Gelatin: A Healthy Protein Powder

I’m not exactly sure when protein powders became so mainstream. It used to be that only body builders bothered with them, but now everyone from suburban moms to high-rise living hipsters is on the protein powder bandwagon. After all, they promise so much: extra protein without extra food.

The first time I sought a midwife for prenatal care, she gave me only one dietary prescription: eat between 65g and 85g of protein per day. (Adequate protein levels during pregnancy have been proven to dramatically decrease swelling, varicose veins, and birth complications.) For the first time in my life, I went home and started thinking about the macro-nutrient levels of my foods. Turns out, my daily protein intake was nowhere near sufficient. We just didn’t eat that much meat, nor could we afford to (especially if we were going to stick to our grass-fed/wild-caught standards). When I expressed my concern to my midwife, she recommended a protein powder.

I hesitated to take it. In general, I don’t like isolating particular nutrients from foods. I’d much rather get my nutrition from whole foods rather than supplements. Plus, protein powders are definitely the product of industrialization. They are a completely modern food, new to the human diet, totally experimental.

Other typical concerns about protein powders have to do with how they’re processed. When created at higher temperatures, for example, the end result contains a large of free glutamic acids which act like MSG in the body. Also the high temperature drying method used to create the powders also tends to create oxidized cholesterol which contributes to heart disease. (Although, according to this, the oxidized cholesterol in protein powder is far less than what you’d get from eating a few scrambled eggs, so perhaps that concern is over-hyped.)

Eventually, though, I tried to find the least offensive brands of protein powder out there. I needed the extra protein, and protein powder seemed like an easy, quick fix for this tired momma.

What I soon learned was that the least offensive brands tend to be the most expensive. I was looking for a few things:

1. No added sugar.
2. No weird chemical or artificial additives.
3. Made from animals not treated with hormones or antibiotics.
4. Processed at lower temperatures to reduce free glutamic acids.

I wanted an animal protein powder rather than a plant based one simply because I wanted a protein powder with a high biological value (the higher the BV, the more protein is available to be absorbed and used by your cells). Animal proteins have a higher BV, and usually have a more well-rounded and usable set of amino acids in their make up.

But even then, even when buying the so-called “best” brands, I still noticed that I turned unusually aggressive and moody after consuming the protein powders. I don’t know if this was because of what little free glutamic acid was in them, or if it had to do with the sugar alcohols like xylitol which were commonly used to sweeten the protein powders in lieu of sugar.

In any case, I decided to only use them in extreme moderation, only on days when my diet was otherwise severely lacking in protein.

In my most recent pregnancy, I came up against the same roadblock. I needed to eat a lot more protein than I was getting; how could I go about it?

That’s when I discovered a protein powder I could get behind 100%: gelatin.

What exactly is gelatin? Gelatin is just a processed version of a structural protein called collagen that is found in many animals, including humans. Collagen actually makes up almost a third of all the protein in the human body. It is a big, fibrous molecule that makes skin, bones, and tendons both strong and somewhat elastic. As you get older, your body makes less collagen, and individual collagen fibers become crosslinked with each other. You might experience this as stiff joints (from less flexible tendons) or wrinkles (from loss of skin elasticity). (source)

Traditional diets are very high in gelatin. Why? Because they eat bones and cartilage regularly in the form of homemade, slow-simmered bone broths.

Since we don’t consume broth with every meal, our diets lack gelatin. Using gelatin as a protein powder is like killing two birds with one stone. Not only do you get the added protein you need, but you also get the benefits of eating more gelatin (fewer wrinkles, reduced joint pain, less cellulite)!

The Weston A Price Foundation recommends two brands of gelatin, both of which are made from grass-fed cows. They are Bernard Jensen and Great Lakes Gelatin.

Not only are both brands from grass-fed cows, but they’re also minimally processed to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of free glutamic acids. Neither brand contains added sugars, either. Gelatin is also flavorless, so you can stir it into hot drinks like coffee or tea without adversely affecting the flavor. It also blends well into smoothies and shakes.

So, if you’re looking for a decent protein powder to supplement your protein intake, I recommend using Bernard Jensen and Great Lakes Gelatin.

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While I adore hats & happy skirts, nothing inspires me quite like geeking out over nutrition & sustainable agriculture.
My name is Kristen Michaelis, author extraordinaire and rebel with a cause.

Comments

  1. Elizabeth says

    How do you use it? Do you add it to soups only or can you just toss it in a smoothie? I use protein shakes for breakfast at least half the time. I use Dr. Mercola’s when my mom gets it for me. :) But most of the time we buy Muscle Milk which has a ton of artificial stuff in it. I’ve also tried hemp protein but it really tastes strongly of grass, that’s ok but not something I’m always up for in the early morning and especially not good with pregnant nausea!

    • KristenM says

      I stir it into hot drinks like coffee or tea or broth, and I add it to smoothies. You could also use it for a ton of homemade desserts like jello. It’s flavorless, so it really doesn’t affect the flavor of your drink.

            • Jennifer says

              You have to “bloom” the gelatin… put a bit of cold water or liquid into it first – then add it to your hot liquid. I have heard hydrolyzed gelatin works a bit differently but has higher levels of glutamic acid, so I go with the non-hydrolyzed and make sure to bloom it. You only need enough water to cover the gelatin powder.

  2. kelly says

    what if you are allergic to beef? Up til now I’ve just made broths from chicken, is there another options (needs also to be corn, soy free as well)

    • KristenM says

      Great Lakes regular gelatin is porcine — made from pigs. You have to buy the kosher gelatin to get the stuff from grass-fed cows. I’m not sure how the pigs are raised. Their advertised diet looks normal enough for pigs, and their website does guarantee that no hormones or antibiotics are present (even in trace quantities) in the final product. But they don’t come right out and say that the pigs were raised without the use of antibiotics.

  3. Sheree Northcutt via Facebook says

    Thankyou so much! My son has a genetic metabolic disorder and the doctor wants him drinking carnation breakfast shakes for extra protien at bedtime. I have done everything I can think of to increase his protien intake at bedtime in a healthier way (free range eggs, raw milk, coconut oil, etc in his shakes) and I would feel much better doing the natural protien powder than those awful shakes.

  4. Tarsy Mendez via Facebook says

    Gelatin is tasteless. I couldn’t imagine adding peas to fresh squeezed oj, bone broths, desserts, shakes etc. :)

  5. says

    I spoke to several people at Bernard Jensen specifically the person who sources the cattle.. He said it was from a conglomerate of ranchers – some could be grass fed but couldn’t guarantee it.. Was not very reassuring. During Cheeseslave’s bone broth challenge I had told Ann Marie about it as well and she said she was going to talk to WPF but I see it is still up there. Great Lakes on the other hand specializes in gelatin and tell me there cows are all grass fed from Argentina. I am a holistic/organic hairdresser and sell nutrients for beauty – Green Pasture, Great Lakes, Dr. Rons…

  6. carolyn b says

    I just got my first can this weekend. I got it because my daughter was begging for jello. I didn’t realize that I could use it as protein addition to smoothies – awesome!

  7. Jill says

    I am so excited to learn about this! I regularly buy protein powder (Raw Protein by Garden of Life–good brand, but a little pricey) for smoothies that my husband and kids like to make. When I did the math, for the amount of protein per serving, Great Lakes gelatin is a much better deal. And since my daughter is on the GAPS diet, she can use it as well and it will even benefit her gut (Raw Protein isn’t GAPS legal). I just placed an order on amazon.com! Yay! Can’t wait for everyone to try it!

      • says

        Thank you. I have no idea where the popular vegetarian notion that vegetables are a great source of protein came from, but it’s sheerest bunk. Don’t these people know how to look stuff up on a nutrition reference chart?

        I started taking gelatin as a supplement a year ago — wrote about it several times at my blog — and I immediately felt noticeably better. Very good stuff.

    • Mary says

      Hi. I have a question. I’ve heard that gelatin can raise testosterone levels. Wouldn’t that work against hair growth? I’m concerned because my hair has thinned since menapause.

  8. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m pregnant, and this baby does. not. like. a lot of meats, so I’ve been really struggling with getting enough protein in my diet. I haven’t wanted to buy protein powders, so I’ll have to give this a try!

  9. Julie says

    We always add the Great Lakes beef gelatin to thicken our homemade yogurt. Works well! How do you all use it otherwise? Would also like the marshmallow recipe. :)

    How much do you consume in one day? How much do you add to common foods daily? Thanks!

    • Christine says

      I have a Tbs of Great Lakes in a cup of herbal tea every night and I don’t notice it at all in there, (unless the tea cools!). They have other suggestions that don’t work at all, like in juice (big textural problem for me) or in cereal (OMG that was bad), but in tea (or I imagine soup or other hot liquids it just about disappears.
      I have joint problems and it does seem like it helps me have less pain.

  10. says

    Say a serving is 1 tbsp right? I was wondering how many “servings” is in a canister of Great Lakes. I couldn’t seem to find the info online anywhere. Just trying to do a cost per serving analysis.

  11. says

    Thanks so much for posting this! Been researching good protein powders, and have not found anything I love.

    As far as protein goes, from my digging it looked like great lakes had half the grams of protein that bernard jensen did, per 1 tbsp (6g vs 12g). Is that accurate?

  12. says

    How timely! I’m following the Brewer Diet to prevent pre-eclampsia, and a host of other problems this pregnance. The diet calls for 80-100 g protein daily. Some days I’m just so stuffed! I’m going to check this out right now!

  13. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been searching for an alternative, natural and safe protein source for myself and my son. I ordered it online today!

    Thanks again!

  14. sa'ada says

    i only eat meat and meat byproducts from animals that were slaughtered following islamic dietary law. so i have 2 questions.

    is there a good brand of fish gelatin?

    is fish gelatin as beneficial?

    thank you

    • says

      There is fish gelatin, though I believe it’s more expensive than bovine or porcine.

      I buy 5 pound boxes of gelatin — NOW brand — that I special order through my health food store. Cheapest I’ve found.

  15. says

    What a timely post…I just started using Great Lakes gelatin last week. I’m a protein type and have a hard time getting enough protein (even w/ my bone broths) into my diet. I also have several clients with digestive issues that can’t find good quality and won’t do bone broths themselves.

    One added bonus I’ve found out is that gelatin has no tryptophan, which can be inflammatory. Here is a post from Ray Peat http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml
    “Since excess tryptophan is known to produce muscle pain, myositis, even muscular dystrophy, gelatin is an appropriate food for helping to correct those problems, simply because of its lack of tryptophan.”

  16. John Q. Galt says

    Collagen is hardly a good source of protein.

    Yep. Yet another modern Health Nut “Foodie” website polluting the internet with it’s pseudo-science toxic memes.

  17. says

    So what is your feeling on a whey protein powder like this one? http://www.cocoonnutrition.org/catalog/oneworldwhey.php

    This one seems to be very ideal. The ingredients for the vanilla are “TruCoolTM unrefined, bio-active whey protein concentrate from grass pasture cows, ProVanillaTM from all natural raw vanilla bean, stevia leaf extract.”

    Seems pretty ideal to me. It’s expensive but possibly worth the cost? It even has quite a bit of calcium and potassium naturally.

    When I have the money I am going to try it.

    I would LOVE your opinion though!

    • KristenM says

      I’m all for self-experimentation. When I was trying out protein powders 5 years ago, it was unusual to find one that used Stevia as a sweetener. Instead they used sugar, xylitol, or artificial sweeteners.

      • says

        True. Some of us improve our ways. I like the fact that its flavored yet still has 3 ingredients. Amazing. It’s expensive but may be worth the buy to enjoy a couple times a week. I’ll find out when I can afford it!

  18. Heather says

    Hi. Protein type here. I see someone said it was good because it lacked tryptophan. when I mentioned this article to someone else they said gelatin was bad because it lacked tryptophan and therefore was an incomplete protein. As if the body couldn’t even use it. I need lots and lots of protein. Having a hard time sorting this out – anyone? Ty.

    • KristenM says

      Well, it is an incomplete protein, but that’s okay. So are legumes, grains, & dairy. The good news about gelatin is that it acts as a protein sparer. When you’re eating it, it makes the protein you *do* it much more bioavailable. Considering that Nature serves up gelatin right alongside hundreds of pounds of meat (in your typical head of cattle), this makes sense.

  19. Carole says

    Thanks for this “new to me” info! Bottom line: I want to get great lakes gelatin on amazon because it’s grass fed organic beef gelatin. Am I right???

    • KristenM says

      Yes, get their “kosher” gelatin. The regular gelatin is from pigs. (In my opinion, not all that bad, but still not as great as it could be.)

  20. Mara says

    I saw that some people were concerned by the fact that the cows might not be grassfed. To me that is huge since mad cow disease is passed through the marrow. Also, for anyone concerned about factory farming, pigs are raised in some of the worst conditions and fed terribly.
    I would love to have a source for strictly grass fed (free range) cow gelatin. Grass fed cows also benefit the environment by producing less methane, and, if they are rotated in fields and ranges, they can help the grasses grow deeper roots and grow better because of the natural plowing from their hooves. Think of the massive plains covered in bison…

    • KristenM says

      Well, the Great Lakes brand Kosher gelatin is definitely from grass-fed cows. It’s the Bernard Jensen brand that is arguably up in the air.

  21. says

    I put gelatin in my raw milk yogurt! It’s great because it firms it up a bit and you get the added nutrition of the gelatin. I also have some of my clients on the GAPS diet add some to their broth just to up the gelatin amount they are getting, especially during the initial stages.

  22. Mary Collis says

    Last week I put a free range chicken in a large boiler pot with filtered water, a chopped carrot, an onion, a few chopped shallots and some sea salt and peppercorns. I brought it to a boil, then simmered it for about 4 hours. Then I took out the chook, took off the bones and skin and shredded the meat, and put it back in the now sieved soup along with some shredded Chinese cabbage and the shallot tops cut up, plus a few eggs fried as an omelette and rolled up then cut in ribbons to put on top. We ate that chicken soup, and the rest I put in the fridge. By the next morning, it was a large tub of aspic jelly. It had set beautifully. I ate it for lunch for the next few days. What is the benefit of gelatin over this sort of gelatinous clear soup? I could easily make this sort of thing, but not put the chicken or vegetables back in afterwards to make it lower calorie (not much lower though…chicken and vegetables are low calorie anyway). Isn’t that as good as gelatine? I couldn’t put it in my tea, but it’s a lovely satisfying snack. It isn’t stock/broth as it has no vinegar, but it tastes sweeter as a result.

    • KristenM says

      Hi Mary, the gelatin you’d make at home and the gelatin you’d buy in the store is almost identical in nature. The biggest difference is the form. The stuff you buy has been cleaned and dehydrated into a powder, so it’s easy to stir into other things like tea or use to make a dessert like jello. Plus, since it’s a powder, it helps those who need more protein easily sneak it into other foods (like smoothies). The stuff you make will always be soup stock. The homemade stuff is probably richer and better for you, but it’s limiting and doesn’t answer to some people’s need/desire to supplement their protein intake with a powder.

  23. says

    Heather, whoever told you gelatin is not a complete protein is correct. It’s not. But, that does not mean the body doesn’t use it. Think of how vegetarians combine proteins to make complete proteins (nuts & legumes). As a protein type you can supplement with gelatin to increase your daily protein intake (6 gms per Tbs) without eating so much meat(I’m a protein type as well and have a hard time getting enough). Take it with your animal protein and it helps with the breakdown of the animal protein.
    I hope that helped a bit?

  24. Laura Tabor Bastiani via Facebook says

    My 3 year old is a hugely picky eater and definitely doesn’t get enough protein (his only source is dairy)–never thought of gelatin…great idea!!! Will also help me get more protein.

  25. says

    Hello! I just received my first bottle of the Bernand Jensen Gelatin yesterday (ordered online from Vitamin Shoppe on Tuesday). Added it last night to a Mexican soup that we love and it was great to thicken with no taste – I’m in love!!!! My question is, does it work just as well on cold items? Thanks!

    • Jaytee says

      >does it work just as well on cold items?

      I would have to say no. I just got my order of Great Lakes yesterday and I added some to a 11oz coconut water. When it started to gel, it pretty much ruined the coconut water IMO. YMMV.

    • carole says

      hi Colleen! can you answer the question as to how many grams of protein are in a serving of the BJ gelatin? there was some discussion that it was 12g/tbsp vs. 6g/tbsp with great lakes. thanks!

  26. PattyR says

    I just received my my first bottle of Bernand Jensen Gelatin and put a teaspoon in my morning coffee. How much should I take daily? There is no taste and it did not make my coffee thick. I have used protein powders for years but was never really sure if they did anything but make great shakes. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you

  27. Maryjane says

    I spent some time on the company websites of both Bernard Jensen and Great Lakes, and could not find on either site any affirmation that the gelatin is either from grass-fed cows or is organic. Nor did they say anything about antibiotic free, etc. If it were my company, I’d be loudly promoting this aspect of my product!! The fact that someone talked to someone on the phone and got reassurances, doesn’t convince me.
    I use Jay Robb Whey protein powder. It’s sweetened with stevia, tastes GREAT, says the whey is “cold-processed criss-flow microfiltered”, and loudly proclaims that their cows are grass-fed and rBGH-free. It’s a bit pricey, but I shop around for the best price.

    • KristenM says

      Maryjane — The Great Lakes brand advertises the fact that their cattle are grass-fed from Argentina on their FAQ page under “How are the cattle raised?”. It may not be as prominent as one would hope, but it’s at least on their website.

    • KristenM says

      Oh, and Jay Robb is one of the protein powders I used when I was experimenting with them a few years back. I was avoiding whey protein because of the idea that the powdering process created excess oxidized cholesterol and denatured the proteins too much. So, I took his Egg White protein powder thinking it might be the lesser of two evils. The chocolate flavor is sweetened with xylitol, not stevia, and it made me moody. Now that I’m not *as* afraid of the oxidized cholesterol angle (especially since finding out how little is actually there compared to a serving of scrambled eggs), I would think the Whey protein may be better than the Egg White since at least that uses stevia.

  28. PattyR says

    Update on the gelatin – I have been using about 2 tblsp daily and drink it in my coffee. It has taken the edge of the hunger which was what I was aiming for but additionally I feel more energized. Thank you for such a great website with good solid advice.

    • KristenM says

      Hi Patty, good to know! The amount I take daily varies based on how many cups of tea or coffee I drink, since I pretty much always stir at least a teaspoon into each cup. I figure I probably end up having a tbsp or 2 per day.

    • Jaytee says

      I gotta say, I have noticed the same effect on hunger. I never expected it, but it does seem to tamp down hunger. Again, YMMV.

      • KristenM says

        I’m not surprised. Gelatin acts as a “protein sparer,” which is why many traditional people groups can eat less meat yet still get enough protein in their diets. They got tons of gelatin from consuming homemade bone broth with every meal.

  29. PattyR says

    Still taking my gelatin and now recommending this to my friends – it is working beautifully for me still in the regards of hunger and energy. The next time I have to buy some more I will try the Great Lakes one.

  30. PattyR says

    I am now on the Great Lakes brand of gelatin and I have to say hands down I prefer the Great Lakes to the Bernard Jensen brand. The Great Lakes seems to dissolve much better and a little less taste compared to the Bernard Jensen.. I am still taking it everyday and love it. Thanks again for all you are doing with this website and the excellent information you provide on our health..

  31. Kimberle says

    As a vegan it’s hard to stomach the idea of eating ground up cow hooves and skin no matter what the protein content! Bummer! Guess I’ll just have to get my protein from veggies and non- soy beans! At least more of the
    Dead animal is used and not wasted…. Do the eyeballs have protein?

    • Bebe says

      Technically speaking, no hooves! The gelatin is derived from the inside of the skin and from the bones. I think the hooves are used in making glue.

  32. shiela says

    hi great info.
    would it hurt if i used the whole sachet in one day ? how much is enough daily ? and would it make me fat ? and if i wasn’t vegetarian, can i have any brand of flavorless gelatin as the kosher gelatin is not available here ??

    a reply would be appreciated………………thanks

  33. Leah says

    My standard pregnancy smoothie is:
    2-3 frozen peach halves (from a friend’s tree)
    12 oz raw milk kefir
    1 Tbsp coconut oil
    1/2 Tbsp flax oil
    1-3 tsp gelatin

    I set the peaches out to drfeost about an hour before making the smoothie. I put the coconut oil and gelatin in a small cup and pour some warm water over to melt/dissolve, then everything in the blender. Depending if the peaches are still frozen and how much gelatin I use, sometimes the smoothie “sets” and I eat it like a custard, otherwise it is drinkable. I drink this between meals throughout pregnancy. Has worked great!

  34. Jeff says

    This is extremely poor advice because collagen/gelatin is a poor quality protein source, missing some essential amino acids.

  35. Dee Sallows says

    Gelatin?
    It is in so many bought food items. Always has been.
    I’ve been ‘food aware’ since my thirties and never heard of this.
    Always ready to learn, however.
    Thanks.

  36. Cathy Steele says

    My research doesn’t support your contention that gelatin is a good source of protein, since it has several amino acids missing, and several others in very low percentages. But beyond that, why would you have one article on gelatin suggesting it should be a good regular addition to our diets, when in another article concerning MSG, you list gelatin as a label ingredient that ALWAYS contains MSG, and thus should be avoided?

    • KristenM says

      Hi Cathy,

      Your question was addressed in the comments on the post you’re referring to, here.

      The short answer is that the Gelatin I recommend is actually processed at low-temperatures to prevent free glutamic acids from forming during its creation.

  37. Sarah says

    You have no idea how happy I am to have found this
    article!!! I am 8 months pregnant and desperately need to find a good source of protein to get my intake up
    where it needs to be! I happened to have the Bernard Jensen gelatin on hand so I stirred some into my morning hot drink…perfect!!!! Thank you so much for such timely, useful information!

  38. Devorah says

    So long story short, I’ve been using the Great Lakes gelatin for the last few months and I LOVED it. I primarily used it in the NT homemade baby formula, but also in smoothies and desserts. But we keep a very strict level of kosher – my husband is a Rabbi. And though the Great Lakes gelatin is NOT made from pigs, it is not made from kosher slaughtered cows unfortunately. So no more Great Lakes gelatin for us…
    My question is: I found a source of fish gelatin that is kosher, but it is manufactured in China. I have confirmed that there is no added sugar of MSG in it, but do I need to be worried that it is processed too much, and therefore too much free glutamic acids? If so, is it better to not use gelatin at all? Thank you so much in advance!

  39. Laurel says

    I have been making a jello jiggler sort of concoction in order to eat more gelatin. It’s supposed to be good for your joints and I need that. I take 1 qt of grape juice and 1/2 heaping cup of Bernard Jensen’s gelatin and heat them up together whisking until the gelatin is dissolved. Pour into 9×9 pan and chill. It sets up very firm. I try to eat 1/5th of the recipe every day.

    I noticed that the Great Lakes gelatin does not dissolve as easily, but I also need less for the above recipe. If using Great Lakes then use a little less than 1/2 cup.

  40. juniper says

    Apologies if someone already mentioned/asked this, but I didn’t have time to go through all the posts. Was wondering if anyone here has tried Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate (green can)? I want more protein in my diet for sure, but I’m intrigued by the word ‘collagen’ on the label…anything specifically geared to help skin elasticity (I’m a sucker for marketing, lol but this company seem legit) always piques my interests.

    Also, I just ordered a tub of Well Wisdom Vital Whey protein powder 20g (grass fed, grass finished, low heat/minimally processed, etc), so I’m wondering if the red can beef gelatin would be too much protein?

    • Heather says

      I just ordered some of the hydrolysate (green can). When I spoke to Great Lakes on the phone, they told me they use the enzyme bromelain (found in pineapple) to hydrolyze the gelatin. It loses the capability to gel, and the proteins are very easily assimilated. I use the orange can every day, but wanted to try the green can for situations where I didn’t want the gel-ing action.

  41. ktb says

    After reading this page and many others touting how amazing gelatin is for healing a leaky gut, I went ahead and ordered the Great Lakes Kosher gelatin. My entire family has Celiac and subsequent leaky gut, so I was really excited to have found a ‘natural’ way to supplement protein and heal leaky gut at the same time. Well–to make a long story short—ALL of us reacted very negatively to this product. The bad reaction was more subtle when we just ate the apple gelatin I made. The reaction was unmistakeable and unpleasant when I made us each a cup of gelatin lemonade each day with 1 tsp of the Great Lakes gelatin. We all tried it twice over a 4 week period with the same reaction each time within 2 days. SOMETHING unhealthy is contained in this highly processed product—whether it is trace gluten and natural msg or other chemical residues from beef hides shipped from Argentina. I will NOT be trying this or any other dried gelatin product again. And the one time I actually tasted a bit of the gelatin I thought was dissolved in my lemonade hot water—it tasted like eating a boiled shoe sole—-disgusting!!!

    • Fran says

      KTB–Lacto-fermented foods are supposed to be great in helping gut disorders. Especially milk kefir. There are lots of websites with good information. Sandor Katz and Weston Price Foundation are the gurus. I use plain Mason jars. Very easy to do. Also, hyperbaric chamber sessions work very well, however some states don’t have a law to make insurance pay for those treatments–Missouri being one, the state where I live.

  42. KD says

    Did anyone figure out why the discrepancy in protein content between the Great Lakes brand of gelatin and the Bernard Jensen brand of gelatin?

    Both are gelatin, both serving sizes are 1 tbsp, but one has 6 grams of protein and one has 12 grams of protein per tablespoon? Pretty big difference….

    Any clarity would be appreciated.

  43. Laura says

    I just received a 6-pack of the Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate, directly from Great Lakes, since the price was right and it seemed to be a good investment in my health. However, something I didn’t notice when I visited their website is that it contains .005 (don’t remember if its grams or mg) of heavy metals. I left the product at my office because I thought that with time the amount of heavy metals will build up in my body and I am planning to return it, unless someone can put my mind at ease with more information on the potential risks. I would really appreciate it!

  44. says

    Are you telling me this could possibly reduce cellulite!!!!!! I am literally going to buy some right after I comment. This is amazing. PLus I am planning on having a baby soon (and your new book is currently sitting right here open to the chapter 1). I heard you speak at a conference, but I had already preordered your book.. Great info!!

  45. Matthew Rosenow says

    Great Lakes Gelatin is made from cowhide not bones. Does this still give the same benefits as a bone broth?

  46. Mary Ellen says

    This article made me take a second look at trying beef gelatin (which I would love for skin elasticity). NO THANKS. Though I’m a fan of the Weston A. Price Foundation, I don’t know where they’re getting their info. I looked at both websites: Great Lakes and Bernard Jensen. NEITHER make ANY claims about grass fed cows. This gelatin is not coming from bone marrow. It’s pretty gross once you read the process. Another commenter mentioned the package stating it contained heavy metals. I knew it sounded too good to be true. Not to mention that any site that is advertising their gelatin for horses alongside their gelatin for humans makes me a little nervous… who knows what kind of controls are enforced down in Argentina… I hope all the pregnant women ready to jump on this bandwagon read all the comments first!

    • KristenM says

      Mary Ellen — The Great Lakes brand advertises the fact that their cattle are grass-fed from Argentina on their FAQ page under “How are the cattle raised?”. It may not be as prominent as one would hope, but it’s at least on their website.

      The Bernard Jensen brand used to make this claim, but does not any longer. As such, I no longer refer to them as grass-fed. To my knowledge, Great Lakes is the only brand making this claim.

      I don’t see any problem with the gelatin coming from hides instead of (or in addition to) hooves. It’s still gelatin, and it’s still from the animal, and it’s still good for you.

      As for Argentinian beef, they have some of the BEST cattle raising standards in the world! (Certainly far, far better than American standards.) So, in my book, that’s a definitely plus and adds credibility.

  47. Luella says

    I just started making my own marshmallows from scratch, and this article on gelatin just made me even more excited to continue!

    1/2 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup gelatin – set aside
    1/2 cup water mixed with 3/4 to 1 cup honey – bring to rolling simmer and let simmer for 8-10 minutes.
    Slowly add while mixer is on low to gelatin/water mixture. Once it’s all added, add 1 tsp vanilla and turn mixer on high and mix for 10-15 minutes.

    Allow to sit for at least 4 hours before using. Don’t store in fridge. My kids prefer these to store bought!!

  48. says

    Is there a generally recommended daily dose for gelatin? Adults and kids? I keep on hearing about the benefits and started consuming it last week, but none of the articles I have read comment on how much of it to eat. I’m been adding it to my coffee in the morning, but I’m not sure how much to be putting in there.

  49. LJ says

    I’d rather go with something that is regulated a bit closer to home and certified organic, so I choose
    http://www.gobiofood.com/organic-gelatin-c-336.html
    instead.

    I can’t see where the ones you suggested were organic; grass-fed and organic are two different very different things. Very little of the omegas are stored in collagen, more in the fat and flesh of the animal, and organic animals are generally more grass-fed than those that aren’t marked as organic. My hunch is, if they don’t put organic on the label, then it isn’t organic.

    I also don’t think Americans in general have a problem getting enough protein. Sources vary, but it looks like we only need 2-4 ounces per day (4 ounces is about the size of a deck of cards) and we consume far more than that on average. (Think of the last steak you had. Bet it was bigger than 4 ounces.) I do agree that gelatin is a great source for protein and if you want to drink your protein, it’s a valuable resource.

    Sorry to be a nay-sayer, I love your site and read it all the time. Keep doing what you do, it’s helping lots of people!

  50. Julie says

    You say that Bernard Jensen gelatin powder comes from grass fed cows… how do you know this? I have been to their website and can find no mention of the source of the gelatin except that it comes from cows. The label itself doesn’t indicate grass fed either. I’d like to be sure the gelatin I’m getting is truly from grass fed as opposed to “conventionally fed” cows. Thanks!

  51. jen says

    Is it necessary to mix the gelatin powder in warm water before adding to a cold mixture like a smoothie? Does this change the availability of the nutritional benefits? Thanks.

  52. Betsy says

    This is such an interesting post to me as I am a teacher at home for the summer and working on a high protein muffin for the school year and crazy mornings – learning about healthy eating is a bit overwhelming – does anyone know if this product would work for baked goods? Thanks in advance.

  53. Glen PDQ says

    There are other considerations for poly-electrolytes like gelatin and pectin. When added to bulk water they form lattices causing the water to become more structured and more fit for living systems. Study the work on water by the scientists Gilbert Ling, Gerald Pollack, and Mae-Wan Ho.

  54. linda says

    Hi I was wondering if you could post some recipes for the use of gelatin or maybe some links to good sites.

    THANKS

  55. David says

    Gelatin is not a source of complete protein. I wouldn’t recommend that any use it as the main source of their protein intake. I am getting a degree in human nutrition and what I found online matched what we are being taught in school.

    (Source: Wikipedia)
    Although gelatin is 98-99% protein by dry weight, it has less nutritional value than many other complete protein sources. Gelatin is unusually high in the non-essential amino acids glycine and proline (i.e., those produced by the human body), while lacking certain essential amino acids (i.e., those not produced by the human body). It contains no tryptophan and is deficient in isoleucine, threonine, and methionine. The approximate amino acid composition of gelatin is: glycine 21%, proline 12%, hydroxyproline 12%, glutamic acid 10%, alanine 9%, arginine 8%, aspartic acid 6%, lysine 4%, serine 4%, leucine 3%, valine 2%, phenylalanine 2%, threonine 2%, isoleucine 1%, hydroxylysine 1%, methionine and histidine <1% and tyrosine <0.5%. These values vary, especially the minor constituents, depending on the source of the raw material and processing technique.[12]

  56. joyce wang says

    seems like lots of people disagree with this post and the recommendation to supplement with gelatin? and i also wonder why no one recommends the green bottle collagen?

  57. Emily says

    My mind is blown lol. I can’t keep down enough food to get protein. I’ve been so nauseous this pregnancy. I was losing weight and my blood pressure was going up. I’ve been taking a quality 100% pure whey protein in the mornings which I can’t always get down. I’m allergic to dairy too. I’m also allergic to beef, but I think taking gelatin from beef may do better than whey. We’ll see. Both are pretty strong allergies for me, but I just can’t keep enough food down.

    • Irene de Villiers says

      Nausea in pregnancy is caused by lack of Vitmin B6.
      Pregnancy needs LOTS of it.
      B6 is also depleted by coffee, so add more B6 if yuou drink coffee.

  58. Jennifer Hearin says

    I want to try some gelatin as I’ve been reading about the health benefits, and I want to try to make gummy treats. I found the Great Lakes brand locally, but I noticed it was the porcine gelatin version, not the beef gelatin that ‘everyone’ seems to recommend. So I went to the Great Lakes site to find out if there is any difference between the cow and pig gelatin. Well, I have some concerns now.

    This is what they state about the porcine gelatin:

    …”What are the hogs fed?
    Those hogs raised in farm areas get their daily normal feed (raw corn, pellets, selected waste foods from restaurants, and grocery stores). Cloistered hogs are fed raw corn, selected grain pellets, and a variety of natural foods from various food markets when available.”

    Not sounding like those pigs are pasture raised or naturally fed. Sounds more like conventional or even factory farmed (“cloistered”). Certainly the corn is most likely GMO, and who knows what is in “pellets”. Restaurant and grocery waste foods could be okay, but who knows. Reading this now concerns me about the quality of the beef gelatin. Though it’s (apparently) from grass-fed cows which are from South America, I have concerns.

    I see Great Lakes gelatin promoted quite a lot, and I’d like to try it. But after reading about the porcine gelatin, I’m hesitant.

    Btw, here’s what they say about the cows used in the beef gelatin:

    …”How are the cattle raised?
    Our cattle are grass fed and slaughtered in Argentina and Brazil which is controlled by their respective Department of Agriculture. These countries have the same type of rigourous tests and inspections as the United States. Beef hides are the only product used to manufacture gelatin in these countries”

    I also wonder why they use South American cattle.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or info about this. I would like to try some gelatin. Maybe Bernard Jensen would another option, but I’m often seeing Great Lakes gelatin used.

  59. Jessica says

    My apologies if the question has already been answered. Is there a recommended dose or max daily dose? I do Crossfit and my knees and wrist are really starting to hurt. I’m hoping gelatin will be my savior! (I do take whole food supplements – cod liver oil and a ligament blend) Thank you!

  60. Jacqueline says

    Not in Canada! And yes you can order from the US but at a very high cost!!! Do you know anything about the Now brand gelatin? Seems to be the only one out worth looking at! Thanks

  61. Tom says

    I am in the gym 4 – 5 days per week trying to put on some muscle. There are many body builder type proteins powders out there. My requirement is an additional 50 gram per day of protein. Has anyone used this product on that scale? If so, any side effects from taking that much gelatin protein? Any feedback is greatly welcome.
    Thanks….

  62. SJ says

    Everywhere I read, I keep seeing people stating the Bernard Jensen brand gelatin comes from grass-fed beef. However, this information is nowhere to be found on their official website and the only palce where I *did* find a statement, it clearly says it comes from grass AND grain fed cows. In the FAQ here: http://www.radiantlifecatalog.com/product/bernard-jensen-gelatin/superfoods-supplements

    Has anyone bothered to actually fact-check the grass-fed claim before it got parroted and plagiarized across the Internet?

  63. says

    Some of the posters seem to talk about grass fed as though some kind of organic mantra. Grass fed is far from organic. In fact many of the pastures are sprayed with insecticides and pesticides and then igested by hungry cows. Ddt’s are still used in some south american countries to make matters worse.

    Cows could be given anti biotics and growth hormones and not found in tests given only a few months later. I only buy meat certified anti biotic and hormones Never.

    I am very interested in gelatin especially for collogen help but remain a fence sitter for now.

  64. Sarah says

    So for smoothies do you use the regular gelling kind? How do you put it in? Just throw it in like a regular protein powder? Or do you have to prepare it a certain way? Thanks

  65. Chuck Jones says

    Gelatin/collagen is definitely lacking in the diets for those who eat SAD (standard american diet). I personally make a lot of soup stocks/bone broths, so I don’t feel the need to supplement.
    However, for those that see consuming gelatin as way to increase their daily protein intake: Do Not Do This! Gelatin doe not contain all essential amino acids and has a protein efficiency ratio of 0. This means that while it is good for our hair, skin,nails and gut health (which are great things!) It will not support muscle health or muscle building. Just FYI

  66. Marci Barton via Facebook says

    Recipes you use? I have made gummies-which are a hit, but I’m looking for more kid- friendly recipes.

  67. Jane Johnson via Facebook says

    Someone tried to tell me the other day that Great Lakes in the red can does not need to be mixed hot before consuming. True or false Kristin?

  68. says

    Jane Johnson — I think you mean the green can. The collagen hydrosalate (green can) is a more broken down form of gelatin, so it doesn’t need to be blended in cool water before being stirred into hot drinks. Instead, you can just pour it into your coffee, tea, broth, etc. and stir.

  69. Kc Conway via Facebook says

    Supposedly one of them doesn’t need to be put in hot water to dissolve, but reviewers say otherwise

  70. Catherine Tilly via Facebook says

    I mix 1Tbs into a glass of hot water with the juice of an organic lemon and some raw honey. First thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and again, right before bed. (Add gelatin to a 1/4 cup of cold water first, then add to hot lemon/honey water – stir briskly, no lumps :) )

  71. Vicki LaCharite via Facebook says

    Perfect timing! I was wondering about these. Is one of them an option to bake with? AIP no eggs.

  72. Diane Benz via Facebook says

    I mix it in cold water and then put it in my coffee every morning. There is no taste or smell. The trick to get it to dissolve is to mix it in cold water first. It won’t dissolve in hot liquids. Just like Jello, you mix it in cold then hot.

  73. Ericca Littleton Souther via Facebook says

    My can stated nothing about grass fed cows? Has it been changed? It only states ‘kosher’.
    I have the red can.

  74. Jane says

    I cannot find any that will ship to British Columbia, Canada…I have Arthritis and really want to give this a try…can you help me…I tried everything and none will ship…I have heard of getting a mailbox for shipment? I live near the border…any suggestions, thank you.

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