What is the Difference Between Collagen, Collagen Peptides, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Gelatin? A Nutritionist Explains


Collagen, collagen peptides and gelatin… they’re all terms you’ve likely heard before. But what’s the difference? Should we care? Collagen, collagen peptides and gelatin are used interchangeably because they are all made of the same 18 types of amino acids and provide eight of the nine essential amino acids. On the surface, it sounds like they’re pretty similar. Yet when you take a closer look, there are subtle differences that make each of these proteins unique.

What is collagen?

Collagen is the long-chain of amino acids that builds our skin, connective tissue and bones but cannot be absorbed through our diet. It is made primarily of three amino acids—
proline, hydroxyproline and glycine—which gives it unique functional properties different from all other proteins. This also makes it the most important structural protein in the body.

Collagen is formed from three very long chains of over 1,000 amino acids twisting into a helix conformation. This tightly twisted helix gives collagen the strength to build our body, but is difficult to break down during digestion and too large to cross the intestinal wall, so in it’s unhydrolyzed, full-length form, collagen is not an effective oral supplement.

What makes collagen peptides different? What about collagen versus collagen peptides?

To understand the difference between collagen versus collagen peptides, it is important to understand that collagen peptides and gelatin are made by breaking down the full-length collagen molecules. They are made of the same amino acids as collagen, but they have different properties. Collagen peptides are more bioavailable – they are better absorbed into the bloodstream because they are much shorter chains of amino acids than collagen and gelatin. Because they’re shorter, collagen peptides are more readily broken down into a form that can enter the bloodstream upon digestion.  

After absorption, collagen peptides travel throughout the body, repairing, rebuilding and providing energy. Collagen peptides are shuttled to the different tissues where cells will build the peptides into full-length collagen helices to repair our skin, bones and joints, or the cells can use the amino acids directly for energy.

What about hydrolyzed collagen versus collagen peptides?

It is important to understand that hydrolyzed collagen versus collagen peptides are two names for the same product. Full length collagen is broken down into collagen peptides through a process called hydrolysis, so collagen peptides are frequently also referred to as hydrolyzed peptides.

How is gelatin different from collagen and collagen peptides?

Gelatin is collagen that has undergone partial hydrolysis, which makes it gel. The partially hydrolyzed chains in gelatin hold on to a lot of water causing gelling. Gelatin is a great thickening agent for desserts and stews. Gelatin is also great for making healthy jello and gummies. Collagen can be mixed into any beverage or recipe without changing the texture or flavor. 

What about bone broth?

Gelatin is formed by mixing collagen in water and slowly heating, which is how bone broth is made in general, by slowly cooking bones and cartilage in water to form gelatin. The collagen in the animal bones and connective tissue is slowly turned into gelatin that dissolves in the broth. The benefits of bone broth are from this dissolved gelatin. However, bone broth does not have the same healing abilities for our bodies as supplementing with collagen peptides. But you can add scoops of collagen peptides to the broth to boost its benefits! 

So what’s the bottom line? What should you be taking: collagen versus collagen peptides? Given the option, choose collagen peptides over collagen for the most beneficial supplement. Collagen peptides are versatile for adding to cold or hot beverages or food,. Choose gelatin when you want to add thickening or texture to a recipe or to make healthy jello or gummies. Both collagen peptides and gelatin have the ability to repair and rebuild throughout your body!

Summary of Difference Between Collagen, Collagen Peptides, Gelatin and Hydrolyzed Collagen

  • Collagen is the most important structural protein in the body. However, full length collagen is ineffective as an oral supplement because of its long, twisted shape.
  • To understand the difference between collagen versus collage peptides, remember that collagen peptides and gelatin are made by breaking down full length collagen molecules. Collagen peptides are more bioavailable and digested more quickly than gelatin due to their shorter length.
  • While some people can get confused about the difference between hydrolyzed collagen versus collagen, hydrolyzed collagen and collagen peptides are two names for the same product.
  • Gelatin is collagen that has gone through partial hydrolysis, which makes it gel.
  • Bone broth is made by slowly cooking bones and cartilage in water to form gelatin. Collagen peptides are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream ,so bone broth does not have the same healing ability as collagen peptides.


BE HEALTHY EVERY DAY with Further Food Collagen Peptides! Collagen heals your body from the inside out. Learn more here!


Want to read more?

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Max Lugavere on Further Food Collagen Benefits


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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49 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between Collagen, Collagen Peptides, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Gelatin? A Nutritionist Explains

  1. Burt Furuta

    Collagen peptides are more easily absorbed than the collagen in bone broth, but peptides only contain collagen. Bone broth is actually more complete in that it has glycosaminoglycans and minerals that are easily absorbed. These work with the collagen in your body. If you can take the time to make bone broth, you get better results. Collagen peptides are good, convenient supplements.

  2. Kimberly Cooper

    Great article, very informative. Thanks!
    I’ve never been a coffee drinker. In the last 2 years I’ve switched from black tea with sugar & milk to green tea with honey, then with coconut oil. I got turned on to collagen about the same time as hearing about benefits of apple cider vinegar (with Mother of vinegar).
    Now, my morning drink is a mug of hot water with a teaspoon of cider vinegar, a half spoon of coconut oil, a scoop of collagen powder & a smidge of honey. Do you know if there’s benefit or detriment by combining collagen with other ingredients like this?

  3. Mary

    I am 77 years old and looking for a muscle building peptide. I feel that my sagging skin is due to the underlying deterioration of firm muscles. If body builders use peptides to grow muscles, they why don’t doctors recommend muscle building peptides for sagging skin of Seniors, instead of surgery to tighten sagging skin????

    1. Recipe Team

      Hi Mary: That’s a good question! A lot of mainstream doctors have been trained to think of surgery before more natural alternatives. We hope you will try Further Food Collagen to help with sagging skin. Good luck!

    1. Recipe Team

      Hi Glenda. You should be able to combine a tablet with powder but we recommend that you do not take Type 1, 2 and 3 together as they are not absorbed well together.

  4. Cathy

    I have seen many doctors about a diarrhea problem that was becoming a daily issue, with fecal incontinance. I now make a daily shake with almond milk, PB FIT and 2 scoops of hydrolized collagen peptides. Diarrhea issues are GONE! No doctor has determined the HCPs are the reason, but it’s so obvious to me. Eating more fiber didn’t help. No one could help. Many had useless suggestions. I will not go a day without my Hydrolized Collagen Peptides. Is this my imagination, or is it the mild gelling of this product that is helping me with this issue. No more diaper!

  5. Manjula

    I’m 50 yrs and 6 years since menopause. I have just started on amsel peptide and tripeptide 1 sachet a day. Meanwhile Nano hyaruron and collagen from Japan has also been recommended to me by friends. Is it advisable to take both or which is better, given my age and early menopause. Please advise.

    1. Recipe Team

      Hi Manjula: Thanks for the question. Our collagen comes from grass fed cows in South America. As far as combining collagen with other medicines, we recommend that you check with your medical care provider who is more familiar with your personal medical history.

  6. Marjorie Dimashkie

    Would it benefit me to purchase Cologen Peptides powder that I will use in my smoothies along with bone broth powder?

    1. Recipe Team

      Hi Marjorie: Collagen peptides can definitely provide additional nutrition and health benefits to your smoothies in addition to the bone broth powder. We recommend one to two scoops a day for maximum benefits. Good luck!

  7. Eman yahya

    i want to ask about hydrolyzed collagen c , what it is benifit and it’s merits ? i’m 25 years old , how much i should take every day ?

  8. Veronica Schmeilski

    I’m starting with one of the scoops. I still have not checked with my doctor because my creatin levels are already high from the myositis.

  9. Veronica Schmeilski

    I have an autoimmune disease. Polymyositis which attacks and destroys my muscles. I’ve been drinking bone broth as part of my daily diet. I’m trying the collagen peptides because the muscle loss has made my skin wrinkled and the weakness in my muscles has put added pressure on my joints. I’ve not noticed any bloating. Are combining the two an issue?

  10. Laura

    I have been taking an organinc, non gmo hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder for 9 days. During this time, I have gained weight and my belly is very bloated. Is this a common side effect and does it indicate that I am not a good candidate for this product? I have inflammation issues (frozen shoulder and hip) and was hoping this product would help with the pain and stiffness.

    1. Recipe Team

      Laura: Is this Further Food Collagen and how much are you taking? Our collagen has been found to help in promoting satiety, thereby helping to lose weight, and in helping digestion, not cause bloating. If you haven’t tried Further Food Collagen Peptides,we recommend you try one serving daily for a month for starters. Keep us updated!

  11. carol

    So, I’ve been taking collagen peptides and like it. But I just saw a product that has bovine, chicken, fish and eggshell collagen. I see that there is more protein in each serving of the bovine, and I’m not seeing the list of aminos on the multi collagen. But is the multi better?

    1. Recipe Team

      Thanks for the question. We do not recommend combining so many collagen sources into one product. It is not recommended to combine Types I and III collagen with Type II which is in chicken collagen-this can inhibit absorption of the collagen. Additionally, a collagen product with so many sources can pose a higher risk of allergy as some people may be allergic to eggs or fish. We recommend either a collagen powder made of solely of bovine or one made of solely of marine collagen. We hope that answers your question.

  12. Dorien IJtsma

    Hi there, so does bone broth still contain collagen? Or is all the collagen turned into gelatin during the cooking process? Thank you!

    1. Recipe Team

      Hi Dorien: Bone broth is made when the collagen in animal bones turns into gelatin. You can superboost the nutritional value of your bone broth by adding some collagen in-this way you get the benefits of gelatin and collagen!

  13. Kmadhu

    Do collagen peptides help to reduce or heal the joint pains?
    What are the natural sources to get collagen peptides instead of taking medicines?

    1. Recipe Team

      Thanks for the questions. Collagen peptides have been shown to help joint pain. Here is an article that you might find helpful: https://www.furtherfood.com/reduce-inflammation-joint-pain-stiffness-with-collagen-powder-supplement/ You can get collagen naturally from eating whole animals, including the connective tissue proteins. Most of us don’t eat this way and thus supplement with collagen peptides such as Further Food Collagen. Collagen peptides can be sourced from bovine or marine sources.

  14. Josephine Murdolo

    What about marine collagen from fish.Is it better for hair skin and nails compared to biovine from beef.?

    1. Recipe Team

      Both collagens provide benefits to hair skin and nails. However, marine collagen is the most biovailable of all collagens so it get working faster. You can choose which one you prefer in taste.

  15. Hayley

    I would love to know more about the differences between types I and III and type II collagen? Is Further Food Collagen Peptides categorized as either of these types? How do we know which to select for our needs? I have tried to do some reading on it, which brought me here, I have Hashmoto’s but also have a hypermobility condition so use collagen peptides for gut repair and for my loose joints, but I am confused about which “types” are best.

    1. Recipe Team

      Hayley: Our bovine collagen is made up of Types 1 and 111. Our Marine Collagen is made up of Type 1 only. Both types of collagen are abundant in our bodies, and supplementing with either will provide lots of health benefits, including helping with gut and joint health. It is mostly a personal choice if you want a collagen made from cows or fish. You can read more in this article: https://www.furtherfood.com/collagen/

  16. Wendy

    Will peptides help with diverticulosis? Overall digestive (intestines) health? The issues are early starges and I want to do all I can to prevent and heal weak areas in intestines. Exercise, diet changes, probiotics and bone broth were recommended. However I’m wondering if collagen peptides are better due to increased absorption. Thanks.

  17. Christene Hack

    I have been taking 5,000 mg of hydrolysis Collagen (bovine) whick has 60 mg of vitamin C in the tablets. It is in the form of large tablets of which I put in my smoothie every morning. My intake is five per a.m. Is this good? I am feeling very good being 72 and have hypoglycemia.

  18. Elise

    i recently starting taking 1 scoop or 2 tablespoons of a product described as” pasture raised 100% 11g of hydrolized collagen with peptides.”
    I take it in the morning with herbal tea, yogurt or juice
    This product upsets my stomach so I had to stop taking it, I decreased the consumption to 1 tablespoon to no avail.
    I have no major health issues and only have the stomach discomfort when using this product.
    Is this a common side effect and would a marine based collagen make a difference.

  19. Josephne Higgins

    I have found this very helpful and more clear now in understanding the difference between peptides, hydrolyzed and gelatin collagen.Thank you for explaining this

    1. Recipe Team

      Bone broth collagen is a powder that makes bone broth with added collagen. Further Food Collagen peptides are 100% collagen peptides that can be mixed into any food are highly absorbable source and have many health benefits.


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