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Collagen Type 2 Benefits: Best Collagen for Joint Health

Collagen Type 2 Benefits: Best Collagen for Joint Health

More than 10 percent of adults suffer from osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage within joints breaks down which then impacts the underlying bone. Age contributes to that cartilage breakdown. So do genetics, injuries, and obesity.[1]

The good news is that you can reduce your risk of osteoarthritis. Some of the most effective strategies for joint health include:

Muscle-strengthening exercises. [2]

Finding and maintaining a healthy weight which reduces stress on joints. (2)

Taking a joint-support supplement. Type II collagen, one of the primary proteins found in cartilage, can stimulate the production of joint collagen and improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.[3]

What is Collagen? 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Connective tissue including cartilage contains large amounts of this hard, insoluble, fibrous protein. Overall, collagen makes up about 25 - 30 percent of the body’s protein. [4]

The word collagen comes from the Greek kólla, meaning “glue.” That’s appropriate since collagen holds the structure of your body together. Collagen helps your body stay strong and flexible so you can bend, stretch, and move easily.

The molecules that form most collagens are packed together to form long, thin fibrils. These fibrils:

  • Provide structure
  • Anchor cells to each other
  • Give skin strength and elasticity [5] [6]
  • The rigid structure of collagen resists stretching, making this the perfect matrix for skin but also tendons, bones, and ligaments. [7]

While scientists have identified 28 types of collagen, types I - IV are the most abundant.  Each plays a unique role within your body:

  • Type I builds skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Type II helps make cartilage, the flexible tissue between bones and in your ears and nose.
  • Type III helps create muscles and blood vessels. [8]
  • Type IV plays a role in wound healing. [9]

As You Age, Collagen Production Declines

After age 20, your overall collagen content declines about one percent every year. [10] Other factors that contribute to collagen decline include:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light
  • An inflammatory diet

Cellular stress can also reduce the body’s ability to make collagen. That stress may come from temperature shifts, misfolded proteins, and oxidative damage (brought on by too many damaging free radicals). Under stress, cells quickly stop making proteins such as collagen. [11]

Some organs are higher than others in collagen. About 70 percent of the dermis layer of your skin, for instance, is collagen. Maintaining healthy collagen levels is critical in preventing wrinkles, sagging, and other skin problems as you age. [12]

Likewise, about two-thirds of adult articular cartilage is made up of collagen. [13]  This smooth, white connective tissue covers the ends of bones where they come together to form joints. The healthy cartilage that supports joints, allows the bones to glide over each other with very little friction.

As you age, the cells that synthesize collagen (called chondrocytes) lose their ability to maintain and restore articular cartilage. As a result, its surface may deteriorate, leading to joint pain and dysfunction that contributes to osteoarthritis. [14] 

How to Get More Collagen in Your Diet

Everyone can benefit from getting more collagen in their diet. Collagen can support joint health, making this the perfect protein for athletes, people with joint pain, and those suffering from any form of arthritis. Collagen is ideal for preventing joint deterioration too.

You have many ways to support that production and maintain healthy collagen levels at any age…starting with what is at the end of your fork:

  1. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods. Wild-caught seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which may help manage inflammatory joint disease. [15] Leafy and cruciferous vegetables, low-sugar fruit such as berries, and nuts and seeds (especially walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds) are other good food choices for lowering the inflammation that frequently accompanies joint pain and discomfort.
  2. Eat foods rich in collagen. Bone broth is an excellent source of collagen. Gelatin, a cooked form of collagen, is also ideal. In animal foods, the highest amount of collagen usually resides in parts that we don’t normally eat, such as the head or scales of fish. [16]
  3. Eat foods rich in collagen precursors. Some foods contain precursors to collagen. Eggs contain the amino acid proline, one of the amino acids the body uses to synthesize collagen. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C which helps synthesize collagen. [17]

Collagen supports healthy joints, but sufficient amounts of this protein are also essential for healthy bones and muscles:

  • Up to 10 percent of your muscle mass is composed of collagen. [18] A collagen supplement may support muscle growth and strength while reducing age-related muscle loss. [19]
  • Optimal collagen may reduce bone degradation as well as increase bone mineral density and bone formation. [20]

While eating foods that provide nutrients and precursors can support the body’s production of collagen, they aren’t the most efficient way to get this important protein. 

Type II Collagen: The Best Collagen for Joint Health 

For joint and muscle pain as well as managing osteoarthritis, look for a collagen supplement that includes type II collagen. Many studies use a high-quality type II collagen called UC-II® which is derived from chicken sternum.

Unlike other types of collagen, UC-II® is uniquely designed for optimal absorption so you can receive all of the many benefits of this cutting-edge collagen. Here’s how it works: 

  1. UC-II® travels intact to immune cells near the gut.
  2. UC-II® activates immune cells to recognize type II collagen.
  3. When these immune cells recognize type II collagen in joint cartilage, they release bioactive compounds.
  4. As a result, UC-II® signals your body to rebuild and repair joint cartilage. [21]

Unlike other collagen supplements, you don’t need large amounts of UC-II®. This unique, undenatured type II collagen provides a powerful joint supplement in a very small daily dose. 

UC-II ® Can Relieve Joint Pain and Stiffness

UC-II® is uniquely formulated for joint health. One study looked at UC-II® for knee osteoarthritis, pain, and associated symptoms. Researchers randomly gave 191 participants UC-II®, glucosamine hydrochloride plus chondroitin sulfate, or a placebo. 

By day 180, the UC-II® group was the winner. They demonstrated a significant reduction in the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). This standardized questionnaire evaluates the condition of patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis, including pain, stiffness, and joint function. [22]

Because of these and other benefits, UC-II® is ideal for joint conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Research shows significant enhancement in daily activities and quality of life for those who use type II collagen. [23]

UC-II ®: The Perfect Protein for Athletes

Seasoned athletes often experience pain and discomfort after intense exercise. Type II collagen can help. One study looked at how this collagen impacted cartilage degradation in 29 patients with knee osteoarthritis. 

Participants were randomly divided into two groups. For three months, one group received 1,500 mg/day of acetaminophen; the other got acetaminophen plus 10 mg a day of native type II collagen. 

After three months of treatment, the acetaminophen-only group showed few improvements. The collagen group showed significant improvements in joint pain, function, and quality of life. [24]

The Perfect Collagen Supplement for Joint Health 

Using UCII® alone provides powerful benefits for joint health. This type of collagen works even better when combined with other nutrients that support joint health.

At Cherry Goodness, we combined UC-II® with three other well-researched, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and created an all-in-one powerful supplement called Joint Health Plus.

Each serving of Joint Health Plus contains:

  • 500 mg of clinically studied NordicCherry® tart cherry extract
  • 125 mg of Rephyll®
  • 100 mg of Boswellia®, standardized to contain 65% Boswellic acids
  • 40 mg of clinically studied UC-II® collagen

In just two capsules a day, you can get all of the benefits of these four nutrients in one convenient dose. 


[1] Chen D, Shen J, Zhao W, Wang T, Han L, Hamilton JL, Im HJ. Osteoarthritis: toward a comprehensive understanding of pathological mechanism. Bone Res. 2017 Jan 17;5:16044. doi: 10.1038/boneres.2016.44. PMID: 28149655; PMCID: PMC5240031.

[2] Owens C, Conaghan PG. Improving joint pain and function in osteoarthritis. Practitioner. 2016 Dec;260(1799):17-20. PMID: 29020716.

[3] Poole AR, Kobayashi M, Yasuda T, Laverty S, Mwale F, Kojima T, Sakai T, Wahl C, El-Maadawy S, Webb G, Tchetina E, Wu W. Type II collagen degradation and its regulation in articular cartilage in osteoarthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2002 Nov;61 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):ii78-81. doi: 10.1136/ard.61.suppl_2.ii78. PMID: 12379630; PMCID: PMC1766700.

[4] Smith K., Rennie M.J. New approaches and recent results concerning human-tissue collagen synthesis. Curr. Opin. Clin. Nutr. Metab. Care. 2007;10:582–590. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328285d858. 

[5] Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Available from:


[7]  Wu M, Cronin K, Crane JS. Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. [Updated 2020 Sep 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:


[9] Abreu-Velez AM, Howard MS. Collagen IV in Normal Skin and in Pathological Processes. N Am J Med Sci. 2012 Jan;4(1):1-8. doi: 10.4103/1947-2714.92892. PMID: 22393540; PMCID: PMC3289483. 

[10]  Shuster S, Black MM, McVitie E. The influence of age and sex on skin thickness, skin collagen and density. Br J Dermatol. 1975;93:639–43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1975.tb05113.x.

[11] Liu B, Han Y, Qian SB. Cotranslational response to proteotoxic stress by elongation pausing of ribosomes. Mol Cell. 2013 Feb 7;49(3):453-63. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.12.001. Epub 2013 Jan 3. PMID: 23290916; PMCID: PMC3570626.

[12] Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):826. doi: 10.3390/nu10070826. PMID: 29949889; PMCID: PMC6073484.

[13] Eyre D. Collagen of articular cartilage. Arthritis Res. 2002;4(1):30-5. doi: 10.1186/ar380. Epub 2001 Oct 5. PMID: 11879535; PMCID: PMC128915.

[14] Buckwalter JA, Mankin HJ, Grodzinsky AJ. Articular cartilage and osteoarthritis. Instr Course Lect. 2005;54:465-80. PMID: 15952258.

[15] Proudman SM, Cleland LG, James MJ. Dietary omega-3 fats for treatment of inflammatory joint disease: efficacy and utility. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2008 May;34(2):469-79. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2008.03.003. PMID: 18638687. 

[16] De Luca C, Mikhal'chik EV, Suprun MV, Papacharalambous M, Truhanov AI, Korkina LG. Skin Antiageing and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants: A Single-Blind Case-Control Clinical Study. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:4389410. doi: 10.1155/2016/4389410. Epub 2016 Jan 19. PMID: 26904164; PMCID: PMC4745978.

[17] DePhillipo NN, Aman ZS, Kennedy MI, Begley JP, Moatshe G, LaPrade RF. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 Oct 25;6(10):2325967118804544. doi: 10.1177/2325967118804544. PMID: 30386805; PMCID: PMC6204628. 

[18] Gillies AR, Lieber RL. Structure and function of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix. Muscle Nerve. 2011 Sep;44(3):318-31. doi: 10.1002/mus.22094. PMID: 21949456; PMCID: PMC3177172.

[19] Zdzieblik D, Oesser S, Baumstark MW, Gollhofer A, König D. Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 28;114(8):1237-45. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515002810. Epub 2015 Sep 10. PMID: 26353786; PMCID: PMC4594048.

[20] König D, Oesser S, Scharla S, Zdzieblik D, Gollhofer A. Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women-A Randomized Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 16;10(1):97. doi: 10.3390/nu10010097. PMID: 29337906; PMCID: PMC5793325. 


[22] Lugo JP, Saiyed ZM, Lane NE. Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr J. 2016 Jan 29;15:14. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0130-8. PMID: 26822714; PMCID: PMC4731911.

[23] Crowley DC, Lau FC, Sharma P, Evans M, Guthrie N, Bagchi M, Bagchi D, Dey DK, Raychaudhuri SP. Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. Int J Med Sci. 2009 Oct 9;6(6):312-21. doi: 10.7150/ijms.6.312. PMID: 19847319; PMCID: PMC2764342. 

[24] Bakilan F, Armagan O, Ozgen M, Tascioglu F, Bolluk O, Alatas O. Effects of Native Type II Collagen Treatment on Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Eurasian J Med. 2016 Jun;48(2):95-101. doi: 10.5152/eurasianjmed.2015.15030. PMID: 27551171; PMCID: PMC4970562.

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