Collagen supplements may help slow osteoarthritis epidemic
prevention and treatment of degenerative joint diseases such as
osteoarthritis, suggests new research presented yesterday.
Collagen hydrolysate could play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, suggests new research presented yesterday at the summer meeting of the British Nutrition Society.
A form of collagen, hydrolysed to improve absorption into the bloodstream, can stimulate the production of cells responsible for maintaining joint-cushioning cartilage, according to the study published in Cell and Tissue Research.
This is the first time a cell culture model has shown that the collagen hydolysate, known to play a role in degenerative joint disease, can lead to an increase in cartilage formation, said researchers Dr Oesser and Professor Seifert from Germany's Kiel University.
Currently 39 million Europeans suffer from osteoarthritis according to the World Health Organisation, and many more are at risk of developing the condition, characterised by a gradual breakdown of articular cartilage, resulting in pain and loss of joint mobility. There is still no cure to the disease and the WHO predicts an epidemic of joint disease will see numbers of Europeans with osteoarthritis double by 2020.
The researchers investigated the effect of collagen hydrolysate on the metabolism of the cartilage cells called chondrocytes. These produce type 2 collagen, the dominant collagen in cartilage and essential for its structure. Collagen hydrolysate, which has the same amino acid composition as type 2 collagen, increased its secretion almost 2.5 times that seen in control cells.
"Particularly in situations in which cartilage is under massive stress, the intake of collagen hydrolysate could be highly significant and reduce degenerative changes," said Dr Oesser.
Professor R Moskowitz, director of the Arthritis Institute at the US University of Cleveland and president of the International Osteoarthritis Research Society, supported the views on collagen's role in joint health. A multi-centred trial conducted on 300 osteoarthritis patients showed a significant reduction in pain and an improvement in joint mobility in the group taking collagen hydrolysate but few analgesics , reported Prof Moskowitz.
The recommended daily dose of collagen hydrolysate is 10 grams. In 1999 the US Food and Drug Administration confirmed the GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status for the hydrolysed form of collagen.