Last year I stumbled upon an article from the Wellness Mama when I was pregnant that touched on the benefits and uses of gelatin and collagen. I immediately purchased a container of Great Lakes gelatin but it sat in the back of my pantry for months and I completely forgot about it until I started seeing it pop up everywhere again in recent months.
After reading more and more about the positive benefits of gelatin and collagen, I figured it was time to start incorporating it into my diet. I promised you guys a blog post all about collagen and today I’m going to address the most common questions I’ve received and touch on the benefits of collagen, changes I’ve seen, how it tastes and how I incorporate it into my diet.
Heeeere we go!
What is the difference between gelatin and collagen?
Collagen hydrolysate is not the exact same thing as gelatin but they both have the same amino acids. Collagen in the hydrolyzed form is processed more, breaking down the proteins into smaller pieces. True gelatin only dissolves in HOT water and causes liquids to gel but collagen hydrolysate is water soluble in both cold and hot water. Collage hydrolysate will not congeal because it has been hydrolyzed for quick assimilation and improved hydration to the connective tissue. I prefer collagen hydrolysate for its easy dissolvability in coffee and smoothies.
What are the benefits of collagen?
Though a myriad of benefits surrounding collagen can be found, below you will find the three rockstar benefits of collagen that jumped out at me and encouraged me to begin incorporating it into my daily diet.
Skin/Hair/Nail Health: Collagen consumption can help reverse signs of aging and increases skin elasticity and moisture. Aging, sun exposure and poor health choices can cause a decrease in collagen levels in the skin and collagen can help increase the firmness of the dermis (the bottom layer of your skin), reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Structural changes in the skin, including weakened collagen, can make the appearance of cellulite more prevalent. When skin loses shape, elasticity and firmness, the appearance of cellulite is more visible because the skin is thinner and less able to conceal irregularities. Collagen can improve skin texture by increasing firmness and aid nail and hair growth.
Improved Digestion: The amino acids in collagen provide reparative and soothing properties that aid in digestion and improve the assimilation of nutrients. Collagen supports the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and helps repair stomach lining. Collagen may also help coat the digestive tract to improve digestion and help heal intestinal permeability.
Joint and Bone Health: Collagen is essential for mobility and provides the infrastructure of the musculoskeletal system. Bone is a living tissue that supports our muscles, protects vital internal organs, and stores most of the body’s calcium. It consists mainly of a framework of tough, elastic fibers of collagen and crystals of calcium phosphate mineral that harden and strengthen the framework. The combination of collagen and calcium phosphate makes bones strong yet flexible to hold up under stress. The consumption of collagen helps with elasticity and regeneration of tendons, cartilage, bones, joints and skin and may improve bone and joint health over time. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends collagen to help promote faster healing. Collagen may also help with joint and bone comfort and alleviate some of the pain for those who experience joint and bone discomfort and pain.
What kind of collagen do you use?
I initially purchased Great Lakes gelatin in the orange container and used it for a little more than a month. I was able to get it to dissolve in hot coffee by stirring vigorously but it would often congeal a bit. After switching to Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate, a water soluble form of collagen that dissolves instantly in hot or cold liquids, I was much happier since I could easily add a tablespoon of the collagen into my morning cup of coffee without worrying about it turning into a gel.
How do you use it? What does it taste like?
I add a tablespoon of collagen hydrolysate to my morning cup of coffee every day (and a second tablespoon to my second cup of coffee). It dissolves instantly and has absolutely no taste.
I have added it to cold water once and felt like I could slightly taste something but it was very faint and probably more in my head than anything.
Still, I prefer adding collagen to more flavorful beverages because then I don’t feel like I’m trying to figure out if I can taste it or not. (Totally a mental thing, I know.)
I will also add collagen to smoothies for an unflavored punch of protein. Two tablespoons of collagen have 43 calories and 11 grams of protein, so it’s a great way to amp up the protein in a fruity smoothie without altering the flavor at all.
Have you noticed any changes since you began incorporating collagen into your diet?
I held off on writing this post for a little while because I wanted to be able to share something with you guys beyond a post about the supposed benefits of collagen and report back with my personal findings.
I haven’t been taking collagen long enough to share any long-term amazing results, but here are some things I have noticed after several months of daily use:
Less achiness in the morning. For some reason, whenever I get out of bed first thing in the morning, my feet are often achy. (Oh the joys of getting older!) The achy feeling dissipates after a few minutes but I have noticed that it is less intense and seems to go away faster now that I am regularly taking collagen.
Reduced cellulite. Please do not mistake this statement for me saying I have found the cure for cellulite. Nope! But have I noticed less cellulite on the back of my legs and my butt since I started taking collagen? Yes. Is it dramatic? No. But it is something and I’ll take it!
Faster growing and stronger nails. This is a great thing for me since I still occasionally bite my nails (but not so great when I notice my toenails growing faster, too, and have to paint them more regularly)! I also feel like my fingernails are less brittle which is always a good thing!
Healthier looking skin. This is, without a doubt, the best thing I’ve noticed! I truly feel like my skin looks brighter and more youthful since incorporating collagen into my diet. It’s not the fountain of youth, but if it can help me feel better in my skin, I’m all for it.
My current natural beauty anti-aging routine includes the daily use of collagen, rose hip seed oil and Beautycounter Radiance Firming Complex (recently renamed Rejuvenating Radiance Serum) and I’ve been very happy with this trio!
Curious to learn more about collagen? Check out the resources below!
- Effects of Oral Ingestion of Hydrolyzed Gelatin
- Collagen as a Supplement for Athletes with Activity-Related Joint Pain
- Annual Review of Food Science and Technology: Gelatin and Collagen
- All About Gelatin and Collagen
- Do Collagen Supplements Work Better Than Anti-Wrinkle Creams
Disclaimer: This blog post contains information gathered from my personal research and experience with collagen. Please do your own research and consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or supplement routine. As with most supplements, even the most natural, some people may experience side effects. While this post is not sponsored in any way, affiliate links are included and I greatly appreciate your support!