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Want radiant skin, healthy joints, and improved digestion? Glow from the inside-out with paleo recipes featuring collagen.

Reader Interactions


    • Do you mean the same way as the collagen hydrolysate – mixed into liquids/smoothies? The hydrolysate will dissolve into hot and cold liquids and doesn’t leave a “slimy” texture that results when you mix the gelatin into hot beverages. I also find that the gelatin leaves a slightly flavor while the hydrolysate is almost flavorless. The gelatin will not dissolve well into cold beverages and can get lumpy when mixed into hot beverages if not mixed well.

      • Hello! Thank you for your great article! I had a question about the “nightcap” you make with coconut milk, collagen hydrolysate, and honey. In Food Combining, it is a cardinal rule to not mix sugars with protein (i.e. that includes bread with meat) as they have different digestion processes and will cause indigestion. Do you have a different philosophy that guides your choice in using fats, sugars, and proteins in combination?

        Many thanks! Loved the article!

      • I really enjoy the faint mild flavor and the texture of gelatin. I’m on my 3Rd glass of Oolong tea with a tablespoon gelatin in it. Premium Oolong tea Foojoy, Tie Guan Yin Tea. You can get it at H Mart. IT taste amazing just like at a nice restaurant. 6$ for 100 tea bags. I think this tea and gelatin goes very well together. My gelatin might taste different who knows. I use Zint 2 pound bag it’s grass fed organic non gmo and kosher. 31$ I like it dissolves in cold water just fine I whisk it, it gets bubbly like a bubble bath then just nuke it lol and throw my tea bag in. Ooooh!!! You know what it might be! I only use distilled water. This is probably why both brands I use dissolve in cold water the Zint does 100% it’s like water constancy. But yeah my guess is since distilled water is 100% pure I bet it absorbs gelatin well? Or its just the Zint? And I decided to stick to gelatin I find it to be more versatile. And also they say whole foods are better, gelatin is more of a whole form of gelatin not sure if it helps lol but I stick to what I know. You break something down to much your body doesn’t even recognize it as food anymore especially animal products. So I stick to gelatin for now just because lol.

    • Yes you may use Great Lakes, NesProteins Collagen Hydrolysate from The Aussie Gelatin Company or any other brand. I would recommend the 100% Natural Grass Fed Pasture Raised like NesProteins from Australia. This product has no grain fed Type 1 collagen source that has potential exposure to pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s and HGP’s used to fatten cattle and produce higher yielding grain and animals.

  1. Is it possible for gelatin to actually imbalance hormones rather than balance them? I have found that since taking Great Lakes Gelatin (2 to 3 tsp per day), my cycle runs much longer than it used to (five to six weeks instead of four).

    • you should also look at the overall picture and see what else is going on in your life.
      Have you changed your routine in some way? Are you more stressed than usual? Less stressed?
      Did you add something else to the diet? …or cut something out? etc. etc.

    • I also noticed an imbalance. My cycle got shorter (not complaining except it was so short and light I kept thinking I was missing it) and my skin is breaking out baaadly. I’m 31 and have a pizza face like a teenager. It was the only real change I had made to my diet so I have cut it out for a week and my flow is back and my skin seems to be clearing up.

    • While I’m not saying the change in your cycle is good, you might want to consider – and do your own research – as to WHY this is happening. There’s always that chance that you are healthier or need a 6 week cycle because of some issue you’re not aware of, or not considering, Just a thought.

    • I got my period 2 weeks early shortly after starting to take Great Lakes gelatin (green can, 1x daily). My cycle is always regular. I’ve also experienced headaches and a few breakouts. Wish this product worked for me. I was really hoping for healthier hair and healing my acid reflux.

    • I took Sanar Collagen supplement for close to two weeks and noticed ovary pain and premenstrual symptoms returning after entering the late perimenopause stage. I was overly sensitive and grouchy. My skin tears easily and am wrinkling visibly now. I am in remission of food allergy related Rhuematoid Arthritis and have been told this affects all organs, including skin, hair and nails. Do not know what to do. On Natural Balance Joint Flex but not as good for skin as joints.

    • So I’m not the only one who has noticed a change in the cycle! I kept googling about collagen side effects (if that’s what this is) and finally came across these comments. I’ve been taking hydrolized collagen 100% from pasture-raised cows for the past 5 months, about 2 full teaspoons a day, so less than recommended, but I also take homemade bone broth either with beet kvass or in soups and stews. Initially my hair got shinier and there was less breakage, my nails were stronger and my skin softer. After about a month, the benefits slowly disappeared and on top of that my cycle (that is, day 1 to day 1) got shorter (from 25 days to 23 and now to 21), whereas the actual period has increased by 1 day, is heavier and more painful. Collagen was the only change in my diet and I am not overly stressed. More recently, I have began noticing knee joint paint, which goes against the claims researchers are making. I’ve read a lot about how collagen works down to the molecular level, but I still can’t explain this. The only reason I continue to take it is because it does wonders for the chronic constipation I’ve been suffering from all my life. I have not needed any laxatives in all the 5 months I’ve been taking collagen, which is a miracle, but given all these other effects, I’m beginning to question how safe this supplement is.

      • My cycle started five days early last month and lasted a full heavy week which is not normal and it is now 7 days late this month. I have been dealing with serious irritability, moodiness, depression and also this disruption in my cycle. I have been taking collagen (Great Lakes) for about 6 weeks. I stopped taking it this past week. I’m so stressed over the disruption that I am actually taking a pregnancy test today despite having the Essure procedure done in 2011. I am 45 and have been like clockwork with my period every 28 days. I never had any issues until I started taking collagen. Today was the first day that I started googling collagen and disruption with the menstrual cycle and am finding more info that I expected. It appears to not be something that goes along with my body. (In regard to your comment about constipation, I take a Magnesium supplement at night that keeps me quite regular.)

        • I’m SO happy I came across these comments! I could not figure out was was happening with my body. I started Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate a little over a month ago. About 3 weeks in, I noticed feeling bloated and not quite normal, then my period started 3 weeks early! I’m on the pill, so this is very unusual. I’m now on day 12 of having my period. I was also irritable, had horrible cramps and headaches, and (ask my husband) probably the worst PMS symptoms I’d ever experienced. I stopped the supplement about a week ago, but I still have my period. The collagen is the only change I’d made to my diet. I was taking 2 tablespoons twice a day, as per the instructions. Maybe that was too much for me? For refernce, I’m 34, 5’2″ and 118lbs.

    • I would be curious to hear more data on collagen effect’s hormonally as well. I started the powder 5 days a go and noticed my menses started 2 weeks early. That’s the only change I’ve made in my diet/lifestyle/etc. I’ve always been fairly regular with a 26-28 day cycle previously. I’m curious if the collagen being from bovine sources is high in estrogen or if its the way collagen interacts at the cellular level on the HPA axis. Can anyone provide more information? I too searched the internet for this side effect but found very little. I would also be curious is other sources of collagen would produce this side effect.

  2. I understand that “grass-fed” changes (or rather ENHANCES) the fat and nutrient profile of beef (the actual meat); however, since beef gelatin is an isolated product (which does not include nutrients (other than amino acids) and fat), shouldn’t it be that grass-fed in regards to gelatin is of no importance?

      • While I agree wholeheartedly with you, you still didn’t really answer my question.
        I still don’t really understand what fundamental damage I would be doing if I used non grass-fed beef gelatin…

        • If you consume non grass-fed gelatin then that means it was made from cow’s that were conventionally raised, i.e. pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. I have no clue how much of a difference that makes in the gelatin, but I have to assume you get some residual contamination.

          • Is it an assumption that grass fed means no added antibodies or hormones? I see no wording on Vital Proteins packaging that states animals were not treated with antibotics nor were they given hormones.

            • We do test our products for hormones and antibiotics and our products are free of hormones (rBGH which is listed on our container) as well as other substances such as pesticides and other chemicals such as ractopamine, glyphosphates, and other pesticides.

  3. Hi-Love your blog posts! Question about the collagen you mention in this article…can I put it in my bulletproof coffee? Also is it beneficial to bake with in the same way you use gelatin to bake with?

  4. love this! even more reasons why we love taking our gelatin, we take both forms of Great lakes a few tablespoons a day. We love making marshmallows 🙂 We have noticed great improvements in our skin and health once we started taking it almost a year ago.

  5. Thanks for the great info! I’ve been taking collagen hydrolysate for a few weeks mixed into my morning dandy blend. I’ve been taking it for gut health but I didn’t realise the effect on hormones. I missed it a few days last week and had a couple of extremely emotional days – I wonder if that might explain my hormones feeling so out of whack.

  6. Lauren,

    I am 24 years old, and had gotten diagnosed with premature ovarian failure 3 years ago (in other words premature menopause) The doctors had me on aritifical hormones, and I have decided that I want to take control of my life and body and learn how to balance my hormones naturally. Is there anything you would recommend I do?

    • Helen,
      It saddens me to read about your diagnosis but rest assured, there is so much you can do to reverse premature ovarian failure. I too was diagnosed with that few years ago. I was devastated as I was in my late 20s. I have since adopted a very WAPF/Paleo/GAPS diet and am slowly recovering. I’ve been getting my periods back (so happy to see Aunt Flo again!!). I focused on consuming lots of healthy fats: (ghee, butter (grass-fed of course), coconut oil, raw cheese & milk), fermented foods (sauerkraut, kefir) and herbal teas (nettle, red clover, vitex berries). I’ve also cut out all the toxic household cleaners and toiletries. I make everything myself now: from laundry detergent to chapstick. It is possible to heal – our bodies are amazing machines – you just have to supply the right materials!! Blessings to you Helen and thanks Lauren for all your work. Love your blog.

  7. Hi Lauren, I just discovered your site from Weed’em and Reep. I love all of your amazing recipes and using food to heal, I am a big believer! I wanted to give you some information for your digestive issues on the worlds #1 Aloe. My really good friend Missi had the exact same thing as you and like you had tried all of the medicines and nothing was working. She also used food and nutrition to help but once she started taking this ultimate aloe- she hasn’t had a flair up in 6 years! I started taking it along with the Isotonix daily essentials vitamins back in November of 2013 and have felt amazing. I, luckily, didn’t have any major issues but have noticed PMS cramps disappear (thanks to the calcium) my skin tone improve and just overall more energy. If you would like to try some I would love to order some for you or talk in more detail. Please feel free to look into the product and contact me if you’re interested! Hope you have a blessed day.- Martha

  8. Hi! I’ve been following you on Pinterest for a while now and decided to try the collagen hydrosolate because I know how important amino acids are and to help balance my hormones. I’ve been taking them for almost a month now and my skin is breaking out really bad. I NEVER have break outs and rarely get pimples so I’m concerned it’s from the collagen. Please let me know if you have any insight!!

    • Hi Amanda. I just recently starting taking gelatin too and it seems my face has blown up with pimples, mainly on my chin, since taking it. Did you ever get to the bottom of this…I seen that no one replied to you.

    • Same here. At first I read peoples comments about breaking out (at this and other sites) and thought it must have been a coincidence or it was something else they were taking…until this week. I’ve been taking 6g daily of hydrolyzed collagen for appx 6 wks (the dose that clinical studies show improved skin hydration, etc) and this week I’ve broken out in pimples. I’m 60 yrs old and went thru menopause at 38. I haven’t had a pimple in 30 yrs and now I’ve got about 6. I have searched the net in vain. I’ve read many comments by women who are breaking out after taking collagen and several drs that said it doesn’t cause it. I have nothing else going on, no new stress, no other new supplements, lotions, etc. It does show me however that something is definitely taking place under the skin so it is at work for sure. My face is oily now for the 1st time in 3 decades. I’m wanting to know if I stick with it if it will pass. Since it’s obvious that it IS in fact having an effect on the skin, I wonder if the new stimulation is simply reactivating oil glands or sebum that have been dormant? I’m going to stick with it a bit longer and see if it improves. It is curious tho since many women are experiencing this but the ‘pros’ say it doesn’t do it. I do beg to differ.

      • I’m all broken out too! So glad to hear it’s not just me. I have a social event this weekend so I stopped yesterday in hopes of it clearing up. I look forward to hearing if as you continue it clears up again. Please post and let us know.

        • I’ve been breaking out as well since taking the collagen hydroxylate, badly at first, but I continued to use it any way and noticed that my skin is finally acclimating to the oil production. My skin is still breaking out more than it used to, but it is getting less and less.

      • Did you keep up with it and did your skin get any better? I am 50 years old and peri menopausal. I had hormone skin problems and was taking the collagen peptides from vital proteins religiously twice a day for months. My skin would clear a little then I’d get big hard pimples under the skin mainly around my chin and left lower cheek. I have stopped taking the collagen and my skin has all but cleared. Whether this is a coincidence or not I don’t know. I thought I was doing good for my skin but maybe not? I’m so confused.

      • Love this article! I accidentally stumbled onto your site! I’m 36, was diagnosed with many cysts and cancer cells in my uterus and on my ovaries. I had a full hysterectomy in 2010. I’ve noticed a lot of body changes since this…. Hormones, lack of energy and motivation, no libido, wrinkles and cellulite now, also been diagnosed with bone loss and osteoarthritis. I’m looking into healthier ways to help with all of these issues. Do you think this is a good option? Also, is this something healthy for my boys to take as well? They are 10 and 13 (already having acne issues). Is this flavorless?

        Thanks so much!!

        • Hi Jayne,

          I would absolutely recommend collagen to you, along with the inclusion of other nutrient-rich foods and the elimination of refined sugar and grains. It’s also great for kids of all ages. And yes, it is flavorless. Blessings for your healing!

  9. Hi Lauren,

    Been following your posts for a while now. I love how accessible you make the information 🙂

    The Ray Peat reference reminds me very much of something else I read somewhere, I think perhaps from the recent PaleoCon online webinar series or mentioned by Stefani Ruper, about how exercise doesn’t just effect the body globally, like to decrease insulin resistance, but it also works on a more specific level in the cells to enhance the cells ability to receive parts for energy. I suppose this has to do with mitochondria.

    Maybe this plays into the effectiveness of Whole Body Vibration (WBV) therapy (Dave Asprey at has an (expensive!) product that serves this purpose, and I’m sure then other extra info on it). Not to mention the added benefit of moving fluids in the body, like a rebounder.

    Keep up the great work!

  10. Have you ever tried to add collagen hydrolysate to homemade ghee?
    The idea just occurred to me when I read what you wrote about it probably needing to be balanced with carb and fat. Not sure what could be the carb to add it to though.

  11. I believe in the benefits of adding gelatin to the diet. I attempted to do this using the Great Lakes brand and developed bloating. I tried decreasing to only a teaspoon a day and still experience the bloating, although not as significantly. Is it uncommon to experience “side effects” when initially introducing gelatin to the body?

    Thank you so much for the input.

    • Collagen Protein Powder-I first thought I had found the Lord’s greatest miracle. Skin-wow! wrinkles disappear, joint pain disappears, sleep is improved. Then the bloating started. Water retention-extreme. Gained 4 pounds in a week. I was freaking out cause I was barely eating-(it cuts your appetite)…but my face was so puffed up I barely looked like myself. I didnt know what was causing this, until I finally decided to try a day with no collagen protein….by the end of the first day, my pants were getting looser and my face had started returning to its normal size/shape. Beware. This stuff is amazing…but it comes at a price and for me the price is too high….I might try one spoon once a week, maybe thats plenty. BEWARE! And if you start gaining weight for “no reason”, this is why…… 🙁

      • OH MY! ME, too!!!! Exactly! And hormonal issues with starting my period earlier. I gained quite a bit. (close to twenty pounds in just a couple months) Just cut the collagen and I’m dropping. Eeks! Thank you for posting your experience. I’ve been trying to look things up because it was hard to believe that it could have caused this, but I am really thinking it is the only explanation.

        • I have the same thing from GL regular gelatin. If I take 2-3T daily, I’ll gain a few pounds in a week, which will take another week to come back off. I’m not eating enough calories to maintain my weight, so it seems like a combination of water retention and stalling. Thanks for the comments confirming this for those of us with unfortunate side effects!

          • I found this thread through a Google search. I’ve been taking GL collagen for 2 days and the scale just keeps going the other way. I have a painful shoulder and thought this would be a great natural way to work on healing it instead of steroids (because they make me gain weight and affect my mood). So it seems collagen is not the answer for me either.

    • BEWARE WEIGHT GAIN /WATER RETENTION Collagen Protein Powder-I first thought I had found the Lord’s greatest miracle. Skin-wow! wrinkles disappear, joint pain disappears, sleep is improved. Then the bloating started. Water retention-extreme. Gained 4 pounds in a week. I was freaking out cause I was barely eating-(it cuts your appetite)…but my face was so puffed up I barely looked like myself. I didnt know what was causing this, until I finally decided to try a day with no collagen protein….by the end of the first day, my pants were getting looser and my face had started returning to its normal size/shape. Beware. This stuff is amazing…but it comes at a price and for me the price is too high….I might try one spoon once a week, maybe thats plenty. BEWARE! And if you start gaining weight for “no reason”, this is why…… 🙁

      • thanks for your comment, this is exactly what is happening to me. I love this stuff and every aspect EXCEPT even though I hardly eat at all because I have no appetite I have gained 4 pounds in the last couple of weeks and couldn’t figure out why, also could not find ANY research or explanation anywhere until I read your comment.

      • Wow! I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’ve been using Gelatin for a about 10 months – I make gummies. I found for a while my skin played but after a while it settled , I think it was detoxing, I did stop it for a while too , I think giving body a break for a day or two is good every month or so. I noticed scales went up too ..water retention as I am not eating much. I had less wrinkles definitely …because everything was puffy. Also I found too much gelatin and I’d get really really irritable has anyone else found this?

        • Yes! Me too! My skin is ok, but I’ve packed on like 8lbs in 10 days. And very irritable. I was taking a lot, It was helping heal a ligament injury in my ankle so quickly, but wow! What a price to pay! Thanks for posting your experiences. Ankle getting better, going to have to stop gelatin soon. Thanks again.

      • OMG, thank you, I’ve been searching for some indication that I’m not the only one. I’ve put on 15 lbs in 2 months and I couldn’t understand why. My husband too…I just recently thought maybe it was the Vital Protein Collagen that we had started using in our morning smoothies. We both feel bloated and gained midsection weight despite eating clean and eating less. I’m really bummed as I was really hoping for the benefits other people get from collagen 🙁 We took the collagen out of routine starting today. Fingers crossed the weight comes off as “easy” as I put it on. Good grief.

  12. Hi Lauren – I started taking the Collagen about 3 months ago based on your recommendation. I had gum problems all my life and a tooth that was getting infected off and on because my gum had pulled away and down on the backside of it allowing food and who knows what to go down under the tooth. At some point I noticed that my gum had become firm and the tooth was not as loose as it had been and, of course, no more infections. Then I read on that it also helps to heal gum disease. Here is a link but I’m not sure it was on that page: I’ve checked the rest of my gums now and I’d bet that any dentist would no longer claim I had gingivitis as they have most of my life. My gums are firm plump and just the right shade of pinkish/red.

    This is really a potent healing remedy for so many things. I will keep taking it and thank you so much for helping me and so many others.

  13. Thanks Laureen! I’m translating some of these points to Spanish for my friends. If someone here needs this information in Spanish, feel free to ask.


  14. I started taking Now Foods Beef Gelatin 550mg Hydrolyzed Capsules a week ago to see if it would help with my health. I have some form of connective tissue/collagen disorder that my rheumatologist has been unable to classify. My toes have an odd purple hue and swell very easily. My right fingers swell up, itch and burn all winter, every winter. It is not known what this is and why my left fingers stay normal. I had an ice water test and did not fit the criteria for Raynaud’s syndrome although it is similar. I had my amygdala and hippocampus removed 4 years ago due to a cancerous tumor. I had epilepsy prior to the surgery but had not experienced any seizures afterward. I wanted to try beef gelatin to see if it would help with my fingers and toes, help me with handling stress (I am unable to handle even the slightest bit of stress which I assume is due to the removal of the stress-control areas of the brain), give me energy (I am almost always tired), help with memory and mood, and help with my stomach issues. I have been battling candida and leaky gut syndrome since being on steroids for a brief period after the surgery.
    Since taking the gelatin, I have had a painful, bloated stomach that makes odd gurgling noises. My fingers and toes have swelled up a little. I have fallen asleep quickly and sleep through the night, yet I wake up feeling exhausted. My brain feels swollen. I notice that I have puffy eyes and the small bald spot on my head from the surgery has gone from an indent to swollen. Worst of all, I have the feeling like a seizure may come at any second. I haven’t had this feeling for 4 years. It is an odd feeling of dread. Therefore, I will not continue to take the gelatin.
    I am wondering if anyone may know why my body is having the opposite reaction than what other people seem to have. I have read that gelatin is beneficial in recovering from epilepsy, helps to heal the gut and controls inflammation. Why would these issues be worsening for me? This is very frustrating after reading all of the positive information on this.

    • I should add that a I had catamenial epilepsy, meaning that my seizures worsened around menstruation due to hormonal shifts. At the time of taking beef gelatin, I was not near that part of my cycle.

      • Dear Karissa, I hope your situation has calmed down – it is always a learning curve. I am not a doctor but had for years strange symptoms nobody could ‘define’. However, make sure your ‘leaky gut’ is really healed as this could be the trigger. Anything our body cannot metabolise will cause these strange symptoms – e.g. swelling when the lymph system gets overwhelmed. You might wish to look for a cleansing regime and check out the supplement Glutamine and DGL and or mastic gum to heal your gut. Read up on GAPS (from the principle) and perhaps make a leaky gut test to be save. Once your colon is balanced… healing and shift for the better always happens. God bless.

    • your problem may be liver related. please seek out a traditional chinese medicine doctor, that works with herbs as well as with acupunture, and don’t just push pens, or give you a herbal formula that will help eleviate your symptoms. seek one that does only tradtional chinese medicine practices, cupping, moxa, acupunture and nutrition. there are alot of tcm trained doctors who stray from their training, these will not do. also the acupunture and herbal protocol should change with your syptoms. i hope this helps. good luck and god bless.

    • How long did it take for this to resolve? I’ve had similar symptoms after taking great lakes hydrolysate gelatin. My fingers are swollen & painful, I’m bloated, had rapid weight gain, and have swelling in my tongue in mouth. I stopped taking it 5 days ago, but the swelling hasn’t gone down yet. If anything – it’s gotten worse.

      How long after you stopped taking it did it resolve? Thanks!!

  15. Karissa, it’s possible you have methylation issues related to a MTHFR mutation (which might also explain some of your health problems). It is my understanding that gelatin (and bone broth) cause problems if you have such a mutation.

  16. Maybe with more time/research i could find the answer; but, here goes. What about the info that its only possible for the collagen ‘supplement’ to be useful if taken on an empty stomach. What is it about the stomach acids destroying the collagen? How does that pertain to bone broth? vs hydrolyzed collagen? The more I learn the more I realize that I know less…

  17. Does the collagen hydrolysate contain gluten? I read a list of gluten containing foods published by Dr Perlmutter and “hydrolysate”was listed under a heading of ”might be an ingredient indicating gluten’.

  18. Wow !!!! I Am amazed, I have never heard of gelatine in this way before. I live in Australia and I would love to start trying this to help with my terribly itchy skin, which disrupts my sleep , I have had for 8 years and anything I try is short lived relief. Also now I am in my late 40’s and my hormones and cycle are changing. Can you let me know how to order some please. Thanks Steph

    • Have you tried removing gluten from your diet? Regardless of any test results or diagnosis, itching could be caused by gluten. I don’t normally respond to post, but I felt compelled, as I can empathize. Prior to being diagnosed, almost 13 years ago, when the world was not as gluten free friendly and aware, I experienced the itching too. A symptom of celiac disease can be dermatitis herpetiformis. If you read on it don’t discredit possibility just because you may not have blister like sores etc… I used to literally brush myself to sleep at night. I was scratching so much prior to brush, I was bruising myself. Also, you may want to investigate dust mites. Either way I feel for you. Much love and light your way 🙂

      Ps it took almost 6 months to see improvement. Additionally, I was on very strict diet for several food allergies… Which can also come and go FYI

      Best wishes

  19. On the can of Great Lakes’ Collagen Hydrolysate (green can) it says that it “promotes rapid re-production of blood cells…” I am in remission from Multiple Myeloma. The doctor says there are still cancer cells in the blood plasma, in the marrow. Will the collagen cause those cells to reproduce?

  20. My wife has done research on hydrolysate and it seems to lead to skin break-outs, with women. The areas most affected are the chin and upper back. I’ve taken it too, but I haven’t had any such problems.

    I think women should approach this product carefully.

    • Interesting…I’ve been trying to figure out why I suddenly have an acne problem and it does seem to correspond to when I started taking collagen. I’ll have to stop taking it and see if it clears up. I thought it was supposed to be so good for the skin.

      • I started it about 4-5 weeks ago and I’m having major breakouts around chin and also on cheeks, and seem to be bloating. Ack! I have stopped now and will see if it improves now that I’m off. (And I bought 4 tubs to get a discount, argh.)

  21. I started taking the Great Lakes green can just days ago. I read enough about it to know to start small so I very been taking a top at night with almond milk honey and nutmeg. But I’ve had a pretty bad headache more on than off since. This is the only change and I’m also very tired and just a little foggy. I’m assuming this means I can’t take it. I’m having hormone and joint pain issues so I really need this to work. Any suggestions! ?!?

  22. I’ve tried Swanson Vitamins Hydrolyzed Fish Collagen (#SWU759) with very good results. It doesn’t smell fishy and some people that either dislike fish or are allergic to it have done fine. What is your opinion regarding fish collagen compared to beef collagen as far as effectiveness and benefits?

  23. The cattle from Great lakes Gelatin are also grass fed and come from Argentina and Brazil which is controlled by their respective Department of Agriculture. i read on the Vital website that their gelatin product also comes from grass fed cattle in Brazil. So what do you actually think makes the difference between the Great lakes Gelatin and the Vitals? i also get free shipping from the Great lakes when i order through Amazon.

    • I use Great Lakes, so this is not intended to discourage anyone from buying their products, but I feel their packaging / advertising are a bit misleading. They basically seem to assert that they trust the fact that their cattle are grass fed means they are basically raised to organic standards. Anyone familiar with agriculture and cattle ranching in Brazil knows that it is highly UNregulated, and that there is rampant misuse of chemical inputs against Brazilian law. I would not assume that a pastured cow raised in Brazil has not been injected with medications and hormones. The recent scandal that briefly stopped exportation of cattle from Brazil to worldwide destinations is just a small reminder of how unregulated the cattle industry is in Brazil. Several meat processing plants were found to have used chemicals including formaldehyde to doctor meat. I know there is no meat in Great Lakes products, but if it comes from cows processed by the same industry and carcinogenic chemicals are being illegally used in processing, I’d say there’s a good chance trace amounts make it into collagen and gelatin products as well. I’m not saying that’s absolutely the case, but just that to invoke the wild open savannas of Brazil as proof that grass fed means chemical-free in the Brazilian context is disingenuous. Great Lakes, being a major player in the industry, certainly must know the Brazilian meat industry better than that. Not to mention that cattle ranching is a huge driver of deforestation in Brazil, both of the Amazon rainforest and the imperilled cerrado biome.

  24. Hi Lauren,
    is there a difference between the Great Lakes gelatin and this Vitals brand? you had a link to the Great Lakes before and now the Vitals.
    Thank you
    and for all your writings =)

  25. Loved the article. I have a very hard time with anything that has any odd consistency. I bought the Great Lakes Gelatin and that was a no go for me. Then I tried the NeoCell Super Collagen (Type 1&3) and still have a problem with the taste and consistency. Is there anything wrong with buying capsules and capping my own? Do these items have to be mixed with liquid before ingesting?


  26. I started taking a tbsp of the great lakes (orange can) beef gelatin a month ago. I also have broken out on my face. My period came 3 days early after taking it for the first 3 days and now my period is 8 days early this month. My period has always been regular before this. It’s kind of freaking me out so I am going to back off of this stuff and see if my periods become regular again. I’m hoping it’s just the gelatin and nothing serious.

  27. Lauren and anyone else, can you help me understand why great lakes (both orange and green cans) caused severe bloat and constipation? I tested it many times. I thought is was supposed to help? I have taken pro its chews no problem but they are over priced in my opinion.
    Any input appreciated!

  28. Hello,
    I have recently begun taking 1Tbsp of the Great Lakes gelatin daily. Coincidentally, I have also begun having panic attacks. (I have suffered from anxiety in the past, but it has been managed for some time, as I take 20mg of fluoxetine/Prozac per day).
    My question is: do you know if the gelatin could be also increasing the seratonin production in my body, thus giving me too much seratonin when combined with my meds, hence causing these panic attacks? The first one occured in the middle of the night (which has never happened to me before). My symptoms are excessive sweating (especially hands and feet), extremely rapid heartbeat, light-headedness, fear of passing-out, tingling throughout my entire body (like my body is on fire). Thank you for any information or suggestions!

    • This is EXACTLY what happened to me! Panic attack in the middle of the night and my whole body felt itchy and tingly. I decided to take it because it helped with leaky gut and I thought it would help my allergies, but I’m worried the cons outweigh the pros on this. I only took it once the other day and have been too fearful to take again. Did you ever discover if this was the source or have you continued taking it?

  29. I also had a side effect from the gelatin so it is true that it is not for everyone. I was 62, very limber, no pain and athletic, ate an organic diet mostly fruits and vegetables with small amounts of eggs, dairy and meats. After taking the gelatin one teaspoon in juice for 10 days I was delighted that my degenerated neck became less lose, but then a few days later my entire body got very stiff making it difficult to get up from a chair and my injuries from my entire life began to have pain. As a chiropractor and nutritionist I believed my lack of pain was due to the high level of minerals from my diet, but why this product caused pain is beyond me. I am guessing it is because the effect was too great and the collagen caused my tissues to harden in some way. I stopped taking it the day the stiffness started. After several months it has lessened somewhat and I only have pain in my left hip, so I am hoping the effects of this product will wear off as my body replaces its cells. . I would warn people to start out very slowly with this product from Great Lakes (collagen joint care) as it is powerful and not natural so a little goes a long way. As a doctor I am aware the body is in a very delicate balance and we must be careful to only add small amounts of anything that is not in the form of food, otherwise, we may cause imbalance and harm to ourself. Anyone have a similar experience? I must mention I have taken regular gelatin as in jello with no problem whatsoever in the past for stronger nails and hair.

    • I have had an interesting experience as well (also a chiro, btw!) My office is basically concrete (covered with a thin berber carpet and no padding) so at the end of a 12 hour work day (x2 days a week) my knees, ankles, and hips are aching. I started taking regular gelatin in my coffee daily and developed reflux for the first time in my life. Then I read that if your digestive system is weak, hydrolyzed collagen or bone broth would be a better idea. I started taking hydrolyzed collagen from 100% grass fed cows and my joints definitely did better. I was doing 1 tbsp. /day and that was great, but below what I’d seen as recommended and noticed it was less than what the scoop provided. So I started do ing two tbsp / day (morning and night) and then switched to just using a scoop’s worth in my morning coffee. Constiptation much? Aye! I haven’t had any pain return to my joints, although they really weren’t hurting so much as stiff at the end of the day. I did see that if you are taking calcium as a supplement along with collagen that you could be having symptoms of hypercalcemia and that could cause some issues for you. Hope that helps! I’m going to knock my dose back down to 1 tbsp. / day after some time off and see how the bowels move. I think it’s just too much for me.

  30. QUESTION- I just started taking gelatin for all the health benefits, but to mainly control my hunger cravings. I started with 1 tbl the first day and moved down to 2teaspoons a day after a week. It’s now my second week And I am finding that my face and lips feel EXTREAMLY TIGHT and they tingle along with my lips being very dry ever since I started taking it. Am I allergic? Should I just cut down and only do 1 teaspoon? Or stop all together?

  31. amazing article, I know first hand the benefits hydrolysed collagen can give. Food is medicine! I switched (on advice from my naturopath) from the Brazilian sourced based products (such as Great Lakes) to the product made by an Australian company. it’s called Peptipro, seems to have a greater bio-availability meaning I got the benefits slightly quicker than when I used Great Lakes.

    I must mention I used the hydrolysed collagen to treat my torn shoulder, it’s truly amazing how much it’s helped, without a single injection or any surgery as was recommended.

  32. Vital Choices has better packaging?! I will stick with Great Lakes, thank you. No endocrine-disrupting plastic containers for me. Food contains phthalates as a result of being packaged in plastic. Also, plastic can’t truly be recycled, only down-cycled. Practically every molecule of plastic ever produced is still in the environment, and a lot of it is floating in the Pacific ocean, killing seabirds and aquatic animals.

  33. I have been taking the Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate for 5-6 days now, 1-2 TBS per day. The last two days I’ve felt completely bloated and without appetite. I see several others have had this reaction. Might this effect normalize after the body gets used to the supplement? Anyone have this experience?

  34. I am 38 year old female. I have been using the green can of Great Lakes Collagen 2 Tbsp. 2x per day .. 2 Tbsp. in my coffee in the morning and 2Tbsp. mixed in tea or tap water at night. I have been using it now for 5 days consistently. I have been drinking more water than normal because I have read that people tend to bloat from this product. I have not noticed any bloating. I have also had a sore shoulder for the last 2-3 months, maybe a pulled muscle or pulled rotator cuff from water skiing this summer. Today I noticed I was able to reach further than I have been able to in 2-3 months. I do believe it’s the collagen helping! I will continue using this protein in hopes that my hair will grow faster and also for the anti-aging benefits. I have read a lot of great reviews on this product, so thought I would try it, too!

  35. Hi,

    Im about a year late here, but I figured I’d chime in! The onset of acne has been brought up several times in this thread but I don’t think anyone with a scientific/nutritional background has answered the questions about its correlation to collagen supplementation..

    I started taking a similar kind of organic grassfed collagen about a week and a half ago and within just 5 days painful, cystic zits have appeared around my chin and mouth. I havent had acne this bad in about 4 years! I eat an 80% 20% Paleo diet, and the only thing i can attribute to this crazy acne flare up is the collagen.

    Im going to stop taking the supplement for a week or more and write back with progress soon. If anyone has an data/info or feedback let me know! I want to keep taking the collagen because I train a lot and its helping my joints, but not if my skin looks like S#@T!

    • I didn’t even think about that part until I read your comment. Constipation for me when I upped the dosage from 1 tbsp. / day to more. I also started to break out with a cystic type acne and wondered what was up since I’ve been doing GREAT with eating clean. I’m lowering the dosage back to 1 tbsp. / day and will update if I see changes. I also noticed great improvement with my joints.

    • It is an experiment that I have repeated thrice. At one time I read about the benefits of taking supplemental collagen and decided to give it a shot. A week later a was breaking out with cystic acne – something that I had problems with in my teen years but have not experienced for over a decade. I stopped taking it and the few cyst cleared with time. Over the next year I tried two other manufacturers’ products and the results was similar – collagen DOES CAUSE cystic acne, at least in predisposed individuals!
      Currently I take gelatin with no issues. I am just not sure how much it helps.

  36. Do you have any suggestions for someone that must limit their beef intake? My nutritionist ran a MRT test and I reacted in a medium fashion to beef. During the healing phase of her protocol she had me cut it out entirely and I am just now trying adding it back in. Obviously though, I must limit my intake. So again, any suggestions?

    • Same happened to me. cycle 2 weeks early. Along with worse PMS. And MAJOR weight gain! I would love to know a connection to hormones. Actually reading the comments on here is helpful to know I was not going crazy! Unfortunately, collagen does not love me! 🙁

  37. Hormones….!!
    I am seeing a nutritionist for pmdd which is a severe hormone/mood imbalance (onset is 7-10 days prior to menstruation). Has anyone had success with hormone balancing using collagen? I started taking it 3 days ago and unfortunately I’m already seeing the acne breakouts on my chin (coincidentally cystic chin acne happens right before my period begins although my period is not due for weeks). I’m also normally vegetarian, mostly vegan, and agreeing to take this was a stretch for me. I’m only doing it because she HIGHLY recommended it and my pmdd is out of control.
    Anyway, I’m worried that I’m not digesting it properly. Perhaps from being a 20+ year vegetarian I lack the enzymes to break down these biproducts…? Other noteworthy symptoms are bloating and constipation (Normally I’m regular and NEVER constipated) my face is breaking out (according to face mapping, chin acne is linked to the small intestine).
    I was so excited for the youthful skin and healthy nails and hair benefits in addition to the hormonal relief!! There are so many good reports for collagen peptides but I’m not sure it will work for my body 🙁
    The chances are good that nobody will read or answer my comment, but I decided to post one anyway, just in case someone has a reply. I’ll contact my nutritionist as well and hear what she has to say about the side effects.

    **I use the “Vital Proteins” brand of Collagen Peptides. So far, 2 scoops per day.
    Thanks for reading and take care.

    • Hi!
      I had symptoms similar to yours, and they were related to celiac disease and leaky gut. Try a program like the Whole 30 to see if you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the reliability of “official” medical diagnostic tests. Your body will tell you what’s what.

  38. I am a 34 year old female who has celiac disease with also a lot of other food allergies. My sister mentioned that she started using the Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate and her skin looked amazing. I also have an old hip injury so I was like, “I want some”. I ordered it and started using it. Took my sisters advice and started slow, with only a tablespoon in the morning with my tea. Though I did notice that my skin looked better, fine lines seemed to disappear in the week and a half that I have used it, it is disrupting my menstrual cycle. I always keep track of my periods and I am NEVER late, always on time. I am not 6 days late. I even took a pregenancy test to rule that out, NOT pregnant. The only thing different I changed was taking the collagen. I also notice that I am very groggy when I wake up, way more then normal. As well I notice that I have slight flank pain on my right side. I have read that people who are prone to kidney stones should not take this, which I had one a couple of months ago so that made me worry a bit. I have also seen many comments on different sites about people have anxiety. I know I have felt very moody in the past week, but I have also been expecting my period so haven’t gave much thought to it. I am also sensitive to histamines. My sister has not said she has any issues. I am super bummed because I do see the difference in fine wrinkles on my face but I think its kinda scary that it can disrupt my cycle in only one week of taking it. I have had headaches as well. All that being said, I am going to stop taking it and see if everything corrects it self.

    Does anyone think its the collagen itself or perhaps the Great Lakes brand? I guess I am just the small percent that it doesn’t work for as I have seen so many reviews saying its awesome. Story of my life!!!

  39. I have been using the hydrolyzed collagen for two weeks and have noticed a 6 lb weight gain and terribly bloated abdomen. As someone mentioned above I’m also having hot flashes. I’m truly disappointed because in these 2 weeks I have noticed smoother skin, stronger nails, and some hair growth. Obviously I am having a difficult time digesting this product. I have tried putting it in cold milk, warm milk, and coffee with no difference in symptoms. Too bad…

  40. It appears from the “supplement facts” on the can, the only difference between this product and Great Lakes is that you are taking more powder per serving. Does that actually make it a better product??

  41. I suggest reading Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type by Dr. Peter J D’Adamo…I know some people think it is hogwash but it has helped is possible that beef isn’t good for your blood type and u r having reaction to it..

  42. Hello, Thank you for this article! I am wondering if it’s safe to take both a powdered collagen supplement and powdered gelatin daily. Is that too much collagen? Right now I have 2 different products, one has 6,000 MG of collagen – 1 scoop (11 grams), and the other is Great Lakes Porcine Gelatin 1 tbs daily. And what products/mfg do you recommend? I appreciate your input!
    Thank you!

  43. Just wondering if it’s okay to take supplements of both the hydrolyzed collagen and organic sulfur crystals. I can’t seem to find out how much sulfur is in the hydrolyzed collagen, so haven’t been able to determine if I am, in fact, doubling up on my “dose” of sulfur. I’ve been taking about a tablespoon of each every day. Thanks for any help you can give me in this regard.

  44. I just wanted to add another story of badly breaking out after consuming Great Lakes gelatin.
    I don’t know if it’s just this brand or what but my skin is a total wreck after starting this stuff.
    I also seem to have some sort of mild allergic reaction after eating it – runny nose, itchy…I’m breastfeeding and my baby has the same thing going on.
    What is up with this stuff? Whatever it is I’m not liking it, I’m going to just do bone broth.

    • I’m puzzled and curious to hear these stories of individuals breaking out after using collagen. I want to understand the mechanism behind this reaction, and I don’t know what it could be at this time. I’m going to ask a few of my colleagues if they’ve seen this reaction with their clients, and I’m also going to ask Vital Proteins if they have information.

      • When I first went on ketogenics I had a bad break out around my chin area. I haven’t reacted like that with the collagen but now I wonder if it’s because I had already detoxed the sugars from my body. My problem now is holding water weight and my blood sugars being elevated. I may be taking too much. I’ll just keep working with it but more slowly from now on. 🙂

  45. I’d like to add adverse reactions I experienced on vital proteins. I’ve been searching online for any information on side effects. I have tried both the vital proteins beef gelatin and collagen and every time I try it I get horrible headaches, tight shoulders and neck and nausea.

  46. Just thought I’d chime in and add my voice to the ‘breakout’ side effects of taking collagen, rather unfortunately. To clarify I’m not taking ‘Vital Proteins’ but rather a brand called California Gold Nutrition, CollagenUP 5000, and it is marine-sourced collagen peptides. I had such high hopes for supplemental collagen, to work for long-standing gut and hormonal issues, and the bonus effects for strengthened skin etc. It has been about 2 weeks now that I started taking it and noticed just a few days ago that I’m breaking out around my lower cheeks (both sides) and 1-2 around my chin, not full blown cystic yet but it seems that if I do persist they will get there, and I don’t really experience breakouts, hardly even in my teenage years. I suspected it was the collagen and will stop or at least take a break from consuming it starting today. It’s such a bummer, I so wanted to like this reading all the gleaming reviews of others who’ve had the touted positive effects:( Came here in search of an answer myself – hoping we can get some light shed on this.

  47. I use exactly what Lauren uses and it’s working perfect for me. Some weight gain but I doubt very seriously its my beef collagen and I’m also taking care of it by simply working out more which is something I need to do anyway. I thank God for her.

  48. Hey there! Great Lakes Gelatin has been on my radar for a while and I just bought my first container of collagen hydrolysate. Before buying I also compared it to Vital Proteins but the drastic price difference made the decision for me.

    Why do you now recommend Vital Proteins? Saying it is a “higher quality product” is vague.

    Also, when people click through to Vital Proteins from your web site, do you get paid or some other credit when they make a Vital Proteins purchase?

    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

  49. Great post, I tried Collagen (from Fish) in the past but didn’t had good reactions to it (sleep issues, stress). I also read that collagen can cause too much calcium in the body, what would you suggest ? I’d like to try out the other brands you mention, thanks so much for your work!

  50. I started taking Collagen for joint issues, felt better right away so I increased my dose from 1 tbsp 2xday to almost 4 tbsp. Massive hair shed, I have never experience so much shedding?? Anyone else? What should I reduce dose to, as I need the collagen to help with shoulder pain, but don’t want to lose my hair!

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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