Compared to the established ingredients in the joint health market, the UC-II type II collagen product was found to reduce pain during exercise by 20 per cent, compared to 5.9 per cent for glucosamine and chondroitin, according to findings presented at the American College of Nutrition’s annual meeting.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate currently dominate the US joint health market, with US sales for these combined supplements were $810 million (€563 million) in 2005, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.
Glucosamine is extracted from the shell of crabs, lobster and shrimps. Cargill also markets a non-animal, non-shellfish derived product. The ingredient is often used in combination with chondroitin sulphate, extracted from animal cartilage, such as sharks.
The new study compared a daily dose of UC-II (40 mg) with a combination of glucosamine (1500mg) and chondroitin (1200mg) on markers of joint health in 52 volunteers experiencing joint pain and stiffness in the knees from osteoarthritis.
The research, led by Debasis Bagchi, PhD, FACN, assessed the physical function, stiffness and pain in the knee following 90 days of supplementation.
Using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index as a measure of arthritis symptoms, the WOMAC score was found to have decreased by 33 and 14 per cent in the UC-II and glucosamine plus chondroitin groups, respectively.
Moreover, subjective visual analogue (VAS) scores, another measure of arthritis symptoms, decreased by 40 per cent in the UC-II group, and by 15.4 per cent in glucosamine plus chondroitin group, said Dr Bagchi.
Results from the Lequesne’s functional index, a measure of pain during daily activities, showed a 20.1 per cent reduction in the UC-II group, and a 5.9 per cent reduction in the glucosamine plus chondroitin groups.
The search for partners
The study’s results were welcomed by Paul Dijkstra, CEO of InterHealth.
“ What is most significant is that UC-II shows better efficacy with a smaller, once daily, 40mg dose than the larger 2700mg dose of the glucosamine + chondroitin combination,” he said.
“Our hope is that major supplement companies will want to bring this ingredient to their consumers and promote its effectiveness over glucosamine and chondroitin in joint health. UC-II can be a standalone product or be incorporated into existing joint health, or senior health products,” he added.
The data is to be submitted for publication in a peer-review journal “in the next few weeks,” said InterHealth. NutraIngredients.com has not seen the full data. The characteristics of the glucosamine and chondroitin used in the study are not known.