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Why You Should Add Gelatin To Your Diet

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Calcium is reported as the number one bone-builder, but it turns out, gelatin may be even better. Find out how gelatin can improve the health of your bones as well as help your health in other ways below.

Everyone wants a healthier, stronger body; but there is much conflicting information on what you should eat and what you should do to become stronger and healthier.

Much controversy has surrounded the issue of bone health. Some studies have found that consuming the wrong form of calcium, or too much calcium, could even be harmful to the bones; and other bone-building nutrients are difficult to find or harmful in the wrong ratio.

With so much confusion, it is no wonder that so many people have weak and damaged bones. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, as many as 50 percent of all Americans will have osteoporosis or some other bone problem as they age. Considering that fractures after the age of 55 doubles the risk of death (in a study of over 6000 men and women conducted by the University of Pittsburgh in 2000), it is vitally important that Americans take steps to improve their bone health.

But other than ensuring adequate calcium intake, what else can you do to boost the health of your bones? The answer could be as simple as adding more gelatin to your diet.

What is Gelatin?

Gelatin is a unique form of protein that is harvested from animal products. Most gelatin comes from parts of animals that we no longer eat- like the skin, bones, feet, and other connective tissues. Gelatin is a form of collagen protein, and all animals have some natural gelatin in their bodies.

Gelatin, when purified, becomes a flavorless, colorless gel. Commonly, gelatin is sold today to gel dessert products (like the famous Jello). Gelatin fell out of favor when the humaneness of the gelatin-harvesting process came into question.

Most people were uncomfortable with the idea of eating a product harvested from horse feet, or with the use of strange animal parts for food. This, combined with the fact that most people today eat strictly muscle meats (which contains a completely different kind of protein), means that millions of people around the world are deficient in collagen and gelatin-based proteins. This can be detrimental to the health of your bones and many other systems in your body.

Why Do We Need Gelatin?

Our bodies are made up of water, protein, bones, and fat. During periods of stress, our bodies first use protein and water before fat. That is why it is easy to gain weight and become “flabby” during times of stress. You are actually losing muscle and gaining more fat. Protein is necessary for balancing hormones, and protein can actually act as hormones in its free state. Gelatin also creates its own set of amino acids which are necessary for the effective functioning of the brain, liver, and muscles.

Gelatin contains the amino acids glycine (regulates metabolism, brain function, and sex hormones), alanine (regulates liver function), proline (regulates artery plaque build-up, improves heart function, boosts skin health), and hydroxyproline (regulates bone health, skin health, and nutrient absorption). The modern diet lacks many of these amino acids simply because the modern diet does not contain collagen proteins.

About 50 percent of gelatin is collagen proteins and the other half contains the amino acids listed above. Without these vital amino acids and proteins, the body starts to have trouble maintaining efficient body functions. This can lead to a wide variety of problems, including a sluggish thyroid, slow metabolism, damaged skin, poor bone health, limited nutrient absorption, and even unregulated hormones.

Adding gelatin to the diet is one of the best things you can do to quickly improve the health of your bones and entire body.

What are the Benefits of Gelatin?

Studies have shown that gelatin and collagen are essential to the health of the body and can have many benefits. Benefits are particularly pronounced for bones and joints. Gelatin contains the necessary ingredients to maintain bone and joint health- which makes sense since most sources of gelatin are bone-based.

Gelatin can also maximize the nutrient absorption of bone-building nutrients, like magnesium, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, manganese, and other essential nutrients for building healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis.

According to Dr. Ray Peat, PhD in Biology and endocrinology, the balance of amino acids in the modern diet has messed with our ability to create the right proteins in the body. Traditional diets contained a lot of gelatin and collagen, while modern diets do not. This means that most people are severely lacking in the proteins that gelatin can provide. According to studies, the amino acids and proteins in gelatin will benefit nearly all areas of the body in addition to boosting bone and joint health.

Although the bone and joint benefits will take some time to establish, the other benefits of consuming gelatin will appear much more quickly. Some of the benefits of eating additional gelatin are listed below.

Other Benefits of Gelatin 


  • Supports healthy nails, hair, and skin
  • Tightens loose skin
  • Improves digestion
  • May reduce cellulite
  • Builds muscle
  • Boosts liver function
  • Reduces plaque build-up in blood vessels 
  • Increases energy
  • May alleviate asthma
  • May benefit Crohn’s disease
  • May benefit colitis
  • Reduces diabetes risk
  • Controls inflammation


The Best Sources of Gelatin

Modern sources of gelatin that you find in the grocery store will probably not provide all of the necessary benefits of gelatin. This is because grocery store gelatin (like the popular Jello) is highly processed (or contains high levels of unhealthy sugar). Most gelatin sold in grocery stores may also come from questionable sources, such as unhealthy animals.

Just like any other foods, the gelatin that you eat should come from healthy animals. Healthy animals will produce more nutrients that are beneficial to the body and will contain fewer chemicals and toxins that could interfere with your body’s essential processes.

If you want to add a gelatin supplement to your diet, look for a source that comes from humanely-raised, chemical and additive-free animals raised on traditional foods (typically grass and pastured raised). This will maximize the benefits of the gelatin and prevent any potential side effects.

What Should I Eat to Maximize the Benefits of Gelatin?

Gelatin, while incredibly important for building strong bones, is not the only additive that you need to build healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis. Women, especially, often have to consume higher amounts of bone-building nutrients because they have weaker bones and are more likely to develop bone problems after having children.

If a woman is lacking in nutrients during pregnancy, her body often removes nutrients from the bones to pass on to the baby. This causes a bone nutrient deficiency, which can lead to the development of osteoporosis. The following vitamins are crucial to bone development and can boost the benefits of gelatin:

Vitamin D

This nutrient is essential to bone health and is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D- This essential nutrient is required for the absorption of calcium and is also part of bone growth and health. Simply going outside in the sun can help you gain appropriate levels of vitamin D, but most Americans are deficient in vitamin D due to indoor working environments and the excessive use of sunscreen. Vitamin D is incredibly beneficial for bone health, and can even help repair existing bone loss. A review of over 167 studies in 2007 on vitamin D and calcium supplementation showed that taking both supplements together improves bone density and reduces fracture risk.


Everyone knows that calcium is necessary for healthy, strong bones. However, calcium is somewhat difficult to absorb on its own, which makes it crucial to eat calcium with other nutrients (like gelatin, vitamin D, and magnesium). However, some studies have also suggested that even taking calcium alone can boost bone mineral density. In a 4-year study concluded in 1997, it was found that study participants who did not consume calcium supplements had significantly reduced bone density at the hip and ankle in postmenopausal women.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is sometimes overlooked for its role in bone-building, but it is just as important as the more famous bone-building nutrients. Vitamin K can help maximize the effectiveness of gelatin and can dramatically reduce your fracture risk. Studies have shown that even low-dose vitamin K can work effectively with other bone-building nutrients to prevent fractures and osteoporosis. A 2001 study from Switzerland found that vitamin K was essential for regulating bone proteins and the proper assimilation of calcium absorption.


Magnesium is a mineral that is used throughout the body- particularly in the brain and bones. Magnesium is essential for the production of healthy, strong bones. In some cases, gelatin contains trace amounts of magnesium, but it can also be helpful to add magnesium to your diet for the benefit of your bones. According to a 2005 study from the University of Tennessee of over 2,000 elderly men and women, the study participants with the highest level of magnesium in their bodies had the best bone mineral density of all study participants.


Phosphorous is another mineral that is essential to the health of bones. Studies have shown that the balance of phosphorous in the diet can be tricky. While it is necessary for bone health, too much phosphorous can be damaging to the bones and the heart. Consult with your doctor about the right amount of phosphorous in your diet.


Manganese is essential for the production of healthy bones, joints, and connective tissues. Many patients with poor bone mineral density have low manganese levels. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, manganese is one of the most beneficial minerals for bone health. In one study, women who took a combination of zinc, copper, and manganese were able to improve their BMD in the spine.


Without zinc, bones cannot repair and function properly. According to a 2010 study conducted by Andong National University, zinc was found to be particularly important for boosting collagen. Zinc may be the most important mineral for maximizing the benefits of gelatin in your diet. In other studies, low levels of zinc have been associated with reduced BMD. A few other trace minerals are also essential for the health of your bones. You may find the benefits of gelatin increase when you boost your intake of the following trace minerals (take care not to over-consume these minerals).

Other Beneficial Minerals
  • Boron
  • Copper
  • Vanadium

Gelatin and Your Bones

Preventing osteoporosis does not have to be a complex issue. Simply by adding more gelatin to your diet you can boost the effectiveness of other bone-building nutrients and add extra essential proteins, amino acids, and nutrients that will ensure your bones remain healthy and flexible. Bones are not dry, lifeless parts of the body, but rather living tissues. However, just like any other living thing, if you do not give bones the essential nutrients they require to remain healthy, they will wither and die. This leads to bone mineral density loss and dangerous conditions like osteoporosis. Taking steps now to boost the health of your bones can help you live a longer, safer life





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