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What is it?

Gelatin is a protein made from animal collagen, usually from cows and pigs. It's commonly used to make capsules, cosmetics, ointments, and foods.

Collagen is one of the materials that make up cartilage, bone, and skin. Taking gelatin might increase the production of collagen in the body.

People use gelatin for aging skin, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, brittle nails, obesity, diarrhea, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse gelatin with collagen type I (native), collagen type II (native), or collagen peptides. These are not the same.

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. Taking gelatin tannate by mouth doesn't benefit infants and young children with diarrhea.
There is interest in using gelatin for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: Gelatin is commonly consumed in foods. It is possibly safe when used in larger amounts as medicine, short-term. But taking high doses of 15 grams daily might increase the risk for side effects, including sore throat, swollen gums, and mouth sores.

Gelatin comes from animals. This has led to some concern about contamination from sick animals. But there haven't been any reports of people getting sick after using gelatin products made from animals.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy: Gelatin is commonly consumed in foods. It is possibly safe to use colla corii asini, a specific type of gelatin made from donkey hide, in larger amounts as medicine. There isn't enough reliable information to know if other kinds of gelatin are safe to use as medicine when pregnant. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Breast-feeding: Gelatin is commonly consumed in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if gelatin is safe to use in larger amounts as medicine when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Children: A specific type of gelatin, called gelatin tannate, is possibly safe when taken by mouth as medicine for up to 5 days. In children under 3 years old or that weigh less than 15 kg (33 lbs), taking 250 mg of gelatin tannate four times daily for up to 5 days seems to be safe. In children over 3 years old or that weigh more than 15 kg, taking 500 mg of gelatin tannate four times daily for up to 5 days seems to be safe.

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.

How is it typically used?

Gelatin is commonly used to make foods, cosmetics, and other products. As medicine, different forms of gelatin, including gelatin made from donkey hide and gelatin tannate, have been used. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

Other names

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


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


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Last reviewed - 08/23/2023