Good News for Joint Health: Collagen may prevent and treat osteoarthritis

Collagen could play a role in the prevention and treatment of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, suggests new research from scientists at Kiel University in Germany. Collagen, a structural protein in connective tissue, can stimulate the production of cells responsible for maintaining joint-cushioning cartilage, according to the study.

The researchers found that one type of collagen (hydrolysate) stimulated the production of another form (type 2), the main collagen in cartilage which is essential for its structure. Collagen hydrolysate was shown to increase the production of type 2 collagen by almost 2.5 times that seen in control cells.

“Particularly in situations in which cartilage is under massive stress, the intake of collagen could be highly significant and reduce degenerative changes,” said Dr Oesser, a lead researcher.

Collagen naturally contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, two substances well known to benefit symptoms of arthritis.

Professor R Moskowitz, director of the Arthritis Institute at the US University of Cleveland, supported the researchers’ findings. He points to a recent multi-centred trial conducted on 300 osteoarthritis patients which showed a significant reduction in pain and an improvement in joint mobility in those taking collagen.

Cell and Tissue Research 311:393-399