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Can Gelatin Help Prevent Injury in Athletes?

In a very small study, the use of gelatin supplements in combination with other nutrients may help tissue repair.


Gelatin is a protein made from animal products. It contains collagen, one of the materials found in cartilage and bone. Supplements have been promoted for a wide variety of uses – from weight loss to reversing hair loss – but it does seem most beneficial for strengthening bones and joints, especially in athletes.

In a new study from UC Davis College of Biological Sciences and the Australian Institute of Sport, researchers enrolled eight young healthy men to take gelatin supplements enhanced with vitamin C. The team found that the supplement increased amino acids in the blood that could help build collagen in tendons, ligaments, and bones.

"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.

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Per Medline Plus, gelatin as a supplement is likely safe for most people in doses up to 10 grams per day for 6 months. However, keep in mind that because the supplement is from an animal source, choosing your supplement wisely is important to protect you from purchasing a product from someone who may use unsafe manufacturing practices.

Gelatin can also cause an unpleasant taste, sensation of heaviness in the stomach/bloating, and heartburn. Also, note the source of the protein prior to consuming if you have food allergies.

Journal Reference:
G. Shaw, A. Lee-Barthel, M. L. Ross, B. Wang, K. Baar. Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2016; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.138594

Photo Credit:
By Danielle dk - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons