Collagen Vs. Gelatin - What's the difference?

Collagen Vs. Gelatin - What's the difference?

You’ve probably heard of both collagen and gelatin; but are they the same? And when should you take one over the other?

In short; collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, while gelatin is a cooked form of collagen. As such, they share multiple characteristics and benefits 

However, the way they are used do vary.  So, let’s explore when they should be used and how. 

Nutritionally speaking they are very similar 

As the most abundant protein in your body, collagen accounts for approximately 30% of your protein mass. It’s mostly found in connective tissues like skin, joints, bones, and teeth, and it provides structure, strength, and stability to your body. On the other hand, gelatin is a protein product created by partially degrading collagen using heat.

These similar proteins have virtually identical nutritional profiles, as you can see from the table below. 

Collagen

Gelatin

Calories

50

47

Protein

12 grams

12 grams

Carbs

0 grams

0 grams

Fat

0 grams

0 grams

 

As you can see, both collagen and gelatin comprise almost 100% protein and provide practically the same amount of this nutrient per serving.

They also share similar compositions of amino acids (also known as the building blocks of protein) — with glycine being the most abundant type.


They do share similar health benefits 

Both collagen and gelatin are become increasingly popular and widely used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, thanks to their beneficial effects on skin and joint health.

Let’s take a look at their benefits; 

1. May help reduce signs of skin aging

Collagen and gelatin may improve signs of skin ageing, such as dryness, scaling, and a loss of elasticity that results from a reduction in your skin’s collagen content 10.  Studies show that the intake of collagen and gelatin may boost skin collagen production and provide anti-aging effects.  And for all you lovers of beauty,  studies show that collagen may increase levels of hyaluronic acid, which is another essential component of skin structure, suggesting a potential beneficial effect against ultraviolet-B-induced skin damage.


2. May improve joint health

Supplementing with collagen and gelatin may help treat exercise-induced joint wear and osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain and disability.

Research suggests that these proteins may improve joint health by accumulating in cartilage after ingestion, thus reducing pain and stiffness.

3. May improve gut health

The interest in collagen and gelatin and the gut is to do with the fact they may improve the gut’s lining. Damage to the gut lining can otherwise lead to leaky gut syndrome and other autoimmune conditions.


4. Other potential benefits

Collagen and gelatin have a few more health benefits in common, including:

  • Antioxidant activity. Both collagen and gelatin possess antioxidant capacities and fight the negative effects that free radicals can have on aging and overall health.
  • Improved bone health. Supplementing with degraded collagen, such as gelatin, may increase bone mineral density and bone formation while reducing bone degradation.

So what are the main differences?

Most of collagen and gelatin’s differences have to do with their chemical structures.  This makes gelatin easier to digest than pure collagen. However, collagen supplements are mostly made of a completely hydrolyzed form of collagen called collagen peptides, and these are just as easy to digest as collagen.

Collagen peptides dissolve in both hot and cold water. In contrast, most forms of gelatin only dissolve in hot water.

On the other hand, gelatin can form a gel that thickens when cooled due to its gelling properties, a property that collagen peptides lack. This is why they cannot be used interchangeably.



What do I choose?

Orally ingested collagen and gelatin both have high bioavailability, meaning that they’re efficiently absorbed by your digestive system.

 

Therefore, deciding between collagen or gelatin ultimately depends on their purpose.

Collagen is mostly used as an easy-to-digest nutritional supplement. You can add it to your coffee or tea, blend it into a smoothie, or mix it into soups and sauces without changing their consistency.

In contrast, gelatin is preferred for its gelling properties, which have many culinary uses and applications. For instance, you can use it to make homemade jellies and gummies or thicken sauces and dressings.

 

Belly Blends make the perfect snack to reap the health benefits of gelatin (and collagen). They come in 4 delicious flavours. You can get yours here. Take our #3aday challenge and eat 3 Belly Blends gummies a day to help improve the quality of your gut and skin health. 

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213755/

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169599/nutrients

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25884286/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25884286/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213755/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30368550/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28174772/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25884286/

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