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Collagen Type 2 supplement reduces joint pain

Supplements containing collagen reduce joint pain in people with arthritis and sports injuries. This is probably because extra collagen helps the cartilage in joints to recover. In most studies researchers use a dose of 10 g. That's pretty hefty. But if researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University are not pulling the wool over our eyes, much lower doses are also effective.

In 2008 in Nutrition Journal, the Chinese published the results of a trial they had done with 89 over-50s arthritis sufferers. Half of them took a placebo for three months; the other half were given a supplement containing AR7 Joint Complex. This mix is found in supplements like Arthro-8, but also in sports supplements. [Below]

We don't know the exact composition of AR7 Joint Complex. The manufacturer lists the components, but not the proportions in which they are used. The researchers assume that Collagen Type 2, an extract from chicken bones, is the most important ingredient in the mix.

They gave their subjects one capsule a day containing AR7 Joint Complex. The researchers do not disclose how many mg of AR7 Joint complex the capsules contained, and we're in the dark about this too.

Collagen Type 2 supplement reduces joint pain

The researchers noticed that the subjects in the experimental group experienced fewer joint problems after taking the supplement for three months. Their joints were less painful, less stiff and had more mobility.

Collagen Type 2 supplement reduces joint pain

Although there are strong indications that gelatine and collagen supplements have a positive effect on the joints and the skin, we are not entirely happy about this study. This is not only because the dose tested is probably so low that its effect is likely to be negligible, but also because of the secretiveness about the financing of the study.

Manufacturers that want to have their supplements tested pay for the research, and researchers acknowledge this correctly in their publications. And when you see a mention like this you know you have to read the article extra critically. In this particular study no manufacturer's name is mentioned anywhere. A quick glance at the article suggests that the supplement was produced by the American Robinson Pharma [] but this company actually only did the capsuling; this firm does not produce active ingredients.

The Chinese study was financed by the Journal of Longevity, the researchers report. And you can find out about the people behind this 'journal' in a detailed article on [ October 17, 2011] In this article the unsung quack-hunter Stephen Barrett describes the practices of Gero Vita International [GVI]. GVI published the Journal of Longevity, and used it as a sales vehicle for its supplements. "Some of the products may have had some effectiveness (though overpriced), but most were promoted with misleading claims", is how Barrett describes GVI's products.

And you guessed it: GVI is the maker of AR7 Joint Complex. On GVI's website [] AR7 Joint Complex is now called Arthro-7. On the page where Arthro-7 is described [Link] GVI announces that "in a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, in collaboration with UCLA researchers, Arthro7's proprietary blend has been clinically tested to support joint health and improve joint comfort".

So the study was paid for by the manufacturer, who did his best to make sure that you don't get to know this. If a manufacturer commissions a study like this, how can you possibly trust the results?

Nutr J. 2008 Oct 27;7:31.

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