Gelatin: The Wrinkle Smoother

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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 that it’s thought to be salutary for the joints. As it turned out, the condition I had (frozen shoulder) was not benefited by gelatin, but after eating it daily for just a few weeks, I noticed that my laugh lines were less pronounced.

I’d been battling these lines for years. They first appeared in my early 30s. After sleeping on one side of my face or the other, a deep line along the nasolabial fold would appear. Moisturizing and exfoliating these lines would help in the short term, but over the years, they became permanent.

One morning, after I’d been taking the gelatin faithfully for several weeks, I noticed that on one side, the line was barely detectable. On the other side, which I sleep on more frequently, the line was considerably less pronounced. What I was doing differently? It wasn’t a new moisturizer. It wasn’t a change in my skin care routine. The only thing that came to mind was the gelatin.

At this point, the anti-aging benefits of gelatin were unknown to me, but I’d read that gelatin was collagen derived from animals, and that it helped the muscles, joints and tendons. Perhaps it helps the skin too, I thought.

So, I began researching gelatin and its effect on the skin. An enlightening article written by Dr. Frank Shallenberger referenced a study done by researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology wherein they observed 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. Once introduced to your tissues, it stimulates additional collagen production, which results in a reduction of lines and wrinkles. I would describe it something like the way plants grow and proliferate. When you plant a grass seed, it not only grows, it creates more grass-it spreads. I suspect the collagen proliferates in a similar way. We introduce it (plant the seed) and that, in turn, inspires additional creation of collagen. However it happens, having experienced it, I can assure you, it works.

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 all the dry powder is wet. 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 with excellent results. The deep lines on the sides of my mouth are gone. I’ve even been asked if I’ve had them filled externally. When a dermatologist fills those lines with injections, they’re often adding collagen or something like it. When you eat or drink the collagen, you’re filling them from within. So it’s a low cost alternative to collagen injections, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

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