What are Collagen And Gelatin?
I have used bone broths and collagen as a form of natural healing in my life and in the lives of my family members. The older I get, the more I find how essential these foods are to my body. I first noticed how crucial it is to consume these foods about eighteen years ago when my daughter had IBS. I made her tons of soups made with collagen-rich bone broths and she had at least one cultured food at every meal. In a month she began to heal in a powerful way. As I've gotten older, I notice how much they help my skin and joints stay stronger. They also give me bursts of energy, keep my blood sugars stable, and also help me when I do strength training. It's no coincidence anymore. I have gone from learning to knowing that they really help me in so many ways and there is no turning back for me. These foods are mainstays in my diet and I love them. The benefits of bone broth and collagen as a traditional food are many. To start with, they have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-aging qualities. They do an amazing job of helping to fill in the missing amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) in the diet.
Gelatin is made from cooking collagen. Gelatin is a degraded form of collagen. Therefore, they have virtually identical nutritional profiles. It is the most plentiful protein in humans and animals and gelatin boosts our collagen levels. Collagen is found almost everywhere in the body, but it is most abundant in the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. It also helps to hold our tissues together and gives strength to our skeleton. The gelatin we consume comes from collagen in animal skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons. It also greatly increases collagen stores in us, which leads to many impressive health benefits.
Most vegetarians and vegans will object to these animal foods, but I have found I don't do well without them. Some people have difficulty assimilating vitamins, minerals, protein, and other factors from only plant foods. I found that I need a proportion of nutrients from animal foods to achieve optimum health. Without it, I'm cold all the time and have low energy. My teeth started to experience decay, and my immune system seemed to struggle more. I also had terrible anxiety that was overwhelming and debilitating and something I never want to experience again. Everybody is different, but my personal body makeup needs these special proteins that come from the foods I eat. I do eat a ton of vegetables which is very important too. I appreciate that so many non-meat eaters have developed new recipes that have made vegetable (prebiotic) foods in so many new ways. It truly helps me find balance because I need all of it to stay healthy.
Collagen peptides, or powdered gelatin, are 98–99% protein and abundant in amino acids.They are the richest food source of the amino acid glycine. Glycine is used by your body to create proteins, needed for the growth and maintenance of tissue and for making important substances such as hormones and enzymes. Glycine even helps us sleep and reduce inflammation. Studies show that your body can make it, but most people won't make enough to cover their needs.
When you buy collagen supplements they contain one thing: collagen. But bone broth contains multiple nutrients including naturally-occurring chondroitin sulfate (found in bones and cartilage), hyaluronic acid (found in the synovial fluid of joints), and nearly twenty other forms of amino acids. It is also rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals — the same minerals needed to build and strengthen your own bones. It also provides vitamin A, vitamin K2, minerals (zinc, iron, boron, manganese, and selenium), as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Bone And Joint Health
Collagen is found everywhere in our bodies and it is most abundant in the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. But it also holds our tissues together, providing the skeleton with a sturdy yet flexible structure that we count on every day.
Bodybuilders have been using gelatin and collagen supplements to help improve joint health and reduce inflammation for years. Research showed that athletes who took gelatin and collagen experienced less pain in their joints and could exercise longer free of pain. 
A lot of research has used gelatin as a treatment for joint and bone pain [2,3] such as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the cushioning cartilage between the joints breaks down, and this causes much pain and stiffness. In one study, eighty people with osteoarthritis were given either a gelatin supplement or a placebo for seventy days. Those who took the gelatin reported a significant reduction in pain and joint stiffness.
Helps Digestion and Leaky Gut
Leaky gut, which is associated with several chronic diseases, results when the barrier between your gut and the bloodstream is impaired. Gelatin absorbs water and helps keep fluid in the digestive tract which helps your digestion too. Not only is bone broth easy to digest, but it may also aid in the digestion of other foods that you consume with it. The amino acid in gelatin called glutamine helps maintain the function of the intestinal wall. This is something I found greatly helped my daughter when she had “leaky gut” and IBS. It has been known to prevent and heal these conditions in many studies. [5,6,7]
May Lower Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease
Chris Kessler is a renowned expert, leading clinician, and top educator in the field of Functional Medicine and has important research about how gelatin and collagen help with cardiovascular health. He states:
"Eggs and muscle meats—as opposed to organ meats and meaty bones—are high in methionine, an amino acid. In some people, eating too much methionine can lead to a buildup of a toxic compound called homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are an independent risk factor for a variety of serious concerns from dementia and Alzheimer’s to heart disease. This might explain why researchers sometimes find a correlation between high meat intake and chronic disease.
What helps keep methionine and homocysteine levels in a healthy balance? Glycine, which gelatin contains a lot of. In fact, it accounts for roughly 27 percent of gelatin’s composition, making gelatin the richest food source of this amino acid. Although your body can make glycine, you usually don’t produce enough to cover your needs, meaning you need to obtain ample amounts from your diet." [8,9,10]
Your body has a wonderful system to keep homocysteine levels within a healthy range. It recycles homocysteine and turns it into the amino acid cysteine. When this system fails, homocysteine levels can increase. Certain nutrients are needed to keep this system running smoothly: glycine and B vitamins like folate and B12 are probably the most important nutrient for maintaining homocysteine levels within normal limits.
Diabetes and Blood Sugars
Researchers have found that taking gelatin may also help people with type 2 diabetes by controlling their blood sugar. In this study, 74 people with type 2 diabetes were given either 5 grams of glycine (gelatin is the richest food source of the amino acid glycine) or a placebo every day for three months.
The group given glycine had significantly lower HbA1c readings after three months, as well as reduced inflammation. HbA1c is a measure of a person’s average blood sugar levels over time, so lower readings mean better blood sugar control. The data showed that patients treated with glycine had a significant decrease in HbA1c and in proinflammatory markers as well as an important increase of IFN-gamma. IFN is a cytokine that plays an important role in inducing and modulating an array of immune responses.
Which is Better?
Since collagen and gelatin have the same composition, which is better? When it comes to benefits, they are more or less the same. They all contain glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Your body needs these three amino acids to make new collagen to support joint health, skin health, and a robust gut lining. They're rare to come by if you don't use these kinds of special proteins. I use all of these with wonderful results. You can use them in many different ways: gelatins, bone broths, and my favorite Marshmallows! I have recipes below to show you how I use them.
Check out What I use
Here is my favorite gelatin although there are many different brands you can choose from at stores and online. I like to buy grass-fed gelatin but I have also used unsweetened plain versions at the grocery store when I need them fast. Gelatin is easy to get but grass-fed unsweetened versions are best.
Here is my favorite bone broth Bonafide, but you can get many bone broths at local health food stores. Just make sure it says grass-fed and you'll be getting the healthiest versions of bone broth. Regular broths aren't the same as bone broth and you can tell this by the amount of protein on the labels. Typically bone broths will have 9-10 grams of protein while regular broths only have 2 or less.
I put collagen powder in my kefir smoothies almost every day. They give it lots of flavor. You can pick the vanilla or chocolate flavors which are really yummy. I also can add a little scoop to cookies and scones and it can give you a little boost of this much-needed protein. Check them out at local food stores too, they're everywhere!
Listen To My Podcast
I have used bone broths and collagen as a form of natural healing in my life and in the lives of my family members. The older I get, the more I find how essential these foods are to my body. I first noticed how crucial it is to consume these foods about eighteen years ago when my daughter had IBS. I made her tons of soups made with collagen-rich bone broths and she had at least one cultured food at every meal. In a month she began to heal in a powerful way. As I've gotten older, I notice how much they help my skin and joints stay stronger. Tune in to find out how many benefits you can receive from collagen and gelatin.
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