Why do we use Collagen?
The Main Difference Between Gelatin and Collagen
To understand the importance of the amino acids that compose collagen and collagen itself, it is vital to understand why they are commonly supplemented.
It is widely known that collagen is one of the most vital proteins in the human body but people often mistake it with gelatin. Although they are not completely wrong, as collagen and gelatine share multiple benefits and characteristics, they can not be treated as the same.
The main difference is that collagen is an abundant protein in our body while gelatin is like the cooked form of it. Collagen can be found in every mammals' body and it is insoluble, while gelatin is extracted from the bones and skin of the chicken, fish, beef, and other animals. Most of their applications and uses vary significantly, hence they can not be used interchangeably. You could be needing to use both or choose one rather than the other depending on your personal needs and the goals you would want to achieve.
When it comes to supplementing collagen into our bodies, it’s important to be clear on the differences between gelatin and collagen peptides. Although both are vital proteins that are made of amino acids the build of the amino acid chain differs.
The amino acid chain in collagen peptides is cut into smaller pieces during the hydrolyzation process. Also, they do not have the gelling attribute that is present in gelatin, so they are easily dissolvable in both hot and cold liquids. This makes collagen peptides a highly digestible form of collagen that is widely used in supplements, such as collagen powder, and other functional foods.
Why do we use Collagen?
Collagen is widely used in the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries due to its beneficial effects on multiple areas of the human body. Some benefits include the following:
Reducing the signs of skin aging
The signs of aging are most apparent on the skin over time. The use of collagen both orally and topically has the potential to reduce the signs of aging on the skin, such as loss of elasticity, dehydration, and scaling.
Collagen peptides can also support the skin's own collagen production and boost the amount it generates to provide an anti-aging effect. Moreover, the increased level of collagen in the body can result in a higher level of hyaluronic acid in the skin which is also a crucial component of a healthy skin structure.
Improved joint health
As your body ages joint problems such as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, and exercise-induced wear can develop. Collagen peptides consumed orally can accumulate in cartilage which results in reduced pain and stiffness that will ultimately improve the health of the joints throughout the whole body.
Other benefits of ingested collagen peptides may include,
- Having an antioxidant capacity that can be beneficial in fighting the negative effects of free radicals that are influencing aging and the body's overall health;
- Improving the gut's lining and helping to avoid leaky gut syndrome and potentially other autoimmune conditions;
- Increasing the mineral density of bones and speeding up the bone formation process.
Excellent benefits of amino acids in collagen
Collagen peptides are usually characterized by the high level of amino acids they contain, namely glycine, hydroxyproline, alanine, arginine, glutamic acid, and proline.
Each of these amino acids has its distinctive health benefits:
- Alanine: is a non-essential amino acid that has an ergogenic effect;
- Arginine: is a conditionally essential amino acid that is important for wound healing, increasing body mass, and maintaining vascular health;
- Glutamic acid: is also a conditionally essential amino acid that is important for the health of the digestive and immune systems and energy production alike;
- Glycine: is another conditionally essential amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties, and is important for the health of the nervous system, as well as for overall cellular health;
- Proline & Hydroxyproline: Proline is also a conditionally essential amino acid that is the precursor for hydroxyproline which is needed for the body to produce collagen.
To sum up
Although gelatin is a degraded form of collagen, they both have similar nutritional profiles and can help with improving your overall health and reducing the signs of aging.
However, they are commonly used for different purposes. Collagen peptides are widely used as nutritional supplements, while gelatin is used in cooking when thicker and gelatinous texture is desired.