Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it is one of the main building blocks of our bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Collagen holds our body together: about 90% of the connective tissue and 90% of organic bone matrix is made of collagen. We have already looked at the beneficial effects of collagen on gut health and varicose veins, and it is established how collagen can help maintain health of our skin and nails, however, scientific research has also focused on establishing the effects collagen supplementation can have on joint pain, mobility, flexibility, inflammation and recovery from joint injuries, as well as arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Collagen – important to maintaining integrity of our bones
Type I collagen represents about 25% of the total body protein and 80% of connective tissue in humans, thus type I collagen is the most abundant collagen in the connective tissue, and it is a source of partially hydrolysed collagen (gelatin) and collagen hydrolysate, which is dissolved in water or brine and therefore is more easily digested and absorbed than gelatin. Collagen hydrolysate is mainly composed of glycine and proline. These amino acids are essential for stability and regeneration of cartilage. The synthesis of type I collagen also plays important role in osteoblast differentiation, enhancing bone mineral density, bone mineral content and increasing the amount of type I collagen in bone matrix.
Studies have shown that use of hydrolysed collagen is essential for overall bone health and also assists in prevention of osteoporosis - a health condition associated with weakening of bones and lowering of bone density. Osteoporosis is characterized also by excessive activity of osteoclasts – bone cells involved in breaking down the bone tissue – which ultimately leads to bone loss. Studies have shown that hydrolysed collagen modulates bone formation and mineralization of bone matrix, increasing growth and differentiation of osteoblastic cells and reduction of osteoclastic cells, which is important when preventing bone loss and subsequently also osteoporosis. Studies therefore have also concluded that the low-weight collagen – collagen peptides – are better absorbed and have performed better in clinical tests.
Collagen and joint pain
Research and several studies into the effects of collagen intake has also been conducted to establish the possible effects of use of collagen – and, specifically, collagen peptides – on helping with sports-induced joint pain in active adults and athletes, as well as people with functional joint pains. Here is what studies have shown so far:
· A 12-week study4 evaluated the effect of bioactive collagen peptides intake on reduction of activity-related joint pain in athletes with functional knee problems during sports. The study found that use of collagen peptides in young adults with functional knee problems (and exercising at least 3 hours per week) could significantly improve activity-related joint pain.
· Two studies5 focused on determining the impact of collagen peptide intake over a 12-week period, conducting trials on two groups: one group of athletes (men and women) with mean age of 24 years and with activity-related knee pain, and one group of people (men and women) with mean age of 50 years with functional knee or hip pain. Both studies showed that collagen peptide intake reduced pain in activity or functional-related joint pain.
Studies have also tried to establish the potential positive effects collagen peptide intake can have in sports and enhancement of physical abilities. For example, a study on the possible effects of a combination of long-term collagen peptide supplementation and resistance exercise training found significant positive effects on strength and muscle fiber composition in recreationally active men.
Effects of collagen supplements on arthritis and osteoarthritis
While many studies have looked at collagen supplementation and its potential benefits for recreationally active adults or sports professionals, collagen supplements have also shown promise in support of joint pain in people with arthritis and osteoarthritis – a degenerative joint disease with no significant therapies available currently. Different studies conducted both for mice and humans, have found evidence that intake of collagen peptides could improve overall joint comfort and aid in pain relief, as well as inhibit anti-inflammatory functions. For example, a study of 250 people with osteoarthritis taking collagen peptides for 6-month period showed significant improvement in knee joint comfort, especially for people with lower protein intake before the study.
It is well-known that an active lifestyle and regular exercise are key to a healthy and fulfilled life and overall well-being. In order to ensure that our bones and joints are taken care of, including during times when we put more pressure on our bodies by exercising, additional supplementation may be needed. As the studies show, collagen, and especially collagen peptides can be a great support in keeping our joints healthy.
And while you may get collagen from food, such as fish, bone broth and others, an easier way to get the same benefits is by taking collagen supplements daily. Col Du Marine™ marine collagen peptides contain the essential type I and type III collagen, and can be easily incorporated into any daily diet and taken with any drink or food - it is easy to include it in your daily routine.
Check out our store and try out our Col Du Marine™ collagen peptides for yourself today!
1. Porfírio, E., & Fanaro, G. (2016). Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Revista Brasileira De Geriatria E Gerontologia, 19(1), 153-164. https://doi.org/10.1590/1809-9823.2016.14145.
2. Osteoporosis , Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968.
3. Porfírio, E., & Fanaro, G. (2016). Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Revista Brasileira De Geriatria E Gerontologia, 19(1), 153-164. https://doi.org/10.1590/1809-9823.2016.14145.
4. Benito-Ruiz, P., Camacho-Zambrano, M., Carrillo-Arcentales, J., Mestanza-Peralta, M., Vallejo-Flores, C., & Vargas-López, S. et al. (2009). A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy and safety of a food ingredient, collagen hydrolysate, for improving joint comfort. International Journal Of Food Sciences And Nutrition, 60(sup2), 99-113. https://doi.org/10.1080/09637480802498820.
5. Oesser, S., Schulze, C., Zdzieblik, D., & König, D. (2016). Efficacy of specific bioactive collagen peptides in the treatment of joint pain. Osteoarthritis And Cartilage, 24, S189. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2016.01.370.
6. Kirmse, M., Oertzen-Hagemann, V., de Marées, M., Bloch, W., & Platen, P. (2019). Prolonged Collagen Peptide Supplementation and Resistance Exercise Training Affects Body Composition in Recreationally Active Men. Nutrients, 11(5), 1154. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051154.
7. Dar, Q., Schott, E., Catheline, S., Maynard, R., Liu, Z., & Kamal, F. et al. (2017). Daily oral consumption of hydrolyzed type 1 collagen is chondroprotective and anti-inflammatory in murine posttraumatic osteoarthritis. PLOS ONE, 12(4), e0174705. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174705.
8. Benito-Ruiz, P., Camacho-Zambrano, M., Carrillo-Arcentales, J., Mestanza-Peralta, M., Vallejo-Flores, C., & Vargas-López, S. et al. (2009). A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy and safety of a food ingredient, collagen hydrolysate, for improving joint comfort. International Journal Of Food Sciences And Nutrition, 60(sup2), 99-113. https://doi.org/10.1080/09637480802498820.