Your knees support you constantly, allowing you to stand, walk, and climb up and down stairs with ease. So when you have knee pain, you want to solve it fast. Luckily, collagen for knees can help reduce the knee pain impacting every part of your day.
The question is, how fast does collagen work for knees? And how can it help support someone with achy knees? To answer that, let’s take a quick look at what collagen is, and then dive into the evidence-based help that taking collagen for knee pain can give.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein. More specifically, it’s the most abundant protein in the human body, with as much as one-third of our body’s dry weight being different kinds of collagen. Joints, ligaments, tendons, skin, hair, blood vessels, and bones all rely heavily on collagen to function.
Collagen is a central building block for the body, and there are around 28 different types. You’re likely already getting some collagen in your diet from foods – like egg whites, meat, or fish. And whether you get collagen from food or a supplement, your body treats it the same way.
The collagen gets broken down and rearranged into whatever subtype of collagen your body needs to heal and repair itself.
As a result, collagen for knees isn’t functionally any different than collagen for ligaments or collagen for skin. When you’re taking a high-quality collagen supplement, you’ll be supporting all of these parts of your body.
How can taking collagen for knee pain help?
Your knees are joints, which means for them to function smoothly, your bones, ligaments, and cartilage all need to be in tip-top shape. Taking collagen for knees works so well because collagen has been shown to support all of these different parts of the body.
Knee pain can have several different causes, from an injury or illness to the general “wear and tear” that comes with age. The best way to combat knee pain? Being proactive. The earlier you take steps to support your knee health, the longer your joints will last and the less pain you’ll have overall.
And if you already have knee pain, don’t wait to treat it. Reach out to your healthcare team to create a long-term plan for treating your knee pain. As for right now, you can start supporting your health at home using stretches, strengthening exercises, and high-quality collagen for knees.
What, specifically, does taking collagen for knees do? Let’s explore what science has to say.
1. Collagen can promote strong, healthy cartilage
Cartilage is key to healthy joints. This hard, flexible, slippery tissue helps your joints glide smoothly rather than leaving bone rubbing on bone. Cartilage doesn’t have any nerve endings, meaning that in joints with healthy cartilage, you don’t even notice the movement.
So naturally, when cartilage starts to break down, your pain increases. Taking collagen for joints can promote stronger cartilage. This is because around 60% of the dry weight of cartilage is, you guessed it, collagen.
Your knees rely on cartilage, and taking collagen for knees reduces cartilage breakdown, even during exercise. Collagen can cause the body to release anti-inflammatory cytokines, which promote cartilage repair.
So, first, collagen provides your body with the building blocks it needs to build and repair cartilage. Then, collagen for knee repair also prompts your body to begin those repairs ASAP.
2. Collagen can increase joint mobility
Pain isn’t the only symptom of knee trouble. It’s often accompanied by stiffness or a more complete loss of mobility. This makes ordinary tasks like climbing stairs, sitting, or even walking difficult and painful, as well.
One of the most common home remedies for knee pain is stretching and strengthening. These kinds of exercises build up the muscles in your legs to make your knees more effective, and taking collagen for knees can support this process.
One study on adults aged 40-65 found that the group that was supplemented with collagen had significantly better mobility and less pain compared to the placebo group. This makes sense since taking collagen for knee pain supports your ligaments as well as your cartilage.
Stronger, more flexible ligaments will lead to less stiffness in your hips and knees. And less stiffness also means less pain overall.
3. Collagen may support bone density and osteoarthritis
On top of that, osteoporosis often comes hand in hand with osteoarthritis. Most people don’t even realize they have osteoporosis until they break a bone. While osteoarthritis is when the cartilage in your joints breaks down, osteoporosis is when a lack of minerals in your bones weakens the bone itself.
Collagen for knee pain can help improve the symptoms of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. By protecting the cartilage in your joints, collagen can help delay the progression of osteoarthritis. And by improving mineral density in bones, collagen can improve symptoms of (or even prevent) osteoporosis.
4. Collagen may help to reduce inflammation
The benefits of collagen for knees and throughout the body are still being studied and discovered. One such recent discovery is its potential to reduce inflammation. A 2021 study found that collagen supplementation significantly reduced inflammatory markers. While more research is still underway, this early result is promising.
Collagen is suspected to reduce inflammation because two of the amino acids that make up the collagen molecule are proline and glycine. These amino acids can block the body’s production of inflammatory cytokines – special cells that can trigger an immune response.
Collagen also blocks or slows the production of enzymes that harm cartilage and bones.
The relationship between collagen and these enzymes is so pronounced they’re even called “collagenase.” In normal function, collagenase helps your body clear away dead cells so they can be replaced with new ones. With age, however, collagenase can destroy healthy tissue, as well.
Taking collagen for knee repair may be able to keep the collagenase at bay, though we’re still awaiting more research to confirm this.
5. Collagen can support weight management and exercise recovery
When you’re looking for tips on how to prevent knee pain, there are two things you’ll see over and over: weight management and exercise. Your knees absorb approximately 2 to 3 times your body weight when walking.
If you can safely lose weight, this can take significant pressure off your knees.
Remember, collagen for knees is never just for knees. Taking liquid collagen for weight loss can help you lose weight for a few reasons. For one thing, collagen is a protein, and protein can help you feel fuller with fewer calories and burn more calories at the same time.
Exercise can help you manage your weight, and it’s one of the most common recommendations to reduce stiffness and pain. But how are you supposed to manage regular exercise if daily life feels like too much?
Taking collagen for knees can specifically support your joints during exercise. One study recorded significantly less pain both at rest and during activity when participants were supplemented with collagen.
So as you can see, there are many potential benefits for your knees when you supplement with collagen. But if you still aren’t convinced, let’s go over some answers to frequently asked questions about collagen for knees.
FAQs about taking collagen for knees
There’s plenty of evidence on the benefits of collagen for knee pain, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have questions. Getting the answers to these questions is important in making the best choice for you, but remember to keep your healthcare team in the loop.
Before making any significant changes to your lifestyle, including diet and exercise, check with a doctor. Your doctor can help you pair collagen for knees with other treatments to ensure you get the best possible care for your joint pain.
What should you look for in collagen for knee repair?
When you’re looking to take collagen for knees as a supplement, quality matters. A high-quality, medical-grade supplement will be your best pick, but there are a few other things to look for.
First, you’ll want to make sure that the collagen you choose doesn’t have any ingredients you’ll be allergic to.
Collagen can be sourced from chicken, beef, pork, fish, and shellfish. If you have an allergy or food sensitivity to any of these things, check labels carefully. If you aren’t sure where a company sources its collagen, steer clear. Better safe than sorry!
Second, look for “collagen peptides” or “hydrolyzed collagen” on the label. These things mean that before you take your collagen for knees, it has been broken down into smaller molecules. These smaller molecules are easier for your body to digest, ensuring that you get the full benefit of your supplement.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your collagen is fortified. On its own, collagen contains eight of the nine essential amino acids your body needs to survive and 12 non-essential ones. Fortified collagen for knees ensures that you’re getting all the essential and non-essential amino acids your body needs to build and repair tissue.
Can collagen rebuild knee cartilage?
With all this amazing data, it's easy to wonder, “Can collagen cure knee pain. Can it completely rebuild my knee cartilage?”
Unfortunately, no. Cartilage doesn’t heal well on its own. Traditional methods of treating cartilage damage have been surgical due to the body’s inability to heal cartilage well naturally.
Collagen doesn’t cause your body to magically regrow cartilage. However, taking collagen for knees does prevent further damage and can promote the health and strength of surrounding tissue, making the loss of cartilage less painful.
How long does collagen take to work on knees?
Collagen production and absorption take time. Even if your supplement is fully absorbed within less than an hour, your body takes much longer to access the full potential of more collagen in your diet.
Currently, the estimated timeframe for results is about 8 weeks. You may see results from your collagen for knees slightly sooner or slightly later, depending on your unique needs and medical history.
How much collagen should you take every day for knee pain?
The dosage of your knee pain supplement will depend on your body and activity levels. Remember, collagen is still a protein, and different people need more or less protein in their diet.
It’s perfectly safe to consume collagen the same way you might a protein shake when you need a boost during a workout or a quick snack on the go.
On average, research on joint and bone health has used doses of 2.5 - 5 grams daily. In a non-scientific setting, however, the precise amount of collagen will be trickier to measure.
Fortification, hydrolyzation, and ingredients to stabilize or flavor all mean that by the time a collagen supplement reaches you, you can’t determine a precise amount of collagen.
Initially, you can take one recommended dose a day, according to the supplement’s directions. After a few weeks, you can adjust to add less or more to your diet as needed, with a doctor’s supervision.
Does collagen have any side effects?
Collagen is currently recognized as generally safe to consume regularly. Observed side effects are minor, such as a slight stomach upset or feeling uncomfortably full for a little while after consumption.
You will be much less likely to experience stomach upset if your supplement is hydrolyzed, since it will be easier for your body to digest.
Supporting your knee health with collagen
Mitigating the effects of knee pain can be difficult. While some solutions to this problem involve surgery, medication, or a strict physical therapy regimen, there’s one easy way to start supporting your knee health. Taking collagen for knees daily can support every part of the joint.
Bone mineral density can improve, strengthening the bones in your legs and putting less pressure on your knee. Cartilage can be protected from wear and tear or enzymatic damage, preventing further breakdown. And your ligaments can grow stronger and more flexible, stabilizing your knee and preventing excess friction.
The health of your entire knee can benefit from high-quality, hydrolyzed collagen for knees. And best of all, you can start your journey to knee health right now.