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 weight loss and for treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Some people also use it for strengthening bones, joints, and fingernails. Gelatin is also used for improving hair quality and to shorten recovery after exercise and sports-related injury.

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:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • A kind of arthritis called osteoarthritis. Early research shows that gelatin might relieve pain and improve joint function in people with osteoarthritis.
  • Brittle bones (osteoporosis).
  • Improving hair quality.
  • Shortening recovery after exercise and sports-related injury.
  • Strengthening bones and joints.
  • Strengthening fingernails.
  • Weight loss.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gelatin for these uses.

How does it work?

Gelatin contains collagen. Collagen is one of the materials that make up cartilage and bone. This is why some people think gelatin might help for arthritis and other joint conditions.

Are there safety concerns?

Gelatin is LIKELY SAFE for most people in food amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE in the larger amounts used as medicine. 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, sensation of heaviness in the stomach, bloating, heartburn, and belching. Gelatin can cause allergic reactions in some people.

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

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

Collagen Hydrolysate, Collagène Dénaturé, Collagène Hydrolysé, Collagène Marin Hydrolysé, Denatured Collagen, Gelatina, Gelatine, Gélatine, Gélatine Hydrolysée, Hydrolised Collagen, Hydrolysed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein, Hydrolyzed Gelatin, Marine Collagen Hydrolysate, Protéine de Collagène Hydrolysé.

Methodology

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

References

  1. Gelatin Manufacturers Institute of America. Gelatin Handbook. 2012. Available at: http://www.gelatin-gmia.com/gelatinhandbook.html. Accessed September 9, 2016.
  2. Su K, Wang C. Recent advances in the use of gelatin in biomedical research. Biotechnol Lett 2015;37:2139-45. View abstract.
  3. 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.
  4. Morganti, P and Fanrizi, G. Effects of gelatin-glycine on oxidative stress. Cosmetics and Toiletries (USA) 2000;115:47-56.
  5. Unknown author. Clinical trial finds Knox NutraJoint has benefits in mild osteoarthritis. 10-1-2000.
  6. Morganti P, Randazzo S Bruno C. Effect of gelatin/cystine diet on human hair growth. J Soc Cosmetic Chem (England) 1982;33:95-96.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. PDR Electronic Library. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 2001.
  10. Sakaguchi M, Inouye S. Anaphylaxis to gelatin-containing rectal suppositories. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001;108:1033-4. View abstract.
  11. 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.
  12. Kelso JM. The gelatin story. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999;103:200-2. View abstract.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Moskowitz RW. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease.Semin Arthritis Rheum 2000;30:87-99. View abstract.
  16. Schwick HG, Heide K. Immunochemistry and immunology of collagen and gelatin. Bibl Haematol 1969;33:111-25. View abstract.
  17. 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
  18. 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 - 08/15/2018