By Kristen Michaelis
To throw-back to the lingo of my college days, gelatin is the bomb. It promotes the production of collagen — the lovely protein that provides the building block of our skin cells — thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, and cellulite.
In a recent study out of Tokyo, researchers studied the effects of gelatin (aka “collagen peptides”) on mice exposed to UV rays.
The first group of mice weren’t exposed to UV light. The second group were exposed repeatedly with growing intensity over time. The third group were exposed to UV light with the same frequency and intensity of the second group, but were fed gelatin.
The results were amazing: Mice exposed to the light without the gelatin had a 53% average decrease in the collagen content of their skin, compared to the mice that received no ultraviolet light exposure at all. Astonishingly, the mice that were exposed to the light, but also fed gelatin had no collagen decrease at all. They actually had an average collagen increase of 17%.”
Translation: Consuming gelatin increases collagen production, despite sun exposure. But why is collagen production so important?
Collagen actually makes up almost a third of all the protein in the human body. It is a big, fibrous molecule that makes skin, bones, and tendons both strong and somewhat elastic. As you get older, your body makes less collagen, and individual collagen fibers become crosslinked with each other. You might experience this as stiff joints (from less flexible tendons) or wrinkles (from loss of skin elasticity).”
Lack of collagen causes wrinkles, stretch marks, and even contributes to cellulite. So, if you want to keep your youthful skin and joints, you need to support your body’s ability to make collagen.
A number of nutrients work together to promote collagen production (including vitamin C, zinc, and protein), but the one our western, industrialized diet is actually deficient in is gelatin. (That’s because we don’t make homemade bone broth daily.)
The good news is that more than 90% of collagen peptides you ingest are immediately digested, absorbed, and distributed to your body’s collagen tissues, making consumption of these nutrients an ideal way to promote collagen production.
How to increase your gelatin consumption.
- Drink more homemade bone broth. – A slow-simmered bone broth is rich in gelatin.
- Use recipes that call for gelatin.
- Stir gelatin into your morning beverage.