Joint Pain and Recovery From Injury – The Impact of Collagen on Connective Tissue and Anti-Ageing
The following information has been collected from various sources (see references on the Advanced Nutrition UK website) and has been backed up by the rapid recovery of my son-in-law following a serious operation to his jaw. My wife and I have also experienced the benefits of pure collagen capsules (most notably for arthritic pain and when kneeling down to play with our grandson!). I feel that many people could benefit from this awareness and hope the following is helpful.
In recent years Collagen Hydrolysate (CH) is increasingly being used as a nutritional supplement, especially for the treatment of degenerative joint diseases and for the management of skin care.
Numerous international clinical studies have been able to confirm the positive effect of Collagen Hydrolysate in the treatment of degenerative joint disease. It is important to note that ordinary collagen cannot be absorbed readily into the body and the hydrolysate process is what makes this possible.
In clinical studies involving over 2000 patients with diagnosed Osteoarthritis of the hip or knee joint, there was a statistically significant reduction in pain, a decrease in the consumption of analgesics and improved mobility in patients who had received a daily dose of CH over a period of at least 3 months. Overall, treatment of the patients involved with CH over a longer period of time was regarded as being remarkably successful, with more than 75% of the patients reported improvement of symptoms.
Comparable results were obtained with a number of observational studies on persons suffering from painful joints or athletes whose joints were subject to increased mechanical stress. In these cases too the administration of Collagen Hydrolysate resulted in substantial pain reduction and improved mobility. Recently, these results could be confirmed in a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania on 147 athletes.
In addition to the reported efficacy of CH on joint health, clinical studies also indicated a positive effect of CH on tendons demonstrating a significant improvement of tissue strength.
Studies relating to skin care revealed a pronounced improvement of skin function and increased skin hydration after CH ingestion on a regular basis.
Ingestion and Distribution of Collagen Hydrolysate
Intestinal absorption of Collagen Hydrolysate could be demonstrated by means of a commonly accepted experimental model. It could be shown that more than 90% of the orally administered CH is rapidly absorbed by the intestines and appeared in blood plasma, accounting for a high bioavailability. These results were confirmed by a study performed on healthy human volunteers in which major constituents of CH derived peptides were identified in human serum and plasma after oral ingestion.
Investigations on the qualitative absorption revealed that CH is not completely broken down by the digestive system, but that a variety of collagen fragments, including up to 10% high molecular form peptides are absorbed following oral administration of CH, with some individual variability.
In additional studies with labelled CH, it was shown that a significant amount of collagen peptides could be detected in skin and cartilage tissue after one single administration, indicating an accumulation of these peptides within the connective tissue.
Mode of Action
In addition to obtaining proof of clinical efficacy of Collagen Hydrolysate, a significant number of research projects have been started worldwide with participation by a number of international institutes of repute with the goal of investigating the mechanism of action of the substance.
Cell culture experiments investigating the efficacy of HC revealed that the treatment of the cartilage cells with CH induced a statistically significant, dose-dependent increase in type II collagen synthesis of chondrocytes compared to the untreated controls.
These results clearly indicate that CH has a stimulatory effect on both important structural macromolecules of the ECM – collagen and proteoglycans, and thus might be of therapeutic relevance to slow or even halt the progressive degradation of articular cartilage tissue in osteoarthritis.
Beside the impact of CH on cartilage tissue, preclinical studies suggested positive effects of a CH treatment on tendons and skin.
Investigations on skin seem to indicate that the administration of Collagen Hydrolysate enhances the hydroxyproline content in the soluble fraction of skin, which may be related to skin collagen synthesis. Moreover, it was stated that CH treatment might increase the water binding capacity of the epidermis. More recently, it was reported that the ingestion of CH induces increased fibroblast density and enhances the formation of collagen fibrils in the dermis.
Safety of Collagen Hydrolysate Ingestion
In numerous investigations it could be shown that collagen hydrolysate has an excellent safety profile.
Collagen hydrolysate is a food product, and the FDA lists it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), the highest possible safety category. Moreover, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and the Ministry for Consumer Affairs in Germany as well as the World Health Organization, have also confirmed that CH is safe and that there is no risk involved in consuming larger quantities on a regular basis.
Numerous preclinical investigations have demonstrated the positive effect of Collagen Hydrolysate on the metabolism of connective tissue. The results seem to indicate that CH treatment stimulates the synthesis of cartilage tissue, affects the size of collagen fibrils and the composition of glycosaminoglycans in the Achilles tendon, enhances the collagen synthesis and the formation of collagen fibrils in the skin and increases the water binding capacity of the epidermis.
Clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of CH in the treatment of degenerative joint diseases. Moreover, CH ingestion seems to have positive effects on tendons as well as on skin function and hydration.
Based on these results and due to its excellent safety profile a treatment with Collagen Hydrolysate on a daily basis might well be of particular importance for the synthesis and maintenance of connective tissue.
There seems to be excellent scientific and corroborative evidence that Pure Collagen Hydrolysate can be beneficial to joint pain, recovery from injury involving connective tissue (Achilles tendons, ligaments) as well as improving the elasticity and health of the skin, hair and nails.
It does seem as though pure collagen hydolysate (types 1 & 2) capsules can in many cases have a noticeable beneficial effect on joint health & strength, as well as reducing the pain associated with forms of arthritis. In addition, many celebrities endorse the anti-ageing properties of proto-col pure collagen capsules.