Gelatin is the same structural protein, collagen in humans, found in many animals including cows. Collagen is a fibrous protein that strengthens the body’s connective tissues and makes up almost one-third of the human body.
Gelatin is rich in foods like bone broths. It is obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs but fish can also be used and a vegan source is found through using a seaweed called agar agar.
The highest concentration is founds in pig’s and chicken feet and ox tails. All these used to be a large part of a traditional diet. Our ancestors relished every part of the animal including all the gelatin-rich bony and cartilaginous bits of the animal. But the increasing appetite for muscle meat meant these unfashionable cuts were forgotten and as a result much of this gelatin has vanished from the diet.
However our bodies’ need for it has not. Although collagen makes up about 50% of the protein in animals, the quantity in the muscle meats is considerably lower. It has a different amino acid profile than muscle meats — no tryptophan or cysteine, but a great deal of glycine and proline. These are both necessary for growth and renewal of cells. This helps with healing and supports skin and hair growth. Lowering our intake of gelatin and raising our intake of low-collagen muscle meats has changed the amino acid profile of the common diet.
“gelatin is not a complete protein source because it is deficient in tryptophan and low in methionine content, however the digestibility is excellent and it is often used in feeding invalids and the high level of lysine (4 %) is noteworthy. More controversially, studies have shown that the consumption of 7 to 10 g/day can significantly improve nail growth rate and strength (17) and it also promotes hair growth (18). Gelatin has also been shown to benefit arthritis sufferers in a large proportion of cases (19).” (source)
Because Gelatin has the ability to break down and rebuild, it is able to repair and re-form wherever it is needed. This also helps its digestibility. It also absorbs water so can help in digestive transit and can help to form stool.
Adding gelatin to your diet can help your body in many ways:
– Good for joints and can help joint recovery (As you get older, your body makes less collagen, and individual fibers become increasingly cross-linked with each other. You might experience this as stiff joints from less flexible tendons, or wrinkles due to loss of skin elasticity).
-Is one of the main component of bones. May help with bone density and strength.
– Can help tighten loose skin
– Supports skin, hair and nail growth
– Can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track. Potentially relieving constipation or diarrhea.
-Bacteria feeds on gelatin so is beneficial for the digestion as a prebiotic.
– A source of protein and its specific amino acids can help build muscle.It has 18 amino acids, 9 of which are essential.
-Glycine is reported to help liver function, especially in detoxification
-Lysine is utilized in muscle building and calcium absorption.
– Has been associated with improved metabolism and reduced cellulite. Therefore it has been used in weight management.
-Treatment for non-seasonal allergies. The anti-inflammatory and healing benefits of Gelatin may help heal leaky gut symptoms.
-Has been said to help promote duration and quality of sleep.