Collagen vs Gelatin: What’s the Difference and Which One is Better for You?
Did you know that in the U.S. alone, the skincare market is worth a whopping $17 billion?
After all, more than eight in 10 women in the U.S. use an average of 16 skincare and cosmetic products every day. They also spend more than $300 a month on ensuring they look (and feel) good.
Now, this may seem weird, but were you aware that many of these products contain the same ingredient as Jell-O?
That’s right. These beauty and health products contain gelatin, which contains collagen.
While some people think they’re the same, they’re not. They’re both proteins, but collagen vs gelatin differ from each other.
Ready to learn which one is which? Then keep reading as this post will enlighten you on the differences between the two!
Collagen vs Gelatin: The Surprising Difference Lies in Technicalities
If you eat foods containing gelatin, you’re already ingesting collagen. If you consume collagen, it can be in the form of gelatin.
Confused? Understandably so. What exactly then is the difference between collagen and gelatin?
First, let’s define these two terms.
Collagen Defined in 80 Words
Collagen is a protein found in animals’ and humans’ connective tissues. It’s the most abundant type of protein present in the animal kingdom. In fact, it comes in 16 different types, although only three types make up 80 to 90% of the collagen in humans.
Collagen is the main constituent of connective tissues that make up many of our body parts. For starters, it’s the primary component of the skin’s connective tissues. It’s also the largest fibrous protein structures in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Gelatin Defined in Even Fewer Words
Gelatin, like collagen, is also a type of protein. The main difference between gelatin and collagen is that you get the former from the latter.
In short, gelatin is a derivative of collagen. It’s a product that comes from cooked collagen. That said, cooking foods with collagen, like chicken or pork skin, produces gelatin. Eating that gelatinous substance then nourishes your body with collagen.
Further Simplifying the Difference
Is collagen the same as gelatin then? No, but collagen is the main component of gelatin. In fact, gelatin consists of between 98% and 99% protein, plus amino acids.
An easy way to distinguish gelatin vs collagen is to keep in mind that cooked collagen is gelatin. Yes, even the dry sheets of gelatin you can buy at grocery stores are from cooked and dehydrated collagen. Whereas collagen is harder to eat as is since it’s often found in inedible (unless cooked) animal parts.
The Good That Collagen and Gelatin Can Do for Your Health
The health benefits of collagen and gelatin overlap, as they contain the same amino acids. These include glycine, hydroxyproline, glutamic acid, and arginine among several others. These amino acids are the main reason for the health benefits of these two proteins.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits you can reap from consuming collagen or gelatin.
Can Boost the Health of Your Skin
The collagen already present in the skin gives it strength, elasticity, and moisture. As a person ages, however, the amount of collagen produced by the body drops. As a result, the skin tends to dry out faster and develop wrinkles.
You may be able to prevent this by taking collagen or gelatin for skin elasticity. The extra collagen they provide can keep your skin supple, elastic, and hydrated.
Several studies, like this one, showed that collagen supplements help ease dryness. These products also appear to reduce wrinkles and keep them from forming in the first place.
Can Increase Muscle Mass
Did you know that your muscle tissues consist of between 1% and 10% of collagen? While that may seem small, collagen is still vital for muscle strength and function.
The thing is, some people lose muscle mass as they age, a condition known as sarcopenia. This decline in muscle mass and performance puts one at higher risk for falls and injuries.
The good news is, collagen appears to protect against such risks. One study found that men who took collagen experienced a significant gain in muscle mass. The researchers also noted an improvement in these men’s muscle strength.
Since gelatin is an excellent source of collagen, then it may also provide the same benefits.
Can Keep Your Joints Healthy (and Not Creaky)
Aside from losing skin elasticity, the joints also get creaky (literally) as one gets older. That’s because the older a person becomes, the more collagen their joints lose. This puts them at more risk for degenerative joint disorders, especially osteoarthritis.
Research shows that collagen supplements may help avert these joint problems. Not only have these supplements showed osteoarthritis symptom-reducing effects. Patients also reported a decrease in their joint pain.
Which One Should You Take?
Collagen and gelatin are both available as supplement products. Gelatin, however, is available in food products outside of supplements. Take Jell-O or gelatin sheets, for instance — these foods contain collagen in gelatin form.
Whereas collagen is easier to find in topical skincare products. It’s the main ingredient of many lotions, creams, serums, and similar products after all. Gelatin is still used in these products, but as a thickening agent for the most part.
That said, choosing between the two is largely dependent on your own wants and needs. For example, you can incorporate collagen supplements in your daily regimen. For an added source of collagen, you can whip up tasty food that uses gelatin.
Just a reminder before purchasing supplements: Read reviews about the products first! This way, you can make certain they use only high-grade ingredients and no additives. Here’s a website that you may want to check for detailed collagen supplement reviews.
Bring Back the Health, Beauty, and Elasticity of Your Skin
There you have it, everything you need to know about the case of collagen vs gelatin. Just remember: You derive gelatin from collagen, usually through cooking. Gelatin may only be a derivative, but it still contains the same protein and amino acids as collagen.
Both benefit your health, but make sure you only take high-quality supplements!
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