Gelatin: How It Treats Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Updated on October 26, 2017
Kathy Steinemann profile image

Kathy Steinemann is an award-winning author. Her career has taken varying directions.

Could This Natural Remedy Work Even Better Than Prescription Medications?

According to several sources, gelatin may help to heal the mucous membranes in the intestines and soothe the digestive tract. It is credited with improving disorders such as IBS, Crohn's disease, leaky gut syndrome, celiac disease, peptic ulcers, and heartburn. Could this be the miracle cure we have been seeking?

Gelatin has been part of our traditional diet since man learned how to cook meat and produce broth. Meat stocks are rich in several important nutrients, including gelatin, collagen, cartilage, minerals, and electrolytes.

The ancient Chinese utilized gelatin as a therapeutic agent to stem bleeding and hemorrhage. The French fed gelatin to their armies and to the homeless to help augment meager food supplies. When combined with other nutrients, it provided Parisians with nourishment that helped them survive the Siege of Paris.

Cooked fruits and vegetables do not attract and hold liquids as well as their raw counterparts. Unfortunately, many people with IBS cannot tolerate raw vegetables. Gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid that aids digestion by attracting digestive juices to the food in the digestive tract. While performing this important function, it prevents bad bacteria from sticking to the wall of the gut, thereby preventing and mitigating bacterial infections. It also neutralizes toxins created during intestinal bugs or the flu.

Gelatin is reported to seal and heal any damage it finds by lining the gastrointestinal tract and nourishing the rapidly-growing mucous membranes. Numerous sources claim that ingesting gelatin also helps to prevent wrinkles, improve joint function, and maintain beautiful hair.

Knox isn't your only choice. Various grades of commercial gelatin are available. Some products are hydrolyzed for faster digestion and easier mixing in liquids. They may be made from beef or pork sources. Manufacturers like Great Lakes or Bernard Jensen provide gelatin that is gluten- and MSG-free, produced from top-quality animals. The best gelatin comes from grass-fed cattle or from pigs that are fed high-quality, natural diets.

Broth that is prepared at home will contain the highest concentration of healing properties. Thousands of websites offer recipes. The main ingredients are bones/discards from beef, pork, chicken, and fish. Everything is placed in a water/vinegar solution and simmered for hours to draw out the minerals and nutrients. Some cooks add vegetables and spices to produce a delicious consommé that may be served hot or jellied.

You can also purchase bone soup powder from Chinese, Japanese, or Taiwanese specialty shops, and in some health food stores.

It is easy to incorporate gelatin in your diet by mixing it into warm drinks, adding it to soups, sprinkling it over food, or by making homemade jelly desserts.

Here is a quick and easy recipe for gelatin lemonade.

Gelatin Lemonade


• Boiling water
• 1 Tbs. gelatin powder
• Pinch of pure stevia powder
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• Cold water


• Place gelatin and stevia powder in the bottom of a large mug or heavy glass that can tolerate boiling water.

• Add about 1/2 cup freshly-boiled water.

• Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.

• Add lemon juice.

• Top up with just enough cold water to cool the mixture slightly.

• Drink while warm. If you allow the liquid to cool, it will start to set.


You can omit the stevia and sweeten to taste with honey or sugar if you are able to tolerate it.

There are mountains of medical advice on the Internet. Some of it is excellent, some is mediocre, and some is downright dangerous. You should always consult your doctor, dentist, or other medical professional before deciding on or discontinuing a course of treatment. This also applies to medications and natural supplements.

© 2012 Kathy Steinemann


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      Margaret Dixon 14 months ago

      Reading your blog here and it sounds so hopeful!! Do I need to start out with smaller amounts at first? I have read so much about IBS and using gelatin to help with it tonight, my head is clogged!! I do seem to remember reading that too much at first could cause cramping & discomfort. What is your opinion on that?

      Thanks so much for your help!!


    • Kathy Steinemann profile image

      Kathy Steinemann 19 months ago from Alberta, Canada

      Hi, Roz.

      Everything you do for IBS is a personalized, symptom-based approach. I have at times used four packets of Knox daily. I don't have problems with lactose, so I mix two packets in a glass of milk, microwave until it's hot, and stir well to dissolve it. If you're sensitive to warm beverages, you might feel a need to have a bowel movement shortly thereafter.

      As a maintenance dose, I stick with two packets daily. Needless to say, I buy the large boxes and watch for sales. I have also used gelatin from the health food store, which is available in bulk and considerably cheaper.

      As an aside, when putting my luggage through a security check, my carry-on was flagged. Turns out the glass jar filled with packets of Knox aroused suspicion. If you plan to travel and can't get gelatin at your destination, it's probably best to leave it in the original box. Mine got through the check, because each packet was still intact. However, I can see bulk gelatin creating an uproar.

      Good luck with your IBS!


    • profile image

      Roz 19 months ago

      How much gelatin, how often and how did you take it? Did you use Knox? Thanks Sherri- so glad you are pain free

    • profile image

      Sherri Hunt 2 years ago

      I had suffered with IBS for years with NO RELIEF! I was prescribed several different things that never worked! My Mom talked me into trying gelatin for my nails and joint health and I realized after about a month that I was having NO stomach trouble! Fast forward eight months and my IBS has disappeared! I will take it for the rest of my life! I love being able to eat what I want and not having to worry about finding the nearest restroom! I've talked two other people into trying it and their stomachs have gotten 100% better too!! I'm a firm believer and would recommend it to anyone suffering from stomach issues!!

    • Kathy Steinemann profile image

      Kathy Steinemann 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I use regular, garden variety Knox gelatin, twice daily. I contacted Knox directly, and they affirmed that they don't use beef products.

    • profile image

      Tom Cal 4 years ago

      Expect great things - What type of Gelatin did you use Hydrolyzed or regular hot water type

      Thank you !

    • Kathy Steinemann profile image

      Kathy Steinemann 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      @ExpectGreatThings - It is nice to hear a success story. Good luck!

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 5 years ago from Illinois

      We changed his entire diet at the same time, so I probably shouldn't give all the credit to gelatin. But his gas stopped in a few days and his cramping and bloody stools were gone in about 3 weeks.

    • Kathy Steinemann profile image

      Kathy Steinemann 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      @ExpectGreatThings - How long did it take after adding gelatin before your son noticed an improvement?

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 5 years ago from Illinois

      I'm sold on gelatin! My son has been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for most of this year and gelatin is a big part of that. His gut issues are completely healed now. I hope many will read your hub.