Collagen vs. Gelatin
Getting adequate amounts of protein these days requires me to take supplements, to ensure that my body is putting on lean muscle and not burning through my hard earned gains (you know I’m talking about those gainz, ha!). It’s a funny thing to be writing about gains, because if you would have told me last year that I’d be competing in a bikini competition, that a good portion of my day would be based on counting my macros and chewing chicken, I would have died laughing. (I still laugh and thinks it’s funny; I just usually have a protein shake in my hand while doing so.) Luckily, I have been using beef gelatin products for years and now it seems like everyone and their mother is doing the same.
Collagen is the primary protein found in the body and it’s responsible for: the elasticity/firmness of the skin, helps to heal your gut, helps to build strong healthy bones, promotes joint health and fluid mobility, helps to keep you feeling full, lifts mood, increases heart health, boosts hair and nail growth, as well as aiding in muscle and wound recovery. Collagen is made up of a huge dose of amino acids, and amino acids are what make up protein in your body. Collagen is found in the skin, connective tissue, membranes, and muscle of animals. Since we don’t tend to eat those parts of the animals our collagen comes from gelatin. We get our gelatin by cooking/boiling (breaking down) animal carcasses in a lot of homemade soups, stews and bone broths. Gelatin is just a hydrolyzed form of collagen, and they are made up of the same amino acids as collagen. Scientists can isolate, and dehydrate these parts of the animals to give us the powdered form of protein that is added to a lot of jellies, jello, yogurts, gummy candy, and lots of desserts. With companies like Vital Proteins you can now add your collagen or gelatin to your coffee, tea, oatmeal, salad dressings, sauces, shakes, etc.
The main difference between collagen and gelatin is how they are used. Collagen is easily mixed into hot and cold water without any taste differences; whereas gelatin only mixes well with hot water. The gelatin creates a thicker, gel/jelly like consistency that will help to keep you full longer and it’s great at helping to repair a damaged GI tract. The health of your gut lining is everything!!! It’s your overall defense against inflammation, since it keeps your food particles in the gut vs. the blood stream. A healthy gut also allows you to produce the needed enzymes to fully breakdown and absorb your food properly. Those of your with bloating, gas issues, IBS, acid reflux, and anemia would all benefit from taking gelatin daily.
For most of my client I suggest starting their morning coffee or tea with collagen first. It breaks down so easily, has zero flavor, and adds a big dose of protein to their morning beverage. Personally, I bounce back and forth between collagen and gelatin. I like the thickness of my morning match tea with the gelatin and find that it helps to keep me feeling full longer than just the collagen. It does require me to blend my matcha tea every morning and once the gelatin cools, it creates a full on thick, sticky gel that is harder to clean out of your blender and/or mug. So start with the collagen and then up your game with the gelatin if you feel the need to. Obviously, if you are making gummies, jelly, marshmallows or need a binder for your favorite recipe then gelatin is the way to go.
Since beginning my higher protein diet and since increasing my collagen/gelatin intake I’ve noticed that my nails have been growing like crazy. My hair is also getting a lot longer, and I’ve been able to put on muscle while losing a few pounds. For those nights where chewing chicken seems like too much work then I happily get out my peppermint tea and make a “latte”. Hopefully, this helps to clear up this topic and sheds some light on why everyone is loving these now popular supplements. If you have any gelatin/collagen recipes please comment and share them with me here!