Study: UC-II supplements fared better than placebo in joint pain relief

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Osteoarthritis Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock
Using the WOMAC Index to measure, test participants with osteoarthritis who ingested 40mg of UC-II pills over 180 days experienced less pain and stiffness in the knee compared to control groups.

After a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 191 volunteers, researchers found that type II collagen (UC-II) supplementation improved knee joint symptoms among subjects with knee osteoarthritis.

The study was funded by California-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals​, the place of employment of two of its researchers (James P. Lugo and Zainulabedin M. Saiyed). Dr. Nancy E. Lane of the Center for Musculoskeletal Health at the University of California, Davis, participated in data interpretation, manuscript drafting, and revisions. 

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the destruction of joint cartilage and remodeling of the adjacent bone. A report from 2008 found that it is the most common form of arthritis in the US, affecting more than 25 million Americans.

“[Osteoarthritis] is the most common form of arthritis affecting more than 25 million Americans,” the researchers wrote, citing a report from 2008.

“Current therapies for [osteoarthritis] include various over the counter analgesics, a number ofnonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), intra-articular injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid, plus tramadol and other opioid analgesics to relieve severe pain,”​ the researchers said. “While these therapies can alleviate symptoms in the near term, their ultimate impact on the pathophysiologic progression of [osteoarthritis] is limited.”

13 centers, four pills a day

Though funding and manuscript drafting were done stateside, the clinical tests were conducted in 13 centers throughout southern India. The Indian portion of the study was run and managed independently by Laila Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.

A total of 234 subjects were screened and 191 were randomized. Subjects had to be between 40-75 years old, either male or female, with a body-mass index (BMI) of 18-30 kg/m2​. Additionally, subjects were required to have moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis by physical examination—including bony enlargements, joint swelling, etc.—and have knee pain for at least 3 months prior to the start of the study.

The subjects were than divided into three groups: those given UC-II pills, glucosamine hydrochloride (GC) pills, and placebo pills.

For the UC-II group, participants were instructed to ingest two placebo capsules in the morning and two 20mg capsules of UC-II, totaling to 40mg of UC-II daily. “This dose delivered 1.2mg of undentured type II collagen,” ​the report said.

The regimen was similar for the other groups—the control group ingested placebos for all four daily pills, while the GC group ingested four pills a day that totaled to 1,500mg of GC and 1,200mg of chondroitin sulfate. The dosage period lasted 180 days.

Scoring well on WOMAC

As described in the abstract, the study’s goal was to see how the pills changed in total Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC ) from baseline through day 180 for the UC-II group versus placebo and GC.

“At day 180, the UC-II group demonstrated a significant reduction in overall WOMAC score compared to placebo and GC,” ​the report said. “Supplementation with UC-II also resulted in significant changes for all three WOMAC subscales: pain, stiffness, physical function.”

Though the study’s outcome does suggest UC-II’s efficacy in improving knee function in subjects with osteoarthritis, the researches added that they “believe additional research is warranted both to confirm and to define these findings more extensively,” ​especially studies that alucidate the mechanism for the supplement.


Source: Nutrition Journal

Published online ahead of print, DOI: 10.1186/s12937-016-0130-8

Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Authors: James P. Lugo, Zainulabedin M. Saiyed, Nancy E. Lane

Related topics Research

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