Whats all the hype about gelatin?


Whats all the hype about gelatine? Gelatin is a translucent, colourless & flavourless substance, derived from collagen found in animal bones, skin and tissues. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food & pharmaceuticals. While most of us have eaten gelatin at some point in our lives, its medicinal use has been lost of the years. When sourced correctly, gelatin is a pure source of up to 18 amino acids which are the building blocks of health.

Some of the main benefits of gelatin:

    Gelatin contains only minimal cysteine, methionine and histidine, and no tryptophan: these amino acids are inflammatory, inhibit thyroid function, depresses immunity, decrease the body’s ability to withstand stress and are associated with many problems of degeneration and ageing.

  •  The main amino acid in gelatin is glycine, which is low in muscle and organ meats. It is anti-inflammatory, hydrophilic (hydrating), pro-thyroid, heals damaged intestinal lining (a.k.a. “leaky gut” and allergies) and improves hydrochloric acid insufficiency (weak stomach acid).

  • This anti-inflammatory amino acid balance helps also to regulate fat metabolism, maintain lean muscle mass, preserve bone strength and joint mobility and regulate cellular health.
  • Also high in proline: a non-essential amino acid that is an important precursor to the formation of collagen, important in wound healing and tumour inhibition, and also beneficial to people with ulcers. (Dr. Chris Kresser)
  • Both proline and glycine and very Liver-protective (aids in Phase 2 Liver detoxification), increasing albumin and halting oxidative damage.
  • Used as a major source of dietary protein, it’s an easy way to restrict the amino acids associated with premature ageing – and also note that Cellulite is actually just a collagen deficiency. (Dr. Catherine Shanahan)
  • Restriction of cystein and glycine (through a diet that emphasises things like broth, stew and additional gelatin) produces a greater extension of lifespan tan achieved in most studies of total caloric restriction.
  • Hormonally, glycine opposes estrogen and favours progesterone sparing (a very good thing).
  • Gelatin balances the inflammatory protein makeup of muscle meat (eg: a gelatinous stew or steak + homemade jelly!)
  • Gelatin is a nice change from ‘beefy’-tasting broth: neutral in flavour you can add it to anything: sweet or savoury.
  • Being a pure and complete protein, gelatin is the only “protein powder” I would ever recommend. All others are highly inflammatory (wheter they be whey, rice or soy based).

So how do you incorporate gelatine into your diet?

  • Gelatinous meats osso buco, lamb shank stew and oxtail soups ……………….. rather than just ‘refined’ muscle meat all the time (steak or chicken breast).
  • When you do have muscle meats, balance them by sipping a home made bone broth, and or making a jelly out of high quality gelatin with it (think roast lamb and mint jelly) or for dessert.
  • Incorporate a good quality bovine gelatin into soups or make a jelly – a good bovine gelatincan be purchased from Kangaroo Point Naturopaths and Wellness Centre.
  • Make sure if you use a gelatin to dissolve it completely so that it is clear before using in food or it may cause gas / bloating. If your metabolism and/or gut lining is extremely damage, use home-made bone broth first: 1-3 cups per day minimum.
  • Start with 1 tbsp gelatin daily. If eating a large serve of meat, a good rule of thumb is to have 5-10 grams of gelatin at roughly the same time so that the amino acids enter the blood stream in balance.

When I refer to gelatin in a powdered form, it must be of the best quality: bovine (from free-range cows) and not the cheap porcine products (not your supermarket variety).

For an adult, gelatin can be a major form of protein in the diet, since the essentiality of (need for) cysteine and tryptophan decreases when growth slows. Note however that it should not be relied on for protein requirements during pregnancy or adolescence, as it doesn’t contain sufficient amino acids for these growth periods.

Want more information on how nutrition can improve your health? Why not contact one of our experienced naturopaths.