Many people suffer from joint pain, whether from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, injury, uric acid crystals, years of normal wear and tear, and other causes. Known anti-inflammatories like turmeric, honey, garlic, and ginger can help ease the pain, but there’s another, less popular food that works well: gelatin.
Gelatin is the collagen extracted from animal bones, tendons, and skin. Vegan versions exist that are made from agar agar (cooked and pressed algae) or carrageenan (seaweed). While the vegan “gelatin” has the same texture for use in preparing other foods, it doesn’t have the same healing effects. Here we are talking about traditional gelatin, sourced from pigs or bovine animals.
Gelatin For Joint Pain
Gelatin has many health benefits , primarily due to its protein and collagen content.
These elements are required for healthy bones, which makes sense since they are extracted from bones and other meat scraps. Collagen is structural protein and the most abundant protein in the body, connecting everything together. It’s found in skin, bones, hair, and connective tissue. Gelatin contains six to twelve grams of protein per tablespoon (1).
See also: anti inflammatory foods
Our bodies absorb the collagen in gelatin, adding to our own supply.
Gelatin eases joint pain in two ways: by strengthening bones and boosting our own collagen levels to support connective tissue. Gelatin contains chondroitin, a chemical found in cartilage that promotes absorption of moisture into the fibers to maintain flexibility and mobility (2).
Studies of the effects of taking collagen for the treatment of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis have found that our own cartilage absorbs it, thereby lubricating and strengthening joint’s connective tissue, effectively easing pain (3).
Some time is required for the body to absorb the collagen from gelatin—it could take a few months. Given this, a study published in the journal Complementary Therapeutic Medicine in 2012 monitored subjects’ joint pain levels at three and six months after beginning collagen supplementation. There wasn’t a difference between the control group and the group that took a collagen supplement after three months.
After six months, however, the difference between the groups was significant. There was a measurable reduction of pain in joints in the back, arms, and legs in the collagen group versus the control group (4).
Gelatin is clear, tasteless, and odorless, which makes it marvelous to mix with other ingredients in a variety of ways. The sugar- and chemical-laden version that comes in convenient, colorful little boxes is not the best source of gelatin. Organic, unflavored gelatin will give you all the benefits without that other junk.
Below is a simple recipe that combines gelatin with other foods to make a tasty, nutritious, and fun treat. The gelatin will relieve joint pain; seeds contain fiber, healthy fats, and minerals for bone support; raisins provide iron; and honey is a sweet anti-inflammatory.
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 2 tablespoons organic unflavored gelatin
- 8 teaspoons flaxseeds
- 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup honey
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly until well blended. Store in a glass jar at room temperature.
- One teaspoon twice a day, before breakfast and lunch.