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Evidence based medical wellness for active people from a doc who walks the walk

Tim Ferris 2: Gelatin for joints — is collagen helpful?

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This is part two in my analysis of Tim Ferris’ Outside Magazine article “Question Everything”, from the October 2016 edition.  Today I take a scientific look at, “Gelatin for Joints”.  In it, Ferris suggests using “Great Lakes’ hydrolyzed collagen” as a way to improve skin and joint health.

But does it work?

Well…kinda, sorta.

First off, he is taking hydrolyzed collagen. This is different than undenatured collagen.  When I did the research, the science shows that undenatured collagen has some benefits for people that who have osteoarthritis (“wear and tear”) arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The hydrolyzed collagen is not as effective.  Click here to read the study I found.

Anyhoo, the study above looked at undenatured collagen, taken at 40 mg a day vs  daily dose of 1500 mg glucosamine and 1200 mg chondroitin.  Patients that took the collagen had decreased pain with walking and doing “domestic activities.”  Additionally, patients that took the undenatured collagen took fewer other medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen (tylenol). Patients that took the collagen had fewer side effects (constipation, headache) than those on glucosamine and chondroitin (bloating, stomach pain, hives, water retention.)

So, would I take undenatured collagen? Yes. I think it could be helpful, and the side effects appear to be mild. And if it doesn’t work, or if there are side effects, I would just stop taking it!

But, just to be clear, I would buy the undenatured collagen, not the hydrolyzed collagen! And check the label to see how much undenatured collagen is in it.  I would keep with the study guidelines of 40 mg daily of undenatured collagen.

Here is what you can find on the back of the bottle:

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Servings per Container: 120
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Calcium 81 mg 8%
UC-II® (25% undenatured type II collagen) 40 mg *
*Daily value not established.
Other Ingredients: Dibasic calcium phosphate, gelatin (capsule), colloidal silicon dioxide and magnesium stearate.
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Author: PookieMD

I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I love medicine and seek to bring evidence based medicine to the fitness and wellness world.

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