Does Collagen Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

We continue our Collagen journey…

In case you missed parts 1 and 2 of this series, you can see them here:

I went into my research on collagen with an open mind and ready to “see what I could see”. The benefit of collagen for a certain condition appears to be valid, so let’s review what that disease is and if I recommend you should use collagen to help with this condition.

Is there a plus side to consuming collagen?

Most of the research I found involved patients suffering from either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. What researchers discovered was the undenatured type II collagen, typically derived from chicken cartilage, has an ability to lessen symptoms in both animals and humans afflicted with these conditions.

The benefits last only as long as the collagen continues to be consumed, meaning it’s not correcting the underlying root cause of the conditions, but let’s first look at the mechanism at play.

I explain the mechanisms underlying autoimmune disease here, but in a nutshell, autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis develop because the immune system mistakes the protein of your joints for an enemy. It attacks this enemy and the result is joint destruction.

A healthy immune system would never make such a mistake, but with the autoimmune disease, the immune system is overtaxed and confuses friend for a foe.

Does collagen cure rheumatoid arthritis?

The type II collagen appears to have the ability to slow down or inhibit the immune cells attack on the joints, and symptoms thereby improve. But research confirms that the benefits only continue if the patient continues to ingest collagen.

Slowing down the attack by the body’s immune system on the joints is a definite benefit, there’s no mistake. And while there are some concerns about ingesting collagen over long periods of time, the known side effects of the drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis are worse.

But is that your only choice? Is it:

a. take dangerous drugs or

b. take collagen?

Is there a choice “c”?

Does a Root Cause Medicine program get better results?

Root Cause Medicine and Functional Medicine offers efficacious treatment for autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis without the use of collagen.

Some specific research on rheumatoid arthritis was reviewed in the blog “Link Between UTIs and Rheumatoid Arthritis”, but generally speaking, we have success treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis because we get to the root of WHY the immune system is overtaxed and overstressed.

The good news about unveiling the real WHY in a root cause approach is that the immune system is truly rehabilitated when we complete the program. We are not temporarily suppressing the immune system’s attack on the joints, the way collagen does, we actually can restore normal function, typically, to the immune system. Therefore it is not only ceasing its attack on the joints but it doesn’t have the inclination to attack anywhere else in the body either.

This is a key point: When you have one autoimmune disease you are 3 to 10 times more likely to develop another one. Taking collagen may reduce the “symptoms” of rheumatoid arthritis” but it does nothing to get to the reason why the immune system is in a state of confusion and attacking your own body parts.

Do you want temporary help or a permanent option?

Once the root cause of the immune system’s malfunction has been identified and handled, the patient doesn’t have to keep “taking” something, like collagen. And best of all, the likelihood of developing other autoimmune diseases is also reduced.

Does collagen affect other autoimmune diseases that aren’t joint related? To date, I’ve seen no such research.

I want to make sure I made the distinction clear – With a root cause approach you correct not just the current autoimmune disease but you also resolve the reason the patient is three to ten times more likely to develop an additional autoimmune disease. Collagen consumption cannot boast such results.

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis should you try collagen?

Should you wish to try collagen, ensure you purchase the correct type. The research that showed benefit used undenatured collagen vs hydrolyzed or denatured collagen. Why? It is the undenatured form that seems to be able to slip through the gut intact enough to stimulate immune tolerance and thereby reduce joint pain and swelling.

Will I recommend collagen to my patients?

No. The liabilities outweigh the benefits in my opinion. If rheumatoid arthritis was something we had no success treating and collagen was something that you could take for a limited time, my opinion would be different, but our success rate is quite good and it doesn’t involve exposing you to a protein source that, due to its animal origins, has its own risks.

I understand the pain, misery, and disability associated with rheumatoid arthritis. I understand that throwing some tasteless powder (collagen) in your drink or smoothie sounds delightfully easy, especially with the promise that you could “feel” better, have less pain.

Believe me, I am not insensitive to how good that could sound. But I would be doing any patient an injustice if I didn’t point out the liabilities associated with that approach and we have just discussed.

Up next is my final  chapter of our collagen journey: “Will Collagen Make Your Skin Look Younger?”

Do you want to regain your health?

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Are you confused about what to do? 

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  • Pauline Bartlett says:

    I’ve been tested and they say I have mixed connective tissue disease do you have any help for that ?

    • Dr. Vikki Petersen says:

      Yes, we would love to discuss more with you. We need to find out more details and have a consultation with our doctor. Please give us a call at 727-335-0400.

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