Collagen vs Gelatin: Which is Better? Everything You Need to Know
Posted on September 27 2019
If you’re like most people, then you’ve heard of Collagen Peptides as the “miracle” amino acid that regenerate skin, hair, nails and improves leaky gut. And you’ve likely run into Gelatin at a much earlier age, making Jell-O molds and marshmallows. But did you know that both are components in today’s “Collagen” Supplements?
So, what’s the difference? And which is better? Read below as we break down both substances so that you can choose the best option for your beauty and wellness routine.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Found in the bones, muscles, skin and tendons, collagen acts as the ‘glue’ that holds your body together. By supporting and anchoring the body’s cells to one another, collagen is what gives your skin its strength and elasticity. Your skin, gut barrier, bones, connective tissue, cartilage, and joints all depend on ample collagen to be healthy, strong and flexible. And did you know that you actually have more collagen in your body than any other type of protein? Gram for gram, it’s stronger than steel!
Starting at about age 30, your collagen production naturally begins to slow. By age 40, collagen begins to deplete faster than your body can reproduce it. By age 60, over ½ of your body’s collagen has been depleted. As a result, most common side effects are wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines. In addition to aging, other factors impact collagen levels, including genetics, smoking, pollution, excessive sun exposure, and nutritional deficiencies.
Collagen acts as an anti-aging agent, helping to aid in the reduction of wrinkles and facial expression lines. By adding more collagen to your diet, you would be supporting the improvement in your skin and contributing to positive effects on appearance, elasticity and hydration.
You can add more collagen to your diet by eating foods like organ meat or drinking bone broth. But if that doesn’t sound appetizing to you, then supplementing with collagen is an easy and convenient way of packing in this powerful protein.
Health Benefits of Collagen:
SKIN HEALTH: Collagen is a MAJOR component of your skin. It plays a role in strengthening skin, plus may benefit elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles.
JOINT PAIN RELIEF: Because joint cartilage contains collagen, and joint pain often comes from collagen loss, it is thought that collagen can reduce joint pain. Studies show that hydrolyzed collagen (or collagen hydrolysate) can help strengthen your joints and help with pain caused by conditions like osteoarthritis. Among its potential benefits, it also strengthens bone metabolism by reducing the pain symptoms associated with physical exercise.
LEAKY GUT: Collagen is important in “leaky gut” because it is the basic building block of your intestinal wall. In fact, the microscopic folds in the intestines are built of collagen, therefore collagen is vital in healing damaged cells to create and build new tissue.
HAIR AND NAILS: Taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may stimulate your hair and nails to grow longer.
BUT, not all Collagen is created equal.
To understand the difference between collagen versus collagen peptides, it is important to understand that collagen peptides and gelatin are made by breaking down the full-length collagen molecules.
They are made of the same amino acids as collagen, but they have different properties. Collagen peptides are more bioavailable – they are better absorbed into the bloodstream because they are much shorter chains of amino acids than collagen and gelatin. Because they’re shorter, collagen peptides are more readily broken down into a form that can enter the bloodstream upon digestion.
After absorption, collagen peptides travel throughout the body, repairing, rebuilding and providing energy. Collagen peptides are shuttled to the different tissues where cells will build the peptides into full-length collagen helices to repair our skin, bones and joints, or the cells can use the amino acids directly for energy.
Hydrolyzed Collagen vs Collagen Peptides vs Gelatin
Hydrolyzed collagen also goes by “collagen hydrolysate” and “collagen peptides.” Collagen hydrolysate is NOT the same thing as gelatin. In the hydrolyzed form, the collagen is processed more intensively, which breaks up the proteins into smaller pieces. And though collagen peptides and gelatin both have the same amino acids, their chemical properties differ.
Gelatin comes from collagen. When you heat collagen, it turns into gelatin. In other words, all gelatin has collagen but not all collagen contains gelatin.
The major difference between the two is this: gelatin solidifies in water while collagen does not. You can easily add collagen to smoothies, bone broths and soups, coffee, and cold liquids without worrying about clumping or solidifying. But when you add gelatin powder to your smoothie or coffee, you'll notice cold liquids get clumpy and hot liquids start gelling.
That's why the Jell-O package asks you to use hot water first and cold water second to dissolve the gelatin and then help it set.
Which is Better?
Although they're similar, many health experts recommend choosing hydrolyzed collagen. Why? Because hydrolyzed collagen is a special form of collagen. Unlike regular un-hydrolyzed collagen found in foods or gelatin, the best way to get those high quality amino acids is when the collagen has been hydrolyzed, or broken down, so they that the amino acids in this powerful protein are more bioavailable. Meaning, it’s easier for the body to absorb and digest. When you eat foods that have collagen, like bone broth or meat organs, your body must separate and break down the amino acids itself. But with hydrolyzed collagen, that job has already been done. In other words, on the side of quality, hydrolyzed collagen is the Bugatti of all gelatin and collagen supplements.
Because of this exact bioavailability, Collagen Peptides dissolve into hot and cold liquids completely. It’s heat-stable and pretty much flavorless so you can mix it into just about anything to get more bioavailable amino acids into your diet. Collagen is perfect to add to coffee, tea, smoothies, salad dressings, and sauces.
QUALITY, RESPONSIBILITY, SUSTAINABILITY:
As we mentioned above: not all collagen is created equal. Remember the saying “you are what you eat”? Let’s ensure we are truly nurturing and honoring our bodies from the inside out by supplementing with QUALITY products who use QUALITY ingredients and incorporate RESPONSIBLE sourcing and manufacturing in their production process. We recommend you ALWAYS look at the label of any food product you’re taking so you know what you’re ingesting.
For example, when it comes to collagen, Glamour Nutrition ONLY uses Peptinex as their hydrolyzed collagen, which is Grass-Fed, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Has High Protein Content and Contains a Clean Label. The raw material used in the production on Peptinex is sourced from free-range, pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle and contains a full aminogram.
In conclusion, if you don’t eat much (or any) meat, or you’re concerned with the overall quality of your hair, skin, nails and gut, you may want to consider supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen. By using collagen in unflavored powder form, it makes for an easy and convenient way to use in coffee, salad dressings, smoothies or baked goods. Similarly, you can boost your hydration efforts by mixing a flavored collagen into water.