In order to understand what collagen hydrolysate is, we need to understand how it is made. Just like humans, many parts of an animal's body contain collagen. The most common animals used are cows, pigs, fish and chickens. Collagen is commercially extracted from the bones, skin, ligaments and tendons of animals using hot water treatments. The extracted collagen gets filtered and sterilized before going through a process called enzymatic hydrolysis. Enzymatic hydrolysis is essentially and enzyme bath. Each collagen manufacturer has their own proprietary enzyme bath solution that is used. Two of the most common enzymes used in these formulas are bromelain and papain. Enzymatic hydrolysis is more commonly referred to as simply "hydrolysis" within the industry. This process creates a difference in finished product quality as it determines overall solubility and affects the taste and odor. Once the collagen has completed the enzymatic hydrolysis, it is spray dried into a powder and packaged for distribution. Since the collagen went through hydrolysis, it is now referred to as "collagen hydrolysate."
Gelatin hydrolysate is an alternate name for collagen hydrolysate. They are the same thing. Most people doesn't realize that prior to the enzymatic hydrolysis, collagen is more commonly known as gelatin. We all know what Jell-O is, right? Jell-O is primarily gelatin mixed with sugar and flavors. The gelatin is what gives Jell-O its gelling ability. When collagen is extracted from the animal it is used as gelatin all over the world for many different applications; Jell-O being one of them. The main purpose of the enzymatic hydrolysis is to eliminate the collagen/gelatin's ability to form a gel. This makes it easier for our bodies to digest and for us to use as a dietary supplement.
What's the difference?
Nothing! Collagen and gelatin are interchangeable terms prior to the enzymatic hydrolysis process. Since this process causes the gelatin to lose its gelling ability, it is not referred to as gelatin after it has been hydrolyzed.