Gelatin Again

Long-time readers here may have noticed a repeated phenomenon: Dana needing to learn the same lesson more than once.* You know, like how I went hyponatremic -- low on salt -- last summer, and then managed to go badly hypo on the Low Carb Cruise this year, despite knowing how important salt was/is.

Here's another one: Gelatin makes me feel good. Really good. Absolutely one of the most exciting things to happen in my nutritional program in years. Here's a follow-up article.) For months, I took a spoonful of gelatin morning and evening.

Then I got all caught up in finishing 500 Paleo Recipes, and, like a dork, I let the gelatin fall by the wayside. Didn't take it for a few months.

Packing my car's trunk to head to the Ancestral Health Symposium a few weeks back, I found the 5 pound box of beef gelatin I had bought this winter. Felt like a cosmic dope-slap -- "Hey, you! This stuff makes you feel good enough you were buying it in 5 pound lots! What the heck are you doing, not taking it?!"

So since I got back from the AHS, I'm back to taking gelatin morning and evening. And guess what? I feel a whole lot better. Again. More energy, fewer muscle aches, and everything feels well-oiled. Cheerful, too, though that might be attributable to taking 5-HTP in the evenings, since it increases serotonin levels. I just have a far greater sense of general well-being, you know?

So I thank the universe for the Cosmic Dope Slap, and the cows for the gelatin. And I plan to keep on taking it.

* Can I blame it on the ADD? Please?

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Beef or pork

Dear Dana

Thank you so much for this - I had an emergency spine op in August - and they also discovered I have arthritis ! And on top of all that, I have started menopause - the joy! I am a single mom and really on the poor side. Can/could you use pork gelatine ...... Until my pay cheque clears I have only the supermarket to reply on and they only stock pork gelatine - and only in leaf form - please could you advise. I apologise for putting you to so much trouble. J

Pork gelatin

Pork gelatin is fine, as is fish gelatin, though it's harder to get, and pricey. For that matter, you could up your intake of cheap, tough, bony meats -- they have plenty of gelatin in them. Ham hocks, pork neck bones, chicken backs, that sort of thing. (I adore pork neck bones. I slow cook 'em with turnips and onions for a good 8-9 hours. Then I coarsely chop a half-head of cabbage and stir it in, cranking the pot up to high. Cook about 45 minutes. Scoop it out and dose the whole thing well with Tabasco or Frank's hot sauce. Yum. Eat the broth! A lot of the gelatin is there.)

You can also save chicken bones and boil them for broth. Another good source of gelatin. I never throw away chicken bones! I stick them in a plastic grocery sack in the freezer. When I have a sackful, I dump them in my biggest slow cooker, cover them with water, add a teaspoon of salt and a few tablespoons of vinegar (this draws calcium out of the bones), cover, and let it cook on low for two days. Really. Then cool, strain, and *then* you can discard the bones. Use the broth to make soup. Pure nutritional magic -- for next to nothing.

Thanks for the advice - we

Thanks for the advice - we have no freezer, just a tiny fridge - i make a weekly 2 chicken chic fricasse for a friend and roast one for our selves and boil up the bones and add it and reduce our chicken stock weekly. At present I have a six chicken stock in fridge, which I normally pass to a friend who is recovering from breast cancer, but will steal some for myself. At present it is rich and solid - and is delicious - about to start a new batch.

We don't really consume much meat so other suggestion is not good but come the holidays with family - well it's definitely a good idea - again, many many thanks

LOL, I also have that big

LOL, I also have that big 5-pound bag of beef gelatin which I bought after reading your blog posts, and take it faithfully every morning. But I'll be darned if I can tell if it's doing anything. I've also stopped it for weeks on end. And whether I take it or don't take it I don't feel the least big different!


I've been taking gelatin (1 tablespoon) and l-glutamine powder (1 tsp) at bedtime (2.5-3 hours after my last meal) and in the morning, at least 3 hrs before breakfast. I'm not really noticing any benefit. I may be having more trouble than usual falling asleep--not sure. I'm definitely not seeing any improvement in sleep quality or energy level, which makes me sad 'cause I had the high hopes, you know? Suggestions?

[I've been a dedicated low-carber for over 12 years now, since 2000.]

Gelatin Capsules

Amazon also sells Now brand Gelatin capsules----are the capsules effective?

Thanks. JenniferPi

Gelatin Capsules

They're fine, just more expensive, and you'd have to take a bunch of them.

Where do you buy powdered beef gelatin?

My local health foods store does not carry (nor can they order) beef gelatin powder. Where do you get it, Dana? Do you buy it online?

Buying Gelatin

I can order through both my local health grocery stores, and do. However, like everything else in the world, you can order gelatin through Amazon. I generally buy Now brand, because they have good prices and good quality. That's the 1 pound, but I generally buy the 5 pound box, because it's cheaper, it keeps forever, and I have plenty of storage space.

However, be aware that all gelatin is valuable, whether it's from beef or pork or even fish. Yes, you can find fish gelatin if you search, and it has a good reputation, but it's expensive.

You can also make bone broth, and eat stewed cuts of tough, boney, gristle-y meat; good sources of gelatin. Oh, and chicken wings! The reason chicken wings are so moist is because they're full of gelatin. Chicken skin is, too, as are pork rinds.

Gelatin: I didn't even wait to read the article...

...before the repeated epiphany. I'm guzzling down a Bovril-soaked two-teaspoonful mug of deliciousness. How easy it is to fall off the beefy wagon. Owww, burning my mouth.

I've been taking gelatin

I've been taking gelatin since I read your first post, nearly 2 years ago. I take 30 grams a day, softened in 3 oz. almond/coconut milk, then split between 2 cups of coffee with 2 oz. heavy cream in each one. It's very latte-like and is often all I have for breakfast. The thing I've noticed is that the benefits (less joint pain, less pain overall, more flexibility, better hair and nails) seem to be cumulative. I noticed a difference in pain levels immediately upon beginning the gelatin, but now, 2 years later, I can do many things completely without pain that I could not do at all 2 years ago, like pick up a quarter off the floor (bending over hurt so much I wouldn't have even attempted it, even if I'd been sure I could straighten back up). Some days I would just skip washing my feet in the shower because it hurt too much to lift my leg and reach down with a washcloth. Now, I can do all of this and more. I also used to have trigger finger, a very painful condition where the tendon that moves the finger gets stuck in its sheath and then it really really hurts to straighten it out, that has also disappeared with the gelatin. I haven't really lost weight, but I'm not gaining, either, so I don't think the gelatin has an effect on that.

I am soooo grateful to you for that post, it has literally changed my life to consume gelatin every day, thank you, thank you, thank you.


You realize that stuff like this is why I do this, right? I'm going to be grinning all afternoon. :-D

Thanks for the welcome~!

I really thought I was going crazy -- kept commenting and nothing. Dana cleared it up earlier today. Thanks for the warm welcome!


I took my first t. this morning and again tonight following your directions in prior posts. I did feel, I think, a bit of extra energy after this mornings t. so we'll see! Love your site and great articles!

No worries!

Hi Arlene,

Sorry about the delay. We moderate the comments here, and I was asleep when you posted last night, and didn't get in to approve it until this morning. Thanks for joining us! -Eric

Beef or pork

I do make my own chicken stock and never use it till it has been boiled down with at least four or five chickens - I normally give it away to friends esp when one is poorly and recently I have vpbeen giving it to a friend who is recovering from breat cancer - I will start having some myself ....


We sometimes make a fruit yogurt pudding/smoothie and add gelatin to the mix.

Question about gelatin

I know gelatin is really good for you, a doctor even prescribed it for me when I was a child, but is it the animal aspect of it, or do you think a vegetable based gelatin would work as well?

Gelatin from Animals?

True gelatin is connective tissue, collagen, only found in animals. There are several vegetable substances which gel -- pectin, carrageenan, like that -- but they're not actually gelatin. True gelatin only comes from animals, though you can get it from beef, or pork, or, if you're willing to pay a premium, from fish.

The important thing about gelatin is not the fact that it gels, but rather the amino acid balance, and the vegetable "gels" don't have that. They're usually fibers, instead.


I should add that commercial gelatin is mostly extracted from skins. This is a great reason why you should eat chicken skin and pork rinds and stuff -- they're a great source of gelatin. So are chicken wings; that's why they're so moist.