Collagen seems to be everywhere you look these days. In coffee shops, health food stores, and every day more and more celebrities are posting about the benefits of this incredibly versatile protein. It is easy to see why this is becoming such a popular product. Collagen has a long list of benefits from supporting joint health, to visually reducing the signs of aging, to improving and helping to eliminate symptoms of leaky gut. This product really does it all!
As with any unfamiliar product, you probably have some questions you want answered before you spend your hard-earned money on it. Especially considering how many different collagen products are on the market right now. We will answer all of these questions, and looking into how collagen compares to another popular product – gelatin. Are they the same thing? How do they differ?
Read on and we’ll answer all these questions and more!
What is Collagen?
Have you wondered why should you take collagen? Collagen is the glue that holds your body together. It is the main protein (roughly 25-35% of the body’s protein is collagen) found in the body and is crucial for connective tissue, skin, and bones. Collagen is found everywhere from your skin, muscles & tendons, cartilage, bones, and other tissue.
There are at least 16 types of collagen found in the body – but the three most common are Type 1, Type II & Type III. Each of these types serves a purpose and has unique characteristics compared to the others.
Type I makes up a large portion of your skin and is very strong. It is similar to elastic, and this is responsible for keeping your skin tight and youthful.
Type II collagen is an important element that makes up the cartilage within your joints. This type of collagen fibers are strong but can compress easily. Type III collagen is found alongside Type I collagen in the skin, as well as in blood vessels and organs.
This is a bit of an oversimplification, but collagen has many diverse roles and functions throughout the body. Unfortunately, as we age our natural collagen supply starts to decline, and this is what leads to weaker joints, wrinkles, and other problems.
What is Gelatin?
Simply put, gelatin is just cooked collagen. When cooked long enough, the amino acids naturally found in collagen start to break down into smaller components. These are then filtered out, and dried into a thin sheet or a powder.
The skin, bones, and connective tissue of cows, chickens, pigs, and fish can all be used to make gelatin.
What is Hydrolyzed Collagen?
Hydrolyzing just means to break something down using water, and there are various degrees of hydrolyzation. Gelatin is partially hydrolyzed collagen, so hydrolyzed collagen simply takes it one (or several) steps further.
In hydrolyzed collagen, the amino acid bonds have been broken down even more than in gelatin – this means the collagen can easily be dissolved in cold or warm water, has greater bioavailability, and is easier for the body to digest and utilize (as a result of the smaller proteins).
Hydrolyzed collagen has the same amino acid profile and can come from the same sources as regular collagen and gelatin, but reacts differently to liquids. Unlike gelatin, hydrolyzed collagen will not serve as a thickening agent. If you are going to take a collagen supplement, it has to be hydrolyzed for your body to truly take full advantage of it.
How to Use Gelatin & Collagen
Gelatin is something to use in the kitchen. It is flavorless, and make soups and sauces noticeably thicker while giving them a healthy dose of beneficial amino acids. As a supplement though, these are not very effective, due to the fact that the proteins are less broken down and more complex.
Hydrolyzed collagen is usually found in powder form and will dissolve in water, so it can be added to almost anything in the kitchen without a trace. It is most popularly added to coffee, juices, smoothies, or even just water as a means of supplementation. Giving your body much-needed collage, to preserve a youthful outward appearance, and healthy bones and joints.
Benefits of Collagen
Remember, hydrolyzed collagen has the greatest bioavailability so you can get the most benefits when consuming collagen supplements in this form. Collagen for healthy skin is one of many benefits such as:
- Promoting Bone Health
- Eliminating Fine Lines & Wrinkles
- Promoting Joint Mobility
- Supporting Strong Hair & Nails
- Improving Digestions & Symptoms of Leaky Gut
- Amino Acids Help Improve Exercise Recovery
- And More!
Maintain Your Body From the Inside Out!
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to consider adding a collagen supplement to your everyday routine – or finding fun new ways to add gelatin to some of your favorite meals. Whether you are looking to rediscover that youthful glow, get stronger hair and nails, improve joint health or digestion, collagen will make a great addition to your wellness routine.
What is the Best Collagen Supplement?
If you are curious about trying collagen, but not sure where to start, check out our buying guide where we share our choice of the top hydrolyzed collagen supplement, and go into even more detail about this amazing natural product. Check it out here! Or check out the best multi collagen supplements if you prefer pills over powder.
To stay up-to-date on all things health & wellness, make sure to check out the other great articles on Smarter Choices, and leave a comment below! Or check out this article where we look into if coffee and collagen are a perfect match.