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collagen_supplements

Question: Hi my name is Gina and I'm from Kentucky. My question is about collagen peptide nutritional supplements. Should I be taking these on a daily basis? I am 52, active, but managing arthritis in one hip from years of running marathons. What are the best ones to use? Thank you and love, love, love your podcasts.

DR. NEAL: Thank you for your question, Gina and thank you for listening to all of our shows!

First of all, much respect for running not just one marathon, but multiple marathons. I am such a terrible long-distance runner, that performing a 5k is exhausting to me. And I played soccer for 7 years! Go figure. So, the fact that you can run 26.2 miles without stopping is amazing to me.

As you mentioned, unfortunately, that intense level of activity can take its toll on the body and can lead to some unintended health consequences like joint pain and joint inflammation.

So, let’s talk about what we can do about it.


Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 1029 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.


Do collagen supplements help with joint pain?

You asked specifically about whether collagen peptide supplements can help ease some of the pain you’re experiencing due to arthritis in your hip. You’ll sometimes hear joint pain, joint inflammation, and arthritis used synonymously. That’s because they are all referring to the same idea – that there is some inflammation in that area of the body and that inflammation can lead to pain and stiffness.

While these terms basically refer to the same concept, the causes of the pain and inflammation can differ. Arthritis can be caused by another underlying condition, like Lupus, or an infection, or simply years of wear and tear.

In your case, it sounds like wear and tear is the most likely cause. I have to mention that if you haven’t had your hip pain evaluated by a health professional, please do.

So, assuming that the pain your experiencing is caused by wear and tear and not some other underlying condition, we can now see whether supplementing with collagen peptide would be helpful.

Collagen and Inflammation

Like I recommend for any new health behavior, we first need to ask ourselves these questions:

  1. Based on the research, does it work?
  2. Is it safe for most, and for me, specifically? Meaning, do the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks?
  3. If the answers to the above are yes, we then need to ask: how often and for how long will I need to take these supplements?

I should mention that collagen is found naturally in the body. It’s found in lots of places, but higher quantities of it can be found in the skin and around the joints (like the hip).

But inflammation caused by underlying conditions or wear and tear can lead to collagen degradation. When that collagen degrades, especially around the joints, it may lead to a loss of something called cartilage. Cartilage has a number of functions as well, but one of its main purposes is to reduce friction between joints, like between the hip and the femur. So, without collagen, cartilage can’t do its job which then leads to that pain you’re experiencing.

Now let’s take a look by first seeing whether, based on the research, collagen supplements work.

Do collagen supplements help with joint pain?

The good news is that supplementing with collagen seems to modestly improve joint pain and flexibility. It may not be a miracle cure, but it may be worth a try. And, it seems to be safe for most, provided you purchase a quality product. More on that in a moment.

Whether or not it’s safe for you will need to be determined with your healthcare provider. Most of the collagen supplements found on the market are in the form of collagen peptide. This just means that the supplement manufacturers have broken down the collagen into its basic form so its easily absorbed by the body. Supplementing with 40 mg/d for a minimum of 3 months seems to provide the most benefit.

According to ConsumerLab.com, an independent company that tests for the quality and purity of supplements on the market, found that “Healthy Origins Natural UC-II” meets quality and purity standards while providing that 40 mg dose.

So, the bottom line is that supplementing with 40 mg of collagen per day for a minimum of 3 months appears to be safe and may provide some modest relief. The specific product that ConsumerLab.com recommends is Healthy Origins Natural UC-II.

But, as always, check with your healthcare provider to be sure it’s right for you.

Best of luck to Gina who sent in this question, and to all our other listeners. I’m sending you healing thoughts.


Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 1029 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.


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Neal Malik

Dr. Neal Malik ("Dr. Neal") is currently a professor at California State University, San Bernardino. Before this, he served as Department Chair at Bastyr University California. Dr. Neal has also published peer-reviewed scientific research and presented at national conferences. Send in your health related question and Dr. Neal will answer it on the Optimal Health Daily show!
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