Collagen and gelatin: The important ingredients for healthy joints, hair and skin

 Collagen and gelatin: The important ingredients for healthy joints, hair and skin

     As in all organisms, proteins are the basis of life in the human body . Different organs and systems need specific proteins that perform a set of functions:

  • in the blood - for the transfer of various molecules;
  • in digestion - enzymes that break down food;
  • in the muscles - to set in motion.

These are the so-called "functional" proteins. But there is a second type of protein - "structural", which does not perform a specific function, but builds and maintains the strength and structure of the human body. Share your opinion in the comments section

 Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body (25-35% of the total), performing both a functional and a structural role.

     Collagen gives strength and elasticity to body structures, and in addition to the skin, builds bones, joints, cartilage, tendons, internal organs, blood vessels and the cornea of ​​the eye.

   With age, the body's ability to produce collagen decreases significantly, leading to wrinkles, skin blemishes, decreased bone density (osteoporosis), joint pain and degeneration of the intervertebral discs and cartilage.

    Sources of collagen are foods of animal origin. In the past, humans consumed as many parts of a slaughtered animal as possible (organs, cartilage, prepared bone broth), obtaining the full set of amino acids needed for the synthesis of collagen and connective tissue. Collagen is rich in the amino acids glycine, glutamine, hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline, the latter two of which are virtually not found in any other source of protein.

    Our modern diet, based exclusively on the consumption of muscle meat and fillets, greatly alters the amino acid balance in favor of certain amino acids.

    Almost no one consumes raw collagen anymore - in theory this is possible, but you will have to gnaw on animal bones and tendons. The more practical solution is to enrich your menu with gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen.

What is gelatin?

     Gelatin is obtained by the partial hydrolysis of collagen from animal cartilage and bone. In fact, gelatin is "cooked" collagen. In this process, the bonds between some of the molecules break down to form peptides.

     Gelatin has no color or taste. It dissolves in warm water and forms a gel-like texture in cold water (remember what chicken soup looks like after you take it out of the fridge). It is used mainly in the food industry, pharmaceuticals and the production of food additives and cosmetics.

What is hydrolyzed collagen?

     Hydrolyzed collagen (or collagen hydrolyzate) is obtained by more intensive processing of collagen - it is heated to higher temperatures and treated with enzymes. In this process, the bonds between the amino acids are broken, but the amino acids themselves remain "unharmed." Collagen hydrolyzate does not form a gel-like texture and dissolves in both hot and cold liquids.

      The molecules of hydrolyzed collagen are smaller than those of gelatin, which allows faster and optimal absorption by the body (30 minutes after ingestion).

Benefits of taking gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen

      Getting enough gelatin and collagen hydrolyzate is extremely important for our health. The benefits are as follows:

  •       Relieve  joint pain in people suffering from arthritis. They support the recovery and building of cartilage tissue weakened due to wear and tear.
  •      Increase bone density in people suffering from osteoporosis. Collagen gives bones both strength and elasticity.
  •  Nourish and support hair and nail growth.
  •  They improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles due to aging, and accelerate the healing of scars and wounds. About 70-75% of the protein in the skin is collagen.
  •  They can help fight cellulite .

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In addition to supplying the body with the necessary amino acids for collagen synthesis, gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen are essential for people with gastrointestinal problems, as they provide the amino acid glutamine, which enhances protein synthesis in the small intestine. The intestines are "our second brain" and are a direct path to the body. If our intestines are not healthy, we cannot fully absorb the substances from food.


   Let's not forget that collagen is also a source of protein. In 1 tbsp. contain about 6-7 grams of protein, thus providing the body with 18 amino acids, 9 of which are essential. Of these amino acids, glycine supports liver function, and lysine is involved in building muscle mass and calcium absorption.

     Most people fail to get enough of these amino acids through food because they consume mostly muscle meat (fillets) such as chicken or turkey breast, fish and steaks.

How to get enough gelatin and collagen?

Bone broth

      Traditionally, people have obtained collagen in the form of gelatin from animal foods. You can't get hydrolyzed collagen at home (unless you have a chemical lab in your kitchen), but you can make bone broth - an affordable, cheap and tasty source of gelatin. Although gelatin is not as fully absorbed as hydrolyzed collagen, you can still reap many of the benefits.

     To prepare bone broth you will need 1-2 kg of animal bones and meat, rich in connective tissue (beef, lamb, poultry, etc.) and a large saucepan. You can not throw away the bones after eating and freeze them until you have collected enough. Here's a quick and easy recipe for bone broth:

     Put the bones and meat in a saucepan, along with some vegetables - onions, carrots, garlic.

  1. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Wait for the broth to boil, then simmer over low heat for 6-12 hours.
  3. Strain the liquid, pour it into a glass container and store it in the refrigerator.

You will notice that the broth is gelled, which proves the content of gelatin. You can drink it as a drink or use it as a base for soups.

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Collagen in the form of a food supplement

      If the consumption of bone broth is not to your taste, you can get hydrolyzed collagen in the form of a dietary supplement. This saves you the inconvenience of preparing it, which, as you can see, takes a long time.

  Because hydrolyzed collagen dissolves in both hot and cold beverages, you can add it to smoothies, teas, coffee, or simply dissolve it in water.

Vitamins needed for the production and metabolism of collagen


   Vitamins A, C, E and B6 help restore collagen levels in the body and slow down the aging process. These vitamins contribute to the synthesis of new collagen and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

    Vitamin A plays an important role in cell division and skin health. We can get it from both animal (retinoids) and plant sources (carotenoids). Vitamin A intake increases collagen levels and improves skin texture, eliminating the surface layer of dead cells.

    Vitamin C is the most important vitamin in collagen synthesis. The human body cannot produce vitamin C on its own, so we need to get it through food or supplements. In addition to being involved in the production of collagen, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals.

     Fat-soluble vitamin E also protects against free radicals and premature aging. It has a synergistic effect with vitamin C, participating in the synthesis of collagen.

    Vitamin B6 (pyrodoxin) supports collagen metabolism and the normal function of the immune system.

In conclusion

Do you include foods rich in collagen in your menu? Do you like the taste of homemade bone broth or do you prefer collagen in the form of a food supplement?

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