Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken Collagen and RA

By now, many of you will have heard that a study came out of China at the end of 2009 demonstrating that taking chicken collagen (I assume in capsule form) reduced the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Here's an article describing this finding in lay-person's terms. According to this article, the principal investigator of the study suggests that the chicken collagen makes the body more tolerant of cartilage, which the immune system may be mistakenly attacking in the case of RA. If this is so, I wonder if taking the collagen longer would increase the effects. Right now it is not as effective as methotrexate, but it's close, and there are far fewer side effects. I sure hope they're doing long term studies.

On the other hand, a blog post from Dr. Borigini (from HealthCentral) from about a year ago, suggests (at least to me) that use of collagen over time might decrease effects. He says:
The collagen angle remains an interesting one, as rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation of the lining of the joints as a result, perhaps, of the body reacting to itself -- in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, attacking the lining of the individual's own joints. Because type II collagen is a major protein in joint cartilage, it could be a "target" for a person's own immune system to mistakenly attack.
If this is true - if the collagen is providing a "decoy" - I would assume that this treatment would provide less and less help with RA over time, as the body figures out that this is a decoy and goes back to fighting the real McCoy.

Either way, as I said before, long term studies will be helpful. One could argue that because it's not quite as effective as methotrexate, people should just stay on their meds and wait for more studies to come out. But I think I'm going to run out and get me a bottle of chicken collagen capsules, and take them along with the methotrexate that I'm starting tomorrow.

I'll do anything to get a little more relief. Pain is bad.