The nutritional benefits of gelatin containing bone broth are astounding, but I will try to make this [fairly] brief.
Gelatin is the protein extracted from connective tissue of an animal's bones, skin and cartilage. You can easily make your own gelatin at home (in the form of bone broth) by throwing chicken parts, bones, wings, feet, head, etc. into a crock pot with water and 2-4 tablespoons of vinegar left to stew for 12-48 hours. The vinegar pulls the nutrient rich gelatin out of the tissues (along with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulfur). This is why Grandma's chicken soup has been attributed to helping a person heal (old school chicken soup was always made with gelatin rich bone broth). Traditionally, cultures around the world a focus on consuming the "whole" animal, muscle meats, organs and other tissues, creating a delicate balance of amino acids; the building blocks of protein in the body.
So why gelatin? Gelatin has a unique and very non-inflammatory amino acid profile, primarily consisting of glycine, glutamic acid, proline and alanine. These particular amino acids are lacking in the Standard American Diet, due to the heavy consumption of muscle meats and exclusion of the other 50% of the animal. Over time, this greater consumption can produce more inflammation when not balanced by non-inflammatory proteins like gelatin. Although gelatin is primarily made up of non-essential amino acids (meaning your body CAN make them), many over-stressed livers are not able to manufacture all the non-essential amino acids in the amounts demanded by the body. The liver needs an abundance of these proteins to keep the liver functioning optimally. Gelatin helps fuel your liver to help your body "take out the trash" in the toxic world!
- Gelatin is rich in glycine, an amino acid needed to support neutralization of toxins in the liver. In today's über toxic world, often the body cannot make enough glycine to keep up with your detoxification needs (a toxin is anything from chemicals, food additives, alcohol, recreational drugs, RX drugs, BC pill, etc. You name it, the liver needs nutrients to deal with it, and find a way to get it out of the body).
- "It happens that gelatin is a protein which contains no tryptophan, and only small amounts of cysteine, methionine, and histidine. Using gelatin as a major dietary protein is an easy way to restrict the amino acids that are associated with many of the problems of aging." (Dr. Ray Peat, Gelatin, Stress & Longevity).
- Regular consumption of gelatin is very therapeutic for digestive disorders including food allergies, celiac disease, crohns, colitis, IBS, and lack of stomach acid.
- "Connective tissue is regenerated very slowly, so this is a remedy that requires some patience. However amazing results have been reported--healing of joints that had been completely stiff and frozen and the gradual disappearance of arthritis. Best of all is the improvement in skin quality, with wrinkles smoothing out and even disappearing completely" (WAPF, Why Broth is Beautiful, 2003).
- When consumed with dairy, gelatin can improve dairy digestion for those lactose intolerant individuals.
How to get it in your diet:
- Make bone broth (from this easy recipe) to use in soups, stews, when cooking vegetables, rice and more! It's a great way to add nutrients to any dish and I strongly recommend freezing bone broth in ice-cube trays for easy, frequent use.
- Order some traditional gelatin to make your own Jello, desserts, marshmallows, and gummy bears.
- Order some collagen protein to use as a protein powder. This is a form of gelatin that does not "gel" and is great for use in shakes, added to any beverage, yogurt, soup, or other liquids for an easy non-inflammatory protein boost.
Special dosage instructions:
Individual needs will largely vary, but most people can start off with about ½ -1 tablespoon per day of collagen (or 1 cup of bone broth), and increase every two weeks or so as tolerated. According to Dr. Ray Peat PhD, gelatin can make up about 30% of total protein intake, which for the typical person is about 3-6 tablespoons of powdered gelatin per day (1 tablespoon of gelatin is 6 grams of protein).
It's also important to remember not to get too carried away with gelatin, as it's pretty powerful stuff. Adding too much too quickly can cause digestive distress that you can read more about here.
A favorite protein shake/gelatin recipe (combine in blender):
- 1 cup raw goat/cow milk
- 1 tablespoon collagen protein (6 grams of protein per tablespoon)
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pastured raw egg yolk
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, simple syrup, or honey (ripe tropical fruit could be substituted here as well for increased digestibility)
- Vanilla extract to taste
More gelatin recipes:
Do you consume bone broth or powdered gelatin? Please share in the comments!
Peat, Ray. Gelatin, stress, longevity. 2009. Retrieved March, 8, 20013 from http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml
Townsend Newsletter. Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease. 2005. Retrieved March, 8, 20013 from http://www.townsendletter.com/FebMarch2005/broth0205.htm
Weed, Susun. Healthy Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way. 2002 Retrieved May 20, 2012 from http://www.menopause-metamorphosis.com/An_Article-healthy.htm
Weston A Price Foundation. Why broth is beautiful. Retrieved March, 8, 20013 http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/why-broth-is-beautiful