You walk into the vitamin store to pick up a few supplements when you stop dead in your tracks. There literally are a billion different options to choose from. But why choose Gelatin?
Alright, so there might not be that many, but realistically, with so many variations, there might as well be.
When looking through these different options you’ll come across gelatin capsules.
What exactly are gelatin capsules and what are the best types to purchase?
When it comes to your health, knowing exactly what you put into your body is important. That is why we have all the answers you might need when it comes to this.
What Are Gelatin Capsules?
First of all, it is important to point out what gelatin capsules are not.
These supplements are not the “gel caps” you’ll hear referred to in commercials for medication. Gel capsules refer to the gel/liquid type capsule that instead of having a pill that breaks apart in the middle with the medication, it simply dissolves in your system after ingesting. A gel cap is what medication like Nyquil comes in.
A gelatin capsule though is completely different, so keep that in mind when shopping for the right gelatin capsules after going through this article.
The last thing you want is to think you’re purchasing gelatin supplements when you’re actually walking out of the store with cold medication.
Gelatin capsules are made from gelatin, the same material found in those delicious jiggly Jello snacks you had as a child (and maybe a few too many mixed with alcohol as a college-aged adult). Gelatin capsules usually are not going to come in the wacky Kool-Aid blue raspberry flavors, but instead, most are tasteless.
The nutritional value comes directly from that found in gelatin. It is important to not assume you can net the same kind of nutritional value from your childhood snack as you would from a gelatin supplement though.
The gelatin used within the powder pack is a bit different due to processing.
Plus, the amount of sugar used to make your snack reduces the nutritional value of the gelatin anyway.
So What Benefits Come from a Gelatin Supplement?
So you have a container full of gelatin supplements.
What is the point of taking something more commonly connected with baking than with the nutritional value?
You might actually be surprised as to the overall level of benefits attributed to this kind of a supplement.
For starters, a gelatin supplement helps boost your metabolism.
Some nutritionists may recommend adding a gelatin supplement to your vitamin regimen if you have a slow metabolism, but you can take advantage of these benefits regardless of your current metabolic rate.
By increasing your metabolism you’ll burn calories faster so this would be considered a “supplements to get ripped“, allowing you to cut down on your weight while improving your energy levels at the same time. If you constantly feel sleeping, this burst of energy will help combat it naturally (instead of relying on caffeine) and your thyroid health will improve as well.
The health benefits of gelatin supplements do not begin and end with a boost of your metabolic rate though.
Gelatin can help safeguard the cartilage within your joints. It increases joint strength and can reduce pain in the area. If you suffer from joint pain, such as knee pain after running or lifting, you may want to begin including this kind of supplement.
Pain in the knees after an athletic activity is often a sign of some deterioration within the cartridge, resulting in bones rubbing against one another, so any help is desired. In a 2013 edition of Health Canada, gelatin was reviewed as having the ability to improve joint strength while reducing pain most commonly felt if you suffer from osteoarthritis due to the dietary amino acids found within gelatin (Health Canada, 2013).
Along with improving the health of your joints, gelatin helps improve the density of your bones. It is important to begin boosting bone density at a younger age, so when you are older and your body begins to slow down its ability to repair damage, you have denser bones that will not break as easily.
Are you a body builder?
Do you want to build muscle and increase size?
Gelatin capsules may be able to assist with this. Gelatin is packed with amino acids, which can assist in the growth and development of muscle tissue while also aid in improving your overall muscle strength.
Additional health benefits include improving your skin tone and hair strength, assisting in the reduction of food allergies, improve your liver health and digestive health while also strengthening your nails.
All in all, gelatin capsules come with a large number of health benefits, which is why this particular kind of supplement has become especially popular in recent years (Capsules Depot, 2017).
What is Gelatin, Anyway?
When watching the dancing rectangle of cherry flavored desert wiggle and waggle on your spoon, have you ever wondered what gelatin actually is?
It’s actually kind of amazing how many foods are around with such little understanding (like what in the world is a grit?). Gelatin in its natural state is a colorless and flavorless “food.”
But what is the food made from?
If you are vegan you might want to cover your eyes and plug your ears, because you’re not going to be a fan. Gelatin is made from collagen. The collagen is broken down from a host of different animal body parts. It’s kind of like an extra processed, flavorless hot dog. There are so many varying animal parts found in gelatin you really don’t know what you’re eating. Plus, as collagen can be found in any animal, each recipe is a bit different from the next, so knowing the exact animals used for the production of gelatin is nearly impossible (at least on the consumer end).
There are so many varying animal parts found in gelatin you really don’t know what you’re eating. Plus, as collagen can be found in any animal, each recipe is a bit different from the next, so knowing the exact animals used for the production of gelatin is nearly impossible (at least on the consumer end).
Gelatin itself is a hydrolyzed form of collagen.
This happens with the protein fibrils are reduced into smaller peptides. Essentially, it all boils down to Gelatin is mostly protein (around 99% of gelatin is a dry weight protein). It does contain nine of the 18 amino acids naturally found in nature. Amino acids are important in the overall health of your muscles and your body’s ability to repair muscles after working out.
So while the supplement shouldn’t replace what you use pre and post workout, every little bit helps and these capsules can go a long way.
Diet Problems With Gelatin
Do you have a vegan friend who loves to tell you just how healthy their lifestyle is, and then you discover something they eat is loaded with animal byproducts?
If so, you’ll probably get a kick out of telling them about gelatin. If you are a vegan, you need to stop eating gelatin right away.
However, a bigger problem is not simply eating gelatin, it is not eating foods with gelatin in it.
Ice cream, including non-dairy ice cream, has gelatin in it. So while that sorbet doesn’t have any dairy in it, chances are high it still has gelatin in it. If you are vegan it is best to only buy ice cream that states it is vegan on the label. If it doesn’t say this much, chances are there is at the very least gelatin with it.
Gelatin is also found in everything from trifles to gummy bears, marshmallows, cream cheese, and margarine.
Some low and non-fat items contain gelatin in order to give it more of the consistency of the full-fat version (removing most of the fat thins the product and can alter the mouth feel of the food, which is why gelatin is added as it is tasteless but can thicken the food item).
Additionally, gelatin is often used in the filtration of both beer and wine. This kind of gelatin is derived from the swim bladders of fish. Guinness recently switched from this kind of a filtration system to one not consisting of fish as it received a considerable amount of pushback from vegan drinkers who assumed they had been consuming vegan-friendly beer for years (New York Post, 2015).
So let’s say you are vegan. You’re not going to be taking the gelatin supplement, but at least perhaps there is a different product you can use in your Jello or another food item in the future?
Or, maybe it is against your religion to eat any kind of food item that is made from cattle, pigs or fish. For religious purposes, some gelatins and gelatin supplements do indicate the kind of animals used within the product.
As collagen can be obtained from any animal, it is easy enough to process it from poultry or another kind of animal. As for the vegan issue, there are some substitutes made from seaweed, but in terms of the supplement itself, none of the substitutes come with the same kind of nutritional benefits of a gelatin supplement (I Quit Sugar, 2016).
Side Effects Of Gelatin?
Gelatin is a safe supplement and you likely will not experience any side effects while taking the gelatin capsules.
However, some individuals have reported feeling some heartburn, bloating and a heavy stomach feeling after ingesting. If you have an allergy to gelatin you need to avoid taking it. It is also probably best to avoid taking the supplement if you are pregnant or nursing.
It is also probably best to avoid taking the supplement if you are pregnant or nursing. Very little is known in connection with gelatin pregnancy, so it is better to play it safe and avoid the supplements until after you’re done breast feeding (Web MD, 2017).
Picking the Right Gelatin Capsules
Picking the right gelatin capsules doesn’t need to be difficult.
You just need to know what to look for on the labeling. There are plenty of great brands out there, so finding the brand that works for you, your dietary needs and your budget isn’t a problem.
For starters, consider any religious regulations you might have regarding the kind of animal byproduct you’re able to eat. When there are specific animals you’re not able to eat you need to find supplements where the animal kinds are either included, or it is listed as a kosher supplement.
A kosher supplement should work either you are of the Jewish or Islamic faith. There are many brands that do include the specific animals used, so just be on the look out for these supplements.
Ideally, you need to know the quality of the animals used in the production of the supplements.
In order words, were the animals grass fed and free range, or were they the mass produced cattle. Typically, if you’re looking at different supplements and one is substantially cheaper, it likely is not grass fed or free range and simply is a byproduct of remaining animal material left over following the animal being butchered.
You should also look at the kind of ingredients. Ideally, it should only include gelatin. If you are looking at an extended list of ingredients that include sugars you should probably look for something else. Gelatin capsules are made from gelatin almost exclusively.
The hardened gel layer on the outer edge may have an additional ingredient or two to help with the hardening.
Realistically though, you need to go with a product that has a short ingredients list and is natural grass fed and cage free (if that element is important to you).
Gelatin capsules pack surprising health benefits.
With the ability to improve joint health while boosting the appearance of your hair and nails, there are few other natural ingredients out there with these kinds of potential gains for the low price tag.
All of the benefits make gelatin capsules great whether you are into beauty and perfect skin or if you’re looking to pack on muscle at the gym.
By knowing more about gelatin capsules, what gelatin is made from and how to identify the best types of capsules, you won’t have a problem going to the store and picking out gel capsules that work for you and your dietary needs.
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