photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti,

photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti,

Gelatin is the foremost vital ingredient to healing Leaky Gut and is readily available. Any animal with meat, ligaments, tendons and bones will provide gelatin when these parts are put into water to boil. Fish heads and carcasses also make fantastic gelatin.

However, not all meat is equally beneficial.

Tyson Chicken is a product that has always caused flares in behavior for us: autism, ADHD, bipolar behavior, hypoglycemia and dyslexia. Meanwhile chicken stock is supposed to be the meat stock most gentle on the stomach for those with the most drastic intestinal wall damage. In Chinese Medicine chicken is considered a sweet food, which makes it the perfect healing stock for children with FPIES, severe autism, advanced bipolar disorder and other severe diseases associated with aggressive gut damage.

The source of the chickens making problematic unhealthy meat stock is not just the fact that chickens are raised indoors away from the sunshine that gives them vitamins D & A, fed antibiotics and GMO feed. The undiscussed factor is the injected solutions and additives that make the product even more inferior.

The Tyson package reads, “Up to 15% of a solution of water, seasoning [salt, autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, flavoring, chicken fat, dried chicken broth, contains less than 2% (citric acid, disodium inosinate & disodium guanylate, dried chicken)], sodium phosphates, modified food starch.”  Nearly all these items counteract gut healing as they feed bad bacteria in the intestinal tract, except for 3: chicken fat, dried chicken broth and dried chicken. 

This is one of the many reasons why people try gut healing diets and they quit saying they don’t work. This doesn’t mean a person can not be healed. This means the person looking for gut healing is in the right place because the gut is telling you. “I’m sick when you feed me chemicals, not food.” It means this person needs a clean food source, untouched by processed chemicals and preservatives.

Optimally gelatin should be obtained from bone marrow, skins, joints and hooves of wild animals like turkey, hogs, pheasant, deer, moose, etc. If you do not have the ability to hunt the next best thing would be sourcing bones and meat from a local farmer who raises his herd on grass and finishes them on grass without the use of antibiotics or hormones. Health food stores are good sources but often times pricey.

If sourcing is a challenge Great Lakes Gelatin is often used, however, is not GAPS approved. Great Lakes says, “Gelatin is the naturally occurring protein collagen.”

Great Lakes is sold in three bottles, which are not all gut healing.

The red can is beef origin from skins, joints and collagen. It dissolves in hot liquid and makes a fantastic gelatin. Great Lakes tells me their beef gelatin is, “Extracted as Type B bovine hide.  The cattle for our Type B gelatin and collagen are grass-fed, grass finished in Argentina, no hormones, antibiotics or pesticides are used. The gelatin and collagen is processed in Argentina and brought to the US where we can it.” Great Lakes tells me Type B simply means bovine. Again, this product is not GAPS approved. For a GAPS book on gut healing click here. This gelatin is tasteless and is often used for dessert items.

Please note the red can often appears orange in online pictures. Be sure to read the label.

The orange can is porcine gelatin made from pork skins, joints and collagen. Great Lakes tells me the gelatin is, “Extracted as Type A from porcine skin. The hogs are conventionally raised on hog farms. We do try to get skins from smaller farms but that is not always possible.” Great Lakes says the term Type A refers simply to pork gelatin. Again, this product is not GAPS approved. When asked if they are fed GMO feed the answer was, “I would like to believe that the hogs are frolicking in the fields but I do not think that is the case.” Extremely damaged guts may not be able to tolerate the porcine gelatine, due to the feed. For those rare cases where gelatin is used, the best choice for a damaged microbiome is the beef gelatin.

Using porcine gelatin to make marshmallows or marshmallow fluff will create lighter fluffier marshmallows. For a marshmallow fluff recipe using gelatin click here. Be aware that it congeals faster than the beef.

The green can which is collagen hydrolysate does not gel and can therefore be used in cold or hot liquid, sprinkled on cereal or added to coffee. Great Lakes says it is, “Hydrolyzed for quick assimilation into the body and improved hydration to the connective tissues.” Be advised the green can is highly processed and not for those with gut damage, it is not GAPS approved in any way due to additional processing.

According to Great Lakes the gelatin contains 19 amino acids. The average result for both Type A and Type B for the top ranking amino acids are as follows:

Alanine 11.0 GMS/100 GMS Protein –

Important source of energy for muscle.
The primary amino acid in sugar metabolism.
Boosts immune system by producing antibodies
Major part of connective tissue

Arginine 9.3 GMS/100 GMS Protein – 

Essential for normal immune system activity.
Necessary for wound healing.
Assists with regeneration of damaged liver.
Necessary for production and release of growth hormone
Increases release of insulin and glucagon. Arginine is the most potent amino acid in releasing insulin.
Assists in healing through collagen synthesis
Precursor to GABA, an important inhibitory neurotransmitter
Aids in wound healing
Decreases size of tumors.
Necessary for spermatogenesis.


Aspartic Acid is interconvertible with Asparagine, and therefore the two amino acids have many functions in common.
Increases stamina.
One of the two main excitatory amino acids, the other being Glutamate (Glutamic Acid).
Helps protect the liver by aiding the removal of ammonia.
Involved in DNA and RNA metabolism.
Involved in immune system function by enhancing immunoglobulin production and anti- body formation.

GLUTAMIC ACID  11.4 GMS/100 GMS Protein

Glutamic Acid is a precursor to Glutamine and GABA (2 neurotransmitters).
One of two excitatory neurotransmitters, the other being aspartic acid/asparagine.
Excesses in brain tissue can call cell damage. This is thought to be one of the mechanisms by why strokes kill brain cells; that is through the release of large amounts of Glutamic Acid.
Helps stop alcohol and sugar cravings.
Increases energy.
Accelerates wound healing and ulcer healing.
Detoxifies ammonia in the brain by forming glutamine, which can cross the blood-brain barrier, which Glutamic Acid cannot do.
Plays major role in DNA synthesis.

GLYCINE 29.0 GMS/100 GMS Protein

Part of the structure of hemoglobin.
One of the two main inhibitory neurotransmitters, the other being GABA.
Part of cytochromes, which are enzymes involved in energy production.
Inhibits sugar cravings.
One of the 3 critical glycogenic amino acids, along with serine and alanine.
Involved in glucagon production, which assists in glycogen metabolism.

PROLINE 17.6 GMS/100 GMS Protein

Critical component of cartilage, and hence health of joints, tendons and ligaments.
Involved in keeping heart muscle strong.
The main precursor to Proline is Glutamate.
Secondary precursor to Proline is Ornithine (minor amino acid).
Works in conjunction with Vitamin C in keeping skin and joints healthy.


*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia as well as through Skype and phone consultations. Most of her clients have Leaky Gut, histamine issues, autism or autoimmunity. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.



8 Responses to Options When Gut Healing Gelatin Doesn’t Work

  1. holly4017 says:

    Interesting! This is the first time I’ve heard that the hydrolyzed collagen is not good/recommended for healing the gut. I’ve been adding it to my bone broth for the past year thinking that it had the same effects as the product in the “red can”. Is it because it is more processed?

  2. Janet R. Perry, MA, ACN says:

    I am curious that you state: ” Be advised the green can is highly processed and not for those with gut damage, it is not GAPS legal.” but then go on to enumerate the many ways that the amino acids in the collagen are Healing?

    Personally I have experienced tremendous gut healing and improvement in my Insulin Resistance and food sensitivities, both indications of gut healing. I do not have severe gut inflammation though, most of us have some and those of us with food sensitivity and Insulin Resistance are likely experiencing some degree of leaking Tight Junctions, aka Leaky Gut.

    • I’ve been using the green can and getting lots of healing…no one really knows what this stuff is doing…and we’re all different. I read all dietary advice with a grain of salt and let me body tell me more…still it’s a constant mine-field and mind-f***) since everyone has an opinion and a lot of it is simply only that. There is so much we simply don’t really know about how our bodies heal.

  3. Personally, I am not sure that the processed vs non-processed argument always takes precedence. For my leaky gut problem, I think I am going to try the collagen peptides from Vital Proteins. In a blog post on their site, they state: “For those with more serious gut issues, our Collagen Peptides might be a good place to start. They are produced via hydrolysis, which essentially helps to pre-digest them so they assimilate into the body quicker. They do not gel but will dissolve into any liquid, hot or cold, making them a very simple addition to your diet.” So, it seems they are advocating the peptides for “serious” situations, rather than the collagen first…

  4. Yoshimi Crabwoman says:

    This is the only post I found that has something negative to say about great lakes kosher hydrolyzed collagen. What do you base your statement on exactly? Where’s the research? What does highly processed mean? To the readers – don’t take advice from one source, do your research. Thank you to others who shared their experiences.

  5. Lara says:

    I think the reason the hydrolised collagen is not GAPS approved has nothing to do with whether it heals the gut, but has to do with a greater concentration of free glutamates, due to the particles being broken down more – it may make for easier digestibility but it also means protein chains are broken down freeing up glutamates, creating MSG essentially (which Great Lakes concede as well – I read it in another article). Free glutamates causes neurotoxicity for people with ADHD or Autism or the like. This is why some people get migraines eating bone broth – for the same reason. My son starts stuttering, being super hyperactive and having night terrors. The gelatin, which is not as processed, has hardly any free glutamates and is the safest option for people sensitive to free glutamates

What do you think?

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