Gelatin Is Blowing My Mind

I started writing this a week ago. Indeed, I wrote quite a lot, and in a white heat. I knew it was coming out jumbled and all-over-the-place, but I was so excited the information was just pouring out. So I'm starting over, and with luck the new version will come out less disjointed, but no less passionate.

I have, for a week, been taking gelatin as a supplement. Just plain gelatin, the stuff you'd find in a box labeled "Knox" at your grocery store.

I started because I had been reading a lot about human growth hormone (HGH), the true Fountain of Youth. HGH will quite literally make your body function as if it were younger -- burning fat, building muscle, thicker, more resilient skin, stronger immune system, more energy, you name it. Unfortunately, here in the States it's hideously expensive, in the neighborhood of $18K/year. I'd need to write several more best-sellers to afford it.

There are, however, nutrients that will, at least in some people, cause the body to release stored growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This is controversial, definitely works better for some people than for others, and apparently is less effective the older you get. Still, it doesn't cost $18K per year, so it seemed worth a look.

Many growth hormone releasers are amino acids. The proper protocol is to take them on an empty stomach, either 90 minutes to two hours before working out, or at bedtime, or both. In either case they need to be taken on an empty stomach. I have ordered a couple of supposed growth hormone releasing supplements from a company I trust (the NSI house brand at Vitacost.com; no, I'm not an affiliate and won't make a cent). Those supplements have not arrived yet; I'll report back once I've been taking them for a while. In the meanwhile...

I was curious about claims for hydrolyzed collagen products as weight loss supplements. One such product, called "Calorad," popular in the early '90s, has drawn everything from deepest scorn to highest praise, with people claiming everything from no result at all to dramatic weight loss and health improvement. Many people claim that any weight loss that Calorad users experience is due to the fact that the instructions direct that it be consumed on an empty stomach, and therefore users are instructed to stop eating three hours before bedtime. People pretty commonly report not eating in the evening as being helpful for weight control, so this criticism has credibility. Still, it seemed to me that some of the results people were claiming were greater than could be explained by going to bed on an empty stomach. I wondered if Calorad could be releasing growth hormone in some people. It was, after all, basically purified amino acids, especially glycine, which does appear to have some growth hormone releasing effect.

At $55 for a month's supply, Calorad is pretty hideously expensive in its own right. But I had a big ol' box of collagen in the house, also known as gelatin. A good sixteen years or more back (I know it was before I went low carb) I bought a five pound box of bulk plain gelatin, because it's vastly cheaper than the little envelopes at the grocery store, and so long as you keep it dry it never goes bad. I've used it off and on for recipes. I've also given some to my big dog Jed in his breakfast, because he gets a little stiff in his back end, as big dogs nearing the decade mark are wont to do, and I knew gelatin had a rep for being good for joints. Why it didn't occur to me before this to swallow the stuff myself I cannot say.

I started taking gelatin last Saturday night. I made sure to quit eating a good 2 1/2 - 3 hours before bedtime. Right before crashing, I swallowed a teaspoon of plain gelatin powder with a big glass of water. (Which meant I had to get up a half-hour later, if-you-know-what-mean-and-I-think-you-do, but I wasn't asleep by then anyway.) Weighed myself the next morning and was... wait for it... FOUR POUNDS LIGHTER. Holy moley.

I do not believe that a teaspoon of gelatin took four pounds off me overnight; it simply defies my sense of how physiology works. Some of that weight had to be water, or intestinal contents, or something. And anyway, a pound of it is back since then. Still, it was more than encouraging, and I took another teaspoon of gelatin, along with a gram of l-tyrosine (I'll write about l-tyrosine soon) right after weighing, grabbed some tea in a travel cup, and went for a walk. For me to be so energetic at 7:30 am that I go for a sunrise walk is, up till now, unheard of, but I've done it three days since.

Got back home, and just had to read more about gelatin. That Nice Boy I Married wasn't up yet, so I spent some time googling, and found this article by a PhD biologist. Fascinating stuff, and very, very encouraging.

Here's the main thing I gathered from it: You know how, over the past century or so, we've skewed our fatty acid intake by eating less animal fat and more vegetable oils, so that we're getting way too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s, too many unsaturates and not enough saturates? In exactly the same way, we have been skewing our balance of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Gelatin-rich foods, from bone broths to head cheese to foods like pig's feet and ox tails, were a large part of a traditional diet Our ancestors relished every part of the animal, and just as they ate organ meats that most modern Americans now spurn, they also ate all the gelatin-rich bony and cartilaginous bits of the animal. In this modern era of muscle meat and little but muscle meat -- think boneless skinless chicken breast -- much of this gelatin has vanished from the diet, but our bodies' need for it has not.

In part, Dr. Peat says that while collagen makes up about 50% of the protein in animals, the quantity in the muscle meats is considerably lower. Since collagen has a different amino acid profile than muscle meats -- no tryptophan or cysteine, but a great deal of glycine and proline -- lowering our intake of gelatin and raising our intake of low-collagen muscle meats has changed the amino acid profile of the common diet. He further states:

Although Clive McKay's studies of life extension through caloric restriction were done in the 1930s, only a few studies have been done to find out which nutrients' restriction contributes most to extending the life span. Restricting toxic heavy metals, without restricting calories, produces about the same life-extending effect as caloric restriction. Restricting only tryptophan, or only cysteine, produces a greater extension of the life span than achieved in most of the studies of caloric restriction. How great would be the life-span extension if both tryptophan and cysteine were restricted at the same time?

Both tryptophan and cysteine inhibit thyroid function and mitochondrial energy production, and have other effects that decrease the ability to withstand stress. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin, which causes inflammation, immunodepression, and generally the same changes seen in aging. Histidine is another amino acid precursor to a mediator of inflammation, histamine; would the restriction of histidine in the diet have a longevity promoting effect, too?

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.

Did you get all that? Looks like this says that one of the charges against a meat-heavy diet -- that it can shorten lifespan and increase inflammation -- can be true if one constructs the protein part of one's diet largely of muscle meats and other collagen-poor proteins.

Gelatin, on the other hand, with its glycine and proline, apparently does everything from reducing susceptibility to stress, to fighting tumors, to soothing the intestinal tract, to improving thyroid function. Dr. Peat also says it stimulates natural sleep,exciting stuff for this lifetime insomniac. It should be generally relaxing. And it should do very good things for skin. You've heard of collagen cream, right? I've known for years that the molecules were actually too big to penetrate the skin when applied topically, so these creams did nothing to strengthen our own collagen. On the other hand, taking it internally should be helpful. If I suddenly start getting mistaken for a 35 year old I'll let you know.

I have upped my dose of gelatin to a tablespoon at bedtime (swallowed a teaspoon at a time, since swallowing a tablespoon of gelatin powder at one go would be rough) and two teaspoons on arising. I also take a teaspoon in the afternoon, if I think of it. (Hey, I just thought of it! Maybe I'll go take some. You stay here, I'll be right back.)

What I can tell you from one week is this: I feel far stronger; I find I'm moving differently because I feel like I could really kick ass. I am sleeping well with less medication. (Remember, I have a diagnosed sleep disorder.) I have fewer background muscle aches and pains. And my energy level is through roof, just really ridiculous. Mood is terrific, too. It's a cliche to say "I feel X years younger!" but I genuinely do feel younger, and by quite a lot. Not losing weight hand over fist, but I'm also not having as much trouble keeping the cookbook weight off. And anyway, I'm at a bad point in my cycle for losing; we'll see what happens in a week or two.

Along with taking gelatin, I plan to cook with it more, and to incorporate more gelatin-rich foods into my menus and recipes.
What foods are high in gelatin? Gelatin lurks not only in the bony cuts like ox tails, lamb shanks, pork neck bones and chicken wings, but also in skin. Yeah, that chicken skin you were told to throw away because it's fatty. And those pork rinds everyone tells you you're crazy to eat. Turns out pork rinds are a terrific source of gelatin. You may now feel not only okay, but downright virtuous, for eating them. Poke gentle fun at self-righteous low fat types for not getting what's good for them.

Now that it's autumn, haul out your slow cooker (I have to; when I'm done with my 15 minute recipes I have to come up with 100 new slow cooker recipes) and start braising tough, gristly, bony cuts of meat. Long, slow, moist cooking turns them silky and succulent, with more flavor than you can believe. Serve chicken wings often -- the real ones, not those dopey "boneless chicken wings" that are really pieces of breast.

I intend to start adding gelatin to things, too. In particular, I plan to mix gelatin into ground meat dishes, from burgers to meat loaves to chili. Why not? It's flavorless, and I'm betting in the burgers and meat loaves it holds moisture, and also acts as a binder. I've also started adding pork rind crumbs to a lot of ground meat recipes, not only for flavor, but for the gelatin.

Bone broth is a terrific source of gelatin, of course. That's why homemade soup jells in the fridge while commercially-made soup does not. It's also one of the reasons why homemade soup has long had a strong reputation as a healing food. I save chicken bones and steak bones to make broth; have for a long time. I've written here before about how to make broth, but here goes again:

Save up your chicken or beef bones (separately, of course.) I stash mine in a plastic grocery sack in the freezer. Doesn't matter if they're picked completely clean; naked bones will make great broth. However, if you've cooked with strong seasonings, you might want to rinse the bones before freezing. You can also throw in onion, carrot, and celery trimmings. When you have a sack full of bones, dump them in a stock pot or slow cooker -- the slow cooker is better if you're out of the house a lot, because you can leave it going. Cover the bones with water, add maybe a teaspoon of salt -- not too much -- and about 1/4 cup vinegar, any kind, which will help draw calcium out of the bones. Set the pot over a low burner, or set your slow cooker to low. Then leave it. For a long time. A long, long time. I generally simmer my broth for two solid days -- I cover it tightly and bring it to a hard boil before turning it off at night; this should keep it safe. In a slow cooker you can just let it sit for 24 hours or more.

Then strain, and either make soup right then, or store in snap top containers in the freezer and use it for all sorts of cooking.

If you have to fall back on packaged broth, read the labels, of course. Then dissolve a teaspoon or two of plain gelatin in a half-cup of cold water and whisk it into your broth, for improved texture and nutritional value.

I also have devised a gelatin-enriched lemonade that I use as a sports drink and even as a light snack: I put 1 cup of water in my 1/2 gallon pitcher, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of plain gelatin over it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then I add 2 cups of boiling water, and whisk till the gelatin is completely dissolved. I add four "stix" of AriZona Lemonade Mix stir till dissolved, and add 5 more cups of cold water.

When I first made this, it did not jell over ice. After overnight refrigeration it was gloopy, but I'd found the flavor a little strong anyway. I poured three-quarters of a glass over ice and filled with water or lemon sparkling water, and it was great.

As you can tell, I am dazzled by the impact one week of increased gelatin intake has had on my sense of well-being. I would very much like it if some of you tried it and let me know if it's as beneficial for you as it seems to be for me, or if I'm just crazy, always a possibility. I've asked Andrew at CarbSmart to start stocking bulk gelatin, because it's vastly cheaper than buying little envelopes of Knox. I don't see it up on the CarbSmart site yet, but Amazon carries it. You could also see if your local health food store could order it for you; that's how I got mine 16 years ago.

Please, I'm dying for feedback here! Let me know what you think.

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nightmares

I started taking the gelatin last Sunday night. I slept great that first night. I've taken it the 4 nights since; all 4 nights, I've just "dozed off" & had terrible nightmares that kept waking me, & for the 2nd time (it's after 2 a.m.), I can't sleep at all though I feel so tired. Has anyone else had this odd adverse effect? It's really quite scarey. Years ago I had the same reaction when I tried Valerian Root for sleep problems. I've also, like Dana, been on a prescription for a sleep disorder after paralysis from a back injury- which I fortunately came out of. After years on medication, I had weaned myself back to 1/4 of the doseage; but I wanted to get off of it completely & hoped the gelatin might do the trick. I've taken it only twice during the day because it made me feel sluggish. Any comments or suggestions?

Why do you take it in powder form?

Your blog post says you take gelatin in powder form. I am just wondering why that is. Could I add it to, say, herbal tea or something like that?

For cake decorating, I mix up the gelatin in bulk...then refrigerate it until needed. (it stays good for about 3 weeks when refrigerated)
When needed for a recipe, I take it out and nuke for 10 seconds (no longer, you don't want it to boil) or add to a hot liquid to melt.

I'm just wondering if I can do the same thing for taking as a supplement.

Sure!

Hi Tigz, I'm responding just in case Dana doesn't see this right away.

No reason at all why you could not add gelatin to your tea, either in powder form or the refrigerated mix. I sometimes add a couple teaspoons to a pot of coffee. I think Dana takes it in powder form mostly because she finds it quick and easy, and doesn't mind swallowing it that way. I would rather have it in something like coffee or tea.

your gelatin article

excellent article.

the reason I found this article online is that I was intrigued by what "Felicia Drury Kliment", a nutritionist & alternative health consultant, had to say about gelatin, in her brilliant book, "The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet: An Innovative Program That Detoxifies Your Body's Acidic Waste to Prevent Disease and Restore Overall Health".

apparently even Edgar Casey commented about how gelatin aids in the absorption of vitamins & minerals; as well as, being 45% calcium and the most easily assimilated form of that mineral.

over and above, having great nutritive value and recommended to be taken with each meal; gelatin has an enormous mucilage content, that makes it an effective remedy for healing the lining of the stomach & small intestine.

gelatin promotes thyroid function, is the best treatment for Osteoporosis; and, as hyperacidity in the blood is the foundation of all disease, the most effective diet that leaves behind as little acidic waste as possible has foods high in alkaline particles (electrons) and mucilage: partially cooked or raw white potatoes, celery & gelatin sprinkled on foods or in drinks.

apparently, vitamin D & magnesium help the body assimilate and utilize calcium.

the mucilage in gelatin is also an effective treatment for Diabetes, as it stabilizes blood glucose.

who would have thunk!

StephenMcP

Powdered Gelatine

Hi all,

Im mew to this site and I am looking at buying some Powdered Gelatine that I ca mix with a flavoured powder shake.

I have no idea which type to buy but what I do want is a very low calorie/carb gelatine.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks
Sharon

What you have discovered is

What you have discovered is really interesting indeed and it does explain some of the health problems I've got recently. I don't remember the last time when gelatin was part of my diet, but obviously my body needs it. I'm about to see the gastroenterologist New Jersey and I'm really curious to learn what he has to say about the subject, he might be able to tell me if following a gelatin based diet would be good for me.

A gelatin-based diet?

Sounds pretty boring to me, Natalie. Or is your name Michelle, like in your email address? In any case, thanks for trying to spam our comments, and welcome to our Spammers' Hall of Shame. Have a nice day! :-)

Bulletproof Tea

I make a version of Bulletproof coffee based on two philosophies- Ray Peet and Bulletproof (paleo-type).

This tea is amazing and it holds me over until lunch. The matcha tea provides slow sustained energy without spikes and drops like caffeine from other sources. Anyway here it is:

1.5 cups of boiling water, placed in Vitamix or blender turn on low speed and add the following:

1 heaping Tbsp organic beef gelatin, slowly
1 Tbsp of MCT (medium chain tryglyerides) oi1
1 Tbsp on Virgin Coconut Oil
1 tsp of grass fed unpasturized butter
1/2-1 tsp of matcha green tea
12 drops of vanilla flavored alcohol free stevia
1/4 c of unsweetened Coconut Milk

Blend on high for 20 seconds or so and enjoy a frothy lovely tasting hot drink.

GELATIN

I have been using gelatin for two years. I put 4 teaspoons into my green drink each morning. 4 teaspoons equals to 16 grams of incomplete protein but with the other ingredients the missing aminos are made up.

I will no try it on an empty stomach. Although I do take Amino acids just before bed. So I will take it in the morning first thing. I used to baby sit for a gal who mixed jello into hot water and gave that to her children with breakfast. That was years ago.

I buy 5 pounds of pure beef gelatin from Azure Standard coop. Most of the things that they sell are organic. They do check the company prior to selling products & keep checking them to be sure they keep on will stated policies. Google them. No charge to join, no shipping charges either.

Is There No Way to Get it to Dissolve?

This is my second day taking beef gelatin, but it's not pleasant at all. I've tried dissolving it in cold water, but it gets small globules that stick to the glass and I'm afraid I'm not getting the full dose. If I dissolve it in hot water, it gets a HUGE glob of yucky stuff that you have to almost chew!

When you make jello, it always dissolves.

Is there a way to make the gelatin completely dissolve?

PS: Amazon now has the 5-pound bags available.

Dissolving gelatin

The traditional way to dissolve gelatin is to sprinkle it over a small amount of cold water (or broth, or juice, whatever) and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then add boiling water/broth/juice, and stir. Works for me. But, of course, then you have to let it cool. :-/

Thanks!

Thanks! I thought it was hot water first. I'll try that. I like it kind of lukewarm anyway. As a kid I loved drinking the warm strawberry or cherry jello,

Gelatin

Is there still anyplace where I can order 5 pound boxes of gelatin?

5 pound boxes of gelatin

Since I just ordered one -- pick it up tomorrow -- there clearly is. I ordered mine through a local health food store; specifically it's the 5 pound bulk box of NOW brand beef gelatin. In my experience, most health food stores -- at least locally owned ones, I don't know about big chains like Whole Foods -- are awesome about special orders.

Looks like there are some suppliers on Amazon, too, but you'll have to pay shipping.

Gelatin

My husband enjoys immensely an organically raised, free range and free of antibiotics, pork hock slowly cooked in a large heavy cast iron Le Creuset pot for about 2 hours on a low heat to which I have added a tin of peeled Italian plum tomatoes, a dash of Turmeric and a puree of celery, broccoli, cabbage, parsnips, butternut squash, leeks and onions. I leave that on the cooker overnight with the lid still in place. By the morning the hock is embedded like stone in cement.. His early morning pick-me-up is a steaming hot cup of the gelatin , accompanied by a large bowl containing some of the reheated and by then liquid broth, mounted on a thick slice of rye bread with some of the meat from the hock and topped with one or two free range poached eggs. That gives him endless vigour until midday when he finishes off the hock but still has enough of the gelatine to make further warming drinks throughout the day. He is 6ft tall and weighs 140lbs. Me, I'm a vegetarian and I'm not disclosing my weight to anyone!

About those PUFA's

It's true that if you get too many PUFA's it may increase cancer risk - since they are very subject to oxidation, which changes them into truly unhealthy forms. The omega-6's that we get too many of on the SAD are pro-inflammatory - associated with a variety of chronic diseases. You can't aim for 100% PUFA free, as there is a small requirement for the essential fatty acids - probably less than 1% of calories. Our American diet has been so heavy in omega-6 PUFA that they have elbowed out the omega-3's that we get in such small quantities normally, since they follow the same enzyme pathways. Far better to cut way down on omega-6 fats than to push lots of fish oil. If you eat grass-fed animal products and good green leafy veggies and nuts you'll get what you need by way of essential fatty acids.

Gelatin

I have read your article above and understand that you need to take the gelatin at least 3 hours before bedtime. I took my first teaspoon last night and would like to continue through the day. I just want to make sure I do it right. Do I follow the regimen of 3 hours before and after eating to take during the day or doesn't it matter?

Thanks for your help!

Gelatin

I have read through your article about taking the gelatin 3 hours before bedtime. I have also seen that you take it during the day too! When taking it during the day, must you stick with the same regimen as at night, 3 hours after or before eating? I took my first teaspoon last night and do feel a bit different, just haven't quite figured out in what area feels the best. Would love to continue through the day, just want to get it right!

Thanks again for your help!

Taking Gelatin

To clarify, I don't take gelatin three hours before bedtime, I stop eating three hours before bedtime so I have an empty stomach at bedtime; I then take the gelatin right before going to bed.

I also take gelatin on arising, again on an empty stomach, since I've just gotten up and all. But if I take it during the day, I don't bother with waiting for an empty stomach, I just have some, or drink gelatin-laced lemonade, or have a Knox block. Most of the benefits of gelatin are not dependent on an empty stomach. The only one I know of that is -- or rather, may be -- is the hypothetical possibility of growth hormone release. But the rest -- improved stress tolerance, better joints, increased strength, all that stuff -- is not dependent on taking the gelatin on an empty stomach.

collagen capsules?

Hello,
This is my first post on here although I've been eating your way for a while :)

I am in the UK. Do you think this product would be any good, or does it need to be the dry powder (sorry - I'm a bit confused)
http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/product_detail.asp?pid=412&prodid=260

Hydrolized Collagen Capsules

Looks fine to me. Just going to take a lot of them to equal the quantity I'm getting, and they may cost you quite a bit. According to the USDA Nutrient Database , my 1 tablespoon of gelatin at bedtime weighs 7 grams, so you'd need 7 capsules to equal it. I started taking the gelatin because it was the cheap alternative, and I had it on hand.

But if you've got the budget, no reason not to take the capsules.

Thank you

Just a line to say thank you for taking the time and trouble to reply.

The recommended dose is 6 capsules daily, so that's almost the same as your tablespoon then.

Drink in Water Instead of With Water?

Would it be as effective if you stirred the gelatin in the water and drank it immediately, as opposed to swallowing it dry and then drinking water?

I have a strong gag reflex and don't know if I could swallow the dry gelatin, but I am really good at chugging back water rather quickly, even if there are floating bits in it (I have easily taken metamucil and other fibre supplements in water when some in my family can't stand that).

Let me know as I want to try this. I have stage 4 (advanced) osteoarthritis, and as I have been following your experiments and doing my own research of gelatin, I have found tons of info that it really works for arthritis - so for that reason alone I want to try it. Plus I have digestive and sleep issues, so overall I think it would be a good thing.

Mixing Gelatin With Water

Yes, mixing the gelatin with water -- or any carb-and-calorie free beverage -- is fine.

Interesting!

I'm going to have to try this. I've been suffering from fatigue issues, and we're targeting weakened mitochondria and slow thyroid. I've been taking d-ribose and adrenal support supplements to help, but I'm wondering if a boost from gelatin might be just the ticket!

Will be following the trials and comments on this one with great interest... Thanks as always!

Gelatin

Echoing the last comment - for the HGH benefit, does it need to be dry gelatin? Since reading about your experience, I've been taking a packet of the gelatin dissolved in cold water, with some hot water added. It's reasonably palatable that way. I can't see logically why dissolving it before taking it instead of after should matter, but don't know anything about it.

Also, what does taking it "on an empty stomach" mean? I get that it means not having eaten for a couple of hours, but what about eating after taking it? Is there a time period one should wait after taking it to keep the stomach empty?

I guess I've been eating a good bit of collogen lately without even knowing it. Last week I stewed a 10 lb bag of chicken legs, ate the gristly parts off the joints and had the broth in soup. Cooked the skins up into schmalz and gribenes (rendered chicken fat and fried skin), ate the gribenes with salt and put the schmalz in pate. Put commercial pork rinds in the meat loaf I've been eating. Got some homemade pork rinds from the local Latin Market. And fixed and ate some pork belly with skin. Yummm!

I took some gelatin yesterday morning and didn't notice any difference, though I did find myself fidgeting a lot last night as I watched tv. It worried me because I have Restless Legs Syndrome, and was afraid I'd be too busy twitching last night to sleep. Took some more before bed, and slept really well. Did not bounce out of bed with extra energy this morning, though.

I can't see any downside to taking the extra gelatin, so I'll keep it up and see what happens.

why dry gelatin?

Is there any reason why it needs to be dry (e.g, not dissolved) gelatin? Could you get the same results from double-strength 'knox blox', for example? I'm concerned about having leftover gelatin stuck to my teeth.

Grass-fed gelatin

Well, no miraculous results from my first trial yesterday ... I feel quite the same, and my weight today is identical to yesterday (the small apple and almond butter late at night didn't help with any loss, though!). I'm having some more dissolved in my hot coffee right now, however.

Meanwhile on the topic of healthier sources than Knox, I looked online and there's Great Lakes Gelatin which is listed as from grass-fed cows (they also have pork gelatin) and Bernard Jensen seems to be mostly grass-fed at least. They both have websites you can order from.

Jello water

I will definitely try this. When I was a kid, my family used "jello water" as a treatment for diarrhea. I remember getting it and tryed with my kids and it works. It may be the binding properties, I don't know. I wonder how it would be mixed in water or even sugar free drink mix. One thing, the packets will make it portable, I have a couple of trips coming up. Thanks for the tip!!

Wow

That all sounds pretty mind-blowing ... I needed to go to the store anyway today so I bought some Knox packets too. I'm going to give in a whirl!

If you're supposed to take the gelatin on an empty stomach, is the effect lessened by mixing it in food? The latter seems a more palatable option -- I'm thinking about Greek yogurt as a possibility.

Empty Stomach

Gelatin is nutritious whether you eat it on an empty stomach or with other foods. I've been taking it on an empty stomach at bedtime specifically on the hypothesis (entirely speculative) that it may work as a growth hormone releaser. But most of the benefits of gelatin are available regardless.

Sounds terrific!

Hi it makes lots of sense and cheap enough to try!!

Sorry for the Vegi's though but if they aren't pureists they can try it too.

I took shots of HGH many years ago. Did loose weight both on body and in my pocket book. The cost made me stop.

Thank you for experimenting for us!

Gelatin

Dana,, have you looked at the book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon? Lots of good stuff in there about what we are all missing by not making broth the "old fashioned way." If you haven't looked at it, it's worth a bit of time.

I shall try the Gelatin too. I am guilty of not making broth the way my mom did using marrow bones and other bones. Her broth was so rich and gelatinous.

Peat is totally against

Peat is totally against PUFA's though, to the point where his regime frowns on vegetables because of the PUFA content, so pork rinds and chicken wings are out. For me getting rid of wings has been the worst sacrifice. Also, if one wants to make the diet 100% PUFA free, one can eat almost nothing processed. PUFA even lurks in seasonings!

He recommends proteins come from lamb, beef, dairy products (he is big into dairy) and gelatine. He is a real scientific lateral thinker. It is just a pity that he doesn't write in plain English. :)

As to your insomnia, I am a lifelong insomniac. Was diagnosed celiac in 2009and within a month my insomnia was cured. I was eating hardly any gluten anyway, but even a trace will cause issues sadly. Have you ever tried going 100% gluten free? It might be worth a six week trial. Post number 9 here explains how to be 100% gluten free: http://forums.realthyroidhelp.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12054

Peat and PUFA's

Polyunsaturated fats are very reactive, so highly subject to damaging oxidation, and associated with increased cancer risk. It's definitely not good to have too many of them, but aiming for a 100% PUFA-free diet is not the goal, as your body has a need for the essential PUFA - it just doesn't need very many of them - something like 1-2% of total calories is all that is needed. That's why pushing lots of fish oil could be counterproductive. Good quality cod liver oil has the essential omega-3 fats as well as the important fat soluble vitamins A & D. By cutting way down on the omega-6 oils (corn,soybean,etc., which are highly processed and not that healthy), its easier to maintain a good balance of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fats, without getting excess amounts. It's the trans-fats made from PUFA that are really bad and should be avoided 100%, and are found in so many processed foods.

thoughts on gelatin

Interesting. Probably quite plausible. Worth investigating.

What struck me most was the observation that gelatin containing foods have virtually disappeared from our diets in the 20th century. I've noted that myself when I flip through old cookbooks and references to historical cooking methods, as well as in old books on caring for the sick and infirm (gelatin is easier for a stressed system to digest). Expensive, but fast cooking boneless cuts "with no waste" (but also no mineral-rich bones or gelatin and sometimes not even any flavor, in the case of boneless chicken breasts and boneless pork loin) have taken over the meat section. Even now that chicken legs have come back into favor, they are often sold boneless and skinless.

During my first decade+ out on my own, I readily took to buying only boneless cuts of meat, too, making the mistake that even though the per pound price was higher, I figured I was saving time, effort, and possibly money by not buying "waste". I also at that point tended to order boneless cuts in restaurants, too, as they were easier to eat than meat on the bone. Sheesh! I was so short-sighted back then, not just with food but in many areas. I read Prevention magazine regularly, Jane Brody's and Graham Kerr's low-fat nonsense, and so on, but really my nutrition and well-being took a turn for the worse because of it. By the time I wanted to raise a family, I was mostly over the low fat nonsense, but none-the-less, I wasn't yet into traditional/primal nutrition and cooking, and we experienced years of frustrating infertility. I'm not saying boneless meat was specifically impairing our fertility, but I do wonder if there were subtle (or not-so-subtle) nutrition inadequacies with our otherwise "healthy" diet that, combined with other factors, created just enough of a hindrance (we did manage to produce one wonderful child in the middle of 7 years of trying).

Sadly, even "good" restaurants are cutting back on making real broths, because the cost of labor and ingredients is too high (and factory-made stock is too low). Plus, customers just ahve no idea and don't even think about it. Instead, restaurant kitchens are using packaged soup bases that have offer little nourishment and probably contain lots of food lab flavoring ingredients. Ask when you order "homemade" or "made from scratch" soup at restaurants. Unless it's a high-end establishment, there's a good chance they are cutting corners here too. I distinctly remember asking if here was real broth in the "scratch" soup at the popular "cafeteria" chain Souplantation (the same corporation also runs Sweet Tomatoes). The manager didn't even know without looking it up. He stressed the fresh veggies they prepped for the soups, but he really had no clue that real broth is made from bones and scraps. He got out the binder that is used as a recipe reference for all the corporation's offerings and we went through the soups - they all used a prepared soup base. It's been years since I worked in a restaurant (waiting tables as a student) but I dare say that most corporate chain-type restaurants of just about any quality universally use a soup base instead of making their own stock. I'd be glad I am am wrong about that.

The Weston A. Price Foundation makes a great fuss (I mean that in the nicest way) over the virtues of bone broth, particularly noting it's benefit on healing the gut lining. They note that animal fats and gelatin "spare" protein, which means it helps to stretch a small amount of meat if supply or budget is limited (making soup a great value). Ever watch any of the Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nitghmare programs (the British version was far better than the American version, which was a bit over the top)? He always urged struggling restaurants to make some kind of a soup, stew, or braised meat dish because it was a great way to stretch bony budget cuts of meat into something yummy and appealing.

Some cultures (especially Asian) start breakfast with a simple cup of broth, often fish broth, which is made from fish scraps (heads, including the thyroid glands, skin, bones, fins). Some sort of broth made from bones and scraps is universal to nearly every cuisine around the world. And even with paleo cooking, without a stockpot as we would use, whole carcasses were cooked, bathing the meat in the juices from the bones and melted connective tissue, like a South Pacific luau or a spit roast. People ate right off the bones, and literally sucked and chewed on them (I know a few people who really go to town chewing on bones; it's amazing to see how much bone can actually be eaten, esp softer bones from poultry).

I'm really glad you mentioned oxtail, because ever since I started buying meat in bulk (a half bison each fall, custom cut and wrapped to my specifications) I've been in love with oxtail and all the bony/cartilaginous bits that you don't find in stores as much anymore (though high end restaurants turn them into masterpieces for big bucks). I hate to use them up all in one go, so I have them packaged into smaller packs so I can add them to anything I'm simmering that would benefit from the extra flavor and richness in the sauce. I also love, love, love, braised short ribs, which like oxtail and meaty neck bones, creates a silken, rich, powerfully flavorful sauce with the slow simmering. When I can get them from a couple of local sources who raise "backyard" chickens for meat, I add chicken feet to my chicken broth because it never fails to gel and the flavor is much richer. Supermarkets which cater to East Asian immigrants always stock chicken feet, so that's another source for those who have that asset.

Do you think there is a choking hazard with taking gelatin powder straight rather than first dissolving it? It brings to mind the definite choking hazard potential with soluble fiber capsules and powders like glucomannan or inulin without sufficient water, because the fiber swells and can create dangerous obstructions. Gelatin isn't fiber, but it is hydrophilic (attracts water). I suppose being at body temp after ingestion it can't stay solid, though. Just trying to think this stuff through thoroughly.

Another concern I have is the source of gelatin powder if I'm going to consider taking it as a daily supplement. I have a box of Knox unflavored gelatin in the cabinet, but I can't even remember the last time I used it - maybe it was an ingredient in an ice cream recipe (it does help keep homemade ice cream a bit softer when storing in the deep-freeze). I'm generally somewhat particular about avoiding factory-farmed products, esp for those things I ingest on a frequent basis. I don't want to support the factory farm practice, nor do I want to consume a concentration of potentially unhealthy, antibiotic, and growth hormone-laced animal products (far too common with CAFOs, unfortunately). Do you know any way around this? If I can find a "cleaner" source of gelatin powder than Knox, I'll share it.

Professional chefs often use a gelatin sheet or "leaf" rather than powder. Have you tried this?

Anyway, thanks for the thought-provoking post. I think there's a good chance you are on to something. I paused a bit when you mentioned Ray Peat, because he's a curious fellow. He gets a lot right, but he also gets a lot wrong. In this case, I think there is a lot supporting evidence that we could use some wholesome sources of gelatin in our diets.

Sources of gelatin

Great Lakes makes both a [bulk] gelatin from pork and a kosher one from beef, as well as something called "Collagen Hydrolysate" which looks great since it dissolves in cold water (https://www.greatlakesgelatin.com/consumer/CollagenFAQ.php).

Sign me up!

I will be adding gelatin to my diet asap!

gelatin

This is very interesting, I plan on giving it a try myself. Since it is flavorless it could be taken in a cup of hot green tea.

I'm totally going to hit the

I'm totally going to hit the grocery store for some plain gelatin today.

What do you think about the little sugar-free Jell-O cups? Might one of those do in a pinch? Or are there too many non-gelatin ingredients in those?

You take it how exactly?

Hi Dana! I'm very intrigued. I go to the cupboard and grab a packet of plain gelatin (Kroger brand, unflavored, unsweetened), dump the packet into a dish, and dig my spoon in just once, not too heaping. A normal spoon like you'd set on the dinner table along with a knife and fork. Had a full glass of water at the ready. I put the spoon into my mouth and dump the gelatin toward the front of my tongue. WHAT??? Immediately the powder by my tongue, lips, roof-of-the-mouth, teeth, etc. gets wet and gummy. I'm thinking "holy smokes, if I try to swallow this, I'll probably choke!" So I carefully sip bits of water to try to moisten and break up the powder. Eventually, I manage to get it all safely down after using my fingernail to scrape the remainder off my molars, the roof of my mouth, and from between my teeth (what an attractive visual that description is!). Lots of cautious drinks of water, and lots of vigorous swishing with the water.

So how exactly are you consuming this?

I'd love to experience your two effects on the first occasion - the four pounds, and the bathroom "if-you-know-what-mean-and-I-think-you-do..." moment, and the energy the next day. Wish me luck, and I'm sure hoping you'll elaborate on the options for consuming the gelatin.

Swallowing gelatin

I'm doing just the way you said. Gets a little gummy, but not so much I can't swallow it down. Hmm. Keep in mind I've been taking ridiculous quantities of supplements for decades; I'm an accomplished swallower.

Oh, and the bathroom moment only had to do with that big glass of water.

gelatin

I have never heard of this, but it makes sense. I'll try it!!!

I just made chicken broth

I just made chicken broth yesterday. No slow cooker though, just in a big pot until the water cooks down.

Plain gelatin with water? I have used it mixed with the little unsweetened packages of Koolaid and a few drops of liquid sweetener to make sugar free gelatin. I'm not sure I could eat it plain.

Plain gelatin

Keep in mind I'm not mixing it up into colorless, flavorless Jello. I'm just putting a spoonful of the powder on my tongue and swallowing it with water.

Gelatin

Years ago when I was trying to lose weight I used to add gelatin to a cup of bouillon to have with lunch. It is an excellent way to consume the gelatin. I will surely try this idea myself.