We may associate gelatin with our favorite gummy snacks and Jello desserts, but new research suggests there may be a health benefit to adding more of this animal byproduct to your diet. According to the research, now published the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming a gelatin supplement, plus a burst of intensive exercise, can help build ligaments, tendons and bones.

The research found that gelatin supplement increased blood levels of amino acids and markers linked to collagen synthesis in human subjects and improved the mechanics of the engineered lab-grown ligaments. Those results led the team to determine that gelatin supplements may be helpful for athletes, elderly individuals, and others who may need more flexibility and joint support.

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"These data suggest that adding gelatin and vitamin C to an intermittent exercise program could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair," the researchers wrote.

For their study, the team analyzed both the effect of gelatin supplements on human volunteers, and on artificially grown ligaments to get a closer look at what was going occuring on inside of the body. A total of 8 healthy male volunteers drank a gelatin supplement enhanced with vitamin. Afterwards, the volunteers had their blood taken before and after performing short 5 minute intervals of high-impact exercises (skipping) for an hour .

The researchers believe their findings suggest that gelatin supplements may be useful prevent injury and enhance recovery.

Of course, one does not have to take supplement in order to get a more gelatin into their diet. Bone soups, which are made from boiling down either fish or animal bones, contain large amounts of gelatin as well, in addition to a variety of other important vitamins and nutrients. In addition to gelatin, bone broth also has collagen which also aids in skeletal support.

Source: Shaw G, Lee-Barthel A, Ross MLR, Wang B, Baar K. Vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition . 2016

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