gelatin-health-benefits

Why is Gelatin Good for You? {And how to best optimize its nutrition}

Megan Essential Oils & Supplements, Health & Nutrition 23 Comments

Gelatin’s many roles in the human body make it a supplement worth including on a daily basis. Far beyond improving skin, nail and hair health, its nourishment of the human body is profound and broad. Just as it holds ingredients together when cooking, its components help to seal the gut or rebuild tissue. Being high in animal protein, this multi-purpose supplement soothes, nourishes and bolsters.

Recovery

Although the human body can make all the same amino acids that gelatin provides, those who struggle with less than optimum health may not generate amino acids as effectively. Supplementing helps the body to have what it needs. The liver, for example, needs enough glycine to function fully and properly. When thus provided, it helps the body to detoxify.

As one doctor says,

Few of us can produce sufficient amounts [of amino acids] during periods of infection, injury, chronic poor health, physical or mental stress or during the rapid growth expected of infants and children.  Consequently, many scientists believe we need to obtain many more amino acids than the ones considered “essential,” and that at least nine other amino acids should be considered “conditionally essential.” These include glycine, proline, glutamine, arginine, tyrosine, serine, cysteine and taurine. (source)

Eating gelatin with a food source of protein makes that protein more powerful, more beneficial. In addition to thinking of gelatin as a source of protein in and of itself, the protein is symbiotic. If you consume gelatin in conjunction with other protein sources those protein sources are bolstered; the body absorbs them better. And gelatin on its own can not fully nourish the body.

During periods of recovery, instead of the body pulling protein from its own muscles, the addition of gelatin in one’s diet provides the already broken down components, thus preventing cannibalization.

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Eat Gelatin with Fat

In keeping with consuming gelatin with other sources of animal protein, it is important to remember that amino acids require fat soluble vitamins (A and D) to absorb properly. These fat soluble vitamins are found in egg yolks, dairy fats (such as grass-fed cream and butter) and cod liver oil (or this one). So when you’re eating and preparing gelatin treats on a regular basis, include fat! Gummies are great; but gelatin’s nutrients are more effective when consumed with animal fats. Eat gummies alongside high-fat foods to create a well-rounded, easy to digest meal.

Also consider adding cultured cream to your gummy recipes, (as the mixture cools, to protect the probiotics from extreme heat) before they fully gel. Here’s a creamy vanilla gelatin treat that includes cultured cream.

Detoxify

Glycine, an amino acid found in gelatin, helps the body to detoxify. Along with cysteine and glutamine, glycine gets converted to glutathione which is the antioxidant that aids the liver in its detoxification work.

Leaky Gut

Those with leaky gut (or ulcers), especially, require glutamine. The cells of the digestive tract actually feed on glutamine. Because they are constantly regenerating, they consistently require this food. By providing regular glutamine, in the form of well-sourced gelatin and bone broth, you are giving your gut the ability to heal and maintain wellness. Former generations had more gelatin-rich meat and bone broths naturally incorporated into their daily diets. We should too. But we can supplement with gelatin as well.

The glycine found in gelatin is also beneficial to those with leaky gut because it stimulates the production of stomach acid, thus improving overall digestive function.

 

At its essence gelatin supports our cellular matrix, the building blocks of the human body: muscles, bones, joints, skin.

Blood Sugar Levels

Less well known or less frequently discussed is the benefit gelatin has on blood glucose levels. Especially for those individuals who are sensitive to sugars, such as someone with hypoglycemia or diabetes, the ingestion of glycine from gelatin, with glucose, stimulates the body to secrete insulin, thus shepherding and excreting the glucose more effectively.

Animal Protein

Those that follow vegetarian and vegan diets, or those that eat little animal protein, are often able to put their autoimmune diseases into remission by adding animal proteins back in. Why is this? As we have often heard, the source of health and healing is found in the gut. By reintroducing glutamine gut lining is able to heal. The missing building blocks are provided.

Adrenal Fatigue

Those with adrenal fatigue are also well-advised to supplement with gelatin. During periods of stress, our bodies will actually pull glutamine from our intestines to help balance our hormones. By adding in gelatin our bodies can rebuild; whereas food alone cannot provide this amendment to a body that is already overtaxed.

Weight, Inflammation and Additional Benefits

The glutamine found in gelatin helps balance the metabolism, reducing cravings and regulating hormones. It helps to build muscle; so ironically, while it helps some to lose weight, it helps others to gain it, in the right places. Lysine, too, helps the body build muscle as well as aiding in calcium absorption. By increasing calcium levels in the blood, gelatin effectively contributes toward bone building and bone density.

Gelatin has anti-inflammatory effects and it stimulates the immune system.

The glycine in gelatin also protects and heals joints, reducing joint pain as well.

It helps to repair wounds.

Gelatin is linked to relief for anemia.

Coupled with Vitamin C, the proline in gelatin benefits the skin, creating a supple and soft appearance and feel.  (This combination, proline + Vitamin C, of nutrients is also beneficial to heart health.) The collagen in gelatin provides other amino acids as well that benefit skin, hair and nail health, their elasticity and integrity. The calcium, magnesium and phosphorus found in gelatin also contribute.

Lastly, the glycine found in gelatin helps children recover from malnourishment, making it an excellent amendment to infant formulas when babies can not breastfeed. For infants being fed cow’s milk, gelatin improves the digestion of milk and milk products. (Ideally the milk is also raw or fermented so that beneficial enzymes are present.)

At its essence, gelatin supports our cellular matrix, the building blocks of the human body: muscles, bones, joints, tissues, skin. It also helps to stimulate proper digestion.

Which gelatin to buy? I recommend Vital Proteins gelatin (green lid) firstly; and secondly, I recommend the porcine gelatin produced by Great Lakes for those with beef allergies.

Sources

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/6/1302.full

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-crucial-reason-you-need-more-gelatin-in-your-diet/

pub.maastrichtuniversity.nl/ff9415a9-bce3-4b50-9ca0-369239d06e73#

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/why-broth-is-beautiful-essential-roles-for-proline-glycine-and-gelatin/

  • Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    This is such a great + informative post. Thank you for taking the time to share this wonderful info with us. We are big fans of gelatin in our home. Pinned and shared.

  • linda spiker

    Wow, so much great info in one post! Good to know that gelatin is best consumed with fat too. Thanks Megan.

  • Renee Kohley

    Oh my gracious I did NOT know that about during adrenal fatigue how it pulls glutamine – holy smokes! I usually get gelatin into my girls daily but I need to work on myself more! That is interesting it needs fat as well – I didn’t know that!

  • Emilie Toups – The Toups Addre

    I use grass-fed gelatin regulary in my home, but I did NOT know all of these benefits. I’m blown away and even more excited to use gelatin for my family. Totally didn’t know about the fat!

  • I love making gelatin squares with coconut water kefir. Knowing all these benefits propels me to head out to the kitchen and make some more!

  • Megan Stevens

    Thank you, Emily; I’m so glad!

  • Megan Stevens

    You’re welcome, Linda. <3

  • Megan Stevens

    Thanks, Renee for your comment and I’m so glad that the post was helpful.

  • Megan Stevens

    I really like adding fat and gelatin to my bone broth. If I remember rightly, I think you eat lots of soup. It would be a great place to add more gelatin and fat. Perhaps that’s obvious, but just in case!

  • Megan Stevens

    So glad, Emily!

  • Megan Stevens

    Lovely. 🙂

  • Melody Canterberry

    How much gelatin would you add per, say, a quart of bone broth?

  • Jessica from SimplyHealthyHome

    I love this. We use gelatin all the time. It is awesome.

  • Megan Stevens

    Oh, fun question! I would add 1/4 cup of gelatin for a quart of bone broth. That provides 1 tablespoon per serving.

  • Megan Stevens

    Yay, Jessica. It really is.

  • Such a great post! I didn’t know about taking gelatin with fat, although I always try to do that these days for fat-soluble vitamins. I need to start making gummy treats for sure and adding it to all my recipes. Right now I add it to either my smoothies or bulletproof coffee.

  • I didn’t know about adding it to fats. So should I add coconut oil to my morning smoothie? I add geletin to that but there isn’t any fats.

  • Megan Stevens

    It’s fun to hear what you do, Elaina! So glad that the post was helpful.

  • I pressure can my broth. Would the canning kill the benefits of the gelatin?

  • Megan Stevens

    Yes, that would be a great solution. I am the biggest fan of animal fats. But just as long as you are listening to your body and you feel that coconut oil everyday is a boon, then, yes, that’s great. Coconut oil does have so many benefits, obviously, and is great with whatever other fruits you’re having with your smoothie. Is there other protein in the smoothie, too, like raw milk or ?

  • Rebecca

    Hi Megan, Is there any health difference between the Collagen Peptides (blue lid) and the Gelatin (green lid). We have been using the Collagen Peptides for a couple month because i mix it into our smoothies in the morning.
    Thank you!
    Rebecca

  • Megan Stevens

    Sorry I got this soo late, Anna! No, pressure canning will not hurt gelatin or limit its benefits.

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Rebecca, the only noteworthy difference is that collagen is slightly gentler to digest. Other than that, no. 🙂