You might have heard collagen and gelatin mentioned in the same breath. That’s because gelatin is derived from collagen. When collagen breaks down, it becomes gelatin. A great example of this is found in bone broth: The bones are loaded with collagen. As the broth cooks, it breaks down into gelatin.
In other words. Gelatin is full of the same good stuff as collagen. Just in a different form.
You might recognize it as an ingredient in. Your favorite body lotion. Perhaps you noticed supplements in the vitamin aisle that feature it.
But what is collagen, exactly — and how can you incorporate it into your life?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s found in our muscles, bones, skin and tendons. It’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together. It gives our skin strength and elasticity. It helps replace dead skin cells.
Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. You can thank this process for wrinkles. Also Sagging skin. Weaker cartilage in your joints (hello, skeleton legs). Other factors, like diets high in sugar. Smoking and sun exposure.These all contribute to depleting collagen levels.
Collagen Nutrition Facts
But just how healthy are collagen and gelatin for you, really? Very! Fact. Gelatin was one of the first foods used as medical treatment in ancient China. Our ancestors recognized that food is medicine early on! Gelatin is great for people with food allergies or sensitivities. It even helps their bodies manage those foods better.
Collagen is also full of conditional amino acids. Like arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline. These are amino acids that, under normal circumstances, are produced by your body.
However, when you’re sick. Under stress. Or otherwise unhealthy. Your body may not be able to produce enough of these amino acids on its own. It needs help from outside sources. Your diet or supplements helps the body.
And these “nonessential” amino acids are actually pretty darn important. Proline and glycine, in particular. These play a major role in ensuring your body’s running smoothly.
Proline makes up almost 15 percent of collagen. It also helps your artery walls release fat buildup in the bloodstream. Shrinking the fat in the arteries and minimizing fat accumulation. Healthy arteries equal a healthy heart!
Glycine also makes up a major portion of collagen. And while size-wise it’s the smallest amino acid. Big things come in small packages. Glycine is no exception.
To ensure our cells function properly. It helps build healthy DNA strands. It’s also one of three amino acids that form creatine. Which promotes healthy muscle growth and boosts energy production during workouts.