What is Hydrolyzed Pea Protein Powder? Is it Better for You?

Protein powders are a dime a dozen nowadays, but have you heard of hydrolyzed pea protein?

Well, you probably have since you’re here, but… Do you know what it is?

We do.

Let’s check it out.

What is Hydrolyzed Pea Protein Powder?

Hydrolyzed pea protein is your regular pea protein powder that has been hydrolyzed.

Eye-opening, right?

Jokes aside, here’s how it all works.

In the beginning, this is a regular ol’ pea protein that comes from yellow peas. To make it hydrolyzed, manufacturers use a process called hydrolysis, hence the name.

During hydrolysis, pea proteins are broken down into smaller pieces that are easier for your body to digest and potentially absorb.

Which pieces? Amino acids.

So, in layman’s terms, hydrolyzed pea protein is fundamentally the same as regular pea protein, but since the proteins are already “broken down” to their building blocks, hydrolyzed pea protein powder can just “bypass” the digestive phase and go straight into your muscles.

What are the Benefits of Hydrolyzed Pea Protein?

The benefits of hydrolyzed pea protein are virtually the same as those of regular pea protein.

Since hydrolysis (when done properly) only affects pea proteins’ structure (meaning it breaks down amino acid chains by breaking down the peptide bonds between them), you will still get a protein powder with all the essential amino acids necessary for growing muscles.

As you probably know, pea protein is a complete protein with a very well-balanced amino acid profile. In fact, its BCAA profile is very comparable to one of whey protein.

So, you’re covered on that end.

The main benefits, or at least the proposed ones, are better digestion and faster absorption.

Now, while the jury is still out on the latter, better digestion can’t be denied. So, if you have a sensitive stomach – this could help.

That said, pea protein does have a .93 PDCAAS score, making it super-easy to digest in the first place, so how much of an actual, real-world difference hydrolyzation makes is still relatively unclear.

We will need more research on this to understand the benefits fully.

Is Hydrolyzed Pea Protein Better for You?

In theory, hydrolyzed pea protein should be better for you.

However, we have to take into account that there’s still not enough research to back up those claims fully. 

Also, considering that the hydrolysis process itself could destroy actual amino acids [1], a few questions need to be addressed before anyone can say anything for certain. 

Is Hydrolyzed Pea Protein Easier to Digest?

Yes, hydrolyzed pea protein is easier to digest.

Since the proteins are already broken down, or essentially “pre-digested”, they are easier to digest than regular pea protein.

Does Hydrolyzed Pea Protein Absorb Faster?

It is still unclear if the hydrolyzed pea protein absorbs faster than regular pea protein.

Some studies have shown improvement in the absorption rate of casein, though. [2]  However, the hydrolyzation of plant-based proteins is still a new thing, so there aren’t any studies examining this particular case.

Is Hydrolyzed Pea Protein More Expensive?

Hydrolyzed pea protein is generally not more expensive than regular pea protein.

The prices of both are rather comparable, which is strange, to say the least, because hydrolysis is not a cheap process.

Are There Any Side Effects of Taking Hydrolyzed Pea Protein?

There are little to no side effects to taking hydrolyzed pea protein.

Unless you have an allergy to peas, if you are taking the recommended dose of hydrolyzed pea protein powder, you shouldn’t experience any side effects.

Is Hydrolyzed Pea Protein Worth It?

Hydrolyzed pea protein might just be worth it, considering the price difference isn’t there, to begin with.

Also, its better digestibility and presumed faster absorption will surely benefit some people, so why not?

The only thing we’d be mindful of is whether the product’s been third-party tested or not. 

We’ve seen far too many instances where the label doesn’t match the product in the supplement industry, and since hydrolysis could destroy some amino acids, we feel like third-party testing should be something to look out for.

Conclusion

All in all, hydrolyzed pea protein powder isn’t a gimmick.

In fact, it’s arguably a better option than regular pea protein for those with sensitive stomachs, assuming that the product is the real deal.

So, if you can get your hands on a top-shelf hydrolyzed pea protein powder – we’d say go for it.

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