The Health Benefits and Differences Between Gelatin & Collagen
March 5th, 2018
Two of the trendiest items in the Paleo, AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), and natural food worlds right now are gelatin and collagen. These popular staples line the shelves of grocery stores and health food stores alike, and you can find them in countless recipes (including some in The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook!).
And for good reason! They are both packed with amino acids that provide tons of health benefits. Our ancestors used to get plenty of these key amino acids by eating the connective tissues, tendons, and other odds and ends from animals. However, our modern diets are mostly lacking these foods, which is why adding gelatin and collagen into our foods and drinks is so helpful, and why we’re seeing so many new gelatin and collagen products on the market.
Because these products are so popular, I am often asked what the difference is between them and how to best use them.
This is a great question because they are actually used in very different ways (hint: all of you dessert and baked goods lovers are going to really love gelatin!).
So let me explain why they’re so beneficial to your health and then clear up the confusion and show you how you can use them!
(I also went live on my Facebook page to do a cooking demonstration as well as explain the differences between gelatin and collagen that you can watch here:)
Health Benefits of Gelatin & Collagen
When it comes to the health benefits of gelatin and collagen, they are actually identical. That’s because gelatin is the cooked form of collagen (the cooking gives it a very different texture and is what gives them different uses, more on that below!).
Collagen is the most important and abundant structural protein in your body. Think of collagen as the ‘glue’ that holds your body together. Your skin, gut barrier, bones, connective tissue, cartilage, and joints all depend on ample collagen to be healthy, strong and flexible. You actually have more collagen in your body than any other type of protein, and gram for gram it’s stronger than steel!
Starting at about age 35, collagen production naturally begins to slow. By age 40, collagen begins to deplete faster than your body can reproduce it, and by age 60, over ½ of your body’s collagen has been depleted. In addition to aging, there are many other factors that impact collagen levels, including genetics, smoking, pollution, excessive sun exposure, and nutritional deficiencies.
This is problematic because collagen and gelatin are bursting with health benefits that you do not want to miss out on!
The reason I love collagen and gelatin, and why I recommend them to all of my autoimmune patients, is because they help repair a leaky gut! Since nearly 80% of your immune system is located in your gut and leaky gut is a precursor to autoimmunity, repairing your gut is the very first step in reversing autoimmunity.
Collagen and gelatin both play a healing role in leaky gut because they are the basic building blocks of your intestinal wall. The microscopic folds or “villi” in the intestines are built of collagen. The amino acids in collagen heal these damaged cells and build new tissue.
Along with repairing a leaky gut, collagen and gelatin strengthen hair, skin and nails, can help prevent joint pain, support weight management, protect your heart, support bone repair and improve liver function.
For an in-depth look at the benefits of collagen and gelatin, check out this article.
How to Use Gelatin
Gelatin is a culinary superstar for many reasons. It’s completely flavorless and can be added to tons of different recipes. First, it functions as a binder in place of eggs, which contain inflammatory proteins, so it allows you to bake delicious sweet and savory foods without eggs. Because it functions as a binder in place of eggs in any recipe, you can easily adapt your favorite dishes featuring eggs to be autoimmune-approved!
Another culinary benefit of gelatin is that it serves to “gel” substances it is added to, so it is perfect for thickening sauces and soups. Just make sure you add it to hot liquids, and slowly allow it to work its magic, making sauces and soups richer and thicker.
And of course you can use it to make gummies, homemade marshmallows, and other gelatin-based treats!
Plus, I have tons of free gelatin recipes on my website that you can try. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Mint Chocolate Brownies
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Sour Pomegranate Magnesium Gummies
- Cinnamon Cacao Coconut Custard
How to Use Collagen
Hydrolyzed collagen is the uncooked form of collagen. It is also completely flavorless and can be added to any liquid. Unlike gelatin, however, it dissolves instantly in hot or cold liquids and does not change the texture, making it a great addition to smoothies, juices, tea, and even water.
Here are a few of my favorite collagen recipes from my blog:
- Gut-Repairing Berry Smoothie
- Golden Milk
- Chai Tea Latte
- Mango Coconut Yogurt Popsicles
- Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake Bites
How to Choose High-Quality Gelatin and Collagen
Thanks to the rise in popularity of both gelatin and collagen, the market has been flooded with tons of new products. However, there are some low-quality options out there, so here’s what to look for in choosing a gelatin or collagen product:
- Look for gelatin and collagen from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals only
- Make sure the animals were never given GMO feed, hormones, or antibiotics
- Avoid options with additives, preservatives, or other unnecessary ingredients
Because I use both gelatin and collagen on a daily basis to support gut health, beautiful hair, skin, and nails, healthy joints and bones, optimal weight management, and detox support, I wanted to make sure I was using exceptionally high-quality products. That’s why I decided to make my own!
The Myers Way® Gelatin and The Myers Way® Collagen both come from grass-fed cows that are never given antibiotics, hormones, or GMO feed. They contain only pure gelatin and collagen, without any added ingredients.
And when you purchase my gelatin or collagen from my store, you will receive a FREE recipe eBook, so that you can easily experience their amazing health benefits right away!