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March 23, 2021 3 min read

By Emily Hirsch, MS, RD

If you’re experiencing creaking bones and aching joints, you’re not alone. An estimated 240 million people worldwide suffer from joint-related discomfort. Compromised joint health can be a result of the aging process, an underlying illness or overuse caused by exercise or other lifestyle choices. 

Joint discomfort can be debilitating, preventing people from living a full and active life. Thankfully, collagen supplementation provides a natural way to support your joint health, allowing for a continued robust and active lifestyle. 

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most plentiful protein in your body. Often called the “body’s scaffolding,” collagen is the primary component of the connective tissues that make up various parts of your body, including your tendons, ligaments, muscle and skin. Collagen plays a critical role in maintaining the integrity of your cartilage, which is the flexible tissue that protects your joints. 

Collagen and Joint Health

As you age, your body’s collagen supply begins to decline. Over time this decrease in collagen can lead to joint and bone deterioration. Eventually that joint and bone breakdown can advance into degenerative diseases like arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Encouraging research has shown that oral collagen supplementation may prevent and even reverse the effects of age-related collagen loss by supporting the rebuilding of your bones and joints.

Scientists theorize that supplemental collagen can accumulate in cartilage, prompting your tissues to make more collagen. Additionally, promising studies have found that collagen supplementation may help reduce inflammation, decrease pain and support overall joint health.

A recent review of the literature found that collagen can help promote joint health and perhaps even restore some bone density in people with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The review also found that it may reduce joint pain.

Another study showed that collagen supplementation may reduce joint discomfort associated with joint discomfort as well as sports-related joint pain associated with high-impact exercises.

Moreover, researchers found that collagen reduced activity-related joint discomfort. These studies suggest that long term use of a collagen supplement may be effective for people who regularly exercise and for individuals at risk of developing a degenerative joint disease. 

Other Joint Health-Related Benefits of Collagen

Collagen supports healthy joints, but also can improve other parts of the body that contribute to long-term mobility.  

Bone Strength– Collagen is responsible for keeping your bones healthy and strong. As we age and collagen production declines, your bones can become more brittle, leading to potential bone injuries. 

  • Muscle and Tendon Integrity– The loss of collagen as we age can loosen the tendons that connect muscles to the bones in your joints. This process can compromise mobility and flexibility.

Taking a Collagen Supplement

Collagen supplements are intended to replenish your body's natural supply of collagen while providing a host of health benefits. There are three different collagen supplements: Type I, Type II and Type III. Type I and III are recommended if you’re looking to improve the condition of your skin, while Type II collagen is used to support joint health.

While there is no consensus in the scientific community on the exact dose of collagen supplementation to recommend, a 2019 review of the research suggested that taking 2.5-15 grams of collagen every day is safe and effective.

If you’re looking for a natural way to support joint health and even reduce joint pain, collagen supplementation may be just the ticket to ensure you remain active and healthy for years to come.

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