Collagen vs Gelatin: Which One is Better?

In recent years, collagen and gelatin have become two popular supplements in the health and fitness industry, particularly among individuals who follow an organic and natural diet that prioritizes healthy food products. Continue reading to learn everything you wish to know about these two well-known health supplements and proteins. 

Collagen and gelatin are quite similar in terms of nutritional content and advantages, but they are utilized in completely different ways. Not only do they both have several health advantages, but they can also be utilized in a wide range of recipes, ranging from soups to desserts and many more. Although both these supplements are similar, most people are confused about what differentiates collagen from gelatin and which is the better alternative.

Do you wonder what are the major points of distinction between collagen and gelatin? Proteins found in gelatin are not comparable to collagen peptides. Both are proteins composed of amino acids, but they have different functions due to variations in their chemical structures. In addition, collagen proteins do not possess a gelling function like gelatin and are easily soluble in cold water. 

What are Collagen Peptides?

Collagen peptides are considered to be fibrous proteins accessibly found in both humans and animals. Additionally, it is the most prevalent type of protein in the human body and acts as the elementary unit for your connective tissues. [1]

Your body naturally produces some collagen, but as you get older, the body’s natural collagen production level declines. Collagen is essential for skin elasticity [2], muscle strength, and movement in areas such as bones, tendons, and other connective tissues. [3]

What exactly is Gelatin?

Gelatin, like collagen, is made up of amino acid chains. Gelatin is produced by heating and processing collagen, and therefore contains a combination of the amino acids available in collagen. [4]

Gelatin is a kind of collagen and it is frequently used in food recipes due to its gelling properties. Gelatin proteins are highly insoluble in water and are most commonly extracted from animal bones and connective tissues. 

Similar nutritional composition of Collagen and Gelatin

Both gelatin and collagen have nutritional characteristics that are almost identical. The USDA has published the following nutritional data for collagen peptides and gelatin. [5] [6]

Particulars Collagen Peptides Gelatin
Calories 50 47
Protein 12 grams 12 grams
Carbohydrates 0 grams  0 grams
Fats 0 grams 0 grams

Both – collagen and gelatin are almost entirely composed of protein and give almost the same quantity of nutrients per serving. They also have a similar amino acid composition, given the fact that gelatin is a degraded version of collagen. However, the nutritional profile of a collagen supplement or commercial gelatin product may vary depending on their source of origin, extraction processes, and other components.

Health Benefits of Collagen and Gelatin

Despite a few fundamental differences, both gelatin and collagen have been linked to several possible health advantages. The following are some of the most important ways in which these supplements positively benefit your health:

Collagen vs gelatin for gut health

Collagen peptides and gelatin proteins can help you overcome roadblocks obstructing your digestive system by enhancing the production of healthy connective tissues within your gut that make up the intestinal lining. [7] This is critical for keeping healthy microbiota in your stomach since it helps in the absorption of vital nutrients.

Collagen vs gelatin for skin health

Collagen is present in your hair, skin, and nails, many individuals use collagen supplements to improve their skin and hair health. Similarly, the protein and amino acids included in gelatin can help the body produce more collagen, a necessary element for good skin that improves skin suppleness and prevents the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. [8]

Helps with joint health and mobility

Collagen and gelatin supplements help in the formation of connective tissues throughout the body, including tendons, ligaments, bones, muscular tissue, and more. Consuming more of these compounds can assist to maintain joints and cartilage in good form, even though you grow older, adding to strength and functionality.

Greatly helps to increase overall strength and muscular mass

Increased muscle growth and strength in old-aged adults have been linked with the consumption of collagen supplements. Particularly when accompanied by strength training, collagen peptides improve overall body composition by promoting lean muscle mass and accelerating fat loss.

Cardiovascular health

Since collagen provides structure to your arteries, research suggests that increasing your collagen consumption as you become older may help avoid atherosclerosis. [9]

Collagen vs gelatin in cooking

Collagen peptides are generally utilized as a dietary supplement, whereas gelatin is more often used in cooking. Gelatin proteins are said to be beneficial when preparing various kinds of dishes and recipes.

When cooked, gelatin proteins easily dissolve in hot water and produce a thick texture and gel-like consistency to put together desserts, jellies and jams, candies, soups, and sauces. [10]

Gelatin may be thought of as a binder or thickener, and it is frequently used in place of eggs. When adding gelatin to recipes, you should use a little amount of gelatin at a time and slowly combine it with other boiling liquids.

How Are Collagen and Gelatin Different?

Since gelatin is a degraded form of collagen peptides and both of these proteins have similar amino acid composition, collagen and gelatin have similar health advantages, although their industrial uses and applications differ slightly.  

Forms

Collagen supplements are widely available in both powdered and granulated forms. Gelatin, on the other hand, is commonly accessible in powdered, granulated, and sheet forms.

Digestibility

One of the primary distinctions between gelatin and collagen is their digestion process. Since gelatin has a lower molecular weight as compared to collagen peptides, it can be easier for your body to absorb it. This is especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from digestive health issues.

Usage and industrial application 

How both these supplements, collagen and gelatin are prepared and utilized also makes a massive difference. Collagen dissolves more easily in a wide range of liquids at various temperatures as compared to gelatin, which only dissolves in hot water. Furthermore, when coupled with water, gelatin creates a gel-like material, but collagen does not.

Solubility

Gelatin proteins can only be dissolved in hot liquids, whereas collagen peptides can easily be dissolved in a wide range of liquids – whether hot or cold solutions.

Gel-forming qualities and characteristics

Collagen supplements do not have any gelling qualities, as compared to gelatin, which is often used to manufacture jellies, sweets, and candies due to its gel-forming capabilities.

Is collagen in jello good for you?

Though jello is not a very healthy dish, the gelatin included in its composition may be good for your health. It includes collagen, which is thought to be helpful to human health according to various animal and human studies.

Collagen peptides could enhance skin suppleness, prolong anti-aging effects on your skin, and lessen wrinkles, dryness, and roughness. Consumption of collagen can even relieve joint, back, and knee problems by increasing bone density.

Which is better: Collagen or Gelatin?

When evaluating gelatin in contrast to collagen, personal health objectives might influence which one is better for you, just as they do when comparing other proteins like collagen and whey protein.

If your intended health goal is to improve your amino acid consumption to help raise your natural collagen production, then a high-quality, easily digested collagen peptide supplement will turn out to be very beneficial for your overall health.

Gelatin is primarily valued for its gel-forming capabilities, which allows it to be used more specifically for culinary applications such as the thickening of various food items. Gelatin may be a better substitute for completing the intake of collagen proteins within your diet if you want to add extra collagen to your cooking.

You must always remember how well your body digests those amino acids which affect how you apply them and how valuable they are to you in general. Collagen peptides in their whole form are more difficult to digest than gelatin [11], making gelatin a superior alternative for bioavailability and the digestive system.

FAQs

Does eating gelatin increase collagen?

Gelatin protein and amino acid content can help the body produce more collagen, which is essential for maintaining healthy and good skin. Natural collagen levels can be destroyed due to various factors as you age. Increasing collagen production helps in the smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles, the formation of firmer and plumper skin, and even the enhancement of skin elasticity.

Is gelatin a form of collagen?

Collagen and gelatin are quite similar with respect to amino acid composition and health advantages. Gelatin proteins are a degraded form of collagen peptides which are the most prominent protein in your body. As a result, gelatin and collagen have almost identical nutritional profiles but differ in chemical structure.

Can I use gelatin instead of collagen?

Collagen and gelatin have nearly identical nutritional profiles and are both thought to benefit your joints, skin, stomach, hair, and bone health. Gelatin, on the other hand, cannot be utilized in place of collagen since their chemical structures are different.

Wrapping Up

Collagen peptides which are widely accessible proteins in your body help in the formation of gelatin proteins. Due to this fact, they have comparable nutritional profiles which may be advantageous for the overall health and well-being of your bones, stomach, skin, joints, and hair. However, these supplements are utilized for various kinds of purposes and industrial applications because of variations in their chemical structures.

If you’re searching for a nutritional supplement, collagen could be a better choice. Gelatin, on the other hand, is ideal for making sweets and foods that require a thicker, gel-like thickness and texture.

References

  1. National Library of Medicine. “Collagen Peptides”. MedlinePlus.
  2. Liane Bolke. “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study”.   Nutrients vol 11(10) (2019). 2494.
  3. National Library of Medicine. “Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women-A Randomized Controlled Study”. Pubmed.gov.
  4. National Library of Medicine. “Gelatin”. MedlinePlus.
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. “FoodData Central: COLLAGEN PEPTIDES”. U.S. Department of Agriculture | Agricultural Research Service.
  6. U.S. Department of Agriculture. “FoodData Central: Gelatins, dry powder, unsweetened”. U.S. Department of Agriculture | Agricultural Research Service.
  7. Wenkui Song. “Identification and Structure–Activity Relationship of Intestinal Epithelial Barrier Function Protective Collagen Peptides from Alaska Pollock Skin”.   Mar Drugs vol 17(8) (2019). 450.
  8. Mihaela-Adi Lupu. “Beneficial effects of food supplements based on hydrolyzed collagen for skin care (Review)”.  Exp Ther Med vol 20(1) (2020). 12-17.
  9. Naohisa Tomosugi. “Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy Humans”.  J Atheroscler Thromb vol 24(5) (2017). 530-538.
  10. Sulaiman Mad-Ali. “Characteristics and gelling properties of gelatin from goat skin as affected by drying methods”.  J Food Sci Technol vol 54(6) (2017). 1646-1654.
  11. National Library of Medicine. “Processing of collagen based biomaterials and the resulting materials properties”. National Center for Biotechnology Information.
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