Life Extension Magazine®

Man in physical therapy and taking collagen to reduce joint pain

Ease Arthritis with Type II Collagen

In human studies type II collagen improved arthritic joint pain and function by 50% and helped reduce cartilage loss.

By Michael Downey, Health & Wellness Author.

Nearly 24% of U.S. adults suffer from arthritis.1

One type, osteoarthritis, is a leading cause of disability worldwide.2

Arthritis was once considered an unavoidable result of wear and tear on the joints.

But scientists discovered a way to combat the structural degeneration that marks osteo-arthritis. They did this by supplying the same type of collagen that is the main component of joint cartilage.

The name of this compound is undenatured type II collagen.

Clinical trials show that this specific collagen can improve joint pain, joint function, and quality of life, while helping to reduce the inflammatory cartilage destruction.3-6

Collagen may even boost the production of new cartilage and protect against the development of future arthritis.7

A Novel Approach to Arthritis

Woman holding arthritic wrist

Most people treat arthritis by taking painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs. They provide temporary relief but can have long-term side effects and do nothing to address the underlying cause.

Undenatured type II collagen is identical to the collagen present in our joints.

Animal and human studies have shown that supplementation with this type of collagen, prevents the progression of joint damage, helps relieve joint pain, and improves joint function. 3,7,8

This should be of interest for the millions of Americans affected by osteoarthritis.

man holding painful, arthritic knee

What You Need to Know

Fight Arthritis with Undenatured Type II Collagen

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting millions of Americans.

  • Drug treatments come with harsh side effects and only address symptoms.

  • A unique collagen compound called undenatured type II collagen has been developed that is capable of safely and naturally reducing the inflammation and destruction that aging joints can suffer in osteoarthritis, reducing pain and improving quality of life.

  • Groundbreaking human studies show that undenatured type II collagen significantly improves joint pain, joint function, and quality of life—and even boosts production of new cartilage.

Protecting Joints in Animals

In a rat model of osteoarthritis, oral administration of undenatured type II collagen prevented pain, improved balance, and improved motor activity.8

Additionally, a marker of cartilage breakdown, called CTX-II, was significantly decreased. This suggests that this collagen prevented the progression of joint damage.8

In dogs, supplementation with undenatured type II collagen for 90 days resulted in significant declines in overall pain and increased physical activity levels.9

Promising Results in People

scientist researching collagen

Scientists decided to see what would happen if undenatured type II collagen were combined with two known, cartilage-supporting nutrients, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.

In a year-long study, 104 patients (average age 61.4 years) with osteoarthritis of the hand, took glucosamine and chondroitin daily. Fifty-seven of those patients also took small daily doses (just 2 mg) of undenatured type II collagen.7

Doctors found that patients who added collagen to their treatment had less severe osteoarthritis than the other group, at both six months and after one year. This collagen decreased progression of osteoarthritis and reduced bone decay more than glucosamine and chondroitin alone.7

The study also tested subjects’ urine for two markers of cartilage breakdown, CTX-I and CTX-II.

Levels of these markers were reduced for both groups at six months and at one year. But those taking undenatured type II collagen with the other nutrients had a greater decrease in CTX-II after a year, indicating that patients taking collagen improved more than those treated with glucosamine and chondroitin alone.7

The study’s authors noted that undenatured type II collagen appears to reduce damage to joints and slow the breakdown of cartilage, and it may help promote new cartilage synthesis.

Randomized Controlled Human Trial

Next, scientists enlisted patients, aged 47 to 70, with knee osteoarthritis for a randomized controlled study.3

Each day, all 39 patients took 1,500 mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol®), the usual first step in mild osteoarthritis treatment. Twenty of the patients also took 10 mg of undenatured type II collagen daily.3

After 90 days, in the patients taking acetaminophen and collagen, there was significant improvement in joint pain while walking, in knee function, and in quality of life. In fact, this group reported a compelling 50% reduction in the pain score.3

But in the acetaminophen-only group, the sole improvements were in some subscales of the pain and quality-of-life measures.3 The addition of undenatured type II collagen more substantially decreased joint pain and supported joint health.3,7,8

Acetaminophen is dangerous to the kidneys and liver when taken long term. For instance, regular acetaminophen users may be doubling their risk of kidney cancer.10-13

Other Nutrients for Joint Health

Undenatured type II collagen can improve joint pain and function and may reduce cartilage loss. Other nutrients act in different ways to support the overall health and comfort of joints. Taking them together can most effectively provide relief from arthritis pain.

Boswellia serrata

Resin made from the Boswellia serrata tree has long been used in traditional Indian medicine to alleviate inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Research shows that this plant extract promotes joint health by inhibiting inflammation that affects aging joints.14-16 Placebo-controlled studies have shown that Boswellia decreases swelling, pain, and joint discomfort in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.16,17


Glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage. In controlled clinical trials, it was shown to support the structural foundation for joint and cartilage tissue, promoting joint health.18,19 It’s shown a greater effect when used in combination with other nutrients,20,21 underscoring the need for arthritis sufferers to try a multipronged approach.


The mineral boron is essential for healthy bones and joints.22,23 A double-blind pilot study on patients with severe osteoarthritis showed that 71% of those taking boron improved, while only 10% of those taking a placebo improved. No side effects were observed.24


Uncontrolled inflammation is a key underlying factor in osteoarthritis, resulting in joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, and deterioration.

A protein called undenatured type II collagen has demonstrated the ability to relieve joint pain and inflammation, and even slow the destruction of cartilage.

Animal and human studies have demonstrated that undenatured type II collagen improves joint pain and function, enhances quality of life, and reverses cartilage loss.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


  1. Available at: Accessed September 27, 2019.
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  3. Bakilan F, Armagan O, Ozgen M, et al. Effects of Native Type II Collagen Treatment on Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Eurasian J Med. 2016 Jun;48(2):95-101.
  4. Crowley DC, Lau FC, Sharma P, et al. Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. Int J Med Sci. 2009 Oct 9;6(6):312-21.
  5. Lugo JP, Saiyed ZM, Lau FC, et al. Undenatured type II collagen (UC-II(R)) for joint support: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Oct 24;10(1):48.
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  9. Deparle LA, Gupta RC, Canerdy TD, et al. Efficacy and safety of glycosylated undenatured type-II collagen (UC-II) in therapy of arthritic dogs. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Aug;28(4):385-90.
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  13. Gago-Dominguez M, Yuan JM, Castelao JE, et al. Regular use of analgesics is a risk factor for renal cell carcinoma. Br J Cancer. 1999 Oct;81(3):542-8.
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  18. Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet. 2001 Jan 27;357(9252):251-6.
  19. Pavelka K, Gatterova J, Olejarova M, et al. Glucosamine sulfate use and delay of progression of knee osteoarthritis: a 3-year, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Arch Intern Med. 2002 Oct 14;162(18):2113-23.
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  21. Nakasone Y, Watabe K, Watanabe K, et al. Effect of a glucosamine-based combination supplement containing chondroitin sulfate and antioxidant micronutrients in subjects with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: A pilot study. Exp Ther Med. 2011 Sep;2(5):893-9.
  22. Newnham RE. Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints. Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov;102 Suppl 7:83-5.
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