What is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a protein derived from collagen. It contains a unique combination of amino acids that are beneficial for healthy skin and hair.
Collagen is a substance that forms skin and bones. Consuming its byproduct i.e gelatin can increase the production of collagen in the body which in turn makes the bones strong and reduces joint pain, increases brain functioning, and helps to reduce ageing of the skin.
Gelatin is supposed to be a biocompatible compound and non-immunogenic substrate of matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs).
People often get confused with collagen and gelatin though they are interrelated as collagen is formed inside the body such as in skin and bones whereas gelatin is consumed as a substitute to increase this collagen content inside the body as after a certain age it gets lower down and to maintain healthy collagen density gelatin is useful.
Properties of Gelatin
- Almost Colourless
- Almost tasteless
- Sometimes a bit yellowish in colour
- Available in sheets, flakes, or as a powder.
- Soluble in polar solvents like hot water but is insoluble in organic solvents like alcohol.
Substances that contain gelatin are known as “gelatinous substances” for instance gum candies, ice cream and yoghurts are gelatinous substances.
Collagen is a protein that is formed inside the body. Its abundance of presence makes it a good supplement as well as an excellent beauty ingredient that has a variety of benefits for the skin.
Gelatin promotes collagen production that helps to restore the strength in bones and improves the elasticity of the skin.
How Gelatin is formed?
As mentioned earlier, collagen is found in abundance in all animals and humans. We can easily extract this compound to form its by-product Gelatin.
Collagen is present in the skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons but is almost impossible to consume as it is an unpalatable substance thus by boiling it with water we can extract Gelatin which is soluble in warm water but forms a stick jelly-like structure when cools down.
Process For Preparing Gelatin From Collagen
Pretreatment to remove impurities from the raw material. This step helps to extract a clear final product as the impurities of raw material if left untreated then can cause hazardous impacts on health.
Hydrolysis to convert Gelatin into collagen
After removing impurities such as salts and fat, the raw material is hydrolyzed with either acid or alkali method.
The Acid method is preferred for less complex substances whereas the alkali method is used for complex ones that are not easy to breakdown into fragments.
Extraction of gelatin is performed with the help of water or acid-based solutions.
The gelatin can be prepared and utilized further. It is very easy to add to dishes as it is almost tasteless and odourless.
Benefits of Gelatin for skin tightening
Research shows that after a certain age skin tends to lose its natural collagen density thus gelatin can be used to increase moisture and collagen density of the skin, which makes the skin looks hydrated and also gives a natural glow to the skin.
As soon as we start ageing especially after the ’30s, our skin becomes more prone to sagging due to loss of collagen from the skin thus gelatin-based creams or consuming it directly can be effective in reducing skin sagging as the protein-rich constituents of gelatin improve skin elasticity which gives skin a youthful look.
Gelatin removes the visible wrinkles and fine lines as well. It is observed that gelatin-based creams have a quick effect on the skin that creates firmer and plumps the skin to give a tired free look.
Substances that carry gelatin as a constituent, especially the supplements that can be consumed directly, boost the blood flow that is responsible for nourishing skin cells and also continuous blood flow removes the free radicals that reduce acne and blemishes.
Gelatin is even a good exfoliating agent due to the presence of amino acids such as glycine proline, hydroxyproline, etc. These amino acids eliminate the dead skin cells that are present on the surface of the skin to make it super soft and young.
As mentioned above that gelatin is a rich source of amino acids and amino acids such as glycine is an excellent anti-inflammatory substance, thus it reduces skin inflammation, giving it a subtle radiant look even puffy eyes can be treated with gelatin creams and gel.
Gelatin balances hormones. Hormones are the chemical substances that are very crucial for the proper functioning of the body. These hormones sometimes become imbalanced and cause various skin ailments such as dry, and flaky skin, acne, and many more hence to prevent these effects on skin gelatin can be used.
How to consume gelatin?
Gelatin is a byproduct of collagen and eating or drinking collagen can increase the collagen content in the body. Thus it is more like a supplement that can be taken to treat various conditions such as joint pain, to prevent skin sagging, etc.
Gelatin can be easily prepared at home and can be consumed directly or it can be used as a cream and gel.
Gelatin is available in three forms as sheet, granules or as powder. We can consume this with regular dishes without disturbing its distinct flavour and smell.
Gelatin is most beneficial when used internally such as gelatin capsules or powder can be taken directly but even externally gelatin cream can be helpful to smooth and strengthen the skin.
Homemade ways to consume gelatin
Gelatin gummies can be prepared by combining grass-fed gelatin powder with any pureed fruit or with honey.
Smoothies- gelatin powder is tasteless and an odourless substance that when added to any other dish does change its texture or taste so when added to any smoothie it can just act as a thickener.
Soups- gelatin can also be used as a soup thickener, it also provides extra protein and nutrients to the dishes.
For regular usage, some people often use them along with tea or coffee.
Gelatin-based supplements are very common and are easily available in the market. Thus if you don’t want to spend your time making gelatin at home then they can be purchased as a powder from any market.
Gelatin based creams are very beneficial for skin tightening as they boost the collagen density and gives it a flawless look.
Gelatin capsules are very popular as they are easy to consume, the capsules are more effective as they give a quick result.
Gelatin gels are mostly used to treat inflammation hence whenever there is puffy eyes or inflammation caused due to joint pain then we can use this gel.
Is gelatin safe for health?
Gelatin is mostly safe and can consume directly or as a medicine but its prolonged usage can cause some health issues though they are not as such major issues but can be fatal if left untreated.
Some of the common side effects
- Gelatin can cause a bitter and unpleasant taste with a feeling of heaviness in the stomach.
- Some people have experienced bloating, bleaching and heartburn.
- Allergic reactions on the skin such as rashes, itchy or dry skin.
- Insomnia and anxiety in some cases.
- A varied range of gelatin supplements are available but before buying their constituents must be checked properly as mostly gelatin is prepared from animal bones thus it is not suitable for vegans and for those people who possess hypersensitivity to meat.
- The gelatin has almost no taste or smell thus not much side effects have been observed but its consumption should be appropriately advised by a physician.
- Our skin is very sensitive thus before applying any gelatin cream or gel a skin test should be done in which a small portion of cream is applied to a small patch of skin and if an allergic reaction is noticed then the usage should not be continued.
How much gelatin is safe to consume
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that taking gelatin by mouth is mostly safe and does not show any serious concerns.
Gelatin is safe if made from good quality raw material there are certain factors that determine its quality –
- If it is extracted from a healthy animal.
- The method by which it is prepared.
- Other products used in the process.
Gelatin does not carry any harmful constituents it has essential proteins and amino acids that are probably safe to be consumed for up to 10 g as supplements for 6 months.
To avoid digestion problems one must choose the gelatin that fits its digestive ability.
For Strong digestion regular gelatin, for weak digestion collagen hydrolysate and for very weak digestion bone broth is suggested.
How is organic gelatin better than the usual gelatin?
Several kinds of gelatin are available based on different animal sources such as porcine ( mostly grass-fed), bovine, marine gelatin( prepared from fishes), and poultry ( made from cattle animals such as chicken).
The porcine and bovine are most popular as they are more preferred than the rest.
Organic gelatin is prepared from parts of domestic animals or cattle animals that are only fed on grass thus they are mostly free of harmful impurities and consuming organic gelatin is mostly considered safe than usual gelatin.
Usual gelatin has lots of impurities such as toxins that can cause side effects and can be fatal if not treated appropriately.
Organic gelatin is supposed to be made from high-quality raw materials whereas usual gelatin is made from low-quality raw materials.
Organic gelatins are more popular than usual gelatins due to the fact that the animals used in the process are fed properly and are vegan as they fed only grass not any raw meat thus the chances of impurities are much lower in organic ones and usual gelatin involves the usage of stray animals or animals that are not raised properly hence the chances of getting allergic reactions are high.
Gelatin is most common ingredient nowadays as it has a lot of health benefits and is used in the domestic as well as in the pharmaceutical sector to prepare beauty creams and gels that are beneficial to prevent skin sagging so that skin can become tight and plump.
Gelatin is even helpful in curing other ailments related to joints, hair, and nails thus it’s a very useful substance that has varied benefits.