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Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are popular supplements used to treat the pain and loss of function associated with osteoarthritis. However, most studies assessing their effectiveness show modest to no improvement in either pain relief or joint damage. Research suggests that AC-II undenatured type II collagen is significantly better than chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine.

In a study, 52 adults suffering from osteoarthritis with an average age of 59 were randomly assigned to receive daily either two 20 mg capsules of active, undenatured collagen, or a combination of four 375 mg capsules of glucosamine plus four 300 mg chondroitin sulfate. The researchers found that in just 90 days, active, undenatured collagen provided significant enhancement in daily activities, suggesting an improvement in their quality of life.

In the same trial, the researchers employed the standardized WOMAC (Western Ontario McMaster Osteoarthritis Index) scale to accurately assess symptoms. They concluded that 40 mg a day of active, undenatured collagen reduced osteoarthritis symptoms assessed by the WOMAC scale by 33% - in only 90 days. By comparison, the combination of 1,500 mg a day of glucosamine and 1,200 mg a day of chondroitin sulfate reduced WOMAC scores in the same period by only 14%.

The team of scientists then used the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) – which is used to assess pain – to corroborate these results. Using this measure, they found pain scores decreased by 40% for the active, undenatured collagen group, while pain scores for the glucosamine/chondroitin group decreased just 15%.

Finally, using the Lequesne’s Functional Index – a measure specifically of pain during daily activities, such as walking - the study team found that active, undenatured collagen reduced the score for this type of pain by 20%, while the combination of glucosamine plus chondroitin lowered the score by only 6%.

All results were observed in just 90 days.

This compelling human research crowns a series of studies indicating that undenatured type II cartilage induces oral tolerance to exposed collagen, inhibiting the immune response that inflames joints and further degrades joint cartilage.

Reference:

Crowley, D., C., et al. (2009). Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. International Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 6, no 6, 312–321.