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Collagen hair supplements vs. gelatin

Collagen and gelatin are both widely known for their benefits.

Both collagen supplements and gelatin contain a long chain of collagen broken into smaller pieces by hydrolyzation. That said, collagen peptides undergo a complete hydrolyzation process, resulting in tiny chains of amino acids that dissolve quickly in water. Gelatin undergoes a partial process, resulting in larger collagen molecules that form a thick gel when added to water.

The smaller particle size of dedicated hair and skin supplements allows collagen to be absorbed more efficiently in the gut, bloodstream, and target organs. On the other hand, gelatin has a larger chain of peptides that better line the gut from the inside but is less effective for hair, skin, and nail renewal.

What is collagen?

Collagen constitutes about 25% of our total proteins. Twenty-seven different types of collagen have been identified. Type I collagen is the most common collagen found in the skin, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments, bones, and teeth. It is also the most essential collagen for promoting hair and skin health. Type II collagen occurs exclusively in cartilage tissue. Type III collagen is found in the lungs, intestinal walls, blood vessels, and skin.

Peptides and amino acids

The sources of collagen vary. The primary source of gelatin is bovine, while collagen powder can be sourced from bovine or fish. Both collagen powders provide the building blocks of collagen - the protein responsible for the strength of our hair, skin, and nails. The collagen found in our body is a very long chain of smaller molecules called amino acids. A chain of amino acids is called a peptide. The amino acids in collagen powder and gelatin are the same (mainly glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline). That said, the size of the peptides is different. The production of collagen powders involves a process called hydrolyzation. The giant collagen molecules are cut into tiny pieces of 2 or 3 amino acids called peptides using special enzymes and high-pressure steam. Cooking gelatin involves heating collagen sources (bovine hide or bone broth). The heating process cuts the collagen into pieces that are usually larger than those found in hydrolyzed collagen. Because collagen supplements undergo more hydrolysis, their peptides (amino acid chains) are lighter and shorter than gelatin. These shorter peptides are more efficient and absorbed better than the longer peptides found in gelatin.

Collagen vs. gelatin - which is better?

While bone broth or jelly is a good source of collagen, collagen powder is more effective for improving hair and skin health. This is due to the smaller molecular weight of collagen/peptides found in collagen powder. The smaller peptides are absorbed faster and better than the longer peptide chains in cooked gelatin. In addition, because they're so much smaller, our body can absorb the amino acids needed to rebuild and repair hair, skin, nails, and bones.

The shorter collagen peptides provided in collagen powders are more easily absorbed than longer peptide chains found in gelatin. As a result, collagen powder peptides and amino acids can be found in our bloodstream after a few hours.

Collagen supplements for hair and skin health

Basic science research suggests that collagen deficiency in hair follicles leads to premature hair thinning. In a 2012 study, marine collagen improved hair volume, hair shine and thickness, skin moisture retention, and skin smoothness. Another 2017 study showed that taking collagen supplements for six months improved nail growth and decreased nail breakage.

Collagen powder is easier to use than gelatin.

Gelatin is best used to provide a richer, thicker feel when preparing cheesecakes, marshmallows, curry sauces, and soups. The larger collagen molecules found in gelatin make it perfect for cooking. You can even make your gelatin by simmering down bones into bone broth. Gelatin dissolves only in hot liquids and forms a gel. It will not dissolve in cold drinks or smoothies.

Collagen powder is the best choice for people looking to improve their hair and skin most effectively and conveniently. High-quality, unflavored collagen powders dissolve completely into hot and cold liquids without becoming lumpy. As a result, you can add it to almost anything, from iced drinks to a steaming mug of coffee or tea.

When should you use gelatin?

Some people take collagen to help their gut lining. Because gelatin powders take longer to digest, it's thought that they are better at coating the small intestine.

How do you take your collagen powder?

Most powders will arrive with a handy little scoop to ensure you get the perfect dose. Add a scoop to your smoothie, coffee, or tea. Before blending, make sure you're stirring or shaking it long enough to dissolve the powder.

When should you take your collagen powder?

It is best to have collagen powder blended with your smoothies or a cup of coffee in the morning. You can also take it at night with a glass of milk.

Collagen powder vs. collagen gummies for hair regrowth

Collagen gummies are made of gelatin, having all the disadvantages of gelatin. Hair gummies and gelatin supplements usually contain only a tiny amount of active peptides and a lot of sugar. Thus - it is not the best idea for most people.

What are the best collagen supplements to help regrow hair?

Building new hair requires a supply of amino acids as a building block. Adding vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to collagen peptide powder is believed to promote further the building of new, healthier collagen in the hair, skin, and joints.

Collagen supplements from marine sources contain type I marine collagen, meaning it has tiny molecules closely matched to the collagen in our skin. The amino acid profile of marine collagen will usually be better than regular or grass-fed bovine collagen. The best sources of marine collagen will be wild-caught deep-sea fish. This type of collagen you know it's free from additives or contaminants.

Best Marine collagen for people with hair loss
Marine or bovine collagen - which is better?


Q. What makes collagen essential for hair and skin health?
A. Collagen, particularly Type I, is fundamental for promoting the health of skin, hair, nails, and other connective tissues, making up about 25% of our total proteins. It strengthens hair, improves skin elasticity, and supports nail growth. For targeted support, products like MDhair's collagen-based treatments can enhance hair volume and shine.

Q. How do collagen supplements improve hair and skin?
A. Collagen supplements, thanks to their hydrolyzed peptides, are absorbed efficiently by our bodies, aiding in the repair and growth of hair and skin. Studies have shown that marine collagen, in particular, significantly improves hair volume, skin moisture, and nail strength. Adding such supplements can provide the amino acids needed for rejuvenating hair and skin.

Q. What's the difference between collagen and gelatin?
A. While both come from hydrolyzed collagen, collagen supplements are fully hydrolyzed into smaller peptides, making them easier to absorb. Gelatin, partially hydrolyzed, forms a gel and is less effective for hair and skin health but is beneficial for the gut lining due to its larger peptide chains.

Q. When should I prefer collagen powder over gelatin?
A. Opt for collagen powder when aiming for hair, skin, and nail renewal due to its smaller peptides and better absorption. Gelatin is great for culinary uses, providing a thick texture to dishes, but collagen powder is superior for dietary supplementation, easily mixing into both hot and cold beverages.

Q. How can I incorporate collagen powder into my daily routine?
A. Collagen powder is versatile and can be added to smoothies, coffee, or tea. For convenience and consistent dosage, use the scoop included with your collagen powder. Stir or shake well to dissolve before consuming, ideally in the morning or at night, with a glass of milk.

Q. Are collagen supplements or gummies better for hair regrowth?
A. Collagen supplements are preferred over gummies for hair regrowth due to the higher concentration of active peptides and lower sugar content. Gummies might offer convenience but are less effective compared to high-quality collagen powders for providing the necessary amino acids for hair health.

Q. What type of collagen is best for skin and hair health?
A. Marine collagen is often considered superior for skin and hair health due to its Type I collagen, which closely matches the collagen in human skin and has a favorable amino acid profile. Supplements sourced from wild-caught deep-sea fish are optimal, offering purity and efficacy without additives.

Q. Can collagen powder help with gut health?
A. While collagen powder is mainly lauded for its benefits to hair, skin, and nails, its smaller peptides also support overall gut health by aiding in the repair of the intestinal lining. For those specifically looking to improve gut health, gelatin might be more beneficial due to its coating properties.

Q. Why is it important to choose high-quality collagen supplements?
A. High-quality collagen supplements ensure maximum absorption and effectiveness, free from additives or contaminants. Products sourced from reputable, clean sources, like wild-caught marine collagen, provide the best building blocks for renewing hair, skin, and nails.

Q. How can I enhance the effectiveness of collagen supplements for hair growth?
A. To boost hair growth, consider supplements that combine collagen with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which promote the synthesis of new, healthier collagen. MDhair offers solutions that include these ingredients, aiming to enhance hair structure and promote growth from within.


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