You may have noticed an increase of collagen and gelatin supplements on the shelves of health food stores and beauty clinics.The labels promote improved healing, anti-aging benefits and the sought-afterglow-y complexion. So, what exactly are they? How are they different from each other? And what are their health benefits?
Collagen is a protein can be found in abundance in our bodies, it is used as a structural protein for our skin,capillaries, hair, gastrointestinal tract, bones, cartilage and joints.
The most common form of collagen found in the powders, pills and internal beauty products, is collagen hydrolysate,this consists of many free amino acids (as the bonds between the amino acids have been destroyed) which are able to be easily digested and quicklyabsorbed into the body.
Lifestylefactors such as smoking, stress, UV radiation sun exposureand a highly processed diet, can all drastically reduce our natural collagen stores. It is in this instance that it may be beneficial to boost our collagen levels with supplements.
In order to produce collagen, we need amino acids from protein sources, vitamins such as vitamin C and minerals such as copper and zinc.
If we intake adequate supplies of these nutrients in our diet, then collagen supplementation is not necessary. If, however you are simply not getting enough protein or amino acids in your diet taking collagen may go some way to helping new collagen formation in the body. You could of course just make sure you are getting the right nutrients naturally via your diet from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry and legumes.
Commercial collagen comes from animal sources, including fish (often called marine collagen), beef and chicken. It can be mixed into any foods such as juices, smoothies, soups and even coffee as it will not form a gel like gelatin and has no flavour.
Gelatin is a protein obtained by boiling collagen. When collagen breaks down, it becomes a gel called gelatin. This process is called partial hydrolysis. The gel is then dried to form into a powder product, and when mixed with liquid it will turn back into a gel.
This is the main difference between collagen and gelatin! This gelling property of gelatin means that is can be used as a setting agent in marshmallows or jelly or thickener is soups and stews.
So, what exactly are collagen and gelatin used for? Here are some of the reported health benefits:
Improving hair quality
Increasing the elasticity of the skin
Nail strength and growth
Reducing joint pain
Helping to build lean muscle
Reducing intestinal permeability
Improving digestive health
If you choose to take a collagen or gelatin supplement it is important to always choose a high-quality product from a reliable source as cheaper variation may be derived from animals that have been given high doses of antibiotics and other chemicals.
Make sure to buy grass-fed or organic products and avoid ones that contain added sugars, preservatives or other nasty additives. Other ways that you can improving your collagen synthesis is by increasing your intake of minerals, essential fatty acids and vitamin C.
An easy and natural way to do this is by incorporating Vita-sol Infinity and Flexibility into your diet. Just two tsp a day is all you need, and they are delicious in smoothies, on cereals or even taken as a shot... and yes you can take them together for a super boost!