In this article:
- The role of collagen in the body
- Benefits of Type II collagen
- Where to find & how to get more Type II collagen
Collagen is vital to your overall health and wellbeing; it supports your joints, tendons, blood vessels, teeth, bones, and the tissues that surround and protect your internal organs. Collagen molecules are made of amino acids, primarily glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are bonded and combined to form collagen fibrils. These tightly-packed fibrils then make up all the durable and flexible collagen fibers that support your connective tissues. Collagen also provides elasticity and radiance to your skin, and fights common signs of aging like wrinkles and cellulite. In total, you have 28 different forms of collagen to thank for that!
Type II collagen is the third most abundant type of collagen after types I and III respectively. Each unique type can be found in different areas of the body and in different concentrations, thus they each have a unique role in keeping your bones/muscles/organs healthy. Focusing on the benefits of these three types, it's easy to see why they're considered the "big three". From most abundant to least:
Like we hinted at above, type II collagen is possibly the most crucial element of your joint health. Chondrocytes are the cells that make up healthy cartilage. These cells, often compared to bricks, build upon each other, and create their own "mortar" to hold them together. This mortar (sounds a lot like glue!) is the cartilage's own extracellular matrix, or cartilaginous matrix, and consists mainly of type II collagen, proteoglycans, and elastin fibers. The result is a thick, fibrous, and flexible tissue that protects your joints from stress.
Conditions like osteoarthritis can make joint pain in the hands, knees, hips, spine, and other joints unbearable. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that occurs as you age, alongside your natural decrease in collagen production. Osteoarthritis is driven by inflammation in the joints which breaks down the cartilage that normally cushions and protects your bones. Your joints can also become stressed or injured as a result of high-impact sports and your body's natural collagen degradation. In particular, hyaline cartilage, which is found in your respiratory system, is composed almost entirely of type II collagen and chondroitin sulfate. Additionally, articular cartilage, which is hyaline cartilage on the articular surfaces of bones and inside the joint cavity of synovial joints, is also mostly made up of type II collagen. When collagen levels drop, it can severely affect your joints.
Oral administration of type II collagen has scientific evidence of supporting joint health and reducing joint pain. Type II collagen contains hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine, which might help rebuild cartilage. One 3 month clinical study evaluated patients who were diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis according to the American College of Rheumatology’s criteria. This study found that daily hydrolyzed collagen supplementation can be an effective nutrition option for managing osteoarthritis, and specifically knee osteoarthritis, by reducing inflammation.
The same was found for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the protein of your joints. In another clinical trial, daily oral supplementation of hydrolyzed collagen type II was shown to slow down the rate at which immune cells attack the joints, assisting in pain relief and increasing mobility.
With that said, the benefits of type II collagen are not exclusive to arthritis relief. Studies have found that collagen supplementation may also relieve activity-related joint pain, as the result of sports or typing which can cause pain in the hands, and help to protect your joints against future damage.
Type II collagen supplements most often source their collagen from chicken. Sadly though, chicken meat doesn't contain all the good stuff - type II collagen from chicken is mostly found in the cartilage. If you're not as keen on eating the cartilage meat, you can try making chicken bone broth. While type II collagen is a bit harder to come by in the foods we eat everyday, type I collagen may also have benefits for your joints! Foods rich in type I collagen are your typical protein-packed foods like fish, beef, and egg whites. Additionally, there are plenty of highly effective dietary supplements on the market to fill in any protein gaps your diet has.
If joint healing is your primary concern, type II collagen is a natural product that can help restore joint health and protect against future damage. The side effects of ingesting collagen powder only reach as far as indigestion whereas the known side effects of other joint pain and arthritis relief are much worse. Collagen hydrolysate (aka hydrolyzed collagen) has even been recognized as a safe supplement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
There are two forms of extracted type II collagen - hydrolyzed, and undenatured. Hydrolyzed collagen is typically derived from cows and uses water to break down the large bonds in collagen into much smaller and more bioavailable molecules. Undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) means it has not been processed by high heat or chemicals, and it is commonly derived from the cartilage of chickens. Oftentimes, these chickens are raised in India and China in substandard conditions, and there is a growing concern regarding its purity. Some guidelines for shopping for a type II collagen supplement are to ensure that it is from a sustainable source with no added preservatives or flavors, and that it is hydrolyzed so you can ensure your supplement achieves the highest bioavailability.
Whereas some brands include additives in their supplements, our bovine type collagen peptides are hydrolyzed from grass-fed cows to deliver a supplement that is all-natural and free of hormones, GMOs, and artificial flavors. Premium Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin is another pure and effective supplement that promotes joint function and flexibility. Collagen peptides contain 18 essential amino acids that are needed for future collagen production. Both of the aforementioned supplements are flavorless and come in powdered form, making them as simple to add to a cup of coffee as you would a spoonful of sugar.
Whether you're experiencing joint pain as a result of arthritis or pushing yourself just a bit too hard at the gym, your best recovery plan lies in the hands of your healthcare professional. Your doctor will be able to tell if collagen supplements are the best choice for your unique diet and recovery plans. You can also reach out to the team at Amandean for any other questions you have to help put an end to stiff and inflamed joints.
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