Can Collagen Cure Arthritis?
Chronic joint pain is a very common condition with four out of ten people experiencing it at some point in their life. As we age, the stress from physical activity paired to the normal wear and tear takes a toll on our joints, and if not addressed it could result in a long-term condition. It is well known that drinking collagen is beneficial for joints, which has led to many studies analyzing the impact of collagen on arthritis. In this article, we will discuss the effects that collagen peptides have on people suffering from arthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is essentially inflammation of the joints. It is not one disease, but a term used to refer to any disorder that affects joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the cartilage, which leads to bone rubbing against bone causing pain and discomfort. Rheumatoid arthritis results from the immune system incorrectly triggering joint inflammation as a defense mechanism.
So, can collagen cure arthritis?
Once the condition arises collagen cannot completely reverse it. However, it reduces pain and increases mobility. The medical journal of arthritis gathered all scientific studies on the subject and concluded that patients drinking collagen do see an improvement in their condition (1). An interesting finding is that patients with osteoarthritis benefited more than patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This finding makes sense as collagen is known to help regenerate cartilage mass. Approximately, 70 percent of cartilage is made out of collagen.
Collagen can help prevent arthritis
Although collagen cannot completely cure arthritis, it can certainly help prevent it. In a study conducted by McAlindon and colleagues in cooperation with Harvard University (2), 34 individuals suffering from osteoarthritis were randomized to receive collagen peptides vs a placebo group. After 24 weeks the cartilage scans revealed a statistically significant increase in cartilage mass.
It is best to start collagen intake when young to prevent arthritis later in life. However, it is never too late to start. Collagen levels drop with age, and the only way to restore them is through supplementation, as Western diets don’t include nearly enough. If levels are already low, the results become even more noticeable. Unlike other supplements or medicines, collagen peptides do not have side effects, are highly digestible and hypoallergenic, which makes it a safe and inexpensive way to secure a healthy future.
1. Moskowitz, Roland. “Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease.” Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. https://doi.org/10.1053/sarh.2000.9622
2. McAlindon, T.E. “Change in knee osteoarthritis cartilage detected by delayed gadolinium enhanced magnetic resonance imaging following treatment with collagen hydrolysate: a pilot randomized controlled trial.” Osteorarthritis and Cartilage. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2011.01.001
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