The fact that collagen appears in parts of the bodies of animals that are not very digestible, motivated our ancestors to cook them in order to make better use of their nutrients, which led to the accidental discovery of gelatin .
Chemically, gelatin is a mixture of a protein derived from the thermal treatment of collagen, which represents 84-90% of its composition, 1-2% of mineral salts and water. Consequently, it is completely free of fat, cholesterol and carbohydrates, as well as allergenic capacity .
The way we most frequently find it is like edible gelatin, integrating the composition of yoghurts, creamy foods, certain desserts and, the jellybeans, to which it confers its unique texture.
The collagen hydrolyzate and gelatin share the raw material that gives them, although the production process and the properties that characterize them differ. In particular, there is one that makes a big difference, which is the power of gelation, obvious in gelatin and non-existent in hydrolyzed collagen. In fact, the food industry uses gelatin in many products for its technological contributions, which make it irreplaceable, as its ability to agglutinate water molecules, indispensable in the manufacture of light foods. Likewise, it is very important in the preparation of hypocaloric diets.
For its part, the pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to the benefits of gelatin, which uses in the form of capsules to protect the active ingredients of medicines and the vitamins of oxygen, light and moisture that can degrade them.
Nowadays, the majority tendency of the consumers is to look for foods with less fat, less sugars and, in short, that they contribute less energy. And few substances can respond so faithfully to these requirements as gelatine, which contributes to improve the nutritional value and the organoleptic quality of prepared dishes and desserts.
Benefits of gelatin in our body
Let’s review one by one the benefits of gelatin to our body:
– It is detoxifying : this is due to its high content of glycine, an amino acid that in the liver contributes to eliminate substances of metabolic waste, essential to keep the bloodstream free of toxins. In fact, a marked factor limiting the detoxifying capacity of the liver is the amount of glycine available, for which the ingestion of gelatin can be a determining factor .
– Improves digestion : during the cooking of food, hydrophobic colloidal masses are formed that do not allow the digestive juices to enter into play effectively. And precisely because of the hydrophilic nature of the gelatin, this handicap is counteracted, allowing these juices to intermingle properly with the cooked food and its digestion is more fluid, transiting the food more resolutely through the intestinal tract. Not forgetting that, here too, its content in glycine stimulates the gastric production of hydrochloric acid and softens the mucosa of the stomach.
– Helps keep the intestinal wall intact , fighting food allergies and autoimmune processes: it is known that, to a large extent, intolerances and food allergies as well as autoimmune diseases have their roots in the so-called leaky gut syndrome. The role of gelatin in this disorder is to decrease the permeability of the intestinal wall, so that keeping it in good condition, optimizes the absorption of nutrients.
– Promotes a restful sleep , an effect that once again must be attributed to the concentration of glycine.
– Helps to regulate the balance of the endocrine system , among whose favorable consequences is to avoid overweight.
But there are still more benefits
– Its high content of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline , the lack of tryptophan and testimonial concentrations of the sulfur amino acids balance the excess of methionine, tryptophan and cysteine ??typical of the meats that we usually ingest, whose importance is not other than being associated with the Aging problems, because:
– The excess of tryptophan stimulates the production of serotonin, which in turn does the same with that of cortisol in the adrenal glands.
– The excess of tryptophan and cysteine blocks the function of the thyroid gland, which can lead to overweight.
– Protects bones and joints : its amino acid profile is ideal to stimulate the biochemical processes linked to the repair of bones and cartilages, also displaying a very beneficial anti-inflammatory effect in case of suffering from arthritis.
– Excess methionine elevates blood homocysteine , a marker of cardiovascular and neurological diseases and bone fractures.
– Source of proteins : for those groups of people in need of a high protein diet, such as pregnant women, gelatin represents a source of proteins of high biological value due to its animal origin, which greatly facilitates its cellular use. It is considered an excellent alternative to those protein powders excessively rich in glutamic acid, additives and sugars.
– Shields the nervous system against anxiety and stress : glycine has the inherent condition of natural tranquilizer as an antagonist of norepinephrine, a hormone that causes anxiety disorders.
It is also beneficial for our skin, hair and nails
– It gives a good appearance to the skin : here it comes into competition with collagen, since this, used in topical form, is a too bulky molecule that sees its percutaneous absorption complicated. As gelatin is basically cooked collagen, its most advisable administration is orally, through which it provides the precise amino acids for the endogenous synthesis of collagen.
– Improves the texture of nails and hair : this is due to being a precursor of keratin, the structural protein of the nail and capillary tissues.
Difference between collagen and gelatin
The gelatin ( both in powder and in capsule ) is a bovine – derived and has the ability to form stable and reversible gels. The main difference between gelatine and collagen (which we buy in powder or capsules) is that gelatine does not go through the hydrolysis process, that is, it is not hydrolyzed, but it is also collagen (not hydrolyzed)!
The hydrolyzed collagen (type I) is also a derivative beef with a high protein content (84 to 90%), its extraction is done in water (temperatures between 50 and 60 ° C) or by enzymes, this process of hydrolysis breaks the protein molecules present in collagen. Smaller, they are absorbed by the body more easily, meaning you have to consume a much larger dose of gelatine in capsule to have the same effect as the hydrolyzed collagen .
The type II collagen is in turn extracted from poultry (chicken) by a different process than is used for the extraction of gelatin and type I collagen . This process is called non-denatured and non-enzymatic, ie no enzymes are used or high temperatures, which guarantees a collagen without molecular (bioidentical) change.
What about gelatins and fish collagens? What’s the difference?
You can also find fish gelatine and marine collagen , both of which are sources of type I collagen.However, marine collagen, derived from fish scales ( read more about it in this article ), is also rich in Hyaluronic Acid , nutricosmetic substance which fights aging from the inside out, it promotes cutaneous self-filling, reducing wrinkles and expression marks.
And the Vegans? Is There No Form Of Vegetable Collagen?
For vegetarians and vegans an option for replacement is the use of Agar-agar , from seaweed is a natural and vegetable source of collagen, which still has many fibers and minerals, see this article on agar-agar .
Three points should be highlighted:
• Collagen and gelatine are not incorporated into the body, they are raw material supplements (protein and amino acids), which allow our body to produce the necessary collagen.
• For the production of collagen in our body requires the presence of vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) , so some collagen capsules are already sold with Vitamin C.
• In addition to collagen , the bone and connective tissues also require the presence of silicon a trace element that, when deficient, leads to weakness of tendons, bones and sclerosing diseases such as arthrosis ( see this article on silicon ).
The regular consumption of gelatine and / or hydrolyzed collagen helps in the formation of human tissue, as it contributes to the healing and regeneration of tissues. In the case of nails and hair, the collagen forms a matrix where the minerals are fixed to make them strong, strong and shiny. For the skin the nutrient offers more elasticity, however, this will have little influence on the appearance and evolution of cellulite.
Where does the gelatin we consume come from?
About 80% of all the edible gelatin consumed in Europe comes from porcine skin , reserving the remaining 20% ??for bovine skin and fish and using primarily the subcutaneous connective tissue. Of course, in all cases they are animals declared fit for human consumption by veterinary inspection services.
The manufacturing process, both gelatin for food and for the cosmetic industry, begins with the extraction of collagen from the raw material and continues filtering and sterilization at 140 ° C, which culminates with obtaining a product highly secure, as can be seen from the results of research promoted by both the World Health Organization and the European Commission for Health and Consumer Protection.
In certain applications it is possible to replace some properties of gelatin, but without affecting its versatility, as this would cause significant changes in the properties of the product. And in food technology, gelatin behaves in unison as a binder, gelling agent and stabilizer, which makes it useful to, for example, solidify a liquid and then return it to its original liquid state without resorting to modifications of the working temperature.