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Great Gelatine - as written by expert nutritionist, Sally-Ann Creed

What exactly IS gelatine anyway, and why the hype? It is a dried powder created from isolating and dehydrating parts of animals, including skin, bones and tissue. This might not sound too appetizing but it’s virtually colourless and tasteless – however it has amazing ‘powers’ of regeneration for the body.  Gelatine helps to form strong cartilage and connective tissue which gives our bodies ‘elasticity’, so we don’t get stiff and sore.  Part of the reason for the upswing in the popularity of bone broth is the gelatine it supplies – and the result is that it clears up allergies or food intolerances, digestive issues, leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disorders and prevents wrinkles.  It is made up of 99% pure protein by dry weight.

Gelatine (and collagen) is rich in the amino acid glycine, which is useful for preventing and healing joint mobility, digestive issues, cardiovascular issues and skin health. It also strengthens the gut lining and lowers inflammation in the body.  Glycine, in addition to other amino acids like proline, is what comprises collagen, which is critical for giving connective tissue throughout the body its strength and durability. Glycine is also important for our ability to naturally detoxify our bodies of heavy metals, chemicals and toxic substances we come into contact with through our diet and environment.

Consuming plenty of glycine has been tied to better glutathione production, which is the most important liver-cleansing detoxifier we have, helping clean our blood and usher harmful substance out of the body. In addition to supplying glycine, gelatine contains proline, which has some of the following benefits:

  • works with glycine to form collagen and connective tissues
  • assists in the breakdown of other proteins in the body
  • helps with the formation of new cells
  • helps with proper muscle tissue maintenance
  • protects the digestive system from permeability
  • prevents decrease of muscle mass in endurance runners and athletes

Gelatine is so useful for so many things – here are a few:

Improves Gut Health & Digestion

Like collagen, gelatine is hugely beneficial for stopping damage to the intestinal tract and protecting the delicate lining, thereby preventing permeability and leaky gut syndrome. Gelatine also helps to maintain a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach, facilitating the balance of digestive enzymes and stomach acid.  Without sufficient enzymes and stomach acid you will have all sorts of gut problems like reflux, bloating, nutrient deficiencies, indigestion and even anaemia.  The more stressed you are the more you need gelatine and/or collagen to protect your gut. Gelatine is capable of absorbing water and fluids, thereby preventing fluid retention, bloating and constipation.

Protects Joints and Eliminates Joint Pain

Collagen and gelatine are both known for easing symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which cause joint pain and stiffness. Here’s where gelatin and collagen help stop the chronic inflammatory cascade, which reduces pain and halts progressive disease leading to impairment in joint function.  Even exercise-related injury and soreness will benefit from collagen or gelatine.  Take around 2 grams a day at least for good results.

Greatly Improves Sleep Quality

If you take 3 grams of gelatine before bedtime, you may find your sleep quality change dramatically. Researchers found that gelatine not only improved daytime sleepiness, daytime cognitive functions, sleep quality and sleep efficacy (sleep time/in-bed time), but it shortened the time it took to fall asleep and improved slow-wave sleep without changes in the normal/healthy sleep architecture. Glycine also seems to improve sleep in a different way than traditional sleep medications or hypnotic drugs, which means no drowsiness and side effects the following day.

Lifts Mood & Improves Cognitive Capacity

The amino acid glycine is considered an “inhibitory neurotransmitter,” which means it acts similarly to some anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications, only without the unwanted complications and side effects. Glycine naturally boosts mental clarity and calmness and lower “stress hormones” like norepinephrine and increase one’s “happy hormones” like GABA.

Dramatically Improves Skin Health

No more need to worry about developing wrinkles, sun damage, stretch marks and other signs of ageing if you are taking gelatine regularly! Consuming gelatine (and taking collagen directly) can help improve your appearance thanks to its positive effects on skin health and cellular rejuvenation giving skin a youthful, healthy appearance.  It even helps to block your skin from UV light damage, wrinkles and potentially skin cancer. One of the reasons we develop signs of aging is because of collagen depletion, which for most people starts in their 20s or early 30s and continues to accelerate. As we lose collagen, we develop cellulite, loose skin and fine lines as a result of skin losing its firmness.

Maintains Heart Health

Gelatine is so valuable in neutralizing chemical compounds we acquire from eating foods rich in methionine.  Methionine has some very beneficial roles in the body, but in excess it can cause problems because it increases the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Consuming gelatine ensures you get a range of important amino acids in healthy amounts to combat homocysteine, and I recommend a good B Complex vitamin daily too.

Builds Strong Bones

Gelatine is rich in all the nutrients needed to build strong bones and prevent fractures or bone loss, and on top of this, they encourage swift bone healing.  Researchers now believe that gelatine (and Pure Hydrolysed Collagen) can act like a safe, therapeutic agent for treating osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Keeps you Satisfied

Studies have found that taking gelatine and/or collagen (up to about 20 grams) helps increase satiety and control hunger hormones – great news if you want to lose weight.  By increasing the satiety hormone leptin, and lowering the hunger hormone, ghrelin, this could dramatically lower appetite and facilitate weight loss.

What’s the Difference between Gelatine and Collagen then?

Collagen is the most abundant protein and the major component of connective tissue in the human body, amazingly making up about a quarter of our total body mass. Collagen is a key builder of healthy skin, muscle, tendons, joints, bones and other tissue in both humans and animals, so when we don’t produce we see the sad results.

Collagen and gelatine are similar in terms of their benefits because they contain the same amino acids, but their uses are different. Some people digest gelatine a bit more easily, while others find collagen much easier to digest. Gelatine only dissolves in hot water, forming a noticeably gel-like substance when mixed with water, but collagen does not – collagen dissolves quickly and easily in anything. This means gelatine has more practical uses when cooking, such as making your own jellies or thickening sauces and gravies, but collagen is nicer in a smoothie, in coffee or in any food or beverage as it’s tasteless and won’t gel.

Have a look at collagen too to see the amazing benefits it has to offer.

Written by Sally-Ann Creed


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