Collagen Print Page

Bottom Line

Effectiveness: May be effective to decrease osteoarthritis related knee pain and improve physical function in the short term (2-6 months). More research is still needed to determine the long-term benefit of collagen in treating osteoarthritis pain.

Safety: Collagen peptides are usually well tolerated for up to 6 months; long term safety is unknown.

Common Names: type I collagen, type II collagen, chicken collagen

Scientific Name: native (undenatured) collagen type II, hydrolyzed collagen type II

What is collagen?

  • Type I collagen provides strength and structure to bone, skin, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Type II collagen is the main structural protein in cartilage.
  • Collagen supports bone growth and wound healing and is believed to promote skin elasticity and hydration.
  • Type III collagen is found in the skin, muscles and blood vessels.

What is it used for in people with rheumatic conditions?

  • Collagen has been used for the management of osteoarthritis to reduce joint pain and stiffness. It may also improve function.

How is it thought to work?

  • Collagen may help rebuild new cartilage in joints, which may reduce risk of fracture and provide pain relief. It may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Does it work? What the Science says:

Type I and III collagen (pork skin and bovine bone collagen peptide)
5 g twice daily (Nitta Gelatin Inc.)
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial in 30 patients diagnosed with knee OA (baseline WOMAC 47, VAS 63). Pork skin or bovine bone collagen supplements 5g twice daily improved pain (↓32 and 38 points on 100 point VAS for PCP and BCP respectively) and function (↓16 and 25 points on WOMAC respectively) at 13 weeks. Clinically important changes in the WOMAC (≥20 points) and VAS (≥40 mm) scores were seen in 63% of those taking pork collagen peptide. There were no adverse effects believed to be due to the collagen products. Small well-conducted study showing benefit of 2 collagen peptides in reducing OA pain.
BioCell collagen (BCC) (hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract: 2 g of collagen type II twice daily) A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study in 80 patients diagnosed with moderate to severe hip and/or knee OA for ≥3 months (≥4 on the provider global assessment (PGA) scale). BioCell collagen improved the PGA and pain compared to placebo. A clinically important change was seen in the WOMAC score at day 70; however there was no difference between groups for any of the WOMAC subscores. BioCell was well tolerated, with 1 patient reporting a skin rash that recovered with product discontinuation. Small well-conducted study showing benefits in OA for PGA and pain measures
Undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) 40 mg daily A multicenter randomized, double-blind, active (glucosamine hydrochloride 1500 mg and chondroitin 1200 mg) and placebo controlled study in 191 patients with moderate to severe knee OA (baseline VAS 60 mm, total WOMAC 1400). Undenatured collagen II was statistically more effective than glucosamine/chondroitin and placebo in reducing knee pain at 6 months (change: 23 v 18 v 17 mm), however, neither product produced a clinically important change in pain. UC-II also statistically reduced the total WOMAC scores (-551 v -454 v -414) at 6 months, however, both UC-II and placebo produced a similar (clinically important) reduction. People using UC-II did use less rescue medication (acetaminophen). UC-II was well tolerated (heartburn possibly related). Small well-conducted study showing benefits in OA pain and physical function
Undenatured type II collagen 40 mg twice daily A randomized, double blind, active (glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate 1500/1200 mg daily) and placebo controlled trial was conducted in 101 patients diagnosed with knee OA (baseline WOMAC 86, pain VAS 71). Type II collagen demonstrated greater reductions in the total WOMAC score compared to glucosamine/chondroitin and placebo (-32 v -34 v -14 respectively) at week 12. Type II collagen and glucosamine/chondroitin reduced the WOMAC pain subscale by 40%, a clinically important reduction compared to baseline. Small well-conducted study showing similar benefits to glucosamine/chondroitin in OA joint health and quality of life

What are possible side effects and what can I do about them?

  • Collagen is generally well tolerated. Stomach upset, nausea, heartburn, constipation, and mild rash have been reported. Discontinue collagen if itching or rash occur.

Interactions with Drugs:

  • There are no known interactions with other drugs or supplements.

List of available collagen products with evidence for use:

Bovine Skin Collagen (denatured Type I and III collagen):

Organika Enhanced Collagen Original:
10 g once daily

NOW Collagen Peptides Powder:
10 g once daily

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides:
10 g once daily

BioCell Collagen (denatured Type II collagen):

Organika BioCell Collagen:
1 g twice daily

Health Logics BioCell:
1 g twice daily

Herba BioCell Collagen:
1 g twice daily

NOW BioCell Collagen:
1 g twice daily

UC-II Collagen (undenatured Type II collagen):

PipingRock UC-II Collagen:
40 mg once daily

NOW UC-II Collagen:
40 mg once daily

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