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I have various health problems (CFS and post-chemo/radiation fatigue, hypothyroidism, stress intolerance, all of which some article or other on the internet seems to suggest might be helped by gelatin) and have come to feel a strong craving for gelatin (feeling very restored with marshmallows or bone soup), but I would prefer a vegetarian equivalent.

Note that I am not looking for something necessarily with the consistency of gelatin, just its nutritional properties (benefiting the joints or otherwise).

  • That would require knowing which components of gelatin are responsible for those benefits, and that doesn't appear to be known. Significant evidence that those benefits are real doesn't exist either. – Carey Gregory Mar 8 '16 at 22:38
  • I was craving items with gelatin before I even knew that the item (at least bone soup) was comprised of gelatin, and it is not a craving because I especially like the taste. Cravings are indicators, if imperfect ones, of deficiencies we may have, so that is sufficient evidence to me that there is at least something helpful in it that I am missing. But if it is not known what the beneficial components are, yeah, then finding a replacement is clearly going to be a problem. – Brett Zamir Mar 11 '16 at 3:30
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If you are experiencing cravings as a vegetarian you might try supplementing some of the most common deficiencies in the unplanned vegetarian diet. Such as:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Omega 3 (2 supplements - DHA (algae) and ALA (flax seed oil)
  • Vegetarian protein with a complete amino acid profile
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If you need an alternate source of gelatin, arginine may help you. It's found in many fats of animals and plants as well. It's a very prominent amino acid that can replace a meat eaters diet if needed. Although there is no medical backing that it can help what you have, it is commonly taken by people that have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chemo Therapy. Many people say it helps them. It's not something that could hurt you. If you have liver issues or cardiovascular problems though, be careful as this may speed up any illnesses you have already. There are many compounds in gelatin, but this is actually supported by the CFS community. It's the most prominent amino acid within gelatin.

I'll post a link, and you'll have to read through the whole thing, but if you google Arginine and CFS, you'll find that many people say it helps them. We haven't done any in depth studies on what causes CFS, it's a very sketchy area of the medical community; This is just something that seems to work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arginine

Hope this info helps you out.

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  • Do you have a reference for argenine being able to "replace a meat eaters diet"? Or any references for your supposition that "many people say it helps them"? If you are struggling to find good sources, check out, What are reliable sources? If you want to learn more about our site's stance on answers without references, check out, Should answers without references be immediately deleted?. – JohnP Mar 9 '16 at 14:36
  • You didn't read the entire Wikipedia page. Please practice before you preach. – cloudnyn3 Mar 9 '16 at 14:54
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    Wikipedia is not a reliable source. – JohnP Mar 9 '16 at 16:42
  • I'm sorry, but it is clearly cited by a professional medical physician. Saying it is not credible is the equivalent of arguing the sky is not blue because you can't see it. – cloudnyn3 Mar 9 '16 at 16:46
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    @BrettZamir the problem here is that there isn't even anything on that Wikipedia page that supports the answer. I'm still not sure what it's a source for in this answer, other than it being an amino acid. And as a side note, I wouldn't use the Encyclopedia Britannica as a source for anything but definition of terms on here, either. It's not a medical textbook. – YviDe Mar 11 '16 at 18:49

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