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Active Collagen Type-II™ (AC-II) is a proprietary formulation of undenatured type II chicken collagen, derived from chicken sternum cartilage, a rich source of natural Type II collagen.

AC-II works differently than other collagens. AC-II retains the original molecular structure of joint collagen. This allows the immune system to develop oral tolerance to exactly the same molecular shape as exposed collagen encountered in the joints – inhibiting processes responsible for the progression of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

How AC-II induces oral tolerance

Researchers found that normally processed collagen exhibited no bioactivity and would not induce oral tolerance. Only a specific form of collagen, with its unique molecular structure, will retrain the immune system not to overreact to exposed collagen fibres.

T-cells are in part, immune system watchdogs, constantly assessing the three-dimensional structure of proteins they encounter in order to distinguish between harmless “self” proteins and potentially deadly “foreign” proteins. If T-cells are exposed in the blood to a new protein structure – such as an unrecognized protein on separated collagen fibre – they react violently and trigger an inflammatory response to destroy what is presumed to be a disease-causing invader. And that deadly inflammatory attack is extended to any other collagen molecules that are subsequently encountered by the T-cells – including intact collagen in cartilage in the joint.

Scientists have however learned that it is possible to teach T-cells that the collagen molecule is a harmless substance. Rich collections of immune tissue are located in the lower end of the small intestine. Called Peyer’s patches, they act as “training centres” for the immune system, exposing T-cells to a vast variety of molecular shapes among the natural components in the food we eat. This desensitises T-cells to new foods to avoid constant inflammatory or allergic reactions. In other words, this is the area that induces tolerance. Native collagen introduced into the digestive tract – rather than directly into the bloodstream – can “educate” T-cells to ignore collagen fibres when they are encountered in the joints. In scientific terms, the result is “induced specific oral tolerance".

This oral tolerance to collagen powerfully suppresses joint inflammation, as has been shown in numerous studies. But to induce tolerance to exposed joint collagen, the orally introduced product must be type II collagen – the same form of collagen found in the cartilage matrix – and must have the exact same three-dimensional structure. Typical commercial processing causes collagen to become denatured. Its normal helical shape uncoils and it has as a slightly, but crucially, altered three-dimensional structure. Denatured collagen does not induce oral tolerance. However, active, undenatured type II chicken collagen retains its molecular structure, allowing it to induce oral tolerance. Scientists found that – even in small doses – orally administered active, undenatured type II chicken collagen inhibits the killer T-cell attack.1,2

Scientific studies have confirmed that undenatured type II collagen, introduced into the digestive tract, effectively reprograms the immune system to recognise the proteins normally found in joint cartilage to be harmless “self” cells. This significantly relieves symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Reference:

  1. Bagchi, D., et al. (2002). Effects of orally administered undenatured type II collagen against arthritic inflammatory diseases: a mechanistic exploration. International Journal of Pharmacology Research, 22, 101–110.
  2. Nagler-Anderson, C., et al. 1986). Suppression of type II collagen-induced arthritis by intragastric administration of soluble type II collagen. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. vol. 83, iss. 19, 7443–7446.