The People's Perspective on Medicine

Using Gelatin to Fight Hip Pain

Gelatin is used to make marshmallows, gummy candy, gummy vitamins, gelatin desserts, some yogurts and Jell-O. Does it also work for arthritis and hip pain?
Gelatin jello

Gelatin has been around for a very long time. Charles B. Knox (of Knox Gelatine fame), came up with a process to granulate gelatine so it could be used in cooking. That was back around the end of the 19th century. When he died in 1908 he left a thriving business to his wife who developed hundreds of gelatine recipes that housewives across America cherished. We have heard from many readers that gelatin can be helpful for arthritis or brittle nails. What about using gelatin for hip pain?

Gelatine for Hip Pain:

Q. My husband has a lot of hip pain. The remedy we read in your column using gelatin sounds very helpful.

He would like to try it, but we need more information on how to use it. I assume we use plain gelatin but do you let it set or just drink it after it has been mixed with water?

A. We asked the reader who sent his testimonial to offer more details. He uses Knox Unflavored Gelatine. Usually he stirs a packet of powder into the yogurt he eats for breakfast. It could also be mixed into juice, though it takes a bit of stirring to get it dissolved.

He goes on:

“You can mix it into tea or coffee and it dissolves well but it gives the drink a slimy texture. Hot oatmeal or any hot cereal is a very good choice because it dissolves well and the texture issue is irrelevant. I’ve also mixed it into soup.”

He says the benefits still hold, but if his hip starts to act up he doubles the dose for a few days. Like any home remedy, there are no studies and no guarantees.

Another reader shares a gelatin success story:

Q. I’m writing to tell you about my excellent experience using gelatin for hip pain. I’ve had a chronic ache in my hip for several years. I’ve seen a chiropractor, whose ministrations were effective but temporary. Pilates helped for just a little while, and yoga had no effect. My doc took an X-ray and said she didn’t see any arthritis. The chiropractor said he did and told me to eat Jell-O.

I decided to give it a try on the theory that it was perfectly harmless even if it didn’t work. For about six weeks I ate roughly half a packet of Knox Gelatine a day (prepared, not dry). No effect. But in a fit of hunger and frustration one day I gobbled up the remaining half pan, about two packets worth. The next morning I awoke completely pain free.

I went online and found that people who use it recommend one packet a day. I’ve been doing that now for about two months, with only a very occasional twinge in my hip after driving for 12 hours. I don’t know why it started working, but since my hip doesn’t hurt, and it’s easy and cheap, I’m just doing it.

A. This remedy fits our favorite criteria: won’t hurt, might help, and doesn’t cost too much. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Anyone who is interested in other non-drug approaches for joint pain may be interested in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis or our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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My mother is 96. She suffered from lower back pain, and a doctor also diagnosed bursitis in one of her hips. I purchased a bulk container of Knox gelatin at the grocery store, and started mixing some in with her dry breakfast cereal (added milk after putting the gelatin in), and her orange juice and coffee. It also mixes well with yogurt.

In a day, she probably gets about a tablespoon of gelatin.

It took about 10 days to notice much change. But she has reduced her ibuprofen from 6 per day to two now.

The pain used to be so bad that some days she needed help getting out of bed. It has been about a month now since I added gelatin to her diet, and some days she does not complain about her pains at all. She does, however, still take 2 ibuprofen every day.

what’s the average time to see results for knee osteoarthritis after starting knox’s gelatine?

I did permanent injury long ago to both my knees when the bottom end of an extension ladder I was high up on slid on the wet grass. I came down face forward on the ladder with the sharp edges of the ladder in contact with both my knees. It was many weeks before I could walk without a limp and without a cane. For years my knees always felt inflamed and would often “catch” painfully when I walked. – I read about the use of gelatin in the People’s Pharmacy newspaper edition some years ago. It has worked wonders for me. My knees no longer feel inflamed, and I no longer get painful “catches” in the knees when I walk my daily strenuous walk on paths through the hills around my mountain home. – I take one envelope of Knox unflavored and unsweetened gelatin in my coffee every morning. (I use a Keurig coffee machine.) I put the gelatin and the xylitol sweetener I use in the cup first. I blend them together by shaking the cup. That makes the gelatin dissolve without clumping when I add the coffee. I then stir as the coffee is entering the cup. – I have been doing this for about four or five years. It has worked wonders for me.

I used to drink Knox gelatin in a cocoa type drink I made, but stopped using it when the Mad Cow scare started. I figured no one knew where the gelatin was sourced from. Does anyone know if mad cow and gelatin is a problem?

Has anyone used gelatin capsules with good results?

What about collagen hydrolysate? Is it about the same thing? I take a tablespoonful a day, and it keeps my nails from breaking. Maybe I will try taking more.

I remember as a kid of drinking v8 with one packet Knox gelatin or mixing it with orange juice. Just another idea.

is there anyone who should not use unflavored gelatin due to medical condition (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.)? thanks

If Charles B. Knox died in 1908 he would have developed the product in the 19th century, not at the end of the 20th century as stated in the article!

I use gelatin for hair and nail health. I find it dissolves best by pouring it onto the surface of the liquid then waiting 10 – 15 minutes to stir it. It doesn’t clump using this method which stirring always does for me.

Alice, Reread the article it says 19th Century.

I am a 52 year old female, very active, working a full time job and part time job. I also run 2 miles 5 days a week. 4 years ago I was having pain in my right hip, went to ortho Dr, had xrays and was told I have arthritis in both hips and also tendinitus in right hip. I went to 4 months of physical therapy and 2 cortizone shots, the first one lasted exactly 2 wks and the second didn’t work at all. The therapy helped and I still do the exercises, but it’s not enough, my sister told me to try knox gelatin so I did. One package in either a glass of juice/water, or one in yogurt. After 5 days, I have such stomach cramps I can hardly move, I can’t sleep because the pain wakes me up. Feels like somebody punched me in the stomach.
Any body else have a reaction like this?

I use this remedy, and it works.

At night mix 2 tablespoon of gelatin (I prefer unflavored) with 1/4 cup of water. Leave it till the next day, and in the morning mix it with water, juice or yogurt (whatever you prefer) before you eat anything.

Do this for 7 days; then repeat after one month and then after 6 months.

I bought the Knox unflavoured gelatine and my question is, how do you use the bulk type? (or the one in a bigger container) not envelopes?

One tablespoon is equivalent to one envelope.

Recently diagnosed with OA, a friend recommended Knox. I noticed that when I take a packet, I get some discomfort (pinching pain/stiffness) at the joint area. Could this mean that the joint is trying to replace the cartilage or should I discontinue use of Knox?
Another friend said “no pain, no gain” and stated that I should continue.
People’s Pharmacy response: We are not familiar with joint pain from taking gelatin and would suggest that if it isn’t helping it shouldn’t be continued.

If Knox Gelatin is used by so meany people why doesn’t it come in a larger package?

Does this have bowel-moving properties like Metamucil?
People’s Pharmacy response: Some people may react in that way, but it is not a widely noted side effect.

I have been using Knox gelatin for about 6 weeks and had to increase from 1/2 package per day to 2 packs
per day to get relief, but I am about 99% pain free now.
I have been treated by several Doctors for multiple knee and back injuries and have recently undergone synvisc shots which only gave me relief for about 6 months, after receiving numerous cortisone shots.
I used to only be able to stand or walk or exercise for a short while, and now I have a lot more endurance.
I usually enjoy one package of gelatin in each of my 2 cups of coffee in the morning and sometimes have one more in the afternoon or evening. It claims to be cholesterol free and low in sugar and calories.

I read about using plain gelatin with juice. The article quoting a woman who’s husband had arthritis and was using it with pineapple juice. I’m trying this but wondered if one can use any juice or just the pineapple.
I use just a heaping teaspoonful in a glass of juice per day. The envelope on the gelatine package recommends this.
I think my thumbs are a bit better but only have been doing this for about 3 weeks. Should a person use a whole package a day?, or do as I have been doing. Will appreciate an answer.
thank you
C.Helbling

Does it make any difference whether you take the gelatin in the morning or evening or bedtime for best results?

I have taken it by mixing it into cranberry or orange juice and water. I put a little juice in a glass, add cold water, add packet of Knox stir with a fork or whisk. Drink right away.

I have been using Gelatin for four months now as part of a joint pain management strategy but so far I have been disappointed. Two weeks ago, I also commenced taking a high dosage of slow release Vitamin C (one tablet per day) which may speed things along hopefully. The gelatin powder should be from organic, grass-fed cattle ideally. Don’t sugar it up! I take mine with very hot water to dissolve thoroughly, and then pour fruit and vegetable juice mixture in to cool it and make it drinkable. Not too foul really.!Maybe I should change over to the cool water version,as being more suitable for joint pain??

Yes, I too would like to know what amounts are used?
Thanks!
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: MOST PEOPLE SEEM TO BE USING 1 PACKET OF POWDERED GELATIN A DAY.

I am planning to try the Knox Gelatine. How much is recommended?
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: 1 PACKET A DAY, MIXED IN FOOD OR BEVERAGE.

The difference is that Jello has food coloring and a ton of sugar which makes your blood acidic (not helpful in arthritis) and nutrition researchers say blood needs to be alkaline and takes calcium from wherever it is readily available to make it alkaline to
survive, it can therefore affect bones, teeth, nails, etc who have it. Gelatine is
available at health stores by the pound or in stores as Knox.

I read the first article re gelatin and tried it. It has worked well for me and my aging best-buddy canine – we both had joint pain, joint problems and were beginning to limp slightly. I make a variety of Knox gelatin-natural fruit smoothies for myself and mix it plain into my dog’s food daily. It works. I also take glucosamine-chrondroitin/MSM (and give one-a-day to my four-footed fellow) and eat “gin-raisins”.
I had had an appointment with a local orthopedist who recommended I consider something called Synvisc. I postponed any decision and a few days afterward I read the People’s Pharmacy article and decided to give it a try and some time to see if I could avoid the Synvisc knee injections – which can have serious negative side-effects.
It has been a couple of months since I began using it and both my buddy and I have had remarkable success with the gelatin and I now annoy and irritate friends by repeating to them the results.
To K.B.: be adventurous with the UNFLAVORED gelatin and try calling the Knox advice telephone number on the package and ask for their recipes. They will be happy to send them. I would suggest you use the net to check-out aspartame before you use the sugar-free/aspartame national brand.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCE! JUST BE SURE NOT TO SHARE THE RAISINS WITH YOUR DOG, SINCE RAISINS ARE TOXIC FOR CANINES.

Does it make a difference if you use Knox Gelatin or “Jello” flavored jello? 4/17/2011
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IT SHOULD NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Jello is loaded with sugar or toxic aspertame. Be careful with that.

A former coworker of mine had a hip replacement, but some nerves were damaged in manipulating the muscles to get the device implanted. The hip pain went away but he suffered unexplained burning on the bottom of the foot after the procedure. The doctor was experienced, so it appears to be an unfortunate outcome and not lack of skill.
The co worker ended up on disability, but would have probably ended up that way with out the procedure also. Patients have a tough decision to make when it comes this procedure, and all other methods to remove pain should be tried first. The gelatin has no known unfortunate outcomes and is much less invasive if it works.
But life has its quirks and turns. One could be injured driving to the hospital for the procedure or to the grocery store to purchase gelatin so just living sometimes has unfortunate outcomes.

As a 69 year old male I suffered from severe hip pain for about a year. After lithotripsy to remove a previously undiagnosed kidney stone, I have had no more hip pain. A friend of mine had hip replacement surgery but his hip pain did not subside until a kidney stone was removed.

I would be concerned about the age of this writer’s husband, and why a doctor visit would not be helpful in order to determine the possible need for a hip replacement.

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