There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to gelatin vs collagen, but the two are not the same. Gelatin and collagen are two of the most popular supplements on the market today. They’re both touted for their many health benefits, including joint pain relief, skin health, and gut health.
But what exactly are these two supplements, and how do they differ? Do they have any similarities? What are the specific health benefits they offer?
Let’s take a closer look at gelatin and collagen and find out how they differ and how they can improve your health and well-being.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the skin, bones, tendons, and other connective tissues. It’s what gives these tissues their strength and elasticity. Collagen production begins to slow down as you age, which is why wrinkles and fine lines start to appear.
When you are young, your body produces enough collagen to keep your skin looking plump and smooth. However, as you age, your body produces less collagen, causing the skin to lose its elasticity and firmness, thus leading to wrinkles and sagging skin.
Research shows that supplementing collagen can restore the health of your skin and other organs where this nutrient plays a key role. Some food sources have also been shown to boost collagen production in the body.
Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides
Hydrolyzed collagen peptide is a common term you’ll often find on a collagen product label.
While not in the structural form of collagen, hydrolyzed collagen refers to collagen molecules, also known as collagen peptides or amino acids. These are obtained from the breaking down of larger collagen molecules into smaller ones that the body can absorb more easily.
Once they’re in your system, they help promote the growth of new collagen fibers.
So instead of going for a collagen supplement that may take longer to digest, some people opt for hydrolyzed collagen peptide.
What Is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a protein that is derived from collagen. It’s odorless and tasteless, and it dissolves in hot water.
Gelatin has many uses. It’s often used as a thickener or stabilizer in food products like pudding, yogurt, and jelly.
Gelatin is also used in some cosmetics, like shampoo and face cream. And it’s a common ingredient in medicines like capsules and tablets.
Gelatin can be derived from animal sources or plant sources. Animal gelatin is made by boiling animals’ skin, tendons, and bones. This process breaks down the collagen into gelatin, which is then dried and powdered. Plant-derived gelatin is made mainly from seaweed.
Gelatin is composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. These amino acids are essential for many bodily functions, including muscle growth, repair, and metabolism.
Gelatin also contains glycine and proline, two amino acids that are not found in abundance in other proteins.
Gelatin Vs Collagen: which one is better
From the above definitions, we can clearly say that collagen is a structural protein that supports the connective tissues in our bodies. At the same time, gelatin is a breakdown product of collagen that is often used as a gelling agent in various products.
So you can’t really say one is better than the other because they all have a role to play. So they are both important, however, collagen can be difficult to absorb, while gelatin makes it easier on your stomach.
And since gelatin can easily dissolve in water, it’s more practical for cooking.
Nevertheless, both collagen and gelatin are essential nutrients for the body. However, animal collagen may not be the best for most people, especially if you are vegan or on a plant-based lifestyle: If that’s your worry, there’s definitely a plant-based approach to this, so just hold on; we’ll be looking at it shortly.
Health Benefits of collagen and gelating
1. Promote gut health
Gelatin and collagen are two proteins that are important for gut health. Gelatin can help maintain the integrity of the gut lining, while collagen can help repair and regenerate the gut lining.
So, taking gelatin or collagen supplements can help improve gut health by providing the body with the building blocks it needs to repair and regenerate the gut lining.
2. Decrease joint pain
Joint pain is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including arthritis, bursitis (inflammation of small, fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints), and tendonitis (inflammation of tendons).
Gelatin is made up of collagen proteins, which are the same proteins found in your joints, skin, and connective tissue.
When you consume gelatin or collagen, you’re giving your body the raw materials it needs to repair and strengthen these tissues.
Besides, as we age, our bodies produce less collagen, and the collagen that is produced is often of poorer quality. This can lead to a decrease in the strength and elasticity of our skin, as well as the stability of our joints. Joints are held together by a network of collagen fibers, and when these fibers become weak or stretched, they can no longer provide adequate support. This can lead to joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Both collagen and gelatin can maintain joint integrity, fight inflammation, and generally keep the joints healthy and lubricated.
A study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism found that gelatin supplementation significantly reduced joint pain in people with osteoarthritis. Another study published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders found that collagen supplementation improved joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are suffering from joint pain, consider adding gelatin or collagen to your diet. These substances can help reduce pain and improve joint function.
3. Promotes glowing skin
Gelatin and collagen are both great for promoting glowing skin. Gelatin helps promote collagen production, which in turn helps keep skin looking young and radiant. Collagen also helps improve skin elasticity and can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by supporting the skin’s natural repair process.
In a study, collagen supplementation was shown to firm the skin and reverse signs of aging like wrinkles and dryness.
Also, when you consume these nutrients regularly, your skin will become better able to protect itself against damage from environmental factors like UV rays and pollution.
Additionally, gelatin and collagen are both great for helping the skin to retain moisture.
In one study, a daily intake of collagen peptides for 8 weeks improved skin moisture and elasticity without any side effects.
4. Boosts brain health
Collagen is a major component of the connective tissue in the brain, and it has been shown to play a role in maintaining brain structure and function.
It supports the cells in the brain (neurons) responsible for sending signals throughout the brain and body.
Collagen also protects the brain from damage and inflammation and has been shown to promote nerve growth and regeneration.
In addition, it supports blood vessels in the brain, which are essential for delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells.
All of these factors make collagen essential for optimal brain health. If you want to support your cognitive function and protect your brain against age-related decline, make sure to include plenty of collagen-rich foods in your diet or take a supplement daily.
According to a recent study, rats that were given collagen for four weeks performed better on the tests than those that did not, indicating that collagen may help improve cognitive function.
Another study showed that taking a collagen supplement improved memory and cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
So, if you’re looking for a way to boost your brain health, consider adding collagen or gelatin to your diet.
5. Improves sleep quality
Collagen is rich in glycine, a neurotransmitter that has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system.
It can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, which can improve sleep quality. It can also help increase the time you spend in deep, restful sleep and reduce the number of times you wake up during the night.
6. Promotes bone health
As we age, our bones start to thin and become more fragile. This puts us at risk for osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become so weak that they break easily. One way to help prevent this is by getting enough collagen and gelatin in our diets.
There are many ways in which collagen and gelatin can promote bone health. For example, they can help to improve the absorption of calcium by the body, which is essential for strong bones.
They can also help reduce the loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis. In addition, they can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is another factor that can contribute to bone problems
7. Gelatin may boost weight loss
One of the mechanisms by which gelatin promotes weight loss is by increasing satiety.
Satiety is the feeling of fullness after eating a meal. When we feel more satiated, we are less likely to overeat or snack between meals.
This leads to a reduction in calorie intake and can eventually lead to weight loss.
When you consume gelatin, it forms a gel in your stomach that slows down digestion and makes you feel fuller for longer. This leads to reduced food intake and fewer calories consumed overall.
In addition, gelatin can boost metabolism. A lab study found that those supplemented with gelatin had increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
This is because gelatin contains amino acids that help stimulate growth hormone production. Growth hormone is responsible for regulating metabolism, and increased levels can lead to increased fat-burning and weight loss.
So, if you’re looking to lose weight, adding gelatin to your diet could be a helpful strategy.
Vegan sources of gelatin
Gelatin is a protein mainly derived from animal sources; however, there are a few plant-based sources of gelatin that can be used as substitutes for traditional animal-derived gelatin.
Agar agar is a vegan gelatin alternative made from red algae. It has a variety of uses, including as a thickener for soups and stews, as a binding agent for making vegan cheese, and even as a vegan replacement for eggs in baking.
Carrageenan is another type of seaweed product that can be used as a thickener or stabilizer in place of gelatin. However, there is growing evidence that carrageenan may pose a serious threat to your health, including causing inflammation, digestive problems, and cancer. So it’s always good to consider other alternatives.
Pectin is a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of plants. It is a structural component that helps give plant cells their shape and rigidity. Pectin is also involved in plant cell division and growth.
In addition to that, it is a water-soluble fiber that can be used as a thickening agent or stabilizer in food. Moreover, it’s an ingredient in some commercial food products, such as jams and jellies. Pectin has many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels and promoting gut health.
Can collagen be vegan?
Yes, collagen can be vegan. However, vegan collagen doesn’t come in a natural form. It’s usually made from genetically modified yeast and bacteria.
The good news is, you may not really need a vegan collagen supplement. Instead, focus on increasing collagen-boosting foods in your diet. These are foods that have been shown to boost collagen production in the body:
They include foods rich in protein, zinc, copper, and vitamin C, such as:
- Green beans
- Soy products
- Citrus fruits
- Dark leafy greens
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
While both gelatin and collagen are beneficial for your health, they do have some key differences.
Gelatin is made from collagen and is a good source of protein, while collagen is a structural protein that helps keep your skin, bones, and joints healthy.
If you’re looking to improve your overall health, gelatin is a great option, but if you’re specifically interested in improving the health of your skin, bones, or joints, collagen is the better choice.
That being said, it’s good to note that most collagen and gelatin supplements are animal-based. So look for vegan labels to ensure it’s vegan. Or even better, increase your dietary intake of collagen-boosting foods and get good quality plant-based gelatin.
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