URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/1051.html

Gelatin

What is it?

Gelatin is a protein made from animal products.

Gelatin is used for aging skin, osteoarthritis, weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis), brittle nails, obesity, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In manufacturing, gelatin is used for preparation of foods, cosmetics, and medicines.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for GELATIN are as follows:

Possibly ineffective for...

  • Diarrhea. Early research shows that taking gelatin tannate for up to 5 days does not decrease how long diarrhea lasts or how often diarrhea occurs in infants and young children.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • A blood disorder that reduces levels of protein in the blood called hemoglobin (beta-thalassemia). Early research in pregnant women with a mild form of this blood disorder shows that taking gelatin made from donkey hide improves hemoglobin levels.
  • Aging skin.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Joint pain.
  • Low levels of red blood cells in people with a long-term illness (anemia of chronic disease).
  • Muscle damage caused by exercise.
  • Muscle soreness caused by exercise.
  • Obesity.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis).
  • Wrinkled skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gelatin for these uses.

How does it work?

Gelatin is made from collagen. Collagen is one of the materials that make up cartilage, bone, and skin. Taking gelatin can increase the production of collagen in the body. Some people think gelatin might help for arthritis and other joint conditions. The chemicals in gelatin, called amino acids, can be absorbed in the body.

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: Gelatin is LIKELY SAFE for most people in food amounts. The larger amounts used in medicine are POSSIBLY SAFE. There's some evidence that gelatin in doses up to 10 grams daily can be safely used for up to 6 months.

Gelatin can cause an unpleasant taste, feelings of heaviness in the stomach, bloating, heartburn, and belching. Gelatin can also cause allergic reactions. In some people, allergic reactions have been severe enough to damage the heart and cause death.

There is some concern about the safety of gelatin because it comes from animal sources. Some people are worried that unsafe manufacturing practices might lead to contamination of gelatin products with diseased animal tissues including those that might transmit mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). Although this risk seems to be low, many experts advise against using animal-derived supplements like gelatin.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy: A specific type of gelatin that is made from donkey hide is POSSIBLY SAFE in the larger amounts used as medicine. Not enough is known about the safety of other kinds of gelatin when used in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of gelatin when used in medicinal amounts during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Children: Gelatin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as medicine for a short amount of time in infants and young children. Taking 250 mg of gelatin tannate four times per day for up to 5 days seems to be safe in children under 15 kg or 3 years of age. Taking 500 mg of gelatin tannate four times per day for up to 5 days seems to be safe in children over 15 kg or 3 years of age.

Are there interactions with medications?

It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.

Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of gelatin depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for gelatin. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Colla Corii Asini, Denatured Collagen, Ejiao, Gelatina, Gelatine, Gélatine, Partially Hydrolyzed Collagen.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Florez ID, Sierra JM, Niño-Serna LF. Gelatin tannate for acute diarrhoea and gastroenteritis in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Dis Child. 2020;105:141-6. View abstract.
  2. Lis DM, Baar K. Effects of Different Vitamin C-Enriched Collagen Derivatives on Collagen Synthesis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2019;29:526-531. View abstract.
  3. Li Y, He H, Yang L, Li X, Li D, Luo S. Therapeutic effect of Colla corii asini on improving anemia and hemoglobin compositions in pregnant women with thalassemia. Int J Hematol. 2016;104:559-565. View abstract.
  4. Ventura Spagnolo E, Calapai G, Minciullo PL, Mannucci C, Asmundo A, Gangemi S. Lethal anaphylactic reaction to intravenous gelatin in the course of surgery. Am J Ther. 2016;23:e1344-e1346. View abstract.
  5. de la Fuente Tornero E, Vega Castro A, de Sierra Hernández PÁ, et al. Kounis syndrome during anesthesia: Presentation of indolent systemic mastocytosis: A case report. A Case Rep. 2017;8:226-228. View abstract.
  6. Gelatin Manufacturers Institute of America. Gelatin Handbook. 2012. Available at: http://www.gelatin-gmia.com/gelatinhandbook.html. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  7. Su K, Wang C. Recent advances in the use of gelatin in biomedical research. Biotechnol Lett 2015;37:2139-45. View abstract.
  8. Djagny VB, Wang Z, Xu S. Gelatin: a valuable protein for food and pharmaceutical industries: review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2001;41:481-92. View abstract.
  9. Morganti, P and Fanrizi, G. Effects of gelatin-glycine on oxidative stress. Cosmetics and Toiletries (USA) 2000;115:47-56.
  10. Unknown author. Clinical trial finds Knox NutraJoint has benefits in mild osteoarthritis. 10-1-2000.
  11. Morganti P, Randazzo S Bruno C. Effect of gelatin/cystine diet on human hair growth. J Soc Cosmetic Chem (England) 1982;33:95-96.
  12. No authors listed. A randomized trial comparing the effect of prophylactic intravenous fresh frozen plasma, gelatin or glucose on early mortality and morbidity in preterm babies. The Northern Neonatal Nursing Initiative [NNNI] Trial Group. Eur J Pediatr. 1996;155:580-588. View abstract.
  13. Oesser S, Seifert J. Stimulation of type II collagen biosynthesis and secretion in bovine chondrocytes cultured with degraded collagen. Cell Tissue Res 2003;311:393-9.. View abstract.
  14. PDR Electronic Library. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 2001.
  15. Sakaguchi M, Inouye S. Anaphylaxis to gelatin-containing rectal suppositories. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001;108:1033-4. View abstract.
  16. Nakayama T, Aizawa C, Kuno-Sakai H. A clinical analysis of gelatin allergy and determination of its causal relationship to the previous administration of gelatin-containing acellular pertussis vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999;103:321-5.
  17. Kelso JM. The gelatin story. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999;103:200-2. View abstract.
  18. Kakimoto K, Kojima Y, Ishii K, et al. The suppressive effect of gelatin-conjugated superoxide dismutase on disease development and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in mice. Clin Exp Immunol 1993;94:241-6. View abstract.
  19. Brown KE, Leong K, Huang CH, et al. Gelatin/chondroitin 6-sulfate microspheres for the delivery of therapeutic proteins to the joint. Arthritis Rheum 1998;41:2185-95. View abstract.
  20. Moskowitz RW. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease.Semin Arthritis Rheum 2000;30:87-99. View abstract.
  21. Schwick HG, Heide K. Immunochemistry and immunology of collagen and gelatin. Bibl Haematol 1969;33:111-25. View abstract.
  22. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
  23. Lewis CJ. Letter to reiterate certain public health and safety concerns to firms manufacturing or importing dietary supplements that contain specific bovine tissues. FDA. Available at: www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dspltr05.html.
Last reviewed - 11/24/2020