We use our joints throughout our day to move around, to work out and carry out day to day tasks. So what happens when our joints get injured and damaged? If you've ever had an injury or diagnosis of osteoarthritis in any of your joints such as a knee, hip or shoulder, you'll know how debilitating this can be.
Though following the advice of a medical professional on physical rest and rehabilitation is essential in cases of joint injury and damage, an area that's often overlooked is diet and lifestyle.
Our diet and intake of nutrients provide the ingredients for our body to carry out essential repair processes, and can affect factors like levels of inflammation which can influence healing and recovery.
How Collagen Can Affect Joint Recovery
If you've read t he other two articles in this series on collagen for joint health, you'll know that collagen makes up 70 - 95% of our joint cartilage. Hence, collagen supplements once thought to be a beauty supplement for skin health are gaining popularity as a means to sup port joint health.
But can collagen help to repair joint cartilage? The answer is that we don't yet know for certain, but preliminary evidence points towards yes. There have been lots of studies that have found collagen supplements beneficial for reducing joint pain and improving function in athletes and in those with osteoarthritis .
As collagen supplementation for joint health is a relatively new area of research, scientists haven't yet settled on exactly how collagen provides these benefits.
Research has suggested that collagen supplements may by helping to stimulate the cells in our cartilage tissue to promote cartilage repair under inflammatory conditions that we see in osteoarthritis, or to build collagen in the joint cartilage.
What Type of Collagen Supplement is Best?
The collagen supplements used in the studies are hydrolysed collagen, which means that the collagen proteins have been broken down into individual peptides.
This is what sets collagen peptides apart from other dietary collagen sources such as gelatine and bone broth, as the peptides can be easily absorbed through our gut.
The types of collagen most prevalent in our joints and that have been specifically studied for joint heal th are types I and II.
As type I collagen is the most common type it will be present in most collagen supplements, but looking out for a blend that contains type II collagen can be helpful if your focus is joint health.