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Research Presented on Collagen Hydrolysate Shows Promise for Osteoarthritis

INDIANAPOLIS, Jun 3, 2004 -- Patients with osteoarthritis consuming a collagen hydrolysate-based nutritional supplement for 14 weeks showed significant improvements in objective measures of joint function such as isokinetic leg strength, according to a study to be presented here at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting today.

For the study, researchers at the Rippe Lifestyle Institute in Shrewsbury, Mass., randomized patients with mild osteoarthritis of the knee to either a supplement containing collagen hydrolysate (CH) or a placebo. Among the 190 patients who completed the trial, those taking the CH supplement showed significantly greater improvement in objective measures of muscle function after a 14-week treatment period. Muscle function was assessed by via numerous measures of isokinetic leg strength on a Biodex Multi-Joint System B2000.

On more subjective measures of joint pain, there were no significant differences between the two treatment groups.


Collagen hydrolysate (CH), a special type of gelatine, has the same amino acid composition as Type II collagen, which makes up approximately 70 percent of the joint cartilage and provides the joint with its tensile strength and stiffness. To date, additional clinical studies have shown that collagen hydrolysate may be able to protect joints from damage, strengthen joints and reduce pain from conditions like osteoarthritis (OA). A study conducted by Moskowitz, et al. determined that CH reduced pain and improved physical function in patients with OA.(1) Another study conducted in 1991 by Adam, et al. concluded that CH reduced pain and the need for analgesics in patients with OA.(2) A dosage of 10 g per day of collagen hydrolysate was used for these studies as well as the present study.

CH's mechanism of action was elucidated in a 2002 study by Oesser and Seifert, which demonstrated that CH stimulates cartilage cells (chondrocytes) to synthesize type II collagen and intervenes in collagen turnover in joint cartilage.(3) Type II collagen is the type found in joints.

Collagen hydrolysate has had GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status from the Food and Drug Administration as an ingredient in food for several decades.


Chronic joint pain is one of the most common disorders in the United States, affecting approximately 70 million Americans. Osteoarthritis affects approximately 20.7 million adults in the United States.(4) To date there is no cure; analgesics and antirheumatics only relieve pain or suppress the inflammation process. Joint disorders are an enormous health burden and the cost is expected to increase as the US population ages. Experts estimate the cost of osteoarthritis to be $33 billion in the United States alone.(5)


The study was supported by the GELITA Health Initiative (GHI). GHI was created by the GELITA Group, the leading worldwide manufacturer of gelatine and collagen hydrolysate. The goal of the Initiative is to promote collagen hydrolysate research in the area of degenerative joint disease. GELITA has been supporting scientific research of collagen hydrolysate and its beneficial effects since the late 1970s.

The GELITA Group, the gelatine division of DGF Stoess AG, is the leading manufacturer of gelatine worldwide and is involved in the research, production and distribution of approximately 250 types of gelatine, including collagen hydrolysate. In addition to edible gelatine, the company also produces high quality gelatines for the pharmaceutical and photographic industries.


1 Moskowitz RW. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease. Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism. 2000; 30:87-99

2 Adam M. "Therapy of osteoarthritis: What effect have gelatine products," Therapiewoche. 1991;41:2456-2461

3 Oesser S and Seifert J. Stimulation of type II collagen biosynthesis and secretion in bovine chondrocytes cultured with degraded collagen. Cell Tissue Res. 2003; 311:393-9.

4 The Arthritis Foundation,

5 Maetzel A. "The economic burden associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and hypertension: a comparative study," Journal of Rheumatology. 2002;29:1811-3

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