Referred to as the “glue” that holds our cells together, collagen is our main structural protein that makes up our connective tissues. Collagen works together with elastin (another structural protein) to maintain connective tissue flexibility or elasticity. Collagen is destroyed by inflammatory processes, hence the need to feed the body with collagen.
Gelatin was one of the first functional foods, used as a medical treatment in ancient China and, as found in bone broth, is the ideal way to increase and feed the collagen in the body. In a warm liquid form, it lends itself to easy digestion, and is generally well tolerated in people with gastrointestinal conditions and food sensitivities. Gelatin provides bone-building minerals in easily absorbable ways, preventing bone loss and reducing joint pain. It may also help with inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, IBS and autoimmune disorders.
As a result of soil degradation, the mineral content of our foods is reduced, and many of us have compromised absorption due to poor gut health. Yet minerals are critical to so many bodily functions and impact everything from our bones to our mood and our sleep. Supplying magnesium, potassium, silicon, sulfur and phosphorous, bone broth provides an excellent means of boosting your mineral intake, and thus help heal the digestive system and prevent insomnia, fatigue and anxiety.
Gelatin in bone broths contains amino acids arginine, glycine, glutamine and proline. These amino acids also have healing properties. For example, glycine helps detoxify the body of chemicals and acts as antioxidant; it is also a neurotransmitter that improves sleep and improves memory and performance. Proline helps regenerate cartilage and heal joints; it also reduces cellulite and makes skin softer.
One of the highly touted benefits of bone broth is its positive effect on digestive problems – particularly leaky gut. Collagen can help to improve the structure of the gut by restoring the stomach lining. This is an issue faced regularly by people suffering from IBS, inflammation, and celiac disease.
It promotes healthy skin and improves the skin’s elasticity, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, helps wounds heal faster, and protects against the signs of aging due to sun damage.
Increasing the amount of collagen in your body can also improve your joint health. Collagen can help rebuild tendons and ligaments which can lead to less inflammation and a decrease in joint pain.