The Difference Between Collagen And Gelatin Explained

Collagen Gelatin

I have written about my love for collagen a gazillion times before on this site. And by a gazillion I obviously mean… like three times. Anyway, it is my numero uno beauty supplement ride or die and I take it every day.

But you know what, I have always been confused about the difference between collagen and gelatin. Is there a difference? Do I need to take both? WHAT THE HELL DO I DO?

Do you guys feel me? Like, they are both essentially the same thing (kinda) so is collagen just hyped up and being sold to the masses in the promise for youthful looking skin?

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been wondering. So when I got the opportunity to sit down with Jamie Rose Chambers, Accredited Nutritionist and Dietitian for Eat Fit Food recently I was all like ‘explain this to me in a made for dummies way. I can’t keep living my life like this!’ Which was super dramatic, but it worked.

Jamie of course was a little concerned at my state of being at first, but then she realised that OTT dramatic is just the way I roll, so she gave me the lowdown quick sticks.

So what is the difference between collagen and gelatin? WELL, Jamie explains “Collagen is a protein found in our skin, bones and connective tissues. When you cook down and process this collagen, it forms gelatin. So in a nutshell, gelatin is the cooked version of collagen.

But wait there’s more, Jamie adds…

“As gelatin is the more processed variety of collagen, it may be better to use as the amino acids (building blocks of proteins) are more available to use in the body.

“Each person has a different requirement for these amino acids and we will already get them from our regular diet in foods like meat, fish, chicken and diary. So gelatin can be used to supplement a diet with these amino acids.”

Pheeeew. So it’s not that hard after all. The only thing I’d like to add is that when you buy really good collagen supplements (like the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides ones I am obsessed with!) they dissolve so much easier when you mix them into smoothies or drinks than gelatin does and gelatin does have a bit of a weird taste in hot drinks. However the health benefits from both are on fuego for your hair, skin and nails which is why I truly believe they are an essential to any beauty (or life/eating) routine.

Jamie told me that some of the health benefits associated with gelatin include:

– It helps us stick to a calorie-controlled diet by making us feel more satisfied after eating
– It may help to control the insulin and blood sugar levels in people with diabetes
– It protects the lining of the gut when it becomes permeable and vulnerable in some intestinal diseases
– By protecting a diseased gut from leaking substances into the body, it also means that it reduces systemic inflammation
– Because our skin is made from collagen, the original form of gelatin, having it in our diet may improve integrity of our skin i.e. slow down the formation of those wrinkles; and
– The amino acid glycine found in gelatin helps support the natural detoxification process in the liver.

Now for those of you who are interested in getting your hands on a gelatin supplement to play roomies with your collagen supplement there are two I love. The first is naturally, the Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin, but Great Lakes do a cheaper alternative too and to be honest with you I can’t tell the difference.

However, if you are a strict vego or vegan then neither collagen nor gelatin supplements would be for you. Unless you are pescatarian and opt for a marine collagen supplement, essentially collagen and gelatin are derived from animals.

Again, gelatin is a protein made from the breakdown of collagen found in the skin, bones and connective tissues of animals – it sounds worse than it is. However, Jamie assures me, “it’s absolutely nothing like what it came from!”

So as a ‘not so strict vego’, I’m ok. Plus, I’m down for the health benefits associated with both.

However, if you are super strict vego or vegan, Jamie did also tell me of some great plant-based alternatives to gelatin that can be used in cooking (although sadly, they won’t have the same health benefits as gelatin).

Anyway, if you’re interested they include:

– Agar: made from a type of algae
– Carrageenen: made form dried seaweed; and
– Vegan or kosher gelatins: usually made from vegetable gums.

So that’s it! I’m sure there have to be others out there that have wondered about the whole collagen vs gelatin thing. Seriously! Or maybe it’s just me? Hmmm… Anyway, normally I add stuff to cart so quickly, I would never wonder about these things, but now that I am a parent I feel like I consider all the options way more maturely HAHAHA.


Ps. Gelatin is most commonly used in jelly, desserts like panna cotta and cheesecakes to help them set, and is found in gummy lollies and marshmallows. Gelatin is also naturally found in bone broths and stocks.

So buy it, nom it. And buy collagen too. They’re both da bomb.

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Tell me babez, do you take collagen or gelatin? How do you use it?

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