Arthritis-fighting supplements: collagen

Anyone suffering from a chronic, painful condition such as arthritis is a prime target for sham treatments. However there are some supplements research has shown could possibly help. One is collagen.

Arthritis-fighting supplements: collagen

Exploring supplements

  • Few supplements have been studied rigorously either for effectiveness or safety, so it's best to explore supplements under the watchful eye of your medical support team.
  • Keep in mind that quality and purity of supplements can vary tremendously and always check with your doctor about side effects and drug interactions before starting to take any supplement regularly.

Collagen II

  • Of two types of supplements that fall under this category, the most promising is collagen II, a natural component of cartilage.
  • Usually made from animals such as chickens or cows, low-dose collagen II supplements are thought to relieve pain and stiffness from inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis.
  • One theory holds that introducing small amounts of supplemental collagen into the body causes attacking immune system cells to develop tolerance for your own collagen, making the immune system less likely to inflict more damage. Enough studies have suggested a positive effect from low doses that a prominent arthritis organization launched a collagen II trial. Pending the trial's results, collagen II generally appears safe unless you have an allergy to chicken or eggs.
  • Dosage recommendations vary widely, but best results in studies so far have been from extremely small amounts. But supplements may not be necessary: You can also get collagen II from chicken soup.


  • Another type of collagen is collagen hydrolysate, sometimes known as gelatin, which is made by boiling the bones and skin of animals such as cows and pigs. Products containing gelatin have been promoted for arthritis based on the idea that amino acids in gelatin help repair and maintain joints.
  • In one pre­liminary study, a powdered supplement containing gelatin, vitamin C and calcium improved pain, stiffness and mobility, but on the whole, claims for gelatin's benefits aren't well supported in the scientific literature. Still, though collagen hydrolysate may cause gastrointestinal trouble, it generally appears safe in typical doses of 10 grams (two teaspoons).
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