Medical and nutritional properties
Although gelatin is 98-99% protein by dry weight, it has less nutritional value than many other protein sources. Gelatin is unusually high in the non-essential amino acids glycine and proline (i.e., those produced by the human body), while lacking certain essential amino acids (i.e., those not produced by the human body). It contains no tryptophan and is deficient in isoleucine, threonine, and methionine.
The approximate amino acid composition of gelatin is:
glycine 21%, proline 12%, hydroxyproline 12%, glutamic acid 10%, alanine 9%, arginine 8%, aspartic acid 6%, lysine 4%, serine 4%, leucine 3%, valine 2%, phenylalanine 2%, threonine 2%, isoleucine 1%, hydroxylysine 1%, methionine and histidine <1% and tyrosine <0.5%. These values vary, especially the minor constituents, depending on the source of the raw material and processing technique.
Several Russian researchers offer the following opinion regarding certain peptides found in gelatin: "gelatin peptides reinforce resistance of the stomach mucous tunic to ethanol and stress action, decreasing the ulcer area by twice."
Gelatin is also a topical haemostatic. A piece of gelatin sponge of appropriate size is applied on bleeding wound, pressed for some time and tied in bandage. Haemostatic action is based on platelets damage at the contact of blood with gelatin, which activates the coagulation cascade. Gelatin also causes a tamponading effect - blood flow stoppage into a blood vessel by a constriction of the vessel by an outside force.
Gelatin has also been claimed to promote general joint health. A study at Ball State University sponsored by Nabisco, the former parent company of Knox gelatin, found that gelatin supplementation relieved knee joint pain and stiffness in athletes.