That headline might sound just too good to be true, but new research has emerged and this is an exiting time in the world of sports nutrition. The surprising answer of what to eat to prevent injuries and accelerate healing in cartilage, ligaments and tendons is gelatin. (Many of us refer to gelatin as "Jello" which is a brand name for gelatin). Gelatin, which is made of hydrolyzed collagen, can actually prevent injuries and accelerate return to play. It can be found in our childhood food of "jello" and also in bone broth.
What in the world could be in gelatin that could be so beneficial? It is because gelatin contains a unique composition of specific amino acids; proline, hydroxyproline, glycine, and alanine, the exact amino acids found in collagen.
Amino Acids in Gelatin
---Alanine is protects muscles when there is heavy intense exercise .
---Proline helps the joints to be flexible but also helps to heal injured connective tissue and i s an important component in collagen.
---Glycine helps to repair damaged muscle fibers but also helps decrease inflammation in joints and increases cartilage formation.
Gelatin is being used by professional athletes as well as college athletic programs. Athletes are forever on a quest to find the magic bullet, but oftentimes they are wasting tons of money on shiny bottles full of unproven ingredients, found in potions, pills and powders.
What Does the Research Show
In a year long study with 147 people, half received 10 grams of collagen hydroxylate and half received a placebo. The results suggest that athletes consuming collagen were less likely to have pain and joint deteroration. (1)
In another study, 8 people either ingested 5 g or 15 g of gelatin. Subjects who took 15 grams of gelatin 1 hour before exercise showed an increased amount of collagen in their bloodstream and that resulted in an increase in collagen synthesis. In addition, engineered ligaments treated 5 or 15 grams of gelatin showed increased collagen content and improved mechanics. Best results for healing and prevention of injuries take place when the gelatin is consumed 1 hour before working out, using a small amount of vitamin C, and doing the right kind or workout for your sport. See the footnotes below for the "right" kind of exercise. Your sport determines which areas of the body you will target. Baseball players will may want to target the arms and shoulders while runners will want to target the legs.