UC-II Collagen More Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms than Glucosamine and Chondroitin?


A new study finds InterHealth’s undenatured type II collagen ingredient improved knee joint symptoms more than a placebo or other popular joint health ingredients.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Raycat

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Raycat

A new study published in Nutrition Journal finds that UC-II, an undenatured type II collagen ingredient, may be more effective at improving symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) than a placebo or glucosamine hydrochloride plus chondroitin sulfate (GC).

Supplied by InterHealth Nutraceuticals (Benicia, CA), UC-II is a collagen supplement derived from chicken sternum cartilage that has shown promise in past studies for joint function. But this new study finds UC-II may be more effective than GC at relieving knee symptoms of osteoarthritis.

The multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conduced at 13 centers in southern India, and included 191 volunteers aged 40–75 years. Participant criteria included moderate-to-severe OA by physical examination in one or both knees and knee pain for at least three months prior to the start of the study.

For 180 days, subjects were randomized to consume a daily dose of 40 mg UC-II, 1500 mg glucosamine and 1200 mg chondroitin, or a placebo. The study’s primary endpoint was the change in total Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) from baseline to day 180, with secondary endpoints including WOMAC subscales, the Lequesne Functional Index (LFI), and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain.

At the conclusion of the 180-day trial period, the overall WOMAC score for the UC-II group was significantly reduced compared to placebo (p=0.002) and GC (p=0.04) groups. The UC-II group also experienced significant changes for all three WOMAC subscales: pain (p=0.0003 vs. placebo, p=0.016 vs. GC), stiffness (p=0.004 vs. placebo, p=0.044 vs. GC), and physical function (p=0.007 vs. placebo). Compared to baseline WOMAC subscale scores, the UC-II group experienced a 41% reduction in pain, a 40% reduction in stiffness, and 39% reduction in physical function, according to InterHealth.

Researchers concluded that UC-II “significantly improved knee function in OS subjects by day 180, compared to placebo and to GC, and was well-tolerated. Based on the data presented herein, we believe that additional research is warranted both to confirm and to define these findings more extensively."

InterHealth also noted that this is the first study to show "UC-II responders may express high levels of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), a biomarker associated with cartilage breakdown."


Story updated February 8, 2016 at 11:38 a.m. PST.


Read more:

Chondroitin, Collagen, Eggshell Membrane…Oh My! More Research for Joint Health

Research May Clarify How Eggshell Membrane Affects Joint Health

Natural Options for Osteoarthritis


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Lugo JP et al., “Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study,” Nutrition Journal, vol. 15, no. 1 (January 2016): 14

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