We’ll be answering the question: “Does collagen help your joints?” The short answer is yes, but read on to find out all you need to know about collagen and joint pain!
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It makes up nearly 75% of your body’s cartilage, the substance that pads your joints. The body naturally produces collagen, but that production slows with age. There comes a point where collagen diminishes faster than the body can produce it! That lull in production leads to depleted cartilage and painful, stiff joints.
To combat that diminished collagen, you may need to supplement with an added boost of collagen. Some people can get that from their food sources, but for most it’s easiest to take a collagen supplement!
What is the evidence?
Now that you know what collagen is, we’ll answer the question, “Does collagen help your joints?”
A 2008 study showed that hydrolyzed collagen is a promising treatment to joint pain related to arthritis. Read an excerpt of the study below if you want the facts.
This was the first clinical trial of 24-weeks duration to show improvement of joint pain in athletes who were treated with the dietary supplement collagen hydrolysate. The results of this study have implications for the use of collagen hydrolysate to support joint health and possibly reduce the risk of joint deterioration in a high-risk group. Despite the study’s size and limitations, the results suggest that athletes consuming collagen hydrolysate can reduce parameters (such as pain) that have a negative impact on athletic performance. Future studies are needed to support these findings.
A 2012 study of osteoarthritis patients showed more evidence for the effectiveness of collagen for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Read an excerpt of the study below if you want the facts.
The tolerability profile of the treatment group was comparable to that of the placebo. Intent-to-treat analysis showed that the treatment group, as compared to placebo, had a significant reduction of VAS pain on day 70 (p < 0.001) and of WOMAC scores on both days 35 (p = 0.017) and 70 (p < 0.001). The BCC group experienced a significant improvement in physical activities compared to the placebo group on days 35 (p = 0.007) and 70 (p < 0.001). BCC was well tolerated and found to be effective in managing OA-associated symptoms over the study period, thereby improving patient’s activities of daily living. BCC can be considered a potential complement to current OA therapies.
Because collagen, is a relatively new supplement, there’s not a lot of research on its efficacy. What we have right now is anecdotes of people who swear by it. Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine Kimberly Sanders explains, “There’s not enough evidence to say that every patient with arthritis would benefit from any collagen supplement. But enough to say it’s promising, and studies should continue.”
So far, scientists haven’t found any negative side effects of collagen for those suffering from joint pain. In other words, taking collagen won’t hurt. It can only help! So give it a shot and see if it will work for you.
Now that you’re convinced that collagen does indeed help your joints, you’ll be wondering how to take it!
How do I take it?
Collagen supplements come in a wide variety of forms including capsules, gummies, powders, drinks, and creams. It comes down to personal preference, but some forms are better than others.
Collagen powders are usually the highest in hydrolyzed collagen and the most bioavailable form. Ideal Collagen is a great tasting collagen powder that can be added to your favorite smoothie or juice! It also contains 10,000 mg of hydrolyzed collagen per serving!
Collagen capsules are lower in collagen, so you have to take a lot of pills to reach an effective level of collagen. If you don’t enjoy taking many large pills every day, capsules probably aren’t the best choice for you.
Gummies are a tastier approach to collagen supplements, but usually don’t offer enough grams of hydrolyzed collagen to make a difference in your joint pains. If you’re looking for real relief, you may want to avoid gummies.
Creams and ointments are also relatively ineffective as the actual peptide molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin.