All that wiggles may not be Jell-O, but it may be medicine for your joints. Gelatin has been found by many to be helpful in decreasing the symptoms of arthritis, increasing mobility and decreasing pain and stiffness. Plain gelatin is most commonly sold in small envelopes as Knox Gelatine, but Knox also sells this product in larger containers as Nutra Joint. This form is intended to be used in hot or cold beverages daily in a 10 gram dose. The plain gelatin can also be mixed in hot beverages quite easily. One packet is the usual dose.
So why would gelatin have anything to do with the joints? As it turns out, gelatin is very similar in structure as the collagen type 2 that makes up the connective tissues of the body including cartilage. Cartilage is like Teflon, a slippery surface to allow joints to easily slide against each other. In arthritis, the cartilage becomes roughened and less slippery which causes restricted movement.
The theory with using gelatin for arthritis is that this precursor to cartilage helps the body to repair damage and also keeps damage from occurring in the first place. It's like supplying building materials to a construction site to make new material, in this case new, smoother cartilage. Gelatin is made from the connective tissues of cows and other meat animals so it is not surprising that it could be a useful nutrient.
One objection to gelatin is that it does come from animal sources and may be unacceptable to those who are either vegetarians or who avoid certain animals for religious reasons. There is some evidence that fruit pectin may also be helpful in arthritis and this is acceptable to those who would object to the animal byproduct. It is commonly sold to make jams and jellies, with Certo being the most common brand. Knox Gelatine is made from animal sources.
Gelatin is what is called a hydrosylate, which means that it is protein that has been broken down into simpler molecules that should be easier for the body to assimilate. A person could simply eat a gelatin dessert every day of they like them, but would need to consume about half a box. Fortunately, sugar free versions are available, but using powdered form is more practical and preferable to many people.
Many individuals do report significant results from Knox Gelatine use for arthritis and even the Arthritis Foundation website mentions effectiveness when combined with calcitonin and mentions German clinical studies that found positive results. However, the AF website also mentions a trial that saw no difference in using gelatin and in using a placebo.
Gelatin is a safe product on the whole and few negative side effects are reported. Some few people report stomach upset but this is fairly rare. The main caution is to avoid gelatin or other collagen that comes from an animal a person is allergic to and to use an alternate form.