip: the next time you visit the drugstore or pharmacy, let the specialists advise you so that you can better achieve your individual goals.

What are the side effects of hydrolyzed collagen?

Despite its positive effects on the human body, hydrolyzed collagen also has a few side effects that you should not ignore. For this reason, collagen protein should never be used as the only source of protein, as this could otherwise lead to a lack of other essential amino acids.

Please consult your family doctor before taking hydrolyzed collagen!

Accordingly, you should always regard hydrolyzed collagen only as a supplementary source of protein and ensure you eat a balanced diet.

In a study, negative effects such as digestive problems were also observed after the consumption of hydrolyzed collagen. In addition, some subjects reported that the collagen tasted very unpleasant.


As you now know, in addition to skin-tightening properties, hydrolyzed collagen also has other positive effects, such as on your joints and muscles. You can take it in a variety of forms, but be sure to read the package inserts to determine the optimal dosage for your body.

Note that hydrolyzed collagen is always just a supplemental source of protein and also include other sources of protein in addition to it to avoid an undersupply of essential amino acids.


      Hays NP, Kim H, Wells AM, Kajkenova O, Evans WJ. Effects of whey and fortified collagen hydrolysate protein supplements on nitrogen balance and body composition in older women. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(6):1082-1087. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2009.03.003
      Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, et al. 24-week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008;24(5):1485-1496. doi:10.1185/030079908x291967
      Bello AE, Oesser S. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Curr Med Res Opin. 2006;22(11):2221-2232. doi:10.1185/030079906X148373
      Matsumoto et al (2006) Clinical effects of fish type I collagen hydrolysate on skin properties. ITE Letters on Batteries, New Technologies & Medicine, 7: 386-390
      Benito-Ruiz et al (2009) A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy and safety of a food ingredient, collagen hydrolysate, for improving joint comfort. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 60: 99-113
      Moskowitz (2000) Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease. Semin Arthritis Rheum, 30:87-99
      Oesser et al (1999), Oral administration of (14)C labeled gelatin hydrolysate leads to an accumulation of radioactivity in cartilage of mice (C57/BL). J Nutr, 129: 1891-1895
      Wehner, R., Gehring, W. (2007): Zoology, 24th completely revised edition, Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart.
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