If there’s one thing we often learn the hard way from food labels, it’s that ingredient names are regularly misused. It therefore becomes our duty as the individual to unpack exactly what a product is offering. As a beauty buzzword of the moment, collagen is being thrown onto the face of many beauty and health products. But there are many types of collagen, as well as other substances that it may be confused with. We thought we’d unpack three ingredient-names that often get misused: collagen, gelatin and collagen peptides.
First things first, collagen is a safe and natural ingredient. It can be found in foods like bone broth and gelatin-desserts. Its solubility, absorption and digestibility levels vary from one grade to another. Native collagen – the kind that exists organically in our bodies – is composed of large chains of amino acids (protein) and strengthens the structure of our body. It is not soluble (that means it doesn’t dissolve).
Gelatin and collagen are often confused. Gelatin is obtained by partial hydrolysis of collagen. Partial is the keyword here. For those of you ready for a science lesson, partial hydrolysis occurs when collagen’s large chains of amino acids are broken down and pulled apart into individual strands of protein. Gelatin will only dissolve in hot water and will jellify when it is cooled (this is the same gelatin you would get in the bone broth you prepare at home).
Now, when gelatin is hydrolysed even further, those individual strands of protein are broken down into small peptides of amino acids. Collagen peptides are soluble in cold water, highly digestible, rapidly absorbed and highly bioavailable (that means they have an active effect when introduced into the body).
In summary: we have collagen; when it breaks down partially it becomes gelatin; after it breaks down even further we have collagen peptides.
The power of collagen peptides
These collagen peptides, also known as hydrolysed collagen or collagen hydrolysate, act as building blocks, renewing bodily tissues, such as skin, bones and joints. It has also been proposed that they may act as a messenger to our cells, triggering the synthesis and reorganisation of new collagen fibres, thereby supporting our tissue structure.
A number of scientific studies have demonstrated the health benefits of collagen peptides, which are plentiful! They offer the most support to healthy ageing, joint and bone health, sports nutrition, skin beauty and hair health. This makes them a better option for functional foods and beverages and dietary supplements than gelatin. Consuming collagen peptides allows your body to maximise the benefits that collagen has to offer.
Collagen peptides are a pure and bioactive protein, derived from a 100% natural source and free from any side-effects. (If you want the scientific explanation, collagen peptides are extracted from high-quality raw materials by controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of natural native collagen and are purified and dried to produce a pure protein powder.) This is why we chose pure collagen peptides for our Beauty Gen products – because collagen peptides are more effectively and easily absorbed and used in the body than other grades of collagen.
The solubility, absorption and digestibility of different grades of collagen: