I was first introduced to gelatin many years ago, as a new nutrition student trying desperately heal my gut issues. In my desperation, I ordered some off the internet, added it to my tea, got ready to chug…and ended up sipping a thick, gelatinous cup of green tea.
‘This has clearly gone bad.’ I thought.
As it turns out, I had purchased gelatin instead of collagen. While gelatin and collagen are closely related and both very healthy, they’re not exactly the same. The most obvious difference is that gelatin causes foods to solidify – this is great if you’re making jello. It’s not so great for sipping tea. And while I love jello, I simply cannot consume enough; whereas collagen is easily added to my tea everyday.
Both collagen and gelatin are derived from the hides, hooves and bones of animals. Our ancestors and traditional cultures around the world largely consumed collagen and gelatin. No part of an animal was wasted and the bones in particular made great broth. In present day diets however, these nutrients are sorely lacking. We mostly consume muscle meats, which can throw our amino acid consumption off balance.
The Benefits of Collagen and How It Differs From Gelatin
Simply put, gelatin is cooked collagen. It is found in foods like bone broth and will cause your food to gel. Hydrolyzed collagen (which is the same as collagen hydrosylate) is more processed, which actually is not a bad thing. This processing allows it not only to be dissolvable in liquid, but also more easily digestible by breaking up the proteins into smaller pieces. This makes collagen a great option for those with gut issues. Collagen has a low molecular weight and a high amount of glycine, lycine and proline.
Because we rapidly produce less collagen after the age of 25, we begin to see wrinkles, sallow skin and joint issues that get worse over time. Taking collagen daily has a myriad of benefits including…
Like I said above, our bodies produce less and less collagen after the age of 25, which often shows up not just in our weaker bones and joins, but on our face. A lack of collagen leads to sagging, sallow, wrinkled skin. But consuming collagen daily firms and tones the skin, leaving you with a bright, youthful glow.
You’ve likely heard that majority of the immune system resides in the gut. It’s true, our immune systems are dependent upon our gut health. An unhealthy gut is an unhealthy body. Because collagen is so great for the gut, and because it contains glycine, lysine and proline – it is a potent immune booster.
Supports Joint, Cartilage & Bone Health
Joints, cartilage and bone are all in part made up of collagen. In fact, bones are one third collagen while cartilage is two thirds collagen. This is another reason bones become brittle, our cartilage wears and our joints ache as we age. In this study, 52% of patients significantly improved their joint pain with daily use of collagen hydrosylate.
The above info leads me to arthritis, the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear and inflammation of joints and cartilage, both of which collagen is excellent for. From a study at the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at the University of Washington,
Collagen breakdown is considered to be a critical and perhaps irreversible step in the progression of osteoarthritis.
Due to modern diets rich in sugar, processed carbohydrates and a slew of other unhealthy foods, most people are dealing with some level of gut issues, from irregularity to IBS. Collagen is more easily absorbed and therefore great for those who struggle with gut issues. Collagen has been shown to strengthen mucosal lining and improve low stomach acid.
Wrinkles are more and more prevalent as we age due to several factors, one being a loss of collagen. Skip the expensive collagen creams, the skin can’t absorb collagen so they’re a complete waste of money. The best way to use collagen for wrinkles is to take it internally. Collagen helps plump and firm the skin, thereby reducing the
appearance and likelihood of wrinkles.
In part, cellulite is caused by a breakdown of collagen. Of course there are many causes of cellulite, but I’ve personally found that the appearance of my thighs looks a lot better when I’m drinking collagen regularly.
Hair & Nail Growth
Hair and nails are largely made up of collagen, after all it is the most abundant protein in the body. Like bones and joints, hair and nails will naturally become more brittle as we age due to a decrease in collagen production.
Prevents Stretch Marks
This might be of particular interest to pregnant women. I have been on a preconception diet for about a year and have taken collagen daily, not only for it’s health benefits but also for its skin benefits, one of which is preventing stretch marks. Because collagen improves the skin’s firmness and elasticity, it’s excellent at preventing stretch marks. And the earlier you introduce collagen, the better.