Collagen vs. Glucosamine: Differences and Health Benefits

Collagen vs. Glucosamine: Differences and Health Benefits

 Photo by NanoStockk/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by NanoStockk/iStock / Getty Images

Collagen vs Glucosamine: Which is More Effective?

Although both Collagen and Glucosamine have been used to treat joint pains for many years, there has been quite some debate on which of the two is more effective. Many previous studies seem to favor Collagen more like the better alternative compared to Glucosamine although some people still prefer the later. One such study reported that Collagen could be two times more effective at treating joint complications such as pain, immobility, and stiffness as compared to both Glucosamine and Chondroitin, which are often used in combination. 

There have been quite a good number of studies comparing the effectiveness of Collagen vs. Glucosamine. Before we look into the findings of these studies, it would be reasonable first to familiarize ourselves with the two protein supplements. 

About Collagen

Proteins make up to about 20% of the total body mass. Collagen, being the most abundant protein in the body, makes up to about 30% of these proteins. It is naturally found in bones, skin tendons, muscles and the blood vessels. Its primary function is to give our skin strength and elasticity and as well as to replace dead cells on the skin. It is also quite crucial for joint health. Think of it as the glue that holds the body together. 

As you age, the amount of Collagen in your body keeps declining. However, it can also be derived from fish bones, pigs, sheep and cows after which it is processed and sold in the form of capsules for health uses. Other factors such as exposure to ultraviolet rays may also accelerate the loss of Collagen. 

There are three different types of Collagen: 
•  Type I Collagen
•  Type II Collagen
•  Type III Collagen 

Type II Collagen is the most abundant in the proteins. 

 Photo by nikom1234/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by nikom1234/iStock / Getty Images

Collagen Supplements Health Benefits

Collagen Supplements have recently become very popular. Most of the supplements are hydrolyzed to break down Collagen for more natural absorption. Some of the benefits of Collagen supplement include: 

  • Improvement of skin health - Collagen peptides have been found to decelerate skin aging by eliminating wrinkles and dryness. 
  • Helps to relieve joint pains by maintaining the functionality of the cartilage that allows in joint protection.
  • Collagen supplements may prevent bone loss, especially with aging when the amount of Collagen in the body starts to decline. As Collagen is lost due to aging, bone mass is also reduced, and that's why supplements are needed to prevent this. 
  • It may be crucial in boosting muscle mass. 
  • Other health benefits of Collagen supplements include increasing the strength of hair and nails, promoting brain health, promoting weight loss and also accelerating metabolism. 
 Photo by kjekol/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by kjekol/iStock / Getty Images

About Glucosamine

Glucosamine is a compound that is usually located in the cartilage of body joints. It is a well-known joint lubricant and shock absorbent that allows for smooth movement and reduces joint, muscle and bone pains. 

It is one of the most common supplements recommended for treatment of bone and joint pain. It has also been shown to help treat age-related complications such as osteoarthritis and arthritis. It would be almost unbearable to move around without Glucosamine in our joints. This is because the body requires it for the synthesis of some kinds of proteins and lipids which are crucial for the formation of such tissues as the cartilage. This in turn, significantly contributes to the creation of joints, tendons, and ligaments. 

Glucosamine is also required for the formation of the synovial fluid which provides the much-needed lubrication around the joints.

 Photo by Farion_O/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Farion_O/iStock / Getty Images

Glucosamine Sulfate Supplements Benefits

These supplements are most useful for: 

  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Jaw Pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Weight loss
  • Knee pain
  • Painful bladder syndrome
  • Joint Support
 Photo by Farion_O/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Farion_O/iStock / Getty Images

Glucosamine with Chondroitin and MSM

Various studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of Glucosamine alone, and when it is combined with Chondroitin, it can be used for treating knee pain. In a particular study, patients were given a dose of 1,500mg of Glucosamine and 1.200mg of Chondroitin or both every day for 24 weeks. 

According to this study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the combined effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin is more helpful in treating severe knee pain as compared to mild discomfort. 

In most cases when comparing the effectiveness of Collagen and Glucosamine in joint health, Glucosamine is often used in combination with Chondroitin. Glucosamine is also commonly used with methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) when treating arthritis. 

However, more research is being done to establish which of the two combinations -Glucosamine with Chondroitin and Glucosamine with MSM - is more effective at treating osteoarthritis. Taking the three individually or in combination may also result in some side effects for example nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain and heartburn.

It is recommended that you discontinue the use of these supplements if you experience any of these side effects.

Collagen Vs. Glucosamine: Which is Better?

Results from one randomized, double-blind study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences reported that when it comes to joint health, Collagen could be twice as effective as Glucosamine and Chondroitin. 

This study was done by comparing daily doses of three major joint health supplements: UC-II (40mg) and a combination of Glucosamine (150mg) and Chondroitin (1200mg). UC-II is an undenatured type II Collagen supplement that is derived from chicken cartilage. According to this study, which was done on 52 volunteers with different joint complications, UC-II effectiveness was more superior as compared to previous clinical findings of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. 

It has also been found that the joint structure is more composed of Collagen than Glucosamine, that is 67% Collagen and 1% Glucosamine. While Glucosamine is more of a lubricant in the joints, Collagen plays a more crucial role in promoting regeneration of joints. It reduces joint pain, swelling, and tenderness as well as preventing damage to the bones in general. 

Although other studies are still being done to establish whether Collagen or Glucosamine should be used for treating osteoarthritis symptoms, many of them have already proved that Collagen is the better alternative. Some studies are even considering the possibility of combining both Collagen and Glucosamine supplements to increase effectiveness.

 Photo by Delpixart/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Delpixart/iStock / Getty Images



To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.
— Gene Tunney
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