How Do Collagen Supplements Improve Arthritis? [Video]

  • Collagen is the most commonly occurring protein in the body, usually found in the bones, muscles and skin.
  • People take collagen supplements to promote skin and bone health.
  • New research suggests collagen supplements may help repair joints damaged by osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. Because collagen is made up of long chains of amino acids, studies have suggested that by supplementing the body with these amino acids, joint cartilages damaged by osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be improved. While evidence is mixed, so far, collected data has been promising.  

Collagen production starts to decrease as we enter our 30s, causing the skin to lose shape and start sagging, as well as joints creaking. Thus, people take collagen supplements to try to restore skin health and strengthen their bones.  

So, want to give collagen supplements a try? Before you do, first get an overview of this essential protein before jumping into the world of collagen supplements.  

Types of Collagen

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When it comes to supplements, there are three types, all of which make up 80 to 90% of the collagen in the body. These are:   

Type I: Provides structure to skin, tendons and internal organs.

Type II: Found in elastic cartilage that cushions the stress on joints.

Type III: Found in the liver, bone marrow, and lymphoid

Collagen Supplements

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Collagen supplements also come in three different types: gelatin, hydrolyzed, and undernatured.

Gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen have been broken down into easily dissolvable amino acids. Gelatin is formed when collagen is boiled for a long time, hydrolyzed collagen (also called collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptides) is often available as a collagen powder dietary supplement, while undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) is not broken down into smaller amino acids and not used by the body as a collagen rebuilder.

How Collagen Supplements Help Restore Your Levels

Uses in: Arthritis

Collagen type II taken from chicken sternum cartilage, contains the chemicals chondroitin and glucosamine that can help repair cartilage. Known for treating pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, it is said to produce anti-inflammatory substances that may contribute to the efficacy of these chemicals on OA. Not all studies have supported these findings, however.

Uses in: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease, is one of the most common forms of arthritis occurring in over 32.5 million adults worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the joints wear down over time. Although research shows that these collagen supplements can help repair joints and decrease inflammation in osteoarthritis, many of these studies are short term and have used small groups, thus, needing further investigation before any definite conclusion on their effectiveness can be made.

Uses in: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue, resulting in painful swelling in the hand, wrist, and knee joints. Despite oral collagen showing promise as an effective pain reliever against RA in clinical studies, still, these studies are not large enough to confirm the effectiveness of collagen in these conditions.

Side effects

Generally, side effects are minor overall. Depending on which type of supplement you’re taking, possible effects may include: diarrhea, constipation, skin rashes, heartburn, and headache.

Avoid taking collagen supplements if you’re allergic to fish, shellfish, chicken, or egg, since many of its ingredients are found in these foods.

Whenever possible, pregnant or breastfeeding people should avoid using these products since they haven’t been tested for safety.

Dosage and Preparation

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Currently, no official guidelines regarding how much collagen to take per day have been established yet. But studies have suggested using daily doses ranging from 1 g and 10 g of collagen hydrolysate, and 0.1 mg to 1 mg of chicken or bovine type II collagen.

UC-II should be taken in small doses, between 20 mg–40 mg per day, while higher doses of gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen should be taken, about 10 gm per day.

Collagen supplements come in pill or powder form. Hydrolyzed collagen comes in a powder that can be easily added to beverages, smoothies, soups and sauces.

Source: Very Well Health


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