The Difference Between Collagen Protein and Gelatin

By: Dave Asprey
May 12, 2016

The Difference Between Collagen Protein and Gelatin

  • Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and gives structure to your skin, bones, muscles and all other connective tissue.
  • Collagen peptides and gelatin are often confused, but the two behave differently in food.
  • Bulletproof Collagen Protein powder mixes easily in hot and cold drinks. Bulletproof Collagelatin dissolves in hot liquids and sets into a firm gel when cool.

A lot of people have been asking me about the difference between collagen protein and gelatin. Both are great ways to support healthy skin, joints and bones. I’ll explore all that below. First, here’s a quick primer on the differences between collagen and gelatin. Despite similar names and ingredients, they behave quite differently in food.

Is gelatin the same as collagen?

Collagen mixes easily

Collagen protein powder consists of collagen peptides, which dissolve into hot and cold liquids completely. It’s heat-stable and pretty much flavorless so you can mix it into just about anything to get more bioavailable amino acids into your diet. Collagen protein is perfect to add to coffee, tea, smoothies and even soup.

Gelatin will gel

Gelatin dissolves in hot liquids, and when it cools, it sets into a firm gel. That’s how you get jiggly desserts and snacks.

Bulletproof Collagelatin is gelatin with extra benefits (and no sugar or junk). It’s a mix of collagen and gelatin. Collagelatin works just like the gelatin packets you can find in any grocery store, except it’s made from better ingredients and it guaranteed to have the amino acids you need to build more collagen in your body.

Use Collagelatin if you’re making gummies, Bulletproof -Bake Keto Pumpkin Pie or anything else you want to hold together. Collagelatin is a versatile tool in the kitchen. A small amount will also give amazing chewiness to brownies or thicken up a curry or sauce (just don’t add too much).

Related: What Is Gelatin? Plus, 5 Benefits of Gelatin

The benefits of collagen and gelatin

When it comes to benefits, collagen and gelatin are more or less the same.

Both contain glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, the three amino acids your body uses to make new collagen to support joint health, skin health and a robust gut lining. These amino acids are hard to come by unless you’re eating lots of organ meat and connective tissue (if you’re not on the organ meat train because you can’t get over the taste, here’s a good place to start).

But what does the science say about the benefits of collagen and gelatin? Here are four science-backed reasons to add more collagen and gelatin to your diet:

1. Smoother, more hydrated skin

Your skin and connective tissue contain special cells called fibroblasts that manufacture collagen. They can crank it out as long as they have plenty of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. The best way to get those amino acids is hydrolyzed collagen, which has been broken down so it’s more bioavailable.

Hydrolyzed collagen also goes by “collagen hydrolysate” and “collagen peptides.” Bulletproof Collagen Protein and Collagelatin are both hydrolyzed.

Hydrolyzed collagen does several things for your skin. It:

  • Improves skin elasticity[1]
  • Decreases skin cracking[2]
  • Removes wrinkles[3]
  • Increases fibroblast density, a marker of healthy, elastic skin[4]
  • Increases skin moisture[5]

In a nutshell, collagen will make your skin younger, more elastic and more hydrated. Participants in all the studies above used between 2 and 10 grams daily. That’s a good dose.

2. Stronger joints

Collagen can also strengthen your joints, increasing their resilience to injury and pain. Research has found that taking hydrolyzed collagen increases the density of your cartilage, making your joints more flexible.[6] This becomes important as you age because your body starts producing less collagen.

3. Helps with recovery

Whether you’re a runner or a powerlifter, collagen should be part of your daily routine. It’s a great supplement for athletes, especially if your preferred exercise is tough on your joints.

That’s because research shows collagen helps reduce joint pain after exercise.[7] In one 2017 study, athletes with functional knee pain ingested 5 grams of collagen peptides per day for 12 weeks.[8] They reported less pain after physical activity.

Take collagen if you’re looking for ways to bounce back after exercise and show up feeling strong for your next workout. Learn more about the best workout supplements to supercharge your training.

4. Supports restorative sleep

Collagen has been part of my sleep toolkit for years. I take it about an hour before bed most nights.

When you sleep, your body uses that time to repair muscles and cells. Collagen is special because it contains building blocks to restore and replenish structures throughout your entire body. I take 1-2 tablespoons of collagen peptides before bed to make sure I’m giving my body enough material to do all that hard work while I sleep.

Most people don’t get enough collagen in their diet anyway, so taking it before bed is a quick and easy way to cover your bases. Learn more about how to support sleep using food.

How to get more collagen and gelatin in your diet

A single scoop of collagen and a few homemade gummies will give you a dose of the critical amino acids you need to increase collagen synthesis in your body. If that’s not your style, here are a few other good sources:

  • Tendon, tripe, cartilage, neck, marrow, oxtail, knuckle and other non-steak cuts of meat
  • Bone broth
  • Pork skin, salmon skin and chicken skin
  • Eggs from pasture-raised chickens
  • Collagen Protein Bars
  • One of my favorites: Bulletproof Pumpkin Pie

Why you should pair collagen and gelatin with vitamin C

For hundreds of years, sailors had to worry about scurvy. After months at sea without any fresh vegetables, their teeth and hair would begin to fall out, their joints would deteriorate and their skin would start to break down.

The problem wasn’t lack of collagen; it was lack of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential to collagen synthesis, so be sure you eat plenty of raw or lightly cooked vegetables so your body has vitamin C to work with.

To get the most out of your collagen supplement, always pair it with a source of vitamin C. That’s why you’ll find vitamin C in Bulletproof Collagen Protein and Bulletproof Collagen Protein Beauty Boost.

Collagen is one of the easiest ways to take your daily routine to the next level. Plus, it’s an excuse to make pumpkin pie. How can you go wrong?

Read next: Why Your Skin Needs it to Stay Young

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