Researchers discovered the beneficial, healthy properties gelatin provided, and it wasn’t soon after this discovery that it became widely used in the medical field.
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What Is Medical Gelatin?
Scientists derived gelatin from a protein found in animal skin, tissues and bones through partial hydrolysis of collagen. Gelatin consists of 18 amino acids that provide various health benefits and essential nutrients. Mainly produced in capsule form, it’s a safe and reliable way to increase the quality of life.
The gelatin used in medicine has various functions. It can gel, bind to water, stabilize and adhere to other proteins or molecules.
Medical Gelatin Benefits
In addition to providing essential amino acids that the human body can’t produce, medical gelatin offers numerous benefits to the body.
- It gives the body extra protein to build healthy tissue.
- It can boost collagen, helping to promote healthy skin, hair and nails.
- The collagen found in gelatin can reduce joint pain from inflammation or arthritis.
- The glycine in gelatin can help people manage blood sugar levels.
- It may strengthen bones, helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Its high protein levels and low-calorie content can help promote healthy weight loss.
- Hydrolyzed gelatin can be used as a blood plasma substitute during medical emergencies.
Gelatin Medical Uses
The gelatin in medicine is incredibly beneficial, helping patients manage illnesses and improve their overall health. There are three main areas where medical gelatin plays a significant role in saving lives.
Gelatin first arrived on the medicine scene as an odorless, tasteless capsule to help patients take medicines that tasted or smelled acrid. Gelatin capsules allow manufacturers to encapsulate specific amounts of a drug within hot gelatin that then cools and hardens.
The patient can then swallow the gelatin pill without ever tasting the medicine, as the gelatin doesn’t dissolve until it hits the stomach due to its high melting point.
Today, pharmaceutical manufacturers frequently use gelatin as a binder to create soft gels, tablets and the two-piece capsule that self-locks.
Various medical devices use gelatin to bind ingredients, promote healthy blood levels and more.
Manufacturers use gelatin in vaccines to stabilize the ingredients and reduce the risk of side effects. Surgeons often use it as a hemostatic agent to prevent significant blood loss. Gelatin also protects the tissues during hip replacements, used in femoral plugs for elasticity.
As regenerative medicine continues to grow and evolve, gelatin has played a significant role as a biomaterial. It can facilitate cell growth and boost viability. And as a natural protein already found in the body, humans are less likely to reject gelatin.