Collagen, gelatin, collagen peptides, hydrolysed collagen – are they the same? How are they different? All of these are made of the same eighteen types of amino acids and contain eight of the nine amino acids that are essential to the human building block. There are however some slight differences so let me explain.
Collagen is native to the human body having its origin in little cells in our bone marrow known as osteoblasts and fibroblasts. It is the long-chain of amino acids made primarily of the 3 amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, tightly twisted into a strong three strand helix that builds our bones, our skin and our connective tissue. In this form it is very difficult to break down, being too large to cross the intestinal wall, so untreated, collagen is neither suitable nor functional as a supplement.
Gelatin is collagen (taken from pig or cattle hides) that has undergone partial hydrolysis – see previous blog ‘Where does our gelatin come from’. The partially hydrolysed chains enable gelatin to hold water which gives it that gelling capacity – think culinary delights. The lining of the gut contains collagen and an oral gelatin supplement is an ideal way to ensure a healthy mucosal lining and reduce inflammation. Gelatin is absorbed by the body but at a slow rate as it has a large molecular structure.
Hydrolysed collagen and collagen peptides are two names for the same substance. When gelatin undergoes a further hydrolysation process the individual strands of protein are broken down into small peptides of amino acids. The amino acid chain has been shortened again and this makes the collagen peptides, target specific, more bioavailable – rapidly absorbed and able to enter the bloodstream upon digestion. They can then travel around the body providing energy and to rebuild and repair at a cellular level. Once in the different tissues, our cells enhance the peptides, constructing full length collagen helices once again.
We are often asked IS GRASS FED BEEF GELATIN AND COLLAGEN BETTER? The cattle used in our product are grass fed and pasture assisted, but it is interesting to note that the feed the animal has been on has no bearing whatsoever on the finished product, be it gelatin or collagen peptide. The hydrolysis process and high temperature sterilisation makes whether or not grass or grain was fed to the beast while alive completely irrelevant.