A bit over a year ago, I began eating a packet of unflavored gelatin, daily, hoping it would alleviate pain from a shoulder condition. I’d read that gelatin is a form of collagen and is thought to be salutary for the joints. As it turned out, the condition I had (frozen shoulder) was not benefited by gelatin, but I was pleasantly surprised when after eating it every day for just a few weeks, I noticed that the lines on the side of my mouth (laugh lines) were less pronounced.
I’d been battling these lines for years. They first appeared in my early 30s. I would wake up after sleeping on one side of my face or the other, with a deep line along the nasolabial fold. I’d moisturize and exfoliate these lines and sometimes they would look better as the day went on, but over the years, they eventually became permanent.
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One morning, after I’d been taking the gelatin faithfully each day for several weeks, I happened to look closely at my face and on one side (the side I sleep on less often) the line was barely detectable. On the other side, which I sleep on all the time, the line was considerably faded. I began thinking about what I was doing differently. I wasn’t using a new moisturizer. I wasn’t changing my skin routine. The only thing that came to mind was the gelatin.
At this point, I knew nothing about the anti-aging benefits of gelatin, but I had read that gelatin was collagen derived from animals, and that it helped the muscles, joints, and tendons. I wondered if perhaps it helped the skin, too.
So, I began researching gelatin and its effect on the skin. I came across an article written by Dr. Frank Shallenberger who referenced a study done by researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology wherein they studied the effects of eating gelatin on skin that was repeatedly exposed to ultraviolet light.
They used three separate groups of hairless mice. The first group was not exposed to the ultraviolet light. The second group was exposed to the light repeatedly each day with the intensity increased over time. The third group received the same amount of exposure to the ultraviolet light as the second group. However, the third group was also given a portion of gelatin to eat each day. What they found was that the mice exposed to the light without the gelatin had a 53% average decrease in the collagen content of their skin, compared to the mice that received no ultraviolet light exposure at all. Astonishingly, the mice that were exposed to the light, but also fed gelatin had no collagen decrease at all. They actually had an average collagen increase of 17%.
The reason for this is because gelatin is made up of collagen. When gelatin is ingested it goes into your bloodstream and from there to your connective tissues, including your skin. It stimulates additional collagen production, which results in a reduction of lines and wrinkles. Having experienced it for myself, I can say with confidence that it works.
Several months after learning this, I happened to see a video on Oprah.com about Asian Beauty secrets. In the video, they spoke with a few Japanese women who ate collagen every day, because they were certain of its anti-aging benefits. One woman used a powder that looked like unflavored gelatin. She added it to her morning drink. Another woman ate beef tendons, because of the collagen contained in the meat. They also showed how “collagen” was an increasingly popular dish on Japanese menus. Here’s a link to that video:
The unflavored gelatin you can buy in your grocery store is equivalent to the “collagen” powder the Japanese women in the video use. It’s sold in the baked goods section of your grocery store and it comes in boxes of 4 packets or 30 packets. A box of 30 is under $10.
You can add it to plain yogurt or to a drink. It doesn’t add any flavor. To add it to yogurt, just pour the contents of the packet into a cup of yogurt and stir. You might notice the tiny granules, but it really doesn’t affect the texture too much. I prefer to add it to my coffee or green tea. When adding it to coffee, prepare the gelatin first, by pouring the contents of the packet into an empty cup. Then add a small amount of cold water– just enough to barely cover the gelatin powder. Mix the water and gelatin until the dry powder is dissolved. Then add the hot coffee and stir. You won’t notice the gelatin if you drink the coffee while it’s hot. If you let it cool, however, it will turn to jello!
If you plan to use it with tea made with a teabag, I recommend preparing the gelatin first in a small cup, separate from the one you’ll steep the tea in. This is because the teabag will absorb some of the gelatin. So, mix the gelatin first in a separate cup, steep your tea, discard the teabag and then add the prepared gelatin to the brewed tea. The gelatin will melt in the hot liquid and you won’t notice it. If you add the dry gelatin to the hot liquid, it doesn’t dissolve quite as well.
Gelatin is also easily added to smoothies. Put it in the blender with the other ingredients and mix.
Thus far, I’ve not seen or heard of any negative effects of eating gelatin, except for the remote possibility of contracting mad cow disease, since it is made from animal products, including beef. While this is a possibility, it’s unlikely, and I’ve been unable to find any cases where mad cow disease from gelatin has been reported.
I’ve been taking it daily for over a year and I’m very happy with the results. The deep lines on the sides of my mouth are gone. I’ve even been asked if I’ve had them filled, but I have not. When dermatologists fill those lines with injections, they’re adding collagen. When you eat or drink the collagen, you’re filling them from within.
This is a low cost alternative to collagen injections, which can run hundreds of dollars.
Try the gelatin for yourself. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
Wishing you great health and beauty!