The Benefits of Collagen for Joint Health‡
Learn how type II collagen benefits joints health‡
As the most abundant protein in your body, collagen is essential to making connective tissue. These connective tissues connect to other tissues in your body and are an integral component of healthy bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, skin, and joints.1 ‡
Along with normal wear and tear, your production of collagen drops as you age. This reduction impacts the health of your joints and your ability to heal from injuries.2 ‡
The health benefits of collagen supplements are making headlines, with many articles creating more questions than answers about this essential nutrient. In this blog we dispel any myths about the benefits of collagen and provide you with scientifically based research on the health benefits of collagen and collagen supplements.‡
Keep reading to learn:
- What collagen is and the 4 main types of collagen
- The facts on type II collagen
- How collagen may benefit joint health and more
- The best ways to get type II collagen
Before making changes to your diet, nutrition, and exercise routine, consult your healthcare practitioner. Always discuss any vitamin and mineral supplements you are taking or plan to take, since these may interact differently with medications and health conditions.
As always, feel free to contact us with your questions about our vitamins, minerals, supplements, and other products.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is an essential nutrient used throughout your body to provide structure, foundation, cushioning, elasticity, and support to connective tissue. This protein is essential to creating flexible connective tissues throughout your body, including your skin and cartilage.1 3 ‡
Collagen acts as a foundation of support, providing strength and elasticity to the skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and other tissues.1 ‡
There are more than 16 types of collagen in your body. The 4 primary types of collagen are type I, II, III, and IV.4
- Type I: 90% of your collagen is made from these tightly packed fibers. Type I collagen gives structure to bones, tendons, skin, fibrous cartilage, teeth, and connective tissues.4
- Type II: these more loosely packed fibers are essential to the elastic cartilage cushioning your joints.4
- Type III: this type of collagen gives structure to your arteries, organs, and muscles.4
- Type IV: located in the layers of your skin, this type of collagen helps with filtration.4
As you age, collagen production and collagen quality drops. The most visible impact of this is a change in your skin firmness. You may also notice joint discomfort caused by weakened cartilage related to changes in collagen.4
What is Type II Collagen?
Type II collagen is found in the lining of joints. It is the most common type found in cartilage and synovial fluid, which lubricates our joints. Aside from your cartilage, it’s also found in your eyes and spinal cord.5Hyaline cartilage, the most common type of cartilage found at the ends of your bones in the joints and ribs, is made up of type II collagen. Cartilage is key for shock absorption for your joints, as well as strength and flexibility. It keeps your joints supple and able to bounce back from impact.
Hyaline cartilage, the most common type of cartilage found at the ends of your bones in the joints and ribs, is made up of type II collagen.6 Cartilage is key for shock absorption for your joints, as well as strength and flexibility. It keeps your joints supple and able to bounce back from impact.7
Type II collagen production naturally decreases with age. It’s also affected by normal wear and tear, especially with overuse.3 Certain joint-related health conditions may cause symptoms of discomfort, stiffness, or swelling, affecting joint function.8 Supplementing with type II collagen may help improve symptoms and support a better quality of life.9 ‡
Supplemental type II collagen usually comes in two forms: undenatured or hydrolyzed.
Undenatured means the collagen remains intact. Researchers have found that a particular collagen ingredient, isolated from chicken sternal cartilage, is very effective in supporting joint health, but its mechanism remains unclear.9-14 It is believed to work with your immune system, which plays a role in overall joint health. Unlike hydrolyzed collagen, it works at a very low dose (10-40 mg/day). You probably won’t obtain this clinically studied ingredient naturally in foods, so you’ll need to buy it as a supplement.‡
Hydrolyzed type II collagen is simply collagen that’s been partially broken down to improve absorption.10 It provides amino acid and peptide building blocks that joints can use to make their own collagen. You generally need a high dose (at least 1 gram per day) for it to be effective. Remember to check the label of any supplement and follow the dosing instructions.
Type II Collagen Benefits for Joint Health‡
A range of studies highlight the benefits of both types of collagen supplementation in supporting joint health.9 10 ‡
- In a study of more than 400 people, supplementation with undenatured type II collagen helped support improvements in occasional discomfort, swelling, stiffness, and joint function.10 ‡
- In a randomized, double-blind trial involving 52 subjects, 40 mg of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II®) was more than twice as effective in promoting joint health as 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,200 mg of chondroitin as rated by WOMAC, VAS and the Lequesne functional index.11 ‡
- Another study involving five women supplemented with 40 mg of UC-II® for 42 days, indicated statistically significant support for joint comfort and flexibility.12 (Bagchi et al, 2002).‡
- One smaller study found that undenatured type II collagen supplementation (10 mg/day) supported healthy joint function and mobility for day-to-day activities.13 ‡
- A study into the efficacy of undenatured type II collagen (40 mg/day) in reducing knee joint discomfort and mobility issues, concluded that study participants did see improvements in their knee health.14 ‡
- One study found that supplementation with UC-II for 4 months helped to improve knee range of motion. By the end of the study, the group receiving UC-II could perform knee extensions for longer before noting any discomfort.15 ‡
- In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 90 individuals aged 40-65, supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen resulted in significant support for joint function and comfort after 8 weeks.16
- In another clinical trial involving 80 subjects, supplementation with 2 grams of hydrolyzed collagen resulted in significant support for joint comfort and improvement in physical activity after 70 days.17 ‡
- A 24-week study of 73 athletes with no history of joint conditions who took 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen daily for 24 weeks reported a drop in joint discomfort when at rest and walking.9 ‡
What are the Best Sources of Type II Collagen?
You can find type II collagen in natural and unprocessed food sources. However, type II collagen supplements make it much easier to obtain amounts that match the effective doses in clinical research.
Remember that joint health isn’t just about delivering collagen. Your body requires other nutrients, like vitamin C, to make its own collagen.18 ‡
Try to incorporate these collagen-rich foods and foods that include key collagen essentials into your diet:19 ‡
- Homemade bone broth: simmering bones may help extract collagen, amino acids, and other essential nutrients including magnesium and calcium18
- Chicken: is a leading source of collagen.18
- Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, bell peppers: provide vitamin C.18 ‡
Collagen and Your Joint Health‡
Boosting your intake of type II collagen and collagen in general may provide a range of benefits to your health. The benefits of collagen for joint health, skin health and joint function, have been widely studied.‡
Eating a balanced diet that includes protein-rich foods and foods high in vitamin C is your first step in supporting collagen production.‡
If you decide to take a collagen supplement, please consult your healthcare practitioner. It’s important that any supplements you take do not impact the efficacy of medications and are safe for your health status.
Use our Purely For You personalized supplement plan to provide you with tailored wellness recommendations to meet your specific nutritional needs.
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1. Collagen: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (Accessed September 21, 2021) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen
2. Varani, James, Michael K. Dame, Laure Rittie, Suzanne E.G. Fligiel, Sewon Kang, Gary J. Fisher, and John J. Voorhees. “Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin.” The American Journal of Pathology 168, no. 6 (June 2006): 1861–68. https://doi.org/10.2353/ajpath.2006.051302.
3. Lodish, Harvey, Arnold Berk, S. Lawrence Zipursky, Paul Matsudaira, David Baltimore, and James Darnell. “Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix.” Molecular Cell Biology. 4th Edition, 2000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/.
4. Collagen – What Is It and What Is It Good For?: Healthline.org (Accessed September 22, 2021) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen
5. Poole, A. R., M. Kobayashi, T. Yasuda, S. Laverty, F. Mwale, T. Kojima, T. Sakai, et al. 61, no. suppl 2 (November 1, 2002): ii78–81. https://doi.org/10.1136/ard.61.suppl_2.ii78.
6. Miosge, Nicolai, Michael Hartmann, Cyrilla Maelicke, and Rainer Herken. Histochemistry and Cell Biology 122, no. 3 (September 1, 2004): 229–36. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00418-004-0697-6.
7. Encyclopedia Britannica. “Cartilage | Description, Anatomy, & Function.” Accessed June 13, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/science/cartilage.
8. Joint Pain: Webmd.com (Accessed September 22, 2021) https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/joint-pain
9. Clark, L. Kristine, Wayne Sebastianelli, Klaus R. Flechsenhar, Douglas F. Aukermann, Felix Meza, Roberta L. Millard, John R. Deitch, Paul S. Sherbondy, and Ann Albert. “24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.” National Library of Medicine (May 2008): 1485-96 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18416885/
10. Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements: Heathline.org (Accessed September 22, 2021) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits
11. Crowley DC, et. al. Int J Med Sci. 2009; 6(6): 312–321.
12. Bagchi D, et. al. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2002;22(3-4):101-10.
13. Bakilan, Fulya, Onur Armagan, Merih Ozgen, Funda Tascioglu, Ozge Bolluk, and Ozkan Alatas. The Eurasian Journal of Medicine 48, no. 2 (June 2016): 95–101. https://doi.org/10.5152/eurasianjmed.2015.15030.
14. Lugo, James P., Zainulabedin M. Saiyed, and Nancy E. Lane. Nutrition Journal 15, no. 1 (January 29, 2016): 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-016-0130-8.
15. Lugo, James P., Zainulabedin M. Saiyed, Francis C. Lau, Jhanna Pamela L. Molina, Michael N. Pakdaman, Arya Nick Shamie, and Jay K. Udani. “Undenatured Type II Collagen (UC-II®) for Joint Support: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Volunteers.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10, no. 1 (October 24, 2013): 48. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-48.
16. Mohammed A, He S. Nutrients. 2021 Jul 18;13(7):2454.
17. Schauss AG, Stenehjem J, Park J, Endres JR, Clewell A. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Apr 25;60(16):4096-101.
18. The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen: Clevelandclinic.org (Accessed September 22, 2021) https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-way-you-can-get-more-collagen/
19. 3 Foods That Help Your Body Produce Collagen: Healthline.org (Accessed September 22, 2021) https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/collagen-food-boost