5 Reasons Why Nearly Everyone (Even Vegetarians) Should Eat Gelatin


This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for ChrisKresser.com. You can learn more about Laura by checking out her blog or visiting her on Facebook.

There are so many amazing benefits that can come from eating gelatin, including improvements in digestive, skin, and mental health. Plus, gelatin can be used to make a yummy, all-natural dessert that’s actually good for us.

So why aren’t we eating more of it?

Traditional diets are typically much higher in gelatin than our modern diets, because these cultures wisely practiced nose-to-tail eating and consumed parts of the animal that are high in gelatin, such as skin, tendons, and other gelatinous cuts of meat.

We’ve lost the practice of whole-animal eating, and vegetarians typically don’t eat many (or any!) animal products. This means that we’re eating a lot less gelatin than our ancestors, if any at all. The following five reasons will explain why nearly everyone – even vegetarians – should be eating gelatin on a regular basis!

Whether you eat meat or not, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting some gelatin in your diet. Here’s why!

1. Gelatin balances out your meat intake.

Muscle meats and eggs are high in methionine, an amino acid that raises homocysteine levels in the blood and increases our need for homocysteine-neutralizing nutrients like vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline.

We don’t want high homocysteine in our blood because homocysteine is a significant risk factor for serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and fractures. (This might even explain why researchers sometimes find a correlation between high meat intake and various diseases.)

Those eating lots of animal protein need adequate glycine to balance out the methionine from meat, and you’ll get that from gelatin. For more information, check out Denise Minger’s awesome presentation, where she discusses this very issue.

2. Gelatin heals your gut.

Gelatin can also improve gut integrity and digestive strength by enhancing gastric acid secretion and restoring a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach; low stomach acid and an impaired gut barrier are two common digestive problems in our modern society. Gelatin also absorbs water and helps keep fluid in the digestive tract, promoting good intestinal transit and healthy bowel movements.

Gelatin-rich soups and broths are also one of the key components of the GAPS diet, which has been designed to heal the gut and promote healthy digestion. And healthy intestinal cells prevent leaky gut, which is often at the root of many food intolerances, allergies, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune diseases.

3. Gelatin makes your skin healthy and beautiful.

Gelatin is a known promotor of skin health. Gelatin provides glycine and proline, two amino acids that are used in the production of collagen. Collagen is one of the primary structural elements of skin, so providing the building blocks for this important protein can ensure that your body is able to create enough of it.

A diet rich in gelatin may also protect against the aging effects of sunlight, preventing wrinkles in the future. So if you eat gelatin, you’ll feel less guilty about getting regular, unprotected sun exposure to boost your vitamin D, because your skin will be more resilient to damage! (Yay!)

4. Gelatin protects your joints.

Body builders have been using gelatin for decades to help improve joint health and reduce inflammation. And research shows that athletes who took a hydrolyzed collagen supplement experienced less pain in their joints, which could help improve performance for athletes and competitive fitness buffs. If you exercise a lot, eating gelatin can help keep your joints healthy and pain-free.

Also, if you have inflammatory joint or bone diseases like arthritis or osteoporosis, getting adequate gelatin can potentially help you manage inflammation and pain in your joints, and build stronger bones.

5. Gelatin helps you sleep.

Glycine from gelatin has been found to help with sleep. One study found that 3 grams of glycine given to subjects before bedtime produced measurable improvements in sleep quality. Many of my clients swear by gelatin as an effective sleep aid without bothersome side effects, in contrast to medications and even natural sleep aids like melatonin, which can sometimes cause grogginess.

Glycine is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which can decrease anxiety and promote mental calmness. This is because glycine antagonizes norepinephrine, a stress hormone which causes feelings of anxiety and panic. Gelatin can thus help keep you calm and sleeping through the night.

How to Eat More Gelatin

The traditional way to get gelatin is from skin, gelatinous meats, and bone broths. Those who eat a Paleo or ancestral diet can easily include these foods, but vegetarians will find it difficult to get gelatin from a largely plant-based diet. Gelatin is only found in animal foods that come from the body of the animal itself.

For vegetarians (and even omnivores!) I recommend getting a high-quality gelatin powder to add to food or to create yummy, healthy gelatinous desserts. Gelatin is somewhat more environmentally-friendly than lean meat because it uses parts of the animal that might not be used otherwise. And it’s much easier to digest than normal muscle meat, making it a good gateway food for vegetarians branching out into a more ancestral diet. (And in case you think vegetarians aren’t ever using any parts of the animal, think again.)

My favorite brand of gelatin is Great Lakes, which comes from grass-fed animals. It’s available in both hydrolyzed and whole form; each type has its own health benefits.

Hydrolyzed means the protein is broken into individual amino acids, making them easier to absorb. Use this type to improve skin and joint health or get better sleep. Hydrolyzed gelatin can be mixed into any type of liquid, including cold liquids, so it can be added to cold smoothies or juices easily. It also is great as a real food protein powder.

Whole protein gelatin is better for improving gut health. It helps carry fluid through the intestines, and can even coat the lining of the digestive tract as a soothing and protective layer. This is the type used to make gummies or jello snacks, and must be mixed into warm liquids.

Fish gelatin is available for those who prefer not to consume land animals.

One population who may need to be careful about consuming gelatin or gelatin powders are those with histamine intolerance; some people report a histamine reaction to these foods and thus gelatin may not be appropriate for those with severe intolerances.

Have I convinced you to eat more gelatin? Are you a vegetarian that uses gelatin? Share your story in the comments below!

Note: Chris Kresser has not reviewed this post and is not responsible or liable for any errors in content. This is general nutrition information only and should not be used in the place of medical advice for the prevention or treatment of any diagnosed condition.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Michele says

    my toddler loves eating grass-fed beef, would you recommend gelatin for kids to balance their meat intake as well?

  2. Amberly says

    Thank you for this article. This is very interesting! I have a question, though. I started GAPS about a month ago and immediately developed profuse, watery diarrhea. Through trial and error, I determined it was being caused by gelatin (whether from Great Lakes collagen or gelatin, or the gelatin produced my my soups made with organic chickens and chicken feet). If I ate it with yogurt or lots of meat, it would calm down a bit. If I ate it on its own or with some fat or just an egg yolk, it was really bad. What could be causing this? Should I continue the collagen/gelatin and just deal with the diarrhea until I heal? Or is this a sign that the gelatin is bad for me and try to heal my leaky gut in another way (ie l-glutamine, which does not seem to be producing the same problems.)

    • Sharon says

      Hi, I suffered the same symptoms on gaps. I also tried gaps for leaky gut , it only seemed to get make things worse.

    • Vegan says

      Problem is that most people that are vegetarian/ vegan do it for ethical reasons. Health benefits are a bonus. Animals still have to suffer for gelatine so that’s still a no for many of us.

  3. Lydia says

    I heard about the benefits of gelatin a couple of years ago.
    Last autumn I came across the advice again, and I started eating a small amount of it in foods (sometimes making a homemade jello with a bit of fruit juice and water, sometimes making a pannacotta with organic milk, or just putting it into liquid and drinking it before it gelled), but within a couple of weeks, it began to give me very bad acid reflux, which I’d never had before in my life.
    Nothing else in my diet or activities had changed. I didn’t think the acid reflux was caused by the gelatin at first, so it took me about a week to stop ingesting the gelatin, while I was eliminating things left and right.
    I went to the doctor and was diagnosed as having GERD and told to take proton pump inhibitors (with no discussion of their side effects) for an indeterminate amount of time.
    I researched that idea, and decided not to take my doctor’s advice, so I didn’t fill the prescription.
    I have tried a LOT of things to relieve the acid reflux, every reasonable tip that one can find online.
    The acid reflux still comes and goes, but this spring it has been getting better.
    I have since read online some people’s stories that gelatin can upset the stomach and cause these issues. I am not sure if my adverse reaction to gelatin is a histamine problem, or what.
    Two weeks ago, after I’d been doing pretty well and not having much GERD at all, I made some gelatin dishes for some of my older relatives at their request, and I decided to have a serving of it, to see if it caused me any problems. Well, that half-cup serving caused trouble immediately (I honestly didn’t expect it to be nearly that bad, or I never would have experimented with it), and it erased my progress in healing from the GERD. Two weeks on from that one serving of this horrible substance, even though I’m doing all the right things to calm down the acid reflux, I am still having acid freely coming into my throat each night (during the wee hours, even though I sleep on a good incline to keep my head well above my stomach) and it is also causing me some nausea and intermittent sore throats during the daytimes (last week, I threw up from this experience of nausea, and I typically only throw up about once every 4 years from any cause, so it’s unusual and distressing).
    In summary, gelatin is NOT AT ALL healthy for me personally, and it seems to have caused lasting injury to my digestive system.
    Probably if I had not eaten it frequently (maybe 4 days a week) over a period of a few weeks last autumn, it wouldn’t have affected me so badly. But 6 months without having it at all, plus lots of healing herbs, healing vitamins, healing diet changes, and healing lifestyle changes in the meantime — and still one modest serving 2 weeks ago was enough to take me right back to gastric MAYHEM.
    I am often an outlier when it comes to how things affect me, and I’m sure my experience with gelatin is unusual, but I can’t be the only one, so I would urge people to be cautious with it, and if they start getting acid reflux, not to continue taking the gelatin thinking that it must be universally positive for everyone’s digestive system.

    • Patti Hutcherson says

      I have used fresh pineapple , like a slice of it as a snack before bed, or anytime to prevent Gerd. I have also woke up in the night with acid so bad that I threw it up on my face, but went to the fridge, got out the pineapple, ate a little, went back to sleep,and slept wonderful . Its the enzymes in pineapple. works like a charm.

  4. Linda says

    Hi.. I read on the Internet that gelatin can heal your gut. I suffered from constipation since I was 19 and now know it was a combination of antibiotics, eating tons of refined sugar, and having juvenile diabetes that contributed to this problem. I started taking one teaspoon of the Great Lakes hydrolyzed gelatin in a 1/2 cup of water every day. It worked in about two weeks and the constipation finally ended after over 20 years. But 9 months later, all of a sudden , I can’t tolerate the gelatin, no matter how little I take. It’s the same can and I changed nothing else, as far as food , supplements or medicine. The reaction I get is that within 20 minutes of ingesting it, I feel like I overdosed on speed or caffeine or whatever would make you feel super amp’ d out! Please someone help! I was feeling good for the first time in my adult life. Over the last 6 months since this started happening, I have tried it a few times with food, water, juice, etc., but I still get the same reaction. It lasts for the whole day , around 12 hours. I appreciate any feedback from anyone. Thank you

    • Teresa says

      I have researched so much information on line, You just need to keep asking questions and look. I don’t know your details but it sounds like you need the GAPS diet since you are so fed up. There is a lot of information about the why. Also check out ask ask a naturopath gastritis on google search. It has a lot of helpful information to do in tandem with GAPS. Keep looking your answers are out there and keep the faith:)

    • Clark says

      Hi Linda

      Sorry to hear you’ve started having trouble with the gelatin. This isn’t necessarily what it is but the first thought that popped into my head is that gelatin is high in glutamate which is an exitory neurotransmitter. This could be a cause of your anxiety and restless symptoms. The other thing to take into consideration is that powdered gelatin is made by soaking animal pieces in an acid and dissolving them down to amino acids. Obviously this isn’t a very natural way to get nutrients. You may want to try making some bone broth- same benefits as gelatin and many many more. Plus you know the source that it’s coming from.
      Hopefully this helps!

  5. Brian says

    I will never understand why people feel it is okay to be nasty just because they are hiding behind a keyboard. I was recently diagnosed with DDD and will give this a try. I’m vegetarian by choice but having been in pain for over a year I am willing to try something else. I have tried inversion, dry needling, accupuncture, massage and yoga to no avail. Hoping this will work. Spread kindness it feels better.

    • Linda says

      Brian, try taking vitamin k2 in the form of MK-7. I buy and use the one on Amazon by a brand called Nutrigold. One capsule a day in the am, with all my other supplements. It has helped with bone ,muscle, and nerve pains tremendously! I fell down twice on my side hip on hard terrazzo floor and found this supplement after going through months of very bad pain, especially when I would wake up in the morning. This stuff took about 80% of the pain away. Here it is three months after my first pill and I feel so much better now.hope it helps you.

  6. Barry says

    WOW! Live and let live!!!!

    Believing that other people should be allowed to live their lives in the way
    that they want to and to accept other people as they are, although they may have
    a different way of life

    Smile be happy

  7. Namma says

    Thank you for this article. I’m reading in-depth across many sites about the benefits of gelatin, like your and one titled “Balance Hormones with Collagen Hydrolysate and Gelatin”.

    There are so many things that we still do not know about precisely how the body works. So much more to learn coming down the road as the genetic code is completely broken and it’s daily interaction within the body, and the body in the environment – including diet – is studied.

  8. Jane says

    In my opinion, this article lacks the depth of research required to examine the central thesis (that even vegetarians need gelatin) from an unbiased standpoint. The author appears to have come to a conclusion about the vegetarian diet without sufficient evaluation of the diet and analysis of alternate food sources.

    However, Laura does make some good points about the properties of gelatin and she refers to studies that support these points. I’d suggest the article (or a follow-up article) would benefit from a rigorous analysis of alternate food sources, as already highlighted by other commenters.

    For example, with point 3, we know collagen production is aided by both Threonine and Proline amino acids which are found in significant quantities in soy-products, lentils, chickpeas and dark green vegetables. The effects of these amino acids are amplified by the added intake of Vitamin C. It would be useful to discuss the effects of gelatin in comparison with these alternate sources.

  9. sheryl joyce says

    Best article I’ve EVER read about gelatin. Really sums it all up. Thanks!

    I’ve been using gelatin for quite a while now. Yes, it really helps with health and good skin.

  10. davor says

    I am really interested in taking gelatin but after a bit of research I have a few concerns? what are your thoughts on the free glutamates in gelatin that are meant to act like excitoxins? Also apparently they use sulphites and sodium hydroxide in the processing of the gelatin – do you think this is problematic? Thanks heaps.

  11. Kris says

    Curious if these self righteous V’s realize that a greater biomass of living creatures die in the production of vegetables & fruit than in most meat production. Mass harvesting vegetables & fruits results in the destruction of natural habitat as well as the countless small mammals, insects etc that call theses fields their home – they get chewed up in the mass harvset process by the giant machinery. Check yourself if you V’s think that you are holier than thou.

    • Llew says

      Your argument is nonsensical.
      Animals require more input than they output. Cattle requiring 38000 calories in per 1000 calories out.
      With animals eating the majority of our grain crops and and taking up 3/5s of the land mass.
      So environmentally vegan/vegetarian diets are better. Also in net animals killed they are better.

    • Lisa says

      Someone’s been reading that stupid article about Australia. Hey, why don’t YOU do some research? The exception they talked about was only valid in that particular spot in Australia, not to mention about 90% of animals are raised in intensive factory farming facilities, NOT in fields.

      Seriously, go troll somebody else.

    • keller says

      Oh really? And what the animals you eat grow in the forests? They obviously have to clear land to keep the animals too and clear more land to grow crops to feed them.Atleast if people destroy natural habitats to turn them into fields to feed HUMANS they can provide food for 100 times more people than that required to produce the amount of meat to feed one person ( you have to feed the animals for a lifetime) Do your research before you comment about self righteousness because the ‘V’s’ are not being self righteous rather YOU are getting defensive

  12. Donna says

    Well I was glad to find this info because I have IBS and I’m always looking for things that will help me. I’m not a vegetarian, so I can’t really comment on some of the other thoughts.

  13. Mark says

    The first comment on this thread raised my eyebrows. I don’t think the poster realises that human beings evolved eating meat and I will prove this fact in two words…. COMPLETE PROTEIN. Humans need complete protein for health and the ONLY place to get complete protein is from either animals and animal products OR a combination of grains, beans, peas and legumes (which vegetarians do) Human beings have only been eating the later foods since the introduction of agriculture some 4 to 10,000 years ago. Therefore for the previous millions of years of evolution our ancestors got their complete protein (and vitamin b12) from animals, NOWHERE ELSE. Therefore I would suggest that our guts are very well designed to handle meat and animal produce, and this is our natural diet. I was a vegetarian for five,years and switched to a paleo style,high animal,fat,meat, low carb diet eighteen years ago and have never felt better.

  14. vegan for health says

    i do have a couple of things to point out here!!
    1)why do vegeterians need something to help ‘balance their meat intake’? they dont eat meat!
    2) heals the gut – plant based diets do not cause gut damage or inflammation this is caused by eating animal products what our guts are not evolved to digest! massive contradiction
    3) makes skin beautiful? yes collagen is a large part of skin but our bodies, if fed right, is perfectly capable of producing collagen. trying to break down this highly fibrous tissue just to try and make it again just doesnt make sense.
    4)protects joins – no it doesnt. this has been disproven and was only ever based on the fact that collagen is the basis for cartilage. again this is like saying people with heart problems should eat hearts. just doesnt actually make sense
    5) helps you sleep better? dont know about that to be honest but i sleep much better knowing i have not ended a life!!
    the whole article, why people who dont eat meat often for ethical reasons should eat meat is highly offensive to be honest and also just doesnt hold up to any basis of fact. utter rubbish

    • says

      Thanks for the vegan riposte!

      Note, the latest research indicates humans truly have evolved as omnivores. Which is only to say being vegan means we can transcend our evolution just as we choose to wear clothing, ride bicycles and perform innumerable other actions after judicious consideration of our options.

    • Louis Jordan says

      yeah, I randomly came across this article looking at something about gelatin and could not believe how he wrote this article. I hope he did not actually write in the parts about vegetarians in a hope to influence vegetarians. The way it’s written is oddly offensive to anyone that made a choice to be vegetarian as he in no way takes into consideration the reasons one have for being vegetarian or vegan. I was a carnivore for 35 years, happily, but made a switch to vegetarian/vegan for ethical/moral reasons. Had nothing to do with health reasons and is more about doing as much good as possible. Although it’s nearly impossible to avoid a “purity” in vegan actions due to how many items are manufactured, that does not mean we should abandon our desire to be better to the planet and to animals. Yeah, I need to order a lot of tape for my company…and maybe there is some cow hooves used in the process for the adhesive, but i don’t have a better alternative at a price that allows me to still be competitive. You just have to make the best decisions available. But, I still believe that we are in a point in Human development where the use of animals can and should be cut down and eliminated where possible. I feel there is a moral imperative to take such action.

      For all the “health concerns” our carnivore friends have for all the vegetarians out there…I have not experiences a glut of funerals for all the vegetarians wasting away due to malnutrition. Evan as a counter argument, there’s a multitude of potential problems presented with meat diets for each potential problem presented about a vegetarian diet. I’ve look at data and reports and doctors comments about a vegetarian diet soooo much (because of my kids health) that I’ve seen nothing that’s definitive related to a problem. And where there are some concerns that seem plausible, they are easily bypassed once you know about it and address it in the diet…still with no animals.

      As a business owner, I fully support any other business that’s taken the steps to use no or lower animal products. I buy their products, even if the dollar cost is a bit more because the moral cost is lower and it puts more good out into the world.

      As for arguments on diet health, it’s been no different than economical and statistical data, you can report on the same data and make an argument for whatever side of a discussion that you want. I used to do it for fun way back in college, arguing both sides of a legal, philosophical, historical topic using the same background data.

      Anyway, back to what got me started, the author made what seems like an offensive article as far as what he pointed to vegetarian/vegans and I’m not sure if he knows, it was intentional, or if he has not even tried to view that part of the topic from outside of his own perspective. Whether I agree with someone or not, I can’t discuss something with them unless I at least understand their perspective. I don’t have to agree, but I need to understand it at least enough to interact effectively.

    • Bre says

      I agree that acting as if all Vegetarians would be okay with adding gelatin into their diet for health reasons is absurd due the the high quantity of people who are vegetarian for ethical reasons.

      However, the idea that plant-based diets can’t possibly damage the gut or create inflammation is very untrue. It may be true for a completely healthy gut, but for the most part I don’t believe many people are walking around with one of those.

      Starchy vegetables and any grain, gluten-free or not, will cause inflammation and damage to a compromised gut. Undigested foods will trigger the immune system, congest the lymphatic system and cause inflammatory stress on the body. Not to mention they will feed pathogenic bacteria and opportunistic yeast, creating a whole host of other issues.

      Heal the gut, then pick your diet. Do I believe animal products are the only way to do so? No, but they sure as hell make it a quicker and more efficient process.

      Everyone is free to eat how they’d like and not be judged, but be informed!

  15. ? says

    How rude. As a vegetarian I am offended by you telling us what we should eat!

    We gave up meat and the “benefits” of meat, fully knowing what we might miss out on.

    We find our nutrition from more, eco friendly, cruelty free, natural products and don’t need YOUR help doing so!

    • Kris says

      Curious if these self righteous V’s realize that a greater biomass of living creatures die in the production of vegetables & fruit than in most meat production. Mass harvesting vegetables & fruits results in the destruction of natural habitat as well as the countless small mammals, insects etc that call theses fields their home – they get chewed up in the mass harvest process by the giant machinery. Check yourself if you V’s think that you are holier than thou.

  16. says

    I think these 5 reasons are the way to get gelatin when you have some issues with meat products, and gelatin can cover most of your health parameters. Gelatin can be found in most food products, generally, gelatin is used in the food industry to give products a better form, more stability, improved texture, better mouth feeling or a more appetizing appearance. So we spouse to use it while it can be found in Cream cheese, chocolate milk, yogurt, icings, cream fillings, frozen desserts.

  17. briivis says

    Glycine is present in seaweed and spirulina; likewise proline can be found in bamboo shoots, soy protein isolate, and cabbage.
    I’m a vegan who often reads anti-vegan propaganda to sieve out the meaningful portions of the article. The author surely means well by what s/he has written about the benefits of gelatin. And I very much want to be optimally healthy! :) With a little research you can find an ethical source of anything worthwhile, such as these substances present in gelatin but also present in plants.

    • jose carlos says

      Ethical source? What is your concept of Ethics? plants are not living? plants deserves more life than animals? don’t be silly please.

      • seeker says

        If you’re saying that plants and animals are on an equal plane as far as living things go, I think it is you that is being silly. Try this experiment: cut into a carrot with a knife. then, cut into a kitten (better to just imagine this one). which action do you think would bring you more moral pain? which would bring the thing being cut more pain? the kitten, with a fully developed nervous system? or the carrot, without one?

        this argument that “plants are living things too” applied by meat eaters seeking to equate the consumption of plants to the taking of animal life is just stupid, and this is coming from a person who eats a lot of meat. you could very well argue that proper animal production can be ethical, or that crop production harms animals, but to suggest that animal and plant consciousness are similar when it comes to their slaughter is laughable

  18. Allan says

    I am a vegetarian and I have no problem with this article. I am not a vegetarian because I find it repulsive to eat something that once was part of a living animal. That is simply childish. I am a vegetarian because the meat industry is barbaric, and if I don’t have to take the life of an animal to sustain my own, I will not do so. Gelatin is a small side product of the animal. If you do not eat gelatin, they will not stop killing the animal. The gelatin will either end up in your stomach or it will end up in the ground. If you don’t want to utilize those precious resources, that’s your decision, but don’t go telling others what they should and shouldn’t do

    • Hudson says

      But that’s what the author does right in the title: she tells vegetarians they SHOULD get gelatin. do you not see the contradiction of telling the commenters not to tell people what to eat, while ignoring the author doing the very same thing?

      • Namma says

        Hudson wrote, “…do you not see the contradiction of telling the commenters not to tell people what to eat, while ignoring the author doing the very same thing?”

        Yeah well no. I have listened to countless vegetarians pontificating on the “holier life” that vegetarianism is while they shove products in my face at natural and health stores. You think that with all of that pulpit pounding they would get an infection from the splinters.

        Folks should think twice about turning ANY lifestyle into a cult-like existence. We may be stamping out racism, misogyny, ethnic hatreds, but we are replacing those with “lifestyle” hatreds and really, it’s pointless.

        Talking smack AT someone only makes them shut down and not listen. They say “uh-huh” but they’re looking over your shoulder to try to find a way to get free of you. Consulting their intelligence instead of dictating is a better way to go, and that means without the backhanded insults included.

        Throwing your weight around one way or another only proves you’re a bully.

        If you ARE the better human, prove it.

      • Miranda says

        I agree largely with Allan, people are never going to stop killing cattle for burgers nor pigs for bacon or chicken for wings. It is in our nature to hunt and kill or at least crave meat. And if your going to get all animal rights, look closely at the animals being used for food, pigs have a tendency to be aggressive and very lazy. They provide manuer for your plants and bacon for our bellies. Suck it up.

        • Matt says

          I agree that it’s totally impractical to advocate for everyone to give up meat. But your comment misses the point: the issue here is more how the animals are treated while they’re alive than at the time of slaughter. Current factory farming practices essentially amount to needlessly torturing animals for their entire lives. There is no defense for such animal torture. Personally I think the animal welfare movement should be rebranded from “against killing animals” to “against animal torture”. Since some people (perhaps the majority of people) will always eat meat no matter how much advocacy is done for vegetarianism, a real solution would be to abolish factory farming and have real inspections with real consequences to ensure that animals are treated ethically.

          If you have doubts about just how badly animals at factory farms (including the so-called “certified humane” farms) are treated, watch this video:

          The main problem is that people are not aware of how bad it is. If someone IS aware of how bad it is and still thinks it’s OK to treat animals in this way, IMO they’re a heartless individual.

        • no meat says

          Please speak for yourself. It is definitely not in my nature to “to hunt and kill or at least crave meat.” The thought of eating the flesh of an animal repulses me.

    • Anna says

      I don’t think your comment was written by a vegetarian. Vegetarians who don’t eat meat for ethical reasons would not be all for eating gelatin. That doesn’t make any sense. It sounds as though you’re a meat eater posting as a vegetarian. Vegetarians would not post such a comment. What a bunch of BS!

      • Kris says

        Curious if these self righteous V’s realize that a greater biomass of living creatures die in the production of vegetables & fruit than in most meat production. Mass harvesting vegetables & fruits results in the destruction of natural habitat as well as the countless small mammals, insects etc that call theses fields their home – they get chewed up in the mass harvest process by the giant machinery. Check yourself if you V’s think that you are holier than thou.

        • Namma says

          I agree. It never occurs to vegetarians that the MASSIVE vegetable, grain, nut and fruit pickers/harvesters (machines) are running over and chopping up many small field mice, opossum, rabbits, moles, chipmunks, etc.

          Point is, no one’s hands are free of the blood.

          • Lisa says

            “It never occurs to vegetarians” oh I’m glad you know what occurs to us and what doesn’t! Thanks for reading my mind for me, I am now wide awake thanks to your witty remark.

            Except producing meat means feeding plants to animals, which means producing more plants than what would be needed if we directly ate those plants (when I say “more” I mean about 16 times more). So if harvesting plants means killing animals, meat-eaters kill a lot more than vegetarians.

            You seem to have an internet access so why don’t you quit telepathy and start searching actual information?

  19. A vegetarian says

    Based on the high number of ignorant and ridiculous answers people left after reading this article I now suspect reading comprehension and the meaning of words is a real issue for too many people. Learn now and learn it well: vegetarianism is not the same as veganism.
    For your information, all of you who insist vegetarians must not eat gelatin, read the following which is reliable info from reliable sources (cancer.org and Encyclopaedia Britannica): Vegetarianism is the practice of eating a diet consisting mainly or entirely of food that comes from plant sources such as grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Vegetarian diets vary widely. Some people use no animal products at all, while others who describe themselves as vegetarian may eat dairy products, eggs, or even fish. Vegetarianism: Other common name(s): vegan, ovo-vegetarian, lactovegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, fruitarian. (People who eat mainly plant-based foods but include small amounts of certain meats sometimes call themselves semi-vegetarian, partial vegetarian, pesci-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, pescetarian, flexitarian, and other names). Vegetarianism is the theory or practice of living solely upon vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts—with or without the addition of milk products and eggs—generally for ethical, ascetic, environmental, or nutritional reasons.
    So, before you feel the rush of contradiction, get informed and don’t make a fool of yourself by trying to contradict a fact. Citing Wikipedia or any other well known unreliable source or obscure websites in order to support your point of view will also make it worse. You better swallow the bitter truth: you don’t know what vegetarianism is but you try to outsmart those who do.

    • correction says

      Going by the Encyclopedia Brittanica definition (which I consider to be more accurate than others for defining the historical usage of words), we see that certain vegetarians eat milk and eggs. no other animals products are mentioned, and certainly not ones that are the byproduct of slaughter. no one is trying to muddy the definition of the word. if anything they’re trying to clarify it.

  20. D says

    This is a sick article. If you are truly a vegetarian or vegan you would NEVER consider eating gelatin, which is boiled animal skin and bones. NEVER! There are so many ways to stay healthy by just eating vegetables. IMO, it is unconscionable to ingest animals and a misinsformed, most likely NON VEGETARIAN or VEGAN author has published this article with no direct experience with the veggie or vegan lifestyles. If she was a vegetarian or vegan, it would NEVER cross her mind to ingest this disgusting substance. And let me also mention, that gelatin is found in many vitamin supplements, so if you are a new vegetarian or vegan, please check your bottles to make sure you are ingesting a plant-based capsule. Just information I have learned along the way. Best wishes to all veggies and vegans.

    • Kris says

      Curious if these self righteous V’s realize that a greater biomass of living creatures die in the production of vegetables & fruit than in most meat production. Mass harvesting vegetables & fruits results in the destruction of natural habitat as well as the countless small mammals, insects etc that call theses fields their home – they get chewed up in the mass harvest process by the giant machinery. Check yourself if you V’s think that you are holier than thou.

  21. StephySteph says

    I really wish everyone will stop making “general rules” for what a vegan or vegetarian is supposed to consume. People eat for their own health and/or ethic reasons. Everyones bodies are also different and no “guideline” makes a damned difference to someones individual needs. There are no rules in ones PERSONAL diet choices, so stop this close minded activist crap.

    I eat mostly vegan, but sorry, my health comes first. I go out of my way to do everything right for my health, but I developed issues still. So if eating animal collagen in my smoothies will help me absorb more B12… Ill add it a bit. If I need to eat gizzard/liver/bone broths on occassion (and especially in the winter) to help myself out absorb more non-heme iron, then I will.

    Im all for animal rights, but I like my health too. I dont do anything for one reason. The first reason I became a vegetarian was to avoid unsanitary conditions, hormones, GMOs, antibiotics and be more healthy in general. Second reasons are environmental and political. Third is animal rights. So please dont preach about what vegetarians consume and why.

    This article only aims to inform people about health benefitd, not trample on the beliefs of anyone who is morally glued to one idea of what they need to eat and why.

    • Hudson says

      Nope, you’re wrong. It’s not “close-minded activist crap”, it’s the definition of the word– vegetarianism eschews meats and byproducts of animal death. the author’s title (let’s simplify it: Why Vegetarians Should Eat Gelatin) implies that one can eat gelatin and still be vegetarian. one cannot. You are right that a person can choose to put into their own body whatever they wishe, and I agree with you that a strict no-animal-products policy may be detrimental to health. However, you’ll notice you said your diet was “mostly vegan” and not that you ARE vegan. for you to say that you are vegan would be incorrect. Likewise, a vegetarian will not eat gelatin, period, and arguing to a vegetarian that they should eat gelatin, or meat, or bone broth, while still being a vegetarian, as the title implies, is stupid. one cannot be a vegetarian when one eats meat any more one can be a Kosher-observant Jew or a Halal-following Muslim while eating pork. the title is illogical.

      again, no one is “preach[ing] about what vegetarians consume and why”, we are simply using established English-language definitions of words to point out logical errors in the article. For you, animal rights may be a tertiary reason for vegetarianism, but for many vegetarians they are a primary reason. It seems you are the close-minded one for seeking to define vegetarianism based solely on your personal experience, as well as change the established definitions of words so they will more closely fit with your worldview.

        • Geni Mullins says

          I agree, I was a vegan at one time, i now look back and see how vegans and vegetarians act, which i did at one time. All we do was criticize everyone as if WE where so perfect. Does anyone know how vegetarianism started and why? Is your ate vegan or vegetarian, what is your history?

      • Kris says

        Curious if these self righteous V’s realize that a greater biomass of living creatures die in the production of vegetables & fruit than in most meat production. Mass harvesting vegetables & fruits results in the destruction of natural habitat as well as the countless small mammals, insects etc that call theses fields their home – they get chewed up in the mass harvest process by the giant machinery. Check yourself if you V’s think that you are holier than thou.

        • vegetarian says

          You don’t need to keep posting the same thing over and over, I have been a vegetarian since I was five, and I do not think I am “holier” than anyone else.

    • pm says

      This article isn’t about vegans or vegetarians. If you people weren’t always so B12 deficient you would realize that and stop posting your crazy rants here.

    • Namma says


      Too many people are making “lifestyle” into cultiic religions (without the spine to declare it a religion) whereby anyone not “in” is dirt.

      Terribly juvenile mindset by those STILL craving to belong.

      If eating this way or that enables you to live in a healthy, active, productive manner – good.

      The fault is NOT in the lifestyle or eating, it’s in the corporate mind that cares not about what it destroys in it’s pursuit of the almighty dollar, euro, whatever.

      Go after the corporate mindset and not the average Joe on the street and you’ll eventually get more traction. Keep attacking everyday people and you’ll keep spinning your wheels senselessly while giving the appearance of being a fanatic.

      • Clarity says

        Yes indeed…. All points well received. Whether meat or no meat, plants or no plants…. “ALL” things come from the dust. : )

  22. says

    I found it to be an interesting article but my question is what animal parts are being use to create gelatin and why? with gains being made in the labs on everything else, why use animal left overs if what is needed can be created in the Lab?

  23. Colleen says

    This is oxymoronic and insulting to those of us who choose vegetarianism to avoid putting dead animals in our bodies.

  24. amy marcotullio says

    This article is truly bizarre. Regardless of her experience working with vegetarians, the author clearly does NOT understand vegetarianism one bit. If this is anything other than apparent, then neither in fact do you.

    • pm says

      The title is not meant to taken literally as a command for vegetarians & vegans to eat gelatin. It meant just as farcical hyperbole to highlight the importance of taking this nutrient on a regular basis.

      This article isn’t about vegan or vegetarians, so either lighten up or take a hike.

      • Namma says

        It’s difficult for them to lighten up since they’ve chosen the unfortunate mindset that is normally found in cult followers.

        And that is; ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK!

        They really do believe they are doing something good by coming after the article author and do not understand that they make themselves appear crazed and brainwashed.

  25. jake3_14 says

    Hi Laura,

    You said that gelatin could potentially help you build stronger bones. There’s no maybe about it. Gelatin is vital to create collagen. Collagen, in turn, forms the bone latticework upon which the body deposits bone minerals calcium phosphate and magnesium especially. This latticework also provides lateral strength for the bones. Without adequate gelatin in the diet, you can have dense but brittle bones that snap like a twig at the first significant sideways impact.

    • Jorge says

      Gelatin is not vital to create collagen. It helps, because gelatin is literally just collagen with some impurities, but the “building blocks” of collagen do NOT need to come from gelatin. They can be obtained from the same sources required to build any other protein-based structure in the body.

    • jake3_14 says

      Laura spent four years and 1200 hours in clinical rotation before she set foot in the outside world. She’s had a wide range of clients, so yes, she understands vegetarianism.

      What Laura’s not saying, however, is what co-factors gelatin requires to make joint tissue: glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. You get the first two from food only in bone broth, and the hyaluronic acid from a wide variety of other foods. Sure, you can take glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, but how healthy can a diet be if it needs supplements to augment the food at every turn?

      The big question is what are you, as a committed vegetarian, doing on comment thread oriented towards meat eaters?

      • Hudson says

        Actually, I eat what could mostly be described as a Paleo diet, and my first thought was exactly what Rachael articulated– why the title? If the author is truly suggesting that vegetarians eat gelatin, then she really does not understand vegetarianism. If she is trying to “get a rise” or instill some shock value, it would be just as stupid (and almost as disrespectful) if I wrote an article called “Why Jews Should Eat More Pork” or “8 Reasons Seventh Day Adventists Need to Eat Shellfish.” In my article, as in this one, I would be ignoring the underlying value system in favour of an argument that I believed to be valid– but to the vegetarian, or Jew, or SDA, it is disrespectful. If she is merely trying to raise awareness about the benefits of gelatin, why not title it “Why We All Should Eat More Gelatin”?

        As far as your comment about what she’s doing in a meat-oriented thread, well, aren’t we free to read what we want and comment on it when the author makes a logical error? Your comment smacks of the sort of exclusionism and holier-than-thou attitude that a lot of the Paleo crowd exhibit.

        • jake3_14 says

          I’ll concede that the title is linguistically illogical. That you ultimately base your criticism in a value system, though, indirectly validates Laura’s main point. If your values cause self-harm by denying yourself vital nutrition, then your way of eating needs re-thinking.

          • baba says

            The idea that vegetarianism denies one of vital nutrition has been scientifically disproven and is one that many of us have moved beyond.

    • LindieLee says

      I”m with you that statement above, “Are you a vegetarian that uses gelatin?” is illogical. All gelatin is animal based there are not other sources except animals. Vegetarians do not consume animal products. If one consumes gelatin they are therefore not Vegetarians.

      • Matt says

        I agree with you with respect to gelatin, but it is not accurate to say that “vegetarians do not consume animal products” – that’s only true of vegans. There are many kinds of vegetarians and many of them eat eggs and/or dairy. There are also people who eat fish but still call themselves vegetarian (pesco-vegetarians), so it’s a bit murky. But yes, the title of this post doesn’t make much sense.

  26. says

    There’s no doubt that gelatin has many health benefits. I’ve been taking gelatin as a supplement for years. It’s really helped with joint pain. I’ve noticed that there’s a bunch of hype over Great Lakes gelatin, but I switched to the Custom Collagen brand because it is more affordable and much better quality. It too is from grass fed beef and it is kosher. I spoke with the ladies there last week and they will also be coming out with a fish version very soon. Something to consider…

  27. Lisa says

    Gelatin is not vegetarian. Therefore if a vegetarian begins consuming gelatin they will not longer be a vegetarian. So basically your article is telling vegetarians to stop being vegetarians because you feel there are benefits to consuming gelatin. Ridiculous. I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years and never consume gelatin… Nor will I give up vegetarianism in order to do so.

    • Annie says

      Why are you even here? If I were a vegetarian I would’nt be reading about gelatin and trying to convert ,”unbelievers”. Please add to the conversation by asking a relevant question, share something of benefit regarding the article or go elsewhere. This isn’t a religious forum as far as i’m aware, though I’m beginning to have my doubts….

      Thank you for a thoughtful and very helpful article Laura!

      • Namma says

        Bravo! Thank you for your thoughts that occurred earlier than mine.

        I am so tired of people of a certain “think” trying to convert others to their “think”.

        Cults do this all the time. Veg’s need to rethink their strategies.

    • LindieLee says

      You are absolutely correct if one follows logic the author is apparently, at least by the manor of her speech, telling Vegetarians to as you say, “stop being Vegetarians”. Anything illogical just does not compute with me – I’m Paleo by the way.

  28. Anon says

    Vegans and Vegetarians are perfectly aware of the health benefits of meat and gelatin. I think people forget when they’re talking down to (not saying that this article is, but many people do) and patronize vegans and vegetarians that more often than not they’re speaking to someone who was once a meat eater and who are usually more informed of other diets hence becoming vegan and vego in the first place. The idea is that I WANT to be a vegetarian and that if it means I have to try harder to be healthy then so be it because to me it’s worth it and it’s no one else’s business to be judgemental of that. I know the intentions of this article were good, but please think before you write and don’t be superior when people’s personal beliefs are involved. I understand however that some people are vegan and vegetarian not for ethics but for the health BENEFITS of both diets which is where this article might come in handy but just be wary of your audience in future because at the end of the day it’s their choice what they believe in and no ethicly inclined vegan or vegetarian is going to think boiled bone broth is better than eating meat straight off the bone. We do what we do in perfect knowledge of what we’re missing out on. Again, I thank you for your intention, but in future just remember that you’re only the millionth person a day telling us we don’t get enough of this or that or that we’re naive hippies. It’s good reading an article from someone who is actually informed though! Most people making comments about my diet sit around in maccas all day and then turn around and tell me I’m the unhealthy one! ha!

    • jake3_14 says

      Ethics?! Tell me how ethical it is to support Big Agra, which destroys entire ecosystems for profit and poisons the planet with toxic chemicals. Or are the fungi and invertebrates at the base of the system of life beneath a vegetarian’s consideration because they’re not sentient?

      You know what’s not scalable? Organic agriculture. On a planet of over 7 billion people that’s quickly building to 10 billion, there’s not enough arable land to feed everyone with premium produce and grains, assuming the latter produced health to begin with.

      Take your self-righteousness and peddle it elsewhere.

  29. Laura says

    Thanks for this interesting article. Before I consider buying Great Lakes gelatin products on your recommendation, I was wondering:

    Did Great Lakes pay you to write this?

    Do you receive a commission for sales that you generate for them?

    Have you bought shares in their company?

    Do you know them personally?

    Many thanks for your help.

    • says

      I receive about a 6-7% commission from products bought on Amazon, but I only recommend products that I myself use. Great Lakes did not ask me to write this post, and I have no affiliation with the company itself.

    • jake3_14 says

      Sometimes, it’s enlightening to read the comments after a blog post. I suggest you start with the one by a commenter with the screen name of JPZ.

  30. olivia says

    oh, by the way, I’m not going to comment again after this because you people are really depressing me.

    • prioris says

      this is just confirmation of what i said above – people prefer dulling their awareness to reality.

  31. olivia says

    if you have a serious health problem, gelatin will not help you. can it cure cancer? no. infections? no. it cant even cure a bad throat. I have been a vegetarian since I was 7. a real one. I am not saying that vegetarians should be perfect. nobody is. I myself have mistakenly eaten gelatin. MISTAKENLY! when you know its gelatin but you eat it anyway, you are clearly not faithful to vegetarianism. unlike many others, I take vegetarianism seriously. it is like a religion to me. to be honest, I feel quite hurt at this article and these comments. there are so many people who claim to be vegetarian but are not. oh, ps: only female cows can give milk, and they can give it after having one calf, so they are NOT constantly pregnant.

    • Dee says

      Again, this article is about HEALTH. Emotional arguments about your reasons for being vegetarian do not belong here. There are many forums where you can go and have an emotional debate if you would like, but this is not the place. It is also a bit silly to go on about what gelatin CAN’T do because that is not how people who eat for health look at foods – they look at what foods CAN do for your health. And as others have already mentioned, the gelatin is made from parts of the animal that otherwise would have just been disposed of. They don’t kill more animals to create gelatin, they are making use of the whole animal and therefore even from an ethical standpoint eating gelatin is better than just eating meat.

      It’s quite strange that an article focusing on health would hurt anyone – you are choosing to put your emotions in somewhere that they don’t belong. If you can’t handle the subject matter then don’t read it, it’s that simple.

      And yes, obviously only female cows can give milk, hence why the males are killed or raised for beef. And just like humans, cows don’t constantly produce milk so they do have to keep calving in order to keep up production.

  32. olivia says

    this is so stupid. why should any vegetarian eat gelatin?! if you do eat it, you are NOT a vegetarian. eggs, fine. honey fine. milk sure! bottom line: VEGETARIANS DO NOT EAT ANYTHING THAT USED TO BE ALIVE. gelatin is ligaments, cartilage, bone, hoofs, trotters, etc. if you are faithful to vegetarianism and take it seriously, you should not eat gelatin.

    • Dee says

      Why is it ok to eat animal foods like the ones you mentioned but not parts of the animal? Do you think that drinking milk somehow means no animals have to die? Taking milk from an animal means the calf doesn’t get that milk for starters, and if it’s a male it gets killed and sold as veal. If you want to be a vegetarian because you don’t like meat or think meat is unhealthy, fine, but this article is about supplementation for health.

      • prioris says

        The physical realm we live was designed to require that in order for most life forms to survive, other life forms must be sacrificed. There is the idea of the Demiurge and why pain and suffering inflict out physical realm.

        Life doesn’t really die, only the physical vessels that the spiritual life force resides in is gets discarded. Life force also resides in minerals.

        Plants and trees are life also. When we build a house made out of wood, there will be casualties. We kill mosquitos and insects. If one is brought up in a tribe of cannibals, one will eat human meat.

        A rock will also have a life force. That life force limitation will be determined by the characteristics the physical vessel where it resides.

        The issue really comes down to pain and suffering. Its about starting somewhere to do something about it. The livestock are is a prime area to start.

        This planet could be built on a lot less pain and suffering but the political landscape on this planet is entirely dominated by sociopaths. They would have enough advanced technology to obsolete a lot od pain and suffering in life but they won’t. Sociopaths also make up most of the population. Most compassionate people dull their awareness because their bonded to sociopaths.

        The idea that vegetarians need to be PERFECT is absurd. No matter how perfect a vegetarian in trying to avoid killing life, they can’t reach perfection.

        The act of trying should be enough. One has to balance their diet with practicality.

        I think someone who becomes a vegetarian to limit pain and suffering should be commended. It shows a functional conscience. It shows someone wanting to start to somewhere to stem the pain and suffering. People who claim that you must be perfect or your a hypocrite are really just sociopaths playing devils advocate. A truly compassionate person would see things differently

        Anybody expecting perfection is ignoring reality. A vegetarian needs to be practical. You do what you can do but realize there is a limit.

        Not eating gelatin doesn’t prevent the pain and suffering of that animal. It is just the remaining part after the core product was removed.

        If you have a serious health problem, i think that life form that was killed would welcome a vegetarian to their residual body parts.

        • Emma says

          As a life form I don’t want to killed and eaten to fulfill someone else’s needs. No one is welcome to any of me, really important bits or residual bits. Sorry if that sounds selfish but I value my life as do all animals.

  33. deirdre says

    Do you know where I can find research that compares amino breakdown of plant-based gelatin vs animal-based gelatin? I keep reading that plant-based does NOT have the same benefits, but don’t see research to back it up. I am not vegan (I eat fish, eggs, and occasionally some chicken, but I don’t eat dairy), but I like to limit my intake of meat where possible because of the high acidity (trying to eat 70 % Alkaline diet).

    If I can find hard evidence showing plant-based gelatin (like in sea vegetables) is inferior, I wouldn’t mind eating fish-based gelatin because I’m convinced of the health benefits of gelatin. Can you point me to some hard research on this topic?

  34. Debbie says

    Hi there,

    I read somewhere that you should take gelatin supplements on an empty stomach to have the health benefits. I don’t know if this is true so I’m hoping you can shed some light. The website (by a naturopathic physician) states that if you take it with a meal your body will simply use it for the calories (and protein) and nothing else, but if you take it on an empty stomach it will be assimilated into the bloodstream and convert back to collagen that the body can use to repair hair skin etc. Although this doesn’t sound right to me (it doesn’t make sense that a supplement would be more beneficial than gelatin consumed from whole foods), I don’t know a huge amount about it so I wanted to get your thoughts. Here’s the page so you can read for yourself: http://naturopathic-physician.com/index.php?page=73

    Many thanks!

  35. prioris says

    Chris said … “We don’t want high homocysteine in our blood because homocysteine is a significant risk factor for serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and fractures.”

    There is a way around this – take fibrinolytic enzymes (FE) on empty stomach like nattokinase. This will clean the plaque out of your arteries over time. Nattokinase is a blot buster and doesn’t have side effects. FE’s have been proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes in China. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to work. Use at higher dosage if you have heart disease symptoms. You can use both Nattokinase and Serrapeptase at same time.

    Vitamin K2 (ML7) can clean calcium out of arteries and put it into the bones but it should be used with care since it is a blood coagulant. FE is a blood anticoagulant and clot buster. I would use K2 intermittently since it builds up in the blood in 4 days. FE’s don’t build up in the blood. Clean the artery plaque out first with FE’s before addressing calcium and bone issues.

    If you have osteoperosis, herniated disc, spinal compression, you will likely need an animal based cure. Highly absorbed Hyaluronic Acid / Collagen like Biocell’s will cure these when supplement consumed on empty stomach.. It takes about 6 weeks and 150mg of HA. There are situations where one may needs to bend and be practical. Being a vegetarian while your life is crippled with a herniated disc makes no sense.

    • jake3_14 says

      If fibrinolytic enzymes bust clots, as you claim, isn’t it rather dangerous to use them? Clots that travel through the bloodstream and get stuck elsewhere, wreaking havoc where they stop: pulmonary embolisms, brain aneurysms, etc.

    • jake3_14 says

      Also, what diagnostic tests measure the effectiveness of nattokinase? Based on your comments, you shouldn’t take this supplement long-term.

      • prioris says

        First, the FU activity is a substance natural to your body. No side effects.

        Second, there has been only one case reported with serrapeptase so we’re talking an extremely rare event. Who can proven that piece of broken plaque wouldn’t have broken off eventually anyway.

        If one is concerned about that they could just go slower. One way or another, if they don’t remove the plaque build up, they will be dead pretty soon anyway. No matter what you take – even water – there is risk even if infinitesimally small.

        It is well known that Coumadin causes calcification and doesn’t make people live any longer than they would have without it. Nobody is rushing to have that removed.

        Third, if you have symptoms of heart disease, one will know pretty quickly (usually withing one month) whether it is working just by the disappearance of ones symptoms.

        Fourth, China has done thousands of studies on the FU within Lumbrokinase and it prevented heart attacks and strokes.

        The main precaution I would say is don’t take aspirin with it. For heart disease, fibrinolytic enzymes obsoletes aspirin.

      • prioris says

        I have taken it around 9 years. The body will use as much as it needs and no more so practically speaking it is very difficult to take too much. The enzymes are good for biofilms, fungus also.

  36. Jesse says

    Thanks for the article. I use the Great Lakes brand as well and have often seen it referred to as being sourced from grass-fed animals. Getting any specific info on this has been hard to find when I’ve looked a little deeper. Have you seen anything more specific about the sourcing of GL?

  37. Cathy Pemberton says

    Laura, my 87 year old mom isn’t going to purchase Great Lakes gelatin, unfortunately. But she has used Knox gelatin. Is there ANY benefit at all in a commercially made and available product like that, or is it completely different?
    Thank you!

  38. Honora says

    We have a very smelly gelatine factory in our town so I have unpleasant associations…however it would be good to get around that. It sounds as though it would be a very beneficial practice. Thanks for your many explanations in both the article and comments. It’s good to see your responsiveness.

  39. leonardo says

    With regards to the whole protein gelatine, should that be taken in it’s solid form (i.e. after it has cooled) or can one mix it in a warm drink and consume it immediately?

  40. Myka says

    How much gelatin should one eat every day (from great lakes)?

    Both the ordinary ones and the green hydrolyzed one.

    1 TB of both (want both benefits) or 2 TB of both? Or more? I who ask, also drink 2 cups of broth every day.

    • Rasheeda Brown says

      I went to your article and read your link because you said that non of the ethical issues of gelatin were addressed. Your article never addressed ethical issues either; it only stated any animal by-product is cruel. I am NOT a vegetarian but wanted a real example of information I overlooked in my decision making process. I wonder whether you vegetarians who carry Coach bags and have leather interiors in your luxury cars consider you benefit from the expended life force of animals whether you eat them or not. Maybe you don’t wear shoes, play football, or brush your hair either?? Sorry but that all seems pretty impractical

  41. Marcel says

    Hi Laura
    Just wondering if you knew what level of histamine gelatin has.? Our 3 year old is sensitive to histamines, so can’t do broths unfortunately. Thanks : )

  42. says

    I tried drinking broth for awhile, but my sources for quality bones are not great. So, I starting using powdered gelatin about a year ago. I’ve seen benefits in joint pain, the strength of my nails and hair, and my wrinkles and stretch marks have faded significantly. I’m convinced to eat more gelatin. :)

    • jake3_14 says

      Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin are co-factors required to build and maintain joint tissue. They come along naturally with the gelatin in bones. These substances are available as supplements for vegetarians, but I don’t know of any studies addressing the supplements’ effectiveness in maintaining joint tissues.

  43. Petr Murmak says

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for this amazing article. I was discussing it with my wife. She is big advocate of seaweeds and products from them like agar. She use it as a substitute for gelatin. What do you think about it?

    • says

      Seaweed doesn’t have the same amino acid profile as gelatin. While it may create a similar texture in food, I can’t say it would have the same benefits as gelatin would. Dried agar is only about 6% protein, whereas gelatin powder is 86% protein. (These numbers were determined using USDA data on grams of protein per 100 grams of food)

    • jake3_14 says

      As I mentioned above, gelatin is only one of the substances required for maintaining joint tissues. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, glycosaminoglycans, and hyaluronic acid are also required. Animal bones contain all of these substances except for hyaluronic acid. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are available as supplements, but I don’t know of any clinical trials that have studied their effectiveness.

  44. Steven Weil says

    Are beef ‘sweetbreads’ a good source of gelatin?
    Is the slimy quality of okra due to its content of gelatin?

  45. Sandra says

    Hi Laura,

    I have a client who has two autoimmune diseases and has seen tremendous results on the Paleo diet. We have not introduced any kind of supplementation due to budget constraints and after 3 weeks of elimination diet, we introduced bone broth.
    It did not go well. Made my client sick, loose stools, etc.

    What are your thoughts on having her try the gelatin powder?

  46. April says

    Laura thank you for your prompt answer. When you say glutamic acid…I’m assuming that it is not an excitotoxin. Is that a naturally occurring substance? Also I was drinking homemade broth if I switch how much would I drink I would switch to drinking mornings only…lol. Could you differentiate between the glutamic acid and free glutamate for those of us lacking brain cells….Thanks again.

    • says

      Sorry I think I didn’t explain that properly. Gelatin has glutamic acid as part of a protein chain, which is different than free glutamic acid or glutamate that is a free amino acid that acts as an excitotoxin. So if you are MSG sensitive, you’ll want to stick with the whole protein gelatin, as that doesn’t have the same free amino acids as the hydrolyzed version.

      Here’s a good article about MSG: http://www.realfoodwholehealth.com/2011/05/excitotoxins-msg-and-hidden-names/

      Usually people who aren’t super MSG sensitive can handle bone broth with no issue, but if you’re sensitive, it’s possible you could have been overly stimulated by the free glutamates in the broth.

      • April says

        So other than losing sleep for a night and probably being sensitive to it…I could drink it in the morning only but will I be harmed in any way other than “it excites me” or should I just drink the gelatin from Great Lakes to be on the safe side??Sorry for all the questions. You’re awesome!!

      • Calm says

        Hello, I am a Pesco-vegetarian and I also eat eggs and cheese. I do not eat beef, pork, chicken or turkey. I have been this way for 25 + years. I recently purchased a bottle of Women’s Gelatin to help my hair, skin and nails to continue to be fabulous. I am now 51 and would like to hold on to my skins elasticity and the shine of my hair. I have always had problems with my nails. However, through detoxing and clearing my body of Candida’s bugs (overgrowth of yeast) my nails have begin to grow quickly, but still need strength. I found out I had Candida’s problems because I started having skin rashes. So in my mind I thought it must be time to add collagen to my diet to correct the nail and skin issues (rashes). Because I haven’t had beef, pork, chicken or turkey in my body for such a long time, if I eat anything containing these items, I get really sick. Stomach cramping, vomiting and lots of diarrhea. I had been doing research when I came across your article. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this article it gave me a total look at what gelatin can do for my problems, however I feel that it could make me sick due to the nature of gelatin. Any suggestions?

  47. April says

    Hi Laura. I enjoyed reading your post. I have Celiac/Hashimotos and I have been drinking 2 cups of lamb/beef broth a day. Is it possible to drink too much? Also one evening I drank it late and I think it kept me up all night. Somewhere I think I read the issue was glutamates. Would this have done it? Do you have to drink the bone broth with muscle meat to reap benefits or can you drink it alone?Thanks for letting me pick your brain :)

  48. Diana says

    I was diagnosed with antibiotic induced colitis that caused leaky gut and severe allergies to many foods.
    Gelatin, in the form of bone broth, as well as the Great Lakes brand made a Huge difference in my recovery. A vegetarian based diet caused me to go deeper into illness for an entire year. I almost died after losing 25% of my already lean body mass. The bone broth, in this extreme case, soothed my intestines on contact and delivered nutrition in an easily absorbable form. It also increased absorption of protein, allowing me to keep my meat portions modest.
    I drink one cup per day for maintenance with a dash of turmeric and black pepper. I am SO grateful for discovering this!
    Tradtional diets always incorporated this wisdom.

  49. Cheryl says

    Laura, thanks for all the great information. I actually have Great Lakes hydrolized gelatin on my to buy list, after learning of the benefits of gelatin / collagen. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, and eat about 80% primally. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to bones, etc. from grass fed animals (yes, I’ve searched) for bone broth, and organ meats gag me. Would 1 -2 Tbsp a day of this gelatin be a good supplement for those of use who don’t have the luxury of making good quality bone broths?

    • says

      I think 1-2 tablespoons per day is a reasonable amount. I tried finding more specific dosage information, but even WebMD says that dosage depends on factors like age, body size, and purpose of using gelatin. In fact, their exact words are: “At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for gelatin.” But they do say gelatin is generally recognized as safe for the majority of people, barring allergy.

  50. Nurse says

    Hi Laura, while this article may be thought provoking – it unsubstantiated by research and other than #1 maybe – a bit to iffy for me. Antidotal evidence does not make me comfortable to recommend to patients (placebos work too). There is not one research paper cited. I don’t know your licensing requirements as an RD but I would worry about mine – recommending supplements with no research to back me up.

    For example you state:
    – Yikes, not sure there’s a real formula…
    – I don’t know of any studies
    – As far as peer reviewed evidence goes, there isn’t a whole lot available.
    – I don’t know of any scientific evidence for a specific dose… sorry!

    And just a note (because I am an instructor) you stated: …:”since the whole protein is digested differently than the individual amino acids.” You really meant that – protein is digested to release the amino acids and amino acids are absorbed by the intestines.

    • says

      First of all, gelatin is a food, not a supplement. And just because I don’t know of any studies on specific dosage recommendations doesn’t mean that the general benefits of gelatin are unsupported by science. And yes, whole proteins are digested differently than amino acids, because whole proteins require enzymatic cleavage, whereas amino acids can be absorbed immediately by the intestinal villi and thus are easier to digest for people who have suboptimal digestive capabilities. That’s why elemental enteral formulas were created, after all, and those are used in hospitals regularly. I don’t see how you think I made a mistake in that statement.

      As for “not citing any research”, I suppose you missed the 5 studies that I cited, but here they are for your convenience:

      I’m seriously wondering if you even read the article? If you did, you certainly didn’t read it very carefully.

      • Nurse says

        I do apologize: I see now that you cited studies via hyperlinks within the text – my bad. I did click on the first several that did not lead to research (wellness mama, balanced bites, the daily lipid, Weil, etc.), so didn’t continue to click on the links. I guess I am used to having research noted.

        The digestion of amino acids vs absorption of amino acids are 2 different things – but no worries – sorry I brought it up.

        Ok your got me there – not a supplement but supplementing…Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin.

        I do apologize if I offended you in some way by your response which is not kind to me but I can take it: “I’m seriously wondering if you even read the article? If you did, you certainly didn’t read it very carefully.”

        Maybe you could say – I cited the articles via hyperlinks – I am sure you must have over looked those by mistake — or something like that. Would make me want to comment again but I will keep quiet now. Thank you for your work.

        • jake3_14 says

          If you’re looking for the same benefits of bone broth without the animal bones, you probably won’t get it. Joints don’t operate on gelatin alone. They require supporting minerals — namely glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, glycosaminoglycans, and hyaluronic acid. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are available as supplements, but I’m not aware of any clinical trials that have studies their effectiveness in maintaining joint tissues.

      • Nurse says

        Ok, you don’t accept my apology to Laura. Therefore, I apologize to you personally: Julie I am sorry please reference my comments to Laura.

        Well obviously, I am new to the blogosphere. I am finding that so much misinformation exists I just want to be sure I base my decision on the facts – thus the need to review the research myself. But I think I will just stick to PubMed, Medline, etc. As in the funny words of Stephen Colbert: “The Word” was Wikiality, defined as the concept that “together we can create a reality that we all agree on—the reality we just agreed on.” http://bit.ly/1gbv5G2 Good bye.

  51. says

    Hi, Laura:

    I’m curious about your feelings on the powdered gelatin vs. “real” gelatin in broth. I’m generally not a fan of powdering things, because they oxidize so much more quickly, but I’m really undereducated on the topic of gelatin. Do you have an particular feelings with regard to oxidation in powdered gelatin? If I had a choice and time were no issue, would you still recommend the Great Lakes, or would you rather people only use broths (etc) to get gelatin?


    • says

      Well unfortunately it’s hard to know if gelatin powder poses any risk of oxidative stress, but as with most things I would recommend the whole food source as often as possible. So eating gelatinous meats or broths is the ideal here. As you mentioned, however, not everyone has the time or resources to eat these foods regularly so I think gelatin is a good 2nd choice.

      Here’s a video of how one company makes their gelatin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bYIow9pc6M

      Sounds like the heat doesn’t get that high, but who knows. This would probably be a good question for Chris Masterjohn!

  52. ALMC says

    Is there a difference in effectiveness between powdered gelatin and powdered collagen? Are they different forms of the same substance, and is one generally easier for the body to absorb than another?

  53. Mikey Mileos says

    Hi Laura,

    Great article!

    You mention that if you eat too much protein you should also eat gelatin to balance it out. Is there a rough amount you should eat for a certain amount of protein?


    • says

      Yikes, not sure there’s a real formula… an easy way to balance it is to choose meats that have gelatin on them already, like shanks for example. Would have to look into it further though.

  54. Zach Cantu says

    So I am fairly new to this “digital rapture” of health, but my own recent ailments have got me clamoring for knowledge. My journey went from Dr. Mercola > Mark Sisson > Dave Asprey > Chris Kresser > Chris Masterjohn > Mat Lalonde… and so on. I find myself always coming back to Chris and Mark for their scientific stance and seemingly non-dogmatic views on everything. Been paleo/primal for 2 months, and have had a sluggish start since I thought red meat was a treat and low fat/whole wheat “everything” were the ticket to the promised land i.e. I’m “American”. Just when I think I’m eating as healthy as it gets I stumble upon this Ray Peat character preaching gelatin and sugar like it’s holy water, and muscle meats are the anti-christ. Forgive my religious analogies but I think it’s rather appropriate while speaking about one’s diet e.g. the first comment by the vegetarian. Naturally, I am confused as all hell, get prematurely full, still burp up protein hours after meals, and tried HCL/ enzymes which led to nausea and pain by my right rib cage (gallbladder/small intestines?) By all other accounts i’m fairly healthy, have a 6 pack (which by no means is deserved) and shed hair like crazy. All this venting to say this: Gelatin will be getting a fair shot in my diet as I am big on broths and stews right now to heal this imaginary leaky gut of mine. Good read!

    • pm says

      Regarding your stomach issue I would recommend having your stomach acid and enzymes levels tested, so you can be sure what is your problem and what dosage of Betaine HCL and/or pancreatic enzymes to take. This is done through the Hiedelburg test. http://www.phcapsule.com/

      I was able to find right dosage through experimentation for my low acid caused gerd, but this is not a safe way.

      • Zach Cantu says

        Thanks pm. I definitely tried the same ramp up process recommended. Start with one, wait for burning, move to two… and so on. I found myself using 5 or 6 with no distress after eating, but the next morning woke up with the mid abdominal side pain/ nausea followed by more distress when eating again. Tried this process twice, and the pain/nausea would go away within a day or two of stopping the supplementation. Strange indeed, and without health insurance self diagnosis is probably a fools endeavor, but then again, being foolish is half my charm.

        • einstein says

          have you read the Perfect Health Diet fm the Jaminets? Instead of browsing around looking for info fm questionable sources (by which I do not this site of course), get that book and read it thoroughly. conscise, well reasoned, scientific, but at the same time written for the layman. one of the best for people looking for solutions to their health issues. among my top favourites.

          • jake3_14 says

            I’ve read the book. While Jaminet has some interesting ideas, the types of studies he cites do not support the certainty of his conclusions. For instance, Jaminet frequently cites observational studies. These exercises in statistics have only two valid uses: (a) disproving an hypothesized association, and (b) generating an hypothesis for future direct experimentation. Observational studies can *never* support causal inferences, as Jaminet frequently does.

            In addition, he makes some facile observations that don’t stand up to scrutiny. For example, he suggests that you pick up a whole salmon to feel how slippery it is and attributes this to the high level of omega-3 fatty acids in its body. This statement ignores two facts:

            — The omega-3 fats in salmon are concentrated behind the eyes, along the belly, and over the gonads. This suggests that only those areas would be extra slippery.

            — Moreover, *all* fish are covered in slime, and the amount is related to the functions of the slime for a particular fish species (http://tinyurl.com/m4kwof5), not the type of fats inside the fish.

            Jaminet’s discussion of the structural and endocrine functions of starch have been valuable in evolving my own thinking on the subject of carbohydrates’ usefulness. But just because someone writes well and cites lot of studies doesn’t automatically mean that the studies fully support his/her thesis.

    • Jane says

      Love this little essay by Cantu about the “digital rapture” of health! Excellent.

      Finding knuckles or other joints to use to make our own broth has proven impossible so far. So I am about to embark on the packaged gelatin experiment for osteoarthritis.

      • jake3_14 says

        If you have an Asian supermarket near you, they might sell animal feet, which are a significant source of gelatin.

  55. Heather C says

    I’m a vegetarian and I tried the Great Lakes gelatin (the orange/red bottle) but it gave me digestive discomfort. I make gummies or marshmallows with it for my daughter and she is ok with it. I was bummed that I can’t take it because I was looking forward to the health benefits.

  56. Andrew says

    We eat lots of grass fed beef. Half of what we get is ground beef – we purchase a whole cow once a year. I’d like to know what nutrients are in grass fed ground beef as I understand this is from the “leftovers”. I would assume that this has high amounts of gelatin..?
    Secondly, in Chris’s book he suggests that eating processed meat in moderation. I’d like to know if that applies to meat that we cure (dehydrate) ourselves. I would think not since we only add high quality salt, vinegar and some herbs and it is hung-dried.
    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    • Laurel says

      Andy – I doubt very much that ground beef has much gelatin in it. Gelatin is mostly derived from skin and bones and connective tissue. Most of that is removed from ground beef.

    • says

      Most of the gelatin will be in areas around tendons, so oxtail and bone-in shanks are two more common parts that would be gelatinous. You might be able to ask your farmer if he/she sells actual tendons at all. Perhaps they’re not selling those parts for whatever reason, but they might be able to get you some if you’re interested!

    • says

      Andy, I don’t think ground beef is “high” in gelatin, but there is *some.* I say this because I’ve done some experiments — the last two times I made meatloaf (the only ingredients being grassfed ground beef, salt, pepper, onions, and herbs), I made them free-form in a glass baking dish. After it was done, I drained the fat/liquid that had come out of the meat and put it in a small glass bowl in the fridge for a few hours. The fat solidified at the stop, giving me a nice little “disc” of tallow that I could remove easily and store it for cooking with some other time, and the liquid layer below had completely jelled! That tells me that there was a fair bit of gelatin in that ground meat. (And then I used that as a kind of “gravy” for the meatloaf.) Tallow, gelatin, *and* the meat itself — talk about not letting anything go to waste! I could kick myself for all the fat & meat juices I’ve drained and then thrown out in the past!

      It makes sense that there would be at least a little gelatin in ground beef (or pork, turkey, etc) — we can probably assume a little bit of connective tissue ends up in the grinder too. I don’t think ground meat is a *concentrated* source, like the powdered stuff, but my meatloaf experiment shows there’s at least some. (So even if you just brown ground beef in a skillet, son’t assume all the liquid that comes out is fat — it’s not.

    • jake3_14 says

      Animal feet/hooves contain lots of gelatin. Ask the rancher to ask his butcher if s/he’ll sell you these. Some don’t, because they use the gelatin to make other processed meat products. Asian supermarkets in your area might also sell or be able to get animal feet for you.

  57. Jo-De says

    I have been using the Great Lakes gelatin for about 6 months now. I ordered the double pack of whole protein from Amazon and finished that and now I am trying the hydrolized, which is so much easier to take. I mix a heaping tablespoon each night into about 1/3 cup of cherry or apricot juice. I also mix in a big tablespoon of diatomaceous earth (which is neither here nor there in this conversation). Both dissolve like crazy and the juice is very palatable (to my taste). I am 60 years old, and had knee surgery in Feb 2004, where the ortho wanted to do a replacement… I have been waiting for stem cell work or something else that could be done less invasively than a knee replacement. I have been taking a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement for many years and would like to switch it out for the gelatin. Do you think the gelatin alone (whole food properties, yes!) will be enough for my needs?

  58. Kim says

    Something to add to #3: for pregnant women, gelatin can help prevent stretch marks! I didn’t get a single one and my midwife remarked that my skin must have excellent collagen levels “for some reason”. My secret … add a tbsp of gelatin to my cups of tea. :)

  59. Elaine says

    Judy-do you have Heberden nodes in your fingers or just generalized pain in your fingers. I have Heberden nodes (the bottom knuckle is getting bigger and bigger and one finger is slightly deformed already). I am looking for a solution!!

  60. Laurel says

    I’ve been doing this for several years now and haven’t had to have the usual injections in my knees. I take a can of frozen juice, 2 cans of water, and add, while whisking, 1 heaping cup of Great Lakes gelatin. Warm it gently in a pan, and when dissolved pour into a 9 x 13 cake pan. When it sets up I cut into 3″ x 3″ squares and eat one about four times per week. Seems to have worked for me.

  61. pm says

    What amount of gelatin per day would you say is good for maintenance and what would be good levels to correct chronic conditions like arthritis?

    Thanks in advance.

    • says

      I would think a couple (1-3) of tablespoons per day should be fine but it might depend on the person’s tolerance and symptoms. I don’t know of any scientific evidence for a specific dose… sorry!

  62. Holly says

    I use the Great Lakes powder in my black coffee and it dissolves wonderfully with barely any trace of taste and I use quite a bit. Smaller amounts wouldn’t taste like anything.

  63. says

    Do you know of or recommend any fish gelatin products? I have clients who do not eat mammals or birds but do eat some fish. Would love to hear your thoughts!

    I also want to recommend using the term “plant-based.” Someone who is vegetarian or vegan would not eat gelatin because it is an animal product that involves the death of the animal. Someone eating a “plant-based eating plan” could be vegetarian or vegan but may also eat small amounts of fish, meat, eggs or dairy as well. Just something to consider!

  64. Blair says

    I’ve had sleep issues for quite some time now, but I’ve never tried taking glycine! Do you know if it’s safe to take while pregnant? Actually, I should also ask, is the extra gelatin safe during pregnancy? Thank you much!

  65. Jeff S says

    So if you have some stomach issues and joint pain would taking one type in the morning and the other in the evening help?

  66. John says

    I’ve upped my gelatin intake recently. I’ve just tried both oxtails and shanks, and really liked both cuts. I’ve tried marrow bones before, and never really liked them, but the marrow in the bones with the shanks is the perfect amount. I’ve also been making more bone broth. On top of that, I’ve been using both the gelatin and hydrolized collagen (which dissolves much better). I’ll use the gelatin as a snack with some unsweetened applesauce and coconut milk. Even reminds me of a few desserts I used to love as a kid.

    • Lynne says

      John, do you just mix the applesauce, coconut milk and gelatin together like a pudding? I’m always looking for simple bedtime snack ideas and want to increase my gelatin intake.

      • John says

        Yep, that’s what I do. I use light coconut milk from Trader Joes, mainly cause it stays in liquid form much better than regular coconut milk (the fat seems to clump up near the top in regular coconut milk). That said, coconut cream is delicious, and I use it in coffee all the time.

      • einstein says

        cocoa, honey, coconut oil, coconut milk and and gelatin. with nuts and dried berries. that’s my pudding. mighty delicious a snack too!

  67. rs711 says

    I’ve got tripe, beef tongue & veal foot slow-cooking right now – how a propos! :)

    Could you expand on the histamine point you made? Also, please throw in a few of the studies/links you used to make that point – I’d like to explore them starting from where you did.


  68. says

    Well written Laura. Dr. Cate Shanahan speaks on the glycosaminoglycans found in traditionally made bone broth pertaining to joint health as well.

    It’s exhausting listening to people with the inability to understand your message.

    Very few have the ability to think for themselves entirely anymore. Everyone wants to be told EXACTLY what to do.

    Vegetarians/Vegans take the supplement form if you dare toe the line in the effort for optimal health while maintaining ethical standards.

    Omnivores: Make your own bone broth, specifically joints and knuckle bones will be highest in collagen

    Glycine is a much needed precursor to Glutathione, our bodies “Master antioxidant”.

    Eating only skeletal muscle cuts is in essence a refined food.

    Much love to all in their own pursuit of health.

  69. Gorettia says

    You had me sold on needing more gelatin … until I read the paragraph …’except those who are histamine intolerant.” – something I discovered in myself about a month ago. I still like knowing all the good things gelatin can do for the body and maybe I can treat myself if/when the histamine thing is resolved. Great information…Thanks!

  70. Pony says

    “We’ve lost the practice of whole-animal eating”

    Who have? White people? Lots of cultures/people/families still practice whole-animal eating.

      • Brad says

        Brazil is totally following. Lots of lean red meat and hormone fed chicken, little saturated fats, and LOADS of soy oil and margarine. Beef heart, tongue, liver, tail, hooves, breast bones, etc. are sold in most places but the consumption is very low in comparison.

    • einstein says

      allergic to gelatin! poor you! never heard about that condition. you might be the only one having it. how did you find out you were allergic to gelatin if you are vegetarian? just curious.

  71. Ant says

    How much gelatin/glycine is too much? I have adopted this a while back. I take about 6-10 tablespoons of Great Lakes Gelatin. Is this too much? Yes, I end up getting well over 100g of Gelatin at times.

    Personally I don’t see this as a supplement. But your thoughts would be great!

    • says

      It’s really hard to say if that’s too much, though I’d argue that it would be difficult to get that much from eating gelatinous meat on a daily basis, which is the way our ancestors would have eaten it.

        • Mynona says

          Depends on where they lived. In Europe, and more so the more north you get, meat was common food.

          In Afrika, I guess they eat more fruit. Man ate what was easiest to get.

          The same with omega3-fish, rarely seen in Afrika, frequently seen in the north.

          Also, people with African genes, seems to age slower, and seems often to be de ones best suited for vegetarian diets. Maybe we have adapted somewhat to where we came from, so that kaucasians are in bigger need of glycine?

          Nothing seems to be simple. So what about an African man living in Finland, or a Norwegian living in Africa? Since both genes and “where one lives” is important in my way of looking at it, the two scenarios is sort of “no good”.

          I really can’t see an easy “diet for all”. I would like that, but it does not seem to be possible.

    • says

      Due to its high glycine content, large amounts of gelatin consumed regularly can cause serious depression. I don’t have time right now to explain it all, but I recommend doing a search on “glycine and depression.” Glycine is, of course, a necessary nutrient, and most of us need more of it, but going overboard with it can cause serious problems, namely depression.

  72. says

    I’m confused. Eggs have high levels of Choline which is supposed to lower homocysteine levels.
    Also, you’re saying that eating red meat is unhealthy?… meanwhile Kresser, Sisson, Wolf, et al, have been defending it forever.

    • Karin says

      She’s not saying that red meat is unhealthy. She’s just saying that you need to eat more than just the muscle meat. We evolved eating the whole animal, including muscle, skin, organs, etc. Other societies tend to do this better than we do, for example, the French.

      Denise Minger has a good lecture on this:

  73. Peewee says

    Why are we worried about vegetarians and vegans?

    Akin to ” 5 reasons why even smokers should brush their teeth.

  74. Alana says

    I’m a vegetarian. I took gelatin every day for 6 months and saw absolutely no benefits. I quit rather than gag twice a day every day!

    • Mynona says

      Well, benefits that are seen years later (such as slower skin aging), or healing leaky gut (one has to cut down on raw vegetables and fibres too in the beginning) I think can’t be seen in some months with just adding gelatin to a diet rich in fibres and probably rich in raw vegetables.

  75. Judi says

    I have arthritis in my fingers and gelatin has been the only real help for that. It has almost eliminated the pain. I’ve tried many different supplements and changes to my diet and this has been the biggest help. It works quickly, too.

      • says

        There is no taste to the hydrolyzed collagen from Great Lakes. None at all. It’s like drinking water. I add it to my bulletproof coffee and it’s not noticeable in the least. There’s nothing to fear.

  76. Jane says

    Hi Laura
    Can you please provide any research to back up your claim that gelatin heals a leaky gut, ie. repairs tight junction function?. Also, how does it actually “restore the mucosal barrier”?
    Thank you

  77. Becky says

    I’ve been looking into gelatin, and using it with regard to gut healing from diverticulitis. The Great Lakes works well for making gummie squares. I use diluted Concord grape juice. It feels soothing, and I imagine it is a good thing. But who knows.

    I’ve read recently that collagen is not necessarily a beneficial thing to encourage in our bodies as we age, because of its tendency to accumulate and harden. And too much glycine is problematic. A little Googling makes gelatin a little less appealing.

    So I am putting gelatin under my general category of “now and then,” where most processed foods of even the “healthy?” kind are now. And certainly, gelatin is a processed food. As the Jaminets say, “the dose makes the poison.”

    In fact, I am wary and respectful dose-wise of ANYTHING someone says should be consumed in greater quantities as a “cure” of any sort.

    Everything we do to “correct” one condition can inadvertently cause another one. I had a lot of time in the hospital to think about that fact. So. Balance and good sense must rule the day.

    • says

      Do you have some evidence that consuming gelatin as a food is harmful in reasonable quantities? And gelatin from gelatinous meat isn’t processed so you can always eat that if you’re concerned.

      • Becky says

        I make no claim in my comment that reasonable quantities are harmful. I advocate caution and doing a little research about potential problems with substances gelatin contains.

        We don’t have any idea what harmful or healing doses of gelatin would be. So it seems a little restraint should be advised, especially with the processed product. Far easier, I would think, to get “too much” gelatin from it than from bone broth!

        • einstein says

          or oxtail for that matter, which i just finished a plate and it was yummy :-) you’re right. i take the natural form over the processed one anytime. too bad the vegetarians can’t do the same.

          • Amazed says

            too bad you don’t get a kick in the mouth by a cow trying to prevent you from making SOUP with her body part.

        • jake3_14 says

          We have the experience of thousands of generations of hunter-gatherers from all over the world not suffering from joint disorders or gut dysbiosis as testament to the safety of consuming animal gelatin.

    • Anne says

      “Everything we do to “correct” one condition can inadvertently cause another one”


      I can only confirm this view, I started using Great Lakes Gelatine after reading this article and then also a couple of other articles on the subject, also to heal my leaky gut, for joint pain etc, I bought Great Lakes gelatine, and started using the green hydrolyzed one that dissolves in cold liquids, it made me soooo sick, still I was happy that I tried it, because it was the final clue that made me realize that I am sensitive to free glutamic acid, which affects my mental health in extreme ways, makes me depressed and OCD-ish, have avoided yeast for years due to this, but I never knew what was the reason behind, now I know, Great Lakes write on their homepage that their products contain very little free glutamic acid, probably true, I’m just extremely sensitive then, in case this interests you here are the links


      • Matt says

        Hi Anne

        I also have a problem with free glutamic acid.
        Have you tried the non-hydrolysed form of collagen?

        • Anne says

          Hi Matt,

          sorry for the late reply!

          So happy to hear from someone else experiencing this problem!

          I did buy both the hydrolyzed and the non-hydrolyzed gelatin from Great Lakes, I have not yet tried the non-hydrolyzed one yet, don’t know, if I dare try it, as it is recommended to avoid gelatin in general, if you’re sensitive to msg, even the smallest of gel caps can make me very sick, so I think I’ll avoid trying it out. Don’t know if gel caps use hydrolyzed or non-hydrolyzed gelatin?

          Found out something else, digestion frees glutamic acid/glutamate, so even if you try to avoid what’s “free” beforehand (almost all foods contain “free glutamate” in different amounts!), you’ll end up “getting it” and I guess we must, cause it’s a neurotransmitter, the problem is getting the right amount.

          How do we end up getting too much? I think leaky gut plays a role and also increased blood-brain barrier permeability (inflammation).



          What are your symptoms, neurological or allergy-like? As far as I can see, surfing the internet, some people “only” have allergy-like symptoms.

          For me this whole problem started with a Candida yeast infection, and I am certain that it is the Yeast that is the culprit.

          My (conventional) doctor does not belive that Candida has got anything to do with it, but I have had some email contact with a swedish neuroscientist who confirmed to me that studies show that Candida Yeast can drive the synthesis of quinolinic acid (marker for inflammation and neurotoxicity). And as far as I have understood quinolinic acid is a substance that strengthens glutamate signalling in the brain.

          Did you check if you have a Candida yeast problem?

          For me the worst foods are yeast (incl. alcohol) and fermented foods (all milk products except cream and uncultured/sweet cream butter are fermented), how do you do with those foods?

          When reading this comment keep in mind that I do not have any education within medicine or nutrition, this is just how I have understood the subject (or not!) as a layman 😉


    • jake3_14 says

      Joints don’t operate on gelatin alone. They require co-factors — namely glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, glycosaminoglycans, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is available in a wide variety of plant and animals. The other substances, however, are found exclusively in bones.

  78. charles grashow says

    “Those eating lots of animal protein need adequate glycine to balance out the methionine from meat, and you’ll get that from gelatin.”

    SO – if you’re a vegetarian then why would you need gelatin??

    • Ben says

      You’re right, #1 doesn’t really make sense in an article titled “5 reasons why even vegetarians…” but the other 4 apply.

      • AnnieLaurie Burke says

        Many more vegetarians are ovo-lacto, rather than vegans. I think the ration is about 7 to 1. So if eggs are your main protein source, #1 could apply.

    • jake3_14 says

      Oh, I don’t know — maybe because animal bones come not only with gelatin, but with 2 of the 3 co-factors for maintaining joint tissue (glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin). Or maybe it’s for the efficiency in obtaining fat-soluble vitamins: A,D, E, and K2, of which A & K2 are found in bio-available form only from animals. Or maybe it’s for the fats that transport these vitamins to their destinations without harming the body from the excessive amounts omega-6 fatty acids found in plants. Or maybe it’s because humans suck at converting the plant form of omega-3 fats, required for cell membrane fluidity, to the bio-available form. Or maybe its because of the many endocrine functions that animal fats perform. Or maybe it’s because they don’t want to graze all day to eat the massive quantities of plant foods required to approach the level of nutrition provided quickly by animal products.

      Do any of those sound plausible?

  79. Alice says

    Eating gelatin may be great for your health, but IMO you have no business calling yourself a vegetarian if you ingest it.

    • Wenchypoo says

      I see a whole lot of confusion between vegetarian (eats SOME meat/fish) and vegan (eats NO meat)–vegans are the ones who won’t consume gelatin because of its animal origins, and they substitute with a seaweed-derived product called agar-agar. I’m not familiar with the nutrient profile of agar-agar, and do not know if it affects the joints, cartilage, and so forth, as regular animal-derived gelatin does.

      • Harry Mossman says

        Neither vegans nor vegetarians eat any meat. Most vegetarians eat dairy and/or eggs. Vegans try to avoid all animal products, even ones like honey. (I am neither.)

      • Cheryl says

        Vegetarians, as a general rule, don’t eat any animal products that require the animal to be killed. Many, however, will eat dairy and eggs, as those don’t harm the animal (of course, assuming the animal is treated humanely, which is a whole other issue).

        Vegans, on the other hand, don’t consume any type of foods from animals, including foods that contain dairy or eggs.

        I can’t imagine anyone considering themselves a true vegetarian and eating gelatin.

      • Amazed says

        You most certainly have no idea that the word VEGETARIAN comes from the word vegetables.

        Anyone who consumes ANY part of ANY animal has no business calling themselves a VEGEtarian.

        • Sylvia says

          What difference does it make what you call yourself? Whatever choice we make regarding our personal food intake is just that- a personal choice. Do you think there is an award for Vegetarian (or Vegan) of the Year? Don’t be a hater. Be brave. Balance is a beautiful and healthful thing; try to achieve it!

          • crosswind says

            Exactly. who cares about the title, unless that’s the only reason you eat a certain way is to be part of a “club”.

            If you eat for HEALTH reasons, then you will be very interested in the several reasons Chris Kresser listed above for consuming Gelatin & long term health of mind & body & nerves.

            If you want a cleaner & higher quality source, try Great Lakes Gelatin. The company is VERY good answering questions. One day the CEO picked up the phone & answered my questions.

            • Nymo says

              Agree. I do not follow any diet 100 %. I basically eat paleo, but rather high carb and include everything that is healthy and I can feel is doing me good.

              I also make exceptions, not with the worst kind of food, but like I do not eat grains, but can occasionally eat white flour. Just to not feel as bound to a diet as I did before, or to not be the one no one wants to invite because “she eats nothing normal” when I do not have to.

              Eating really strict without exceptions must be done if you have gluten intolerance or something of course.

              Following a protocol 100 % strictly, without considering any exceptions due to health, is kind of counter productive.

              I can hear “dairy isn’t paelo” how many times as one possibly could, but will not give up what has done the most for my health (raw milk that is, not sugary fruit yoghurts with no fat). I can also hear people ranting about carbs, but my metabolism is increasing steadily from them, so I will keep it up wether or not they suit the title of my diet.

              Why can’t people just follow their own health and body? Do NOT follow a protocol, follow YOUR protocol (which also is what Kresser talks about).

              I understand that vegans have other things than health in mind, but it certainly doesn’t mean that food with animal origin is not healthy. All of our system is designed for omnivore style of eating, wherre animal should be eaten “nose to tail” not just lean meat and throw the rest.

      • Tamara Harrison says

        Actually if you eat any meat–which has and will always include both fish and chicken—then you are not a vegetarian. There are lactovegetarians who may consume dairy products; there are ovovegetaians who may consume egg; and then there are lactoovovegetarians who may consume both. Vegans consume neither and also additionally exclude other items that came from animals such as beeswax and honey. None consume animal – based gelatin.

    • Karin says

      In my opinion, if you use computers and other things made with animal byproducts, you look silly trying to tell others what it means to be an authentic vegetarian.

      • AnnieLaurie Burke says

        Not to mention how many animals get killed, poisoned and/or abused by modern farming practices. Or that have been exterminated to clear land for various types of PLANTations (where do you think the word originated?). I lived in KS for a while, where the State song is “Home on the Range”. There haven’t been any buffalo roaming or antelope playing there for a long, long time. It’s border-to-border wheat fields and feedlots. As for those who eschew honey because producing it “exploits” the bees, they have no qualms about eating bee-pollinated crops. Compare the exploitation of bees in pollination hives, hauled from pillar to post to pollinate crops in strange fields, with the lifestyle of bees producing honey. I don’t think these folks are being hypocritical. I think it’s an “out of sight, out of mind” malfunction.

        • Tim says

          “Natural” Bee keeping consists of practices that work with the Bees, not Aganst their best interests. Practices such as only removing Honey when the Bees themselves want it gone, in the early spring when the Hive is intent on increasing numerically the number of empty cells for the queen to lay eggs in. Rather then the fall, when the Honey is truly needed for overwintering as fuel. Unlike other insects which sleep (diapause) Bees stay awake in smaller numbers, living longer in a tight ball which like humans prefers to stay at 70 degrees unill spring, consuming Honey as fuel. In spring, the core temp rises to 98.6 (like humans) at which point the queen starts laying fertile eggs. Instead of robbing Honey when needed, and feeding sugar to the Bees Natural Beekeepers take only when the Bees themselves don’t need the Honey.

      • Sarah Fitzgerald says

        It’s not silly to feel put off eating meat because if the cruelty that animals are treated with and maybe you just think cows are cute and don’t want to consume them. We can’t control the whole world but we definitely can control what and put in our mouth. It’s a start.

        • jake3_14 says

          But it’s worse than silly to ignore the fact that a vegetarian diet can’t supply the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) from food, nor can that diet provide a way to transport those vitamins to their destinations, which get packaged in fats.

          The fats that a vegetarian diet provides, e.g., from tofu, are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. How can creating systemic inflammation in you body possibly be considered kind to yourself?

          It’s worse than silly to ignore that fact that without gelatin and its co-factors glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, all of which are in bone broth, your joints are living on borrowed time. So are your bones, which depend on the latticework structure made possible by collagen for both tensile and transverse strength. The central component of collagen is gelatin. Without enough gelatin, your bones might be as dense as granite, but they’re much more likely to snap at the first heavy transverse impact.

          But it worse than silly to ignore the fact that a vegetarian diet can’t supply the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) from food, nor can that diet provide a way to transport those vitamins to their destinations, which get packaged in fats.

          The fats that a vegetarian diet provides, e.g., from tofu, are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. How can creating systemic inflammation in you body possibly be considered kind to yourself?

          It’s worse than silly to ignore that fact that without gelatin and its co-factors glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, all of which are in bone broth, your joints are living on borrowed time. So are your bones, which depend on the latticework structure made possible by collagen for both tensile and transverse strength. The central component of collagen is gelatin. Without enough gelatin, your bones might be as dense as granite, but they’re much more likely to snap at the first heavy transverse impact.

          And as far as the ethics of eating animals, how is it more ethical to implicitly condone the destruction of massive amounts of wild habitat that sustains itself for agriculture and substitute a wildly unnatural and monocultural order on the land? Don’t small, ugly, and vital but non-sentient life, like bees, worms, and especially fungi, deserve the same consideration and compassion as sentient animals? Moreover, most agriculture uses enormous amounts of herbicides and pesticides, which run off and foul the environment. Even organic farms use pesticides, and they have to apply them more often because of their short duration of effectiveness. As the popularity of organic plant food increases, the amount of organic pesticide use increases, too. Do you really think you can feed huge numbers of people that shop at Whole Foods and the organic sections of major grocery stores by using integrated pest management, when customers demand cosmetically perfect produce? The number of organic arms that would be viable without some kind of herbicides and pesticides are small enough that most of the U.S. population would never see a vegetable for most of the year.

          And globally, there’s no way for 7 billion people to tread lightly on the earth, no matter what they eat, unless you insist that they eat only for bare survival.

          So stop arguing for self-harm and putting forth fatally-flawed ethical arguments.

          • Matt says

            I appreciated this article, but a lot of the comments here are remarkably disrespectful to vegetarians – I say this as a meat-eater myself. I think everyone should be conscious of where their food comes from and what the total cost was of producing it. When you consider that, there are arguments both for and against vegetarianism, but I think anyone who cares about ethics AT ALL and is actually *informed* about modern factory farming conditions would be shocked and horrified at how most meat, and especially eggs, are produced. The animals are basically tortured their entire lives – it’s tragic, and the most tragic is that it’s completely unnecessary – in many cases these practices are continued only to save pennies on the dollar. So, eating conventionally raised eggs and meat is far worse from an ethical standpoint than the harm that comes to wild animals due to farming, although both are bad.

            This is an issue that everyone – meat eaters just as much as vegetarians – should be concerned about, and an important part of that is advocating against animal cruelty. Other than avoiding animal products, buying local, pastured eggs and meat, or at least cage-free eggs and free-range meat (and eating more [non-endangered] fish, which is great for your health anyway) is a great way to avoid supporting animal cruelty.

            This article cites Denise Minger, whom I greatly admire. I wish more of the commenters here would take an attitude more like Ms. Minger’s, which is much more respectful to vegetarians. While there are certain healthy foods like gelatin whose benefits can’t be obtained on a vegetarian diet without supplementation, the fact is that with a little more science and a few tweaks, a vegetarian diet can be extremely healthy. The research indicates that the healthiest diets of all do include some meat (or at least fish), but if someone wants to be completely vegetarian for ethical reasons, I respect that and I think others should as well – our own personal health isn’t the only thing that matters. Here’s an article where Denise spoke to this very issue:

            In it she mentions that it’s actually possible to follow a paleo approach and still be a vegetarian. She also has a page on her blog dedicated to vegans:

            In it, she acknowledges that some people may want to remain vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons, and helps them to make the most of their diet. I think that’s the right approach – there’s no need to marginalize people (and the same goes for holier-than-thou vegetarians). (Knowing Denise, I’m sure the suggestions on that page are very well-researched, although I’m dubious about whether practices like soaking nuts are actually necessary for all people – but overall there’s some excellent advice there.)

            Finally, with regard to gelatin, I’m convinced that it would be a good addition to my diet, and I’m personally ethically comfortable with it since it’s a byproduct that would just be thrown out otherwise, but I can understand why vegetarians are averse to supporting meat production in any way. Perhaps fish-eating vegetarians would be comfortable with fish gelatin (which I’m considering getting anyway, since Custom Collagen seems to be a good gelatin source as someone mentioned earlier). But I think it’s worth mentioning that with regard to the high methionine issue, another way of addressing it, in addition to nose-to-tail eating, is to simply eat less meat. You’ll miss out on the gelatin and some other goodies, but as I mentioned earlier, a vegetarian diet can still be nutritionally excellent if done right.

            One last note – it’s important to be clear that from a purely nutritional standpoint, vegetarianism that includes eggs and dairy is FAR superior to a vegan diet.

            I *highly* recommend Denise’s book, “Death by Food Pyramid”, to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. It’s the best, and most balanced, nutritional resource I’ve come across in 9 years of nutritional research.

            For more info on the cruelty of factory farming, see http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2007/05/the-difficult-lives-and-deaths-of-factory-farmed-chickens/#sthash.pNGhT5hv.dpuf.

            “For people making a gradual switch to vegetarianism out of concern for animals, I therefore believe that the first food to give up should be, not meat, but eggs.”
            – Erik Marcus

      • Amazed says

        It’s about what you EAT.

        Key is to minimize suffering of other sentient animals.

        Just because there is killing going on does not mean that we have to adopt a “I am a vegetarian and animal lover, therefore I will renounce society as it is and live in the mountains surviving on only pure air and spring water” neither do we have to go “Oh, since there is killing going on and the road that I drove on may be built by a meat eater who wears a leather belt, let’s go and kill everything in sight and feel attempt to feel good about being a dastardly murderer”!

        • jake3_14 says

          The bigger question is why are you, a committed vegetarian, bothering to comment on a forum aimed at committed animal eaters? Do you actually think that you’ll persuade anyone participating on this site to your POV? Do you think it’s a requirement to declare your righteous indignation at every cyber-opportunity?

          • vegan for health says

            jake, this article is title – 5 reasons why VEGETARIANS should eat gelatin. so how is this aimed at commited animal eaters? it appears to be aimed at vegetarians dont you think?
            this article is aimed at trying to get people who doent eat animal products to start doing so on the most flimsy psudo-science based information.

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