Q. I read in your column that pure pectin powder in grape or cherry juice helped aches and pains. What exactly is pure pectin powder?

The natural food stores and vitamin centers I’ve checked do not know what it is. I am using fruit pectin like Sure-Jell, sold for canning. Is this it? If not, where do I get it?

A. People have been telling us for years that a tablespoon of liquid fruit pectin (Certo) mixed in a cup of grape, cherry or pomegranate juice can help ease joint pain. Others have been experimenting with powdered pectin. We recently heard from one reader: “I use pure pectin powder (Pomona’s Universal Pectin). I sprinkle ¼ teaspoon gently on a cup of juice and then run the mixture in the blender for a minute or two… Certo costs about $3 for a jug of juice. Pure pectin powder works out to about 50 cents a jug.”

Another person spotted this advice on our website and asked where to find the powder. The answer is to order it online from www.pomonapectin.com.

The Sure-Jell you are using is similar, but in addition to pectin it contains dextrose and citric acid. Others have told us they have had success with this type of product as well.

You will find recipes for Certo in grape juice and other remedies in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.

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    I hear really good things about pectin. I would like to know if pectin needs to be mixed with sweet juice, or can it be mixed with lower-sugar and fewer-calorie drinks? Also, can it be sprinkled on fruit?

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Gladys, we don’t know if it works without the juice, but you could try it just in water. If you do, let us know how it goes. Also for sprinkling it on fruit.

  2. Carl

    Pectin in 100% Black Grape Juice is good, but fresh Lemon Juice, or lime, or a tsp of lemon juice concentrate helps with body ph and digestion, and added citric acid powder seemed worth while that is a good chelator. It made me feel ‘smooooth’!

  3. Rocket Scientist

    Info from pectin company Ball was not helpful. “We have (3) types of powdered pectin in a jar (Classic, Low or No Sugar Needed, Instant) and our Liquid pectin (2 pouches per box). Our pectin are not interchangeable and we have no equivalent charts available…”
    I suppose the liquid is brewed so equivalency is not just a ratio. This explains why I did not have good results when I substituted the powder. How about just buying liquid pectin on-line?

  4. Rocket Scientist

    This blog seems to have lost the fact that the grape juice is white grape juice. Just like the raisins and gin uses light raisins, and white wine is thought to help with joint pain. There is something in green grapes that is not in darker grapes.

  5. DRD

    I did get a suggested receipt from Pomona’s Universal Pectin! Here it is:
    Bring a cup of water to a boil and then put it in a food processor or blender or in a cup for a hand-held blender.
    Then add 2 tsp pectin powder, vent the lid to let steam out and run the machine.
    After a few seconds, stop the machine and scrape down the sides so that all clumps of pectin are in or on the water.
    Then run the machine for a good minute until there are no clumps at all – just perfectly smooth liquid pectin.
    Then take 1/8 cup of the liquid pectin (equals 1/4 tsp pectin powder) and hand stir it into a cold glass of juice. It stirs in quite nicely.
    Then put the rest of the liquid pectin in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator.
    The next day scoop out another 1/8 cup and hand stir it into a glass of juice. It stirs in nicely. And so on throughout the week.
    Warning: if you use a juice from the store with “calcium added”, the pectin will immediately go flaky when you stir it into the juice and the juice will not be enjoyable to drink.
    You do not need to use the calcium powder when taking pectin for arthritis.
    We do not recommend taking more than 1 teaspoon Pomona’s Pectin powder in a day (1/2 cup of the liquid pectin equals 1 teaspoon of pectin powder).
    Also, we do not make any medical claims for the use of Pomona’s Universal Pectin. Pomona’s Universal Pectin is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
    I hope this is helpful!

  6. Rocket Scientist

    I use a 3-oz liquid packet for 64 ounces of juice. I have emailed the manufacturer asking how much this would be in powdered form. When I get an answer, I will post it.

  7. lehliw

    Today , june 16 ,2014 is my second day of drinking grape juice with powdered fruit pectin…. am looking forward for a good result.. I do have osteo arthritis.. hope fruit pectin can be of help…..

  8. DRD

    Can you post the recipe Pomona’s gave you? Are you still taking it and what results have you seen?

  9. Pmoran

    Does anyone have the amount of powder Pectin to put into water or juice?

  10. marcyNmichele

    Hi! I bought Balls brand “powder” pectin from Walmart. Can anyone tell me how much powder and how much juice to use for best results.
    Thank You In Advance

  11. Mitch

    Personal experience speaks for itself, but just a comment on the “how and why” pectin as a supplement is credible.
    Studies of specific pectins have shown multiple actions, each of which is anti-inflammatory (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21554121 – blood glucose in animals moderated, inhibited release of inflammatory enzymes, decreased neutrophil infiltration; pectin from passion flower peel) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20945935 – moderated T-cell proliferation in mice, reduced inflammatory bowel disease)
    Pectin is a relatively low cost and easy to procure fiber. Given the broad impact that inflammatory processes can have on the quality of life and progression of chronic diseases, and lack of observable toxicity, it seems a worthwhile addition to any diet.

  12. kbl

    Pectin is an extract from citrus peels, sometimes apple peels too. It is naturally occurring in many fruits, esp. high acid fruits. It works as a gelling agent when making jams & jellies & such. As it is naturally occurring, some fruits do not need added pectin, just longer cooking times to make that jam or jelly. Most people today, however, use the store-bought pectins for more consistent results. If you google “What is pectin” you can find more about the contents.

  13. Pat

    I was very skeptical about Certo and grape juice; I have been taking gin soaked raisins for years and the effect has worn out some. I fell down the stairs in Jan. and was in much pain- took meds, physical therapy, etc. Just last week I tried this and cannot believe how much better my back feels!! What is in the pectin?

  14. Shirley G.

    My husband has been taking glucosamine/chondroitin for many years but after a week on the grape juice/pectin, he stopped that process entirely! Now he can jump out of his chair, use the stairs without holding the banister etc, etc. He looks and walks like a young man again! AMAZING stuff! I am looking into changing to a more natural form of pectin now however since I think he’ll be using this the rest of his life for sure! BTW: He has “football knees” and has had so many surgeries he actually has no cartilage left in either one but the pectin seems to lubricate the joints in such a way that it almost replaces what the cartilage did for him!

  15. Rocket Scientist

    If you are using powdered pectin, be sure of dose. On two trips, I took Ball powdered pectin to mix with the grape juice. It did not prevent the hip bursitis that occurs around 4 am if I sleep on my side. Back home on the Certo liquid pectin, I am pain-free. The ratio for the liquid is one 3-ounce packet per 64 oz of white grape juice.

  16. DJS

    When drinking the grape or other kinds of juices, does it have to be the juice that full of sugar and calories, or can it be drink mixes? For example, WalMart has different types of drink mixes with Natural Flavor listed as the 3rd ingredient and it has 5 calories per serving. I want the benefit of the home remedies but not all the extra calories.

  17. Bruce Buzalski

    Has anyone tried using pectin as a tablet? It is available on line, made from grapefruit peel. Each tablet contains 1000 mg.
    I’ve also read that taking pectin before a meal will help to reduce portion size because it gives you “I’m feeling full” feedback sooner. That could be an additional advantage. If constipation is a problem with this, I would assume (you know what that means) that drinking copious quantities of water would “help things along”.
    I’ve just started the grape juice treatment (love grape juice but being diabetic I’ve always steered clear of it). I have gout and osteoarthritis in multiple large and small joints. This will be an interesting experiment.

  18. Doris Y.

    Sara… Can you tell me how much do you use in your drink??? A tbl spoon, a tsp or what in how much juice ???…
    Tnxs, Doris

  19. JALD

    I have found the brand name “Certo” in most grocery stores in the Chicago area. I mix 1 (one) packet of Certo in 64 ounces of white grape juice and drink 1/2 cup per day. It really helps my Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy when nothing else helps.

  20. Pat R.

    Can you use cranberry juice instead of grape or cherry juice with the certo?

  21. William H.

    Pectin can be purchased at any store that sells canning supplies. In Maryland I have found it at Giant, Safeway, Shoppers Food etc. . Ask the store personnel where to find it. Believe it or not there are a number of people who still do their own preserves.

  22. Sarah

    I had been suffering from joint pain in my fingers and after reading about pectin and grape juice from your column, decided to give it a try. I took it regularly every morning before breakfast and within a couple of weeks I noticed the difference and thanks God the pain is gone and not only that, my nails are stronger and I noticed a change in my hair too, it didn’t fall as much.
    My daughter also started taking pectic with juice as she too had some pain in the joints. She is now expecting her first child, I just wanted to know if its safe for her to keep taking it on a regular basis?

  23. KJM

    Good for you, Dorothy L. I also refuse most meds, especially those advertised on three or four pages in women’s magazines. Plus I recently cancelled all the annual tests, scopes, and -grams. After 15 to 40 years of negative results, I see no need to spend more time and money on tests that are useful only to others. I must be doing something right to last 80 years in my right mind and good physical health.

  24. Dorothy L.

    In the last 15 years, I have taken many prescribed BP and Cholesterol medications. I am now 80, The first problem was with Niacin, then aspirin to keep the flushes down, Oh! Oh! I began to have an intestinal bleed. My Hg got to 5.4-but gradually. Within 3 years, 3 units of blood, and iron pills, and it just stopped. That was 10 years ago.
    Zocor made me weak as a kitten, but did it gradually over a couple of years. Drs’ have tried various other cholesterol meds. I now refuse them all, my total chol. and tryglycerides are med high, HDL is 55, I am not overweight, no diabetes, good genes, exercise regularly and take 6000 mg of Omega 3, eat quite healthy.
    I refuse to try any more Chol meds. My BP began to get up to 140/80, it hops around a lot, but Dr started me on BP meds. One was one of the Angiotensin 2 renin something, inhibitors, my BP immediately ( 2 days) shot up to 200+/130, and my Dr told me to keep; taking it. I refused. Acc. to him, I was hysterical, well I haven’t seen him since (he is a real jerk anyway, quack? not sure.)
    A later one put me on Altace, also an ace inhibitor I think, I coughed up so much mucous that I vomited every night. That Dr. put me on prednisone and an antibiotic, did no good. Insisted I try another pkg. , good bye to that one, my med. children were the ones that found out that was from the Altace, another very insistent Dr off my list.
    Now, I am on 300 mg of a Ca Channel Blkr. and bisoprolol. my BP gets to 120/55 and still hops around, but usually reasonable. I also take HCTZ. 12.5mg daily.
    I also think that generic Xanax is wiring me, I rarely take it, a case where “the cure is worse than the disease,” I even question the gen. Valium that I occ take for muscle spasms.
    I do need Ambien, and my c-pap, but decided to pay for 15 non-generic Ambien, I have not given the Ambien enough time to make a decision. I do have more anxiety right now as I am putting my house on the market next week. Never easy, but being alone and 80 is a bit overwhelming. I need to hear all of your comments, I fight to keep from getting over-medicated. OH, I do the Vit. D, potassium,/mag. . I want to feel decent as long as i can.

  25. Carole S.

    I found Pomona’s Universal Pectin at Whole Foods, but after reading the instruction insert I was not sure how best to mix it for drinking in juice. After a quick email question to them (info@pomonapectin.com), I received an instruction sheet on how to make up a week’s worth of pectin to mix into individual glasses of juice. They also have a phone number to contact them. Very helpful!
    PS: love your show on NPR!

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