Using collagen for wound healing has become a common practice in the medical field because of its...
Collagen for Joints: Does It Work & Which Type Is Best?
Collagen has become increasingly popular as a supplement for joint health. But does collagen for joints actually work? And, if so, what is the best type of collagen for your joints?
Collagen has numerous benefits for your body, so today we will dive into the potential benefits for your joints. We will examine what collagen is, where it is found in your joints, and why collagen supplementation could improve your joint health.
Then, we’ll discuss the best collagen supplements for joints – backed up by scientific research. But before we jump ahead, let’s take a look between collagen and your joints.
What is collagen – and where is it found in your joints?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body. It is a major structural component of your muscles, bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, organs, blood vessels, and more. Collagen provides strength, stability, and flexibility to your connective tissues.
There are over 20 different types of collagen, with Types I, II, and III being the most common. Type I & III collagen are found in your skin, muscles, and ligaments and Type II collagen is mostly found in your cartilage.
As you can see, collagen is found in many places in your joints. From bones and cartilage to tendons and ligaments, collagen protects all your joint structures. When one of your joint structures starts to break down, your body utilizes its natural stores of collagen to re-strengthen it.
Unfortunately, our natural collagen production depletes as we age – which can spell trouble for our joints.
The effects of aging and collagen
Our collagen production starts to slow down in our mid-20s, and our natural stores of collagen lessen every year after that. This means that when your joints need extra collagen to repair cartilage or ligament fibers, that collagen might not be there!
And, if you DO have enough collagen, it can take longer and longer to repair joint issues as we age. That’s why our joints start to feel more aches and pains through the years, and we can easily be injured by things that wouldn’t have affected us in our youth.
That’s when it becomes beneficial to supplement with collagen - to ensure our body has all the building blocks it needs to create new bone, cartilage, and connective tissue fibers easily.
How exactly does taking collagen for joints help? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of taking collagen for joints.
What are the benefits of collagen for joints?
Here are just some of the benefits of collagen for joints:
1. Collagen can promote overall joint health
There is a reason why collagen for joints is one of the most popular knee pain supplements. THE protein your body needs to protect the strength and integrity of your joint structures.
If you have an issue with your cartilage, ligaments, or muscles surrounding your joints, your body can utilize the collagen protein you provide it to build and strengthen those problem areas.
Collagen for joints promotes overall joint health by contributing to flexibility, mobility, strength, and range of motion in your joints.
If you experience knee discomfort from time to time, but aren’t sure of the cause, taking a regular collagen supplement may be the support your body needs to live pain-free.
2. Collagen may help grow cartilage
Collagen is one of the few supplements that can actually repair and regrow cartilage. Studies have shown that taking collagen for joints may be able to treat (and even undo some of the damage made by) deteriorating cartilage.
Your cartilage is primarily made up of Type II collagen – but you don’t have to take Type II collagen in order for your supplement to be effective. No matter what type of collagen you take, your body can break down the protein into amino acids and rearrange those amino acids to make any type of collagen it needs.
Taking collagen for joints can stimulate the cells in your cartilage that help with the growth and repair process. Collagen may be able to slow the breakdown of cartilage due to arthritis or wear and tear, and can help maintain healthy cell turnover for rebuilding your existing cartilage.
3. Collagen can support exercise and recovery
Just like other protein supplements, collagen protein can support your exercise routine. Athletes have long made protein shakes their top choice of what to drink during workouts. And with good reason. Protein helps to rebuild fatigued muscles after exercise.
When you put your muscles under stress and overload them during a workout, microtears appear. This accounts for some of the soreness we feel after exercising. Because collagen is what the body uses to repair torn muscles, collagen is the best protein to take for muscle recovery.
Taking collagen for joints can strengthen the muscles around your shoulders, hips, and knees – providing more stability for your joints, and helping you bounce back faster after a strenuous workout.
4. Collagen may improve bone health
Collagen makes up more than 90% of the organic matrix of your bones. Taking collagen for joints may help to strengthen your bones and contribute to joint stability and mobility.
Collagen for joints has even been shown to increase bone formation and reduce bone degradation in people with osteoporosis.
In a randomized, double-blind study of 131 postmenopausal women with bone density issues, women who were treated with collagen saw a marked increase in bone density, and even an increase in blood levels in the bones – which can help them to strengthen and heal more quickly.
5. Collagen may prevent joint injuries
Taking collagen for joints may actually help with injury prevention. Not only does taking collagen strengthen the muscles around your joints, it also makes your tendons and ligaments stronger and more flexible. This is key to injury prevention.
The majority of joint injuries come from torn tendons and ligaments. If you make your connective tissues more elastic, and less likely to tear under stress, you are protecting yourself against potential injuries.
6. Collagen can help you heal prior joint injuries
Not all injuries can be prevented. And when you are injured, or have to have a surgery for any reason, you want to recover as quickly as possible. Collagen can help there too.
Because collagen is what your body uses during the natural healing process, providing your body with extra stores of collagen can speed up wound healing.
Whether you’ve torn your ACL, or had a full knee replacement surgery, taking collagen for joints may help you get back on your feet in record time.
Doctors are well aware of the healing potential of collagen, which is why many medical facilities use collagen supplements and collagen dressings to help their patients heal more effectively.
7. Collagen can reduce arthritis symptoms
As we mentioned above, taking collagen for joints can help to repair your cartilage - this is why collagen is touted by some as an effective knee or hip arthritis treatment.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it is caused when your cartilage breaks down and your bones start to grate against each other. Because collagen is able to repair both cartilage and bones, it may help to reverse some of the damage caused by osteoarthritis – and help get rid of the associated pain.
But osteoarthritis isn’t the only type of arthritis that taking collagen for joints can help with. Collagen may also help reduce joint inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, and may even reduce the number of flare ups.
With so many potential benefits of taking collagen for joints, you may be ready to run to the nearest store that stocks supplements. But supplements are not all created the same, so it’s important to understand what kind of collagen supplements to take for the best results.
The best collagen for joints explained
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work? That depends entirely on the quality of your supplement. If you’re taking the best collagen for joints, you may see results in as little as 30 days, with full results being seen at the three-month mark.
But that’s only if you’re taking the right supplement. So, that begs the question: What are the best collagen supplements for joints?
The answer is – hydrolyzed collagen supplements.
What is hydrolyzed collagen?
Hydrolyzed collagen, sometimes referred to as “hydrolyzed collagen peptides,” is collagen that has gone through the chemical process of hydrolysis. During hydrolysis, water breaks down collagen protein molecules into smaller, more bioavailable pieces.
Breaking collagen proteins down makes them easier to digest and absorb. That’s because collagen in its whole form is much bigger than the pores in your stomach lining. In order for your supplement to be fully absorbed and utilized, the molecules need to be broken down.
While your stomach naturally breaks down molecules so that your body can absorb them, this takes time. During that time, a lot of your collagen supplement will pass through your digestive system before it can actually be absorbed. This is a waste when you are trying to make the most of collagen’s benefits for joints.
Taking a hydrolyzed collagen supplement will ensure that your body can absorb as much of the collagen as possible – and put it to work where it’s needed most.
Of course, even then, not all hydrolyzed collagen supplements are the same either. Let’s discuss how to choose the best collagen supplements for joints.
Choosing the right collagen for joints
Most supplements are not regulated by the FDA. This means that companies don’t need to back up any of their claims. When trying to find the best collagen for joints, you will have to do your own research, and this can make all the options seem daunting.
To start, you want to find a hydrolyzed collagen supplement that doesn’t contain any excess sugars or harmful additives. Read the ingredient label carefully when choosing a collagen supplement to make sure it is healthy.
Next, you want to read customer reviews to ensure people who are taking the supplement are getting positive results, and aren’t seeing any nasty side effects from added ingredients.
Because collagen itself is something your body makes naturally, you shouldn’t have to worry about side effects from collagen protein when taken in the proper doses.
Last, if possible, you want to find a company that backs up their claims with scientific research.
One great option is to find a medical-grade collagen supplement. Supplements that are certified as medical grade have undergone rigorous testing, and ARE regulated by the FDA and overseen by health professionals.
Hydrolyzed collagen that is medical-grade, such as the collagen supplements from OP2 Labs, is the best collagen for joints. Medical-grade collagen is trusted for use in medical facilities across the country, and a hydrolyzed product will ensure your supplement is easier to absorb.
In fact, the collagen from OP2 Labs is actually nano-hydrolyzed, which means it has undergone the process of hydrolysis more than once – and is proven to fully digest in just 15 minutes or less. Adding this powerful supplement to your routine may be just what you need to protect the health of your joints.