Collagen can do a lot more than keep our skin looking young; it appears to help our body move better. Several studies have even shown that the use of collagen can work as well, if not better than, the rheumatoid arthritis drug methotrexate to cushion and lubricate the joints and boost the immune system. Liquid collagen taken orally is one of the common forms given to patients.
It is cartilage within the joints, which is largely made up of collagen, which often deteriorates in arthritis sufferers. Taking liquid collagen adds more cushion to the cartilage and protects the joints. In addition, Arthritis MD cites part of the immune system known as the gut-activated lymphoid tissue (GALT) as being responsive to oral collagen, making it helpful in autoimmune forms of arthritis.
Dr. Wei Wei, who led a Chinese study on collagen and rheumatoid arthritis, noted that type II collagen was especially beneficial to participants with the autoimmune disease. Type II collagen is derived from chickens, often from the bones in the sternum. Other collagen sources include cows and ox. The creation of synthetic collagen is in the works, with progress being made at the Raines Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin.
In addition to the studies in China and Wisconsin, the COBRA trial in The Netherlands was also done to test the effects of collagen for arthritis. That study also showed that collagen is helpful in treating the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, in addition to the autoimmune benefits. The research also shows that it may be more beneficial if taken continually.
Liquid collagen for arthritis appears to be safe with few adverse effects appearing during clinical trials. A German study conducted in 1996 on patients with rheumatoid arthritis did report nausea as a side effect. Since the supplement is taken orally, additional gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea and constipation are also possible. Arthritis MD reports that testing is done with only doses of 10 mg a day. Do not take more without consulting your doctor.
The exact mechanism of liquid collagen in relation to arthritis has not been fully clarified, especially in relation to forms of arthritis beyond osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Liquid collagen does, however, appear to be a safe alternative supplement for anti-inflammatory medications. The addition of synthetic forms may be even more beneficial. Check with your healthcare professional before making this substitution for your arthritis.