As you grow older your muscles and bones and functions in your body may start to slow down or weaken. By adding gelatin to your diet, you can enjoy the many benefits to your body and improve your health.
What is gelatin?
Gelatin is an important organic protein compound used by your body. It is a break down product of collagen, a larger protein compound that is found in specific foods, such as the skin of animals, bones and tendons.
Gelatin is made of a succession of small molecules, called amino acids, which are linked together to form a polypeptide chain (protein).
Collagen vs. gelatin: are they different?
Collagen and gelatin both contain the same amino acids.
However, while collagen protein is made up of longer polypeptide chains, gelatin has smaller chains of amino acids and more hydrogen molecules. This makes gelatin more soluble in hot water to be easily absorbed and used by different parts in your body.
Why does your body need gelatin?
Gelatin and collagen are important sources of protein in your body.
The amino acids that make up the gelatin protein have direct benefits in your body that can help build healthy skin, muscle, tendons, joints, bones and connective tissue in your body.
As you age, you may also require amino acids for any break down or damage to the protein found in these parts of the body to help build new cells. Gelatin is an important source of essential amino acids that can strengthen proteins that are damaged.
Amino acid benefits of gelatin
While your body can make non-essential amino acids, essential amino acids are only sourced from the food you eat. This means you need to consume protein with adequate amounts of essential amino acids.
Although gelatin does not contain all the essential amino acids, it contains a number of essential amino acids in a higher concentration than found in other dietary sources of protein, especially:
- Glycine, which is a critical building block of the body’s connective tissue giving it strength and durability. Research has found glycine sourced from gelatin also helps strengthen the gut lining and reduce inflammation in your intestine.
- Proline also works with glycine to build your body’s connective tissue and maintains protein fibres in your muscles. Proline also helps break down proteins in the body to allow the formation of new cells.
How to enjoy the benefits of gelatin
If you’re eating protein from animals, but not the bones, connective tissue or skin, it’s likely you’re missing out on the benefits of essential amino acids found in gelatin.
The best way to maintain a balance of nutrients in your body is to make sure you eat a healthy diet that contains all the essential amino acids.
Although it may not always be possible to eat parts of animals that contain bovine gelatin, you can include a dietary supplement of gelatin as a simple solution for the beneficial amino acids.
Want to learn more about the benefits of gelatin supplements?
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Frasca, G. Gelatin tannate reduces the proinflammatory effects of lipopolysaccharide in human intestinal epithelial cells Clin Exp Gastroenterol 2012; 5:61-7