From this blog:
This is where cartilage comes into play. It’s the perfect substance for smooth, near friction-free motion. Cartilage is mainly comprised of type-2 collagen, the primary protein found in your in your joints, along with water and other small molecules.
With age, wear-and-tear on your joints erodes the cartilage, exposes collagen and narrows the joint space. The exposed collagen is attacked by your immune system leading to high levels of inflammation. The process just described is what doctors call osteoarthritis — the age-related degradation of joint cartilage and bone. A similar process occurs in rheumatoid arthritis as well.
Chicken Broth is NOT an Old Wives Tale
Despite the fact that half of all prescriptions for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen are written for osteoarthritis, those drugs do nothing more than transiently blunt the pain. They have no long-term impact on the disease itself.1
In the year 2000, scientists discovered that chicken soup actually inhibited the attraction of immune system cells called neutrophils to the site of inflammation. 2
Overall, this eases inflammation and inhibits cartilage destruction. With additional studies, the researchers were surprised to find out that it wasn’t the vegetables in chicken soup that provided benefit, but it was actually the broth. So what’s providing the benefit in the broth? Collagen. Let us explain.
Collagen Creates Immune Tolerance
Ingesting chicken collagen diminishes the immune attack against exposed collagen in your joints. Immunologists call this “immune tolerance.” We think that’s pretty cool.
Researchers at Harvard's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have studied oral type-2 collagen in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In one study of 60 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, a decrease in the number of swollen and tender joints was found in subjects who supplemented with type-2 collagen.3
Still more remarkably, 14% of those patients taking collagen achieved complete remission of the disease, an unusual finding for any form of treatment. Similar results were obtained in a much larger trial of 274 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.4
The Harvard group also studied patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Ten patients supplemented with type-2 collagen for 12 weeks.5 Eight patients responded to treatment, experiencing average significant reduction in swollen and tender joints. Importantly, no serious adverse events were reported.
Collagen Eases Pain Better than Traditional Supplements
Other studies have shown that oral type-2 collagen is superior to the combination of chondroitin and glucosamine sulfate.6,7 Also interesting, however, are findings that show combining oral collagen with glucosamine and chondroitin is the best approach for reducing pain and increasing joint function.6,7
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Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7.
Science. 1993 Sep 24;261(5129):1727-30.
Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Feb;41(2):290-7.
Arthritis Rheum. 1996 Apr;39(4):623-8.
J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Dec;32(6):577-84.
Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2002;22(3-4):101-10.