Hydrolyzed protein is one of many protein supplements available, and perhaps one of the least well known. This type of protein is previously digested into peptides and/or amino acids to facilitate digestion. You can find whey, casein, collagen, soy and wheat protein hydrolysates, just to name a few examples.
Although the protein-sport-muscle use is indisputable, not all proteins are intended to build muscle. Some are key to skin and joint care, while there are peptides that are capable of promoting cardiovascular, digestive and immune health. Read on to find out more!
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- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Hydrolyzed Protein Supplements
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Hydrolyzed Protein
- 4.1 What exactly is hydrolyzed protein?
- 4.2 What are the differences between hydrolyzed protein, protein isolates and concentrates?
- 4.3 What benefits does hydrolyzed protein have?
- 4.4 What types of hydrolyzed proteins are there?
- 4.5 What are the main advantages of hydrolyzed collagen?
- 4.6 Is hydrolyzed protein recommended for athletes?
- 4.7 What are the advantages and disadvantages of hydrolyzed protein?
- 4.8 Does hydrolyzed protein cause adverse reactions?
- 5 Buyer's Guide
- 6 Summary
- A hydrolyzed protein is one that has been pre-digested, that is, its long chains of amino acids (basic units) have been separated into peptides and / or free amino acids, with the aim of facilitating their absorption in the intestine.
- Hydrolyzed proteins have wide uses in nutrition, medicine and the food industry. Most of the hydrolyzed protein supplements on the market are intended for athletes who want to increase their muscle mass and for adults who want to maintain the firmness and smoothness of their skin.
- To choose the best hydrolyzed protein, it is important to consider certain basic purchasing criteria: protein source, functional properties, allergens, added ingredients and quality certification.
Our Selection: The Best Hydrolyzed Protein Supplements
Hydrolyzed proteins are common in sports areas, gyms, and when it comes to collagen, in beauty centers. Trainers, dietitians, beauticians or other consumers can recommend these types of products. However, after a thorough review, we have selected our favorites.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Hydrolyzed Protein
What exactly is hydrolyzed protein?
So, a hydrolyzed protein is one that has been pre-digested through a process of enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis to facilitate its assimilation or modify its functional properties. As a result, the long chain of amino acids that make up a protein is divided into smaller peptides and free amino acids, which can be rapidly absorbed (2).
What are the differences between hydrolyzed protein, protein isolates and concentrates?
Furthermore, some of the peptides that are obtained from protein hydrolysis may have functional properties, which means that hydrolyzed proteins offer an extra health benefit. For example, casein peptides improve calcium absorption, while soy peptides lower cholesterol (3).
|Features||Protein concentrate||Protein isolate||Protein hydrolyzate|
|Percentage of proteins||35-80%.||At least 90%.||Between 75 and 92%.|
|Protein sources used||Whey protein (whey) and soy protein||Whey protein and soy protein||Whey protein, soy, wheat, casein (cow's milk), collagen, beef.|
|Does it contain lactose?||Yes. There are lactose-free brands.||Yes. There are lactose-free brands.||Very little quantity. There are lactose free brands.|
|Solubility (ability to dissolve in water without forming lumps)||Very good. It dissolves in water without forming lumps.||Regular.||Regular.|
|Natural flavor (without addition of artificial flavorings)||Neutral.||Neutral.||Bitter. The higher the hydrolysis, the greater the bitter taste. (Although manufacturers have strived to achieve consumer-friendly hydrolyzates.)|
What benefits does hydrolyzed protein have?
- They offer an excellent amino acid profile, since in their elaboration, raw materials of high biological value are used that contain all the amino acids, such as concentrates or isolates of Whey and soy protein, casein, beef protein, egg white, among others (1).
- They assimilate quickly thanks to the pre-digestion of hydrolysis. The di and tripeptides, chains formed by the union of 2 and 3 amino acids respectively, are absorbed extremely quickly in the intestine (4).
- They constitute one of the best supplements in the athlete's diet because they provide all the branched chain amino acids, including the BCAAs (branched), which promote muscle recovery. They can be taken during or after training, to stimulate protein synthesis in the muscle and improve its development (4.5).
- Casein peptides increase calcium absorption, prevent tooth decay and prevent demineralization of tooth enamel (3).
- Hydrolyzed collagen contributes to the preservation of joint health. In cases of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, collagen has improved inflammation and pain in the affected joints (6).
- The collagen hydrolyzate maintains smoothness and firmness of skin. It is one of the most consumed products to combat skin aging, preserve its elasticity and minimize wrinkles (7).
- Hydrolyzed protein is key in the treatment of various diseases that occur with nutrient malabsorption (Crohn's disease, pancreatitis) or in which there is a difficulty in metabolizing certain amino acids (phenylketonuria, tyrosinemia) (2, 3) .
- Many hydrolyzed proteins are hypoallergenic. The enzymatic hydrolysis breaks the chains of amino acids that make up the entire protein and peptides of different length are obtained. All hypoallergenic formula must be certified as such by the competent authorities (2).
- They collaborate with digestion: peptides obtained from the hydrolysis of gluten and casein could help in the treatment of diarrhea. Furthermore, casein peptides could regulate the sensation of hunger and gastric emptying (3).
- Whey protein peptides are antioxidants, anticancer, antihypertensive and stimulate the proliferation of lymphocytes (defensive cells) (3).
- There are peptides derived from the hydrolysis of milk, soy, fish and egg white proteins that have antioxidant activity and fight free radicals that cause aging and disease (8).
- They protect the cardiovascular system: soy peptides reduce the risk of heart disease and decrease total cholesterol and LDL ("bad") blood levels (8). Peptides derived from whey and casein have an antihypertensive effect, that is, they lower blood pressure (3).
What types of hydrolyzed proteins are there?
- Elemental: the protein has been completely hydrolyzed and the product consists of free amino acids, which are the basic constituent units of proteins. They do not require any type of digestive process. This type of formula is used for specific medical purposes, for example severe food allergies and phenylketonuria.
- Semi-elemental: a partial hydrolysis is carried out and the supplement consists of peptides, mainly di and tripeptides, which are the ones that assimilate more quickly. They require a brief digestive process. Whey protein, casein, collagen and soy protein hydrolyzates are examples of this group.
What are the main advantages of hydrolyzed collagen?
Is hydrolyzed protein recommended for athletes?
Protein hydrolyzates are designed to provide significant amounts of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine), which are key for muscle recovery and the synthesis of new proteins (10). Of course, hydrolyzed protein is useless if it is not accompanied by a balanced diet and adequate physical exercise.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of hydrolyzed protein?
Does hydrolyzed protein cause adverse reactions?
Hydrolyzed protein is the most expensive protein that exists due to the processing that the raw material undergoes to become peptides and amino acids. In order not to waste your money, it is essential that you do not make quick decisions and carefully evaluate the products taking into account these purchasing criteria:
The raw materials from which protein hydrolyzates are obtained are: whey protein (isolated or concentrated), soy protein (isolated or concentrated), casein, egg white protein, beef protein, collagen (beef or marine), wheat protein, among other sources.
A hydrolyzed protein will always offer a good amino acid profile and will be easily digested, but it is important to take into account the origin to know if the supplement is suitable for vegetarians or vegans. For example, hydrolyzed collagen may come from fish scales or bovine bones, making it unsuitable for vegans or vegetarians.
As explained previously, some peptides provide other benefits, in addition to providing amino acids. These functional peptides can protect the heart, improve immunity, lower "bad" cholesterol, or lower blood pressure. In the following table we mention some examples:
|Soy peptides||Lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol.|
|Whey protein peptides||They reduce blood pressure levels (antihypertensive) and are antioxidants.|
|Casein peptides||They increase calcium absorption, promote dental health and help treat diarrhea.|
Although hydrolyzed protein can often be hypoallergenic, people with allergies should read the label carefully to rule out the presence of the allergen. Those who have celiac disease should avoid wheat protein hydrolyzates and should always verify that the supplement has the gluten-free product seal.
The undesirable added ingredients in a hydrolyzed protein are simple sugars and artificial additives (colors, flavors). However, there are other nutrients that enhance the positive effects of the supplement. For example, hydrolyzed collagen supplements may have vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, or magnesium.
It is best to buy a hydrolyzed protein that has quality certifications, such as BMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), ISO 9001 (International Organization for Standardization) or HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). These accreditations imply that the product respects the highest quality standards.
The hydrolyzed protein has been pre-digested to speed up its assimilation time and quickly reach the blood. Although the first function of these supplements is to provide amino acids to the body for protein synthesis, there are peptides capable of improving immunity, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and fighting oxidative damage.
To obtain a hydrolyzate, different protein sources can be used, both of animal and vegetable origin. Whey protein, casein and hydrolyzed soy protein are highly recommended for athletes, while collagen is a supplement that helps care for skin and joints.
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