How Gelatin Can Reduce Pain Associated With Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a form of degenerative joint disease which causes a variety of symptoms such as pain, swelling, abnormal bone growth, disfigured cartilage and loss of motion. While sufferers can contract OA in any joint, it is most commonly noticed in the knee, back and neck, hips, fingers and toes. A research revealed how gelatin can help to fight osteoarthritis.
What is Gelatin
Gelatin is a clear flavorless food ingredient which is used in a number of food products. It is derived from collagen (which is a key component of healthy joints) and is extracted from the bones, hooves, skins and tissues of domesticated animals sent for slaughter.
It is an effective gelling agent and is therefore most often found in gummy candy, marshmallows, some yogurts and jellied deserts.
Gelatin is also used to make the coatings for capsule pills, some cosmetics and some paper.
Food grade gelatin is usually sold as either a clear sheet or as granules, it dissolves easily in hot water but turns into a gel as it cools.
Gelatin and Osteoarthritis of the Knees
A study that was reported at a meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians in Dallas suggests that adding a special gelatin supplement to the diet could provide some relief to people with mild osteoarthritis of the knee.
In the study, 175 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomly assigned to receive either a daily gelatin supplement or a placebo.
Those who received a supplement containing 10 grams of gelatin plus calcium and vitamin C had significant improvements across the board in pain, stiffness, and mobility measures.
While the results of this study are encouraging, the improvements may not be solely attributable to the gelatin used in the study. Because the treatments used in the trial contained vitamin C which is a very powerful and effective antioxidant, there is some thought that the protective effect was due to the presence of vitamin C and not gelatin.
Studies of dietary habits have shown that people who have a diet rich in vitamin C are less likely to develop OA than those whose diets are a poor source of the vitamin. Just 60mg of vitamin C – equivalent to that found in a single orange is thought to have a protective effect.
The bottom line: If you wish to supplement your diet with gelatin in order to treat OA, you should also consider upping the levels of vitamin C you consume – good sources include citrus fruits and berries (which also have other health benefits).
How to Take Gelatin for Osteoarthritis
If you do decide to supplement your diet with gelatin there are several ways that you can do so.
Gelatin is readily available from health food shops in pill form which suits people who do not wish to go to the trouble of preparing gelatin. They simply take the supplements as directed.
Gelatin In Food
Some people prefer not to take supplements. If you prefer to get your benefits directly from your diet instead of from a pill, it is possible to take gelatin as a food. Any form of gelatin that is available in food shops will confer protective benefits; you can even eat Jello (sugar free of course)! Just follow the instructions on the packet.
If you are a meat eater you can also boost the levels of natural gelatin in your diet by including more hearty bone broths in your meal plans.
Vegetarian Alternative to Gelatin
For some people, traditional gelatin, even as a supplement, is not an option because it comes from animals. Even some meat eaters might have to avoid it for religious reasons if they are not sure of the exact animal origin of the product.
Vegetarian gelatin substitutes are available for cooks but they have not been subjected to any trials and therefore it is not known, at this point in time, whether they are able to confer the same benefits as traditional or fish gelatin.
For people who are unable to consume meat based gelatin but wish to benefit from its healthy properties, it is possible to purchase gelatin made from fish.
You can also use these vegetarian sources that have also been shown to relieve OA:
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