If you’ve noticed more joint pain in recent years and have wondered what to do, supplementing with type II collagen may be an effective answer. In the body, type II collagen is naturally one of the many kinds of collagen protein that makes up cartilage. But in the case of the joints, it is also one of the most important. In fact, it makes up to 90 percent of the collagen in joint cartilage. When that cushioning cartilage wears down, you’re going to feel pain.
Supplemental type II collagen appears to work in a way that isn’t directly related to building up the joints. Instead, supplemental forms stop pain by preserving our own natural type II cartilage. They interfere with T-cells that attack the existing collagen in the joints, especially as you’d see in the case of an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
However, supplemental type II cartilage has also been helpful in alleviating pain in those with osteoarthritis. In a clinical study, type II collagen was used alongside acetaminophen and tested against acetaminophen alone in two groups of volunteers with osteoarthritis. The group using type II collagen definitely came out ahead – they had significantly less knee pain, better knee flexibility, and better walking scores. In fact, looking at the study, it’s tough to see how much impact the acetaminophen had at all.
So while there is strong evidence that type II collagen is an effective choice for joints – especially knee pain – researchers are still working out exactly how it works.
The good news is that it takes very little of the supplement to get results – about 40 mg per day, although early trials have seen relief with much less than that. On its own, or ideally, combined with supportive nutrients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and boswellia, supplemental type II cartilage may be exactly the joint-saving ingredient anyone suffering from pain really needs.
Bakilan F, Armagan O, Ozgen M, Tascioglu F, Bolluk O, Alatas O. Effects of Native Type II Collagen Treatment on Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Eurasian J Med. 2016 Jun;48(2):95-101.
Objective: The aim of this randomized controlled study was to evaluate the efficacy of oral native type II collagen treatment on the symptoms and biological markers of cartilage degradation, when given concomitantly with acetaminophen in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Materials and Methods: Thirty-nine patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis were included and randomly distributed into two groups: one treated with 1500 mg/day of acetaminophen (group AC; n=19) and the other treated with 1500 mg/day of acetaminophen plus 10 mg/day of native type II collagen (group AC+CII; n=20) for 3 months. Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) at rest and during walking, Western Ontario McMaster (WOMAC) pain, WOMAC function, and Short Form-36 (SF-36) scores, were recorded. Coll2-1, Coll2-1NO2 and Fibulin-3 levels were quantified in urine as biomarkers of disease progression. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02237989.
Results: After 3 months of treatment, significant improvements compared to baseline were reported in joint pain (VAS walking), function (WOMAC) and quality of life (SF-36) in the AC+CII group, while only improvements in some subscales of the SF-36 survey and VAS walking were detected in the AC group. Comparisons between the groups revealed a significant difference in VAS walking score in favour of the AC+CII group as compared to AC group. Biochemical markers of cartilage degradation in urine did not significantly improve in any of the groups.
Conclusion: All in all, these results suggest that native type II collagen treatment combined with acetaminophen is superior to only acetaminophen for symptomatic treatment of patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Barnett ML, Kremer JM, St Clair EW, et al. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with oral type II collagen. Results of a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Feb;41(2):290-7.
OBJECTIVE: Oral administration of cartilage-derived type II collagen (CII) has been shown to ameliorate arthritis in animal models of joint inflammation, and preliminary studies have suggested that this novel therapy is clinically beneficial and safe in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The present study was undertaken to test the safety and efficacy of 4 different dosages of orally administered CII in patients with RA.
METHODS: Two hundred seventy-four patients with active RA were enrolled at 6 different sites and randomized to receive placebo or 1 of 4 dosages (20, 100, 500, or 2,500 microg/day) of oral CII for 24 weeks. Efficacy parameters were assessed monthly. Cumulative response rates (percentage of patients meeting the criteria for response at any time during the study) were analyzed utilizing 3 sets of composite criteria: the Paulus criteria, the American College of Rheumatology criteria for improvement in RA, and a requirement for > or = 30% reduction in both swollen and tender joint counts.
RESULTS: Eighty-three percent of patients completed 24 weeks of treatment. Numeric trends in favor of the 20 microg/day treatment group were seen with all 3 cumulative composite measures. However, a statistically significant increase (P = 0.035) in response rate for the 20 microg/day group versus placebo was detected using only the Paulus criteria. The presence of serum antibodies to CII at baseline was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of responding to treatment. No treatment-related adverse events were detected. The efficacy seen with the lowest dosage is consistent with the findings of animal studies and with known mechanisms of oral tolerance in which lower doses of orally administered autoantigens preferentially induce disease-suppressing regulatory cells.
CONCLUSION: Positive effects were observed with CII at the lowest dosage tested, and the presence of serum antibodies to CII at baseline may predict response to therapy. No side effects were associated with this novel therapeutic agent. Further controlled studies are required to assess the efficacy of this treatment approach.
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