But what of the other herbal supplements, proteins, and isolated plant compounds for acne lining supplement store shelves? Few of them are magic pills as claimed, but some have strong acne powers that can function as extra weapons.
…but there’s one extra weapon for acne which I believe stands above them all. Grass-fed gelatin.
Many acne patients are reporting great results with gelatin, but after viewing shocking study after shocking study, I don’t believe those stories do justice to this cheap supplement’s awesome acne powers. Gelatin may be as close to a silver bullet against acne as you can get.
What is gelatin?
These days the average human is still getting adequate amounts of dietary protein. Fried chicken is more popular than ever, steak sales are through the roof, turkeys are less likely to vote for Christmas than ever. There are big movements in health and fitness circles for high protein diets in order to accelerate weight loss (which can work)…
…but the problem is that we don’t eat a broad enough variety of protein. Back in our hunter gatherer tribal era, we ate the whole body of an animal, with generous helpings of connective tissues and organ meats such as kidneys and liver. We even ground the bones down and extracted and ate their tissues.
Our food supplies were unreliable in the Palaeolithic era, so we ate whatever scraggly morsels of meat we could find. Hence, we also ate a very wide variety of specific amino acids.
Nowadays most of the meat we eat, like steak and chicken breast, is muscle meat. Hence, we’re consuming too much of the amino acids cysteine and tryptophan, at the expense of two rarer ones, proline and glycine.
Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that your liver manufactures it in times of dire scarcity. However, your liver only produces inadequate amounts, just enough glycine to sustain you until you get your next fix of animal joints. The problem is that many of us never do. It’s estimated that we throw away 8-10 grams of glycine a day.
You can eat lamb liver or cow heart or ox tongue, or you could try the paleo movement’s favourite dish, bone broth, a soup of bones and animal joints. But they’re inconvenient to say the least. Is there a way to get your glycine requirements without wasting valuable time or putting your taste buds through a virtual war every mealtime?
The answer is yes – you can take gelatin.
Gelatin is little more than a paste made from highly condensed animal joints and connective tissues. But it’s nutritional profile, and powers for acne, are immense. Grass-fed gelatin is the world’s best source of glycine –containing over 20 grams per 100 grams. It’s also the best source of proline, with over 10 grams per 100 grams.
Unsweetened gelatin is easily scooped and tastes of nothing. It’s the easiest way to get these overlooked amino acids.
Thanks to that fact, gelatin is also a bona fide miracle supplement for acne patients. I’ve done a lot of research on gelatin and its powers, to say the least, are outstanding for acne. Here’s what taking gelatin can do for your skin.
Gelatin’s famous power – increasing collagen production
Increasing the structural protein collagen is why most acne patients first turn to gelatin. Basically, collagen is the protein that forms the scaffolding in your skin – a matrix around which all other cells congregate.
Increasing collagen is terrific for acne since it can 1) accelerate the healing of dead or dying acne, 2) strengthen your skin against inflammation and free radical damage, and 3) improve the general tone and hydration of your skin.
Collagen is the main protein in your skin alongside keratin. It’s also found in your body in your joints, connective tissues, and the lining of your organs. The same is true for animals…
…and that means that the condensed animal versions of those body parts, AKA gelatin, is high in the exact amino acids you need to make collagen.
Your body forms collagen from the amino acids glycine and proline, along with some vitamin C to control the manufacturing process. With insufficient glycine levels, as many of us have, your collagen production will also be insufficient, and your skin will suffer.
Since gelatin is 27% glycine by weight, it boosts collagen superbly and works wonders on all matters of skin tone, skin hydration, acne etc. Meanwhile, gelatin is 15% proline by weight, and proline is known for its power to prevent the loss of existing collagen in the skin.
Gelatin itself has been demonstrated to work wonders on collagen levels. One study from 2009 examined the effects of a gelatin supplement on woman over 40. The women consumed either 5 or 10 grams of gelatin for 7 weeks, and their skin quality was examined.
The results were outstanding. At the three week mark, 41 percent of women taking 5 grams of gelatin reported that their skin had improved. 62 percent of women taking 10 grams of gelatin every day reported improved skin.
After 7 weeks, 74 percent of women taking 5 grams of gelatin enjoyed skin improvements and 81 percent of women taking 10 grams had much clearer, firmer skin.
Next we have a study by the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology which examined the much touted anti-aging effects of gelatin, in mice. Mice were divided into two groups: one which took gelatin and one which took nothing.
Mice who didn’t eat gelatin lost 53 percent of the collagen in their skin when exposed to UV radiation. Meanwhile, the mice that did eat gelatin had a large increase in collagen levels, by 17 percent when exposed to UV light. The researchers thus concluded that the inclusion of gelatin in the diet is terrific for skin ailments, and may be able to counteract the damaging effects of UV rays on the skin.
What that means is that glycine can defend against free radical damage to your acne from prolonged sunlight exposure. Hence gelatin can do the same and by extension, it can also increase your vitamin D levels (which are critical for acne) since you can enjoy more sun exposure without inflaming your acne.
That’s on top of gelatin’s other direct skin-improving powers, such as slowing aging. Aging is caused by many factors, from free radical damage to cells to shortening of the telomeres in your genes, but one widely accepted factor is a persistent drop in collagen that begins after age 25.
Gelatin can also improve skin hydration and smoothness, and hence make a chemical moisturiser totally unnecessary. I talked in this article about how moisturisers always made my acne blotchy and inflamed, but I managed to naturally improve my skin tone and smoothness simply by increasing collagen production through a megadose of vitamin C. You can achieve the exact same thing by taking gelatin.
Gelatin’s greatest power – increasing glutathione levels
Gelatin’s ability to improve the appearance of your skin is strong, but it can also prevent your acne from forming in the first place. One little known power of gelatin is providing the building blocks for the production of the all-important acne molecule glutathione.
Glutathione is the single most abundant antioxidant which your body manufactures itself. As we discussed in this article, it is just as critical for preventing acne as vitamin E or vitamin C. Glutathione can cut off chains of free radicals on the skin, and hoover up free radicals throughout your body and prevent them from depleting other important acne antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin A.
It’s also a potent detoxifying agent; glutathione is needed to bind with heavy metals like mercury and remove them from the bloodstream. Precisely thanks to those detoxifying powers, the average man has lower glutathione levels than ever. Chemicals, pesticides, carcinogenic herbicides like glyphosate, and heavy metals like arsenic are accumulating in our environment at an alarming rate and glutathione is depleted in the detoxification of roughly 50% of them.
Acne patients are especially deficient; this study found that acne prone skin contains 20% less glutathione than average. This study included the following quote: “We conclude that a decline in antioxidative activity led by a decrease in glutathione quantity may play an important role in pathogenesis of acne vulgaris”. It’s critical for acne to increase your glutathione production…
…and that’s exactly what grass-fed gelatin can do. The mechanism needs little explanation: all glutathione is manufactured from three amino acids, l-cysteine, l-glutamine, and glycine. Gelatin is the number one source of glycine in the human diet.
Without dietary glycine, you can only make the bare minimum of glutathione from the scarce glycine your liver manufactures itself.
Another commonly prescribed food for increasing glutathione is whey protein, which contains both glycine and l-glutamine. However, many acne patients are sensitive to the dairy compounds and IGF-1 hormones in milk products, as I cover in my eBook Annihilate Your Acne. It’s a similar story with raw milk, and raw eggs aren’t as hyper concentrated in glycine as gelatin is.
Gelatin is possibly the ultimate weapon for increasing acne antioxidant production, and that makes it a near miracle supplement for acne. Almost all acne patients focus on the collagen increase but in my reckoning, increasing glutathione is easily gelatin’s greatest acne power.
Gelatin enhances sleep quality
In the nervous system, glycine acts as a strong inhibitory neurotransmitter. The stress hormone cortisol can act on certain transmitters that keep you awake, but the amino acid glycine diverts cortisol to more therapeutic uses.
Glycine is able to cross the brain blood barrier, and once in the brain, it alters neurotransmitters by stimulating the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDA). This stimulation of the NMDA receptor is believed to have two key effects on sleep: inhibiting muscle activity during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and lowering core body temperature enough to facilitate sleep in the first place.
Furthermore, oral supplementation of glycine can increase serotonin levels, which provides the building blocks of the sleep hormone melatonin and promotes a normal circadian rhythm (the day/night awake cycle built into all animals). As for the racing thoughts that keep many stressed people awake, one study found that a mere pinch of glycine powder under the tongue can give immediate relief from non-stop over-thinking.
Studies on glycine and sleep quality have been absolutely terrific. This study found that taking 3 grams of glycine before bed substantially lowered sleep-onset time. Sleep quality was also substantially improved.
Then there’s this randomised double blind study which fed sleep deprived volunteers either 3 grams of glycine before bed or a placebo. Their sleep quality was examined, and those taking glycine reported improvements in several areas which the scientists dubbed “fatigue”, “liveliness and peppiness”, and “clear-headedness”. They concluded that “these results suggest that glycine produced a good subjective feeling after awakening from sleep”.
That suggests that the reparative processes of sleep were substantially more efficient, which is thus great news for the reparative processes that help acne to heal. That’s not all; glycine can relieve virtually all the unpleasant symptoms of sleep deprivation, from eye strain to morning fatigue to feelings of unease and difficulty concentrating, and can improve memory recognition too.
Glycine also improves other aspects of mental functioning. It’s been tested positively as a treatment for schizophrenia. Promoting serotonin release can treat depression, and glycine can even promote proper neurotransmitter functioning in addicts and prevent them from relapsing.
If glycine can help sleep so well then gelatin will easily do the same. Why’s this all such good news for acne patients? Sleep deprivation is a massive cause of acne.
Your skin looks grey and tired after a night tossing and turning with no sleep and your acne suffers similarly. 30% of the US population suffers from insomnia. We discussed in this article how sleep deprivation causes oily skin and acne by increasing insulin resistance. We discussed in my eBook how sleep affects acne in a variety of other ways, and we discussed many rarely known secrets for sleeping better.
Gelatin is an excellent start for beating sleep deprivation and its acne. You never know, a glycine deficiency could be the source of all your sleep difficulties.
Gelatin may be an anti-inflammatory juggernaut
Here’s a piece of history for you: gelatin was recommended as far back as 1905 by Erich Cohn of Medical Polyclinic of the University of Bonn for treating “intestinal catarrh”–an inflammation of the mucus membrane now known as irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, gelatin has had a long history of healing health problems associated with inflammation in the digestive system.
Gelatin can line the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract, shielding it from inflammatory chemicals and any overgrowths of harmful bacteria and yeasts like candida. Scientists have stated that glycine has undiscovered powers to lower inflammation. How does reduced digestive inflammation help acne? By cutting the risk of food allergies, improving acne nutrient absorption, and preventing leaky gut syndrome.
Today, endless studies show that gelatin can treat intestinal inflammation:
- Scientists in this study concluded that “glycine protects mammalian intestine against oxidative damage” and said that glycine was protective against inflammatory bowel disease, which is notoriously linked to acne.
- Glycine was again found to promote gut health (study). “The present results demonstrate that glycine selectively protects the small intestine during subacute endotoxemia, even after manifestation of a severe systemic impairment. Because glycine is non-toxic at low doses, an administration of a moderate glycine dose (50-100 mg/kg) may be suitable to protect from intestinal damage during sepsis.”
- This study found that eating more glycine could restore the nutrient absorbing powers of the small intestine in rats whose guts had been damaged with a high-fructose diet.
- This review found that glycine had a protective effect on intestinal epithelial cells, which are critical for absorbing important acne nutrients and preventing inflammatory compounds from entering your bloodstream.
That’s not all; gelatin is able to lower acne-causing inflammation across your entire body. If you haven’t read this article yet, then I strongly advise you to do so. Basically, chronic inflammation is a state where your immune system is massively overactive and damages tissues all over your body, including your face. Chronic inflammation is the number one cause of acne.
A seemingly never-ending stream of studies has found that the glycine in gelatin has a direct controlling effect on the human immune system.
- This study found that glycine could control sepsis, adult respiratory distress syndrome, arthritis, and many other diseases related to inflammation and acne.
- A combination of glycine and lactoferrin had a noticeable anti-inflammatory effect on skin inflammation (which is excellent news), with a decrease in the acne-triggering inflammatory chemical TNF-a (study). The scientists concluded that glycine could be a new option for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases (like acne).
- Cysteine, histidine and glycine all significantly inhibited NF-KappaB, a master molecule that activates the release of many pro-inflammatory chemicals behind acne. Glycine also inhibited the inflammatory chemical interleukin-6, which is notably higher in acne-prone skin (study).
- This review concluded that “multiple protective effects make glycine a promising treatment strategy for inflammatory diseases”. They began by saying “in recent years, evidence has mounted in favour of the anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and cytoprotective effects of the simplest amino acid L-glycine”.
How does glycine achieve these powers? Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but in line with the study on NF-KappaB, they believe that glycine acts directly on inflammatory cells such as macrophages to suppress activation of transcription factors and the formation of inflammatory cytokines in the first place.
What’s critical is that you buy grass-fed gelatin, because otherwise this anti-inflammatory supplement can quickly to turn to a pro-inflammatory bombshell.
As we discussed earlier, gelatin is derived from animal cartilage. It can be many common livestock; cow hooves, pig joints, chicken ligaments, but most gelatin is derived from cow connective tissues. Cows that are slaughtered for meat after a life of being milked for dairy present their farmers with lots of left over tissues – so to make some extra money that’s what ends up in gelatin much of the time…
…but the majority of the cows in the USA are kept in CAFOs, Confined Animal Feeding Operations. They get pumped with bovine growth hormone to make them grow at a ridiculously fast pace. They get injected with antibiotics to prevent the diseases which are very common in such a confined and unhygienic space.
Worse, they’re a fed a diet of cheap soybeans and corn, the two worst crops for contamination with herbicides, especially glyphosate. That’s an herbicide which is a nightmare when it comes to acne inflammation.
Corn and soybeans make the cow’s tissues far too high in omega 6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory in excess, and they also make the cow’s stomach too acidic and decrease production of the acne-clearing conjugated linoleic acid. Not to mention that one “nutritious staple” in a CAFO cow’s diet is gummy bears, thanks to a select few idiotic farmers…
All that inflammatory acne-triggering goop gets transferred to the cheap gelatin you eat. Jell-O is one example; it’s got the proteins, but also all the above contaminants plus flavour enhancers, preservatives, added sugar, you name it.
So what you need for optimal effects on acne is organic, grass-fed gelatin. Grass-fed guarantees the most nutritious diet free from inflammatory agrochemicals (pesticides, herbicides and fungicides), and organic guarantees that the cows enjoy a life spent freely roaming around fields. It’s the healthiest for the cow and since the nutrition a cow eats ends up in its flesh, it’s healthiest for you and your acne too.
By far the best gelatin product on the market is this Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin. It’s grass-fed and organic, and derived from cows. It’s one of the greatest supplements any acne patient can take, coming second only to essential acne nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin E and zinc.
Gelatin has been used by traditional hunter gatherer societies for millennia, and all of us feasted on the connective tissues and joints gelatin is derived from back in the Palaeolithic era. But only now are the truly extraordinary benefits coming to light, for health and especially for acne.
Then you’ve got sleep deprivation, a significant indirect cause of acne, which gelatin helps with as well. Increasing collagen is the famous effect, and that can improve your general skin tone, hydration and smoothness.
Gelatin also has no side effects unless you take truly massive quantities of the stuff and thus overdose on the amino acids. Again, my recommended product is this Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin. You’ll do especially well if you never eat organ meats or bone broth, and that’s most people except diehard Paleo enthusiasts.
Give gelatin a go and you might discover the much heralded miracle cure for acne that everyone has been looking for.
Thanks for reading!