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Undenatured Type II Collagen – Chicken Soup for Your Joints

Undenatured chicken collagen, the primary ingredient in OsteoTec UC·II®, has been shown in studies and trials to help the body repair and rebuild joint cartilage – reducing joint pain, increasing joint mobility and flexibility, and promoting long-term joint health.

Grandmothers around the world have been treating colds with chicken soup for generations; then a few years ago scientists confirmed that several ingredients in chicken soup do, indeed, affect the immune system. What grandma didn’t realize, though, is that one part of the chicken in particular may also help ameliorate the joint pain of arthritis.

Taken from the chicken’s sternum cartilage, UC·II is an innovative, patented form of undenatured type II collagen that works with the immune system to reduce inflammation and restore cartilage (unlike glucosamine & chondroitin, which are materials involved in the structure of healthy cartilage). Extensive research and clinical studies have shown UC·II to be both safe and effective in supporting joint health – and clarify how it helps the body derail a destructive process involved in both types of arthritis.

Like Grandma’s Cold Remedy, UC·II was Discovered in the Kitchen.

Dr. Eugene Moore, a chemical engineer, had an 8-year-old daughter, Anne Marie, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Her swollen and painful joints continued to worsen until, by the time she was in her late 20’s, much of her life was spent in an electric wheelchair.

One day Dr. Moore read about some studies on chicken collagen which showed that a small amount taken orally could have a preventive effect on rheumatoid arthritis. Putting his chemical engineering background to work, he went to the grocery, bought some chickens, and turned his kitchen into a laboratory. What Dr. Moore discovered was that, unlike grandma’s chicken soup, if he cooked the chicken collagen, it became ineffective. So he formulated a recipe for an ‘undenatured’ (also called natural or native; not processed by high heat or chemicals) chicken collagen using the chicken’s sternum cartilage.

After his daughter’s rheumatoid arthritis began to improve, Dr. Moore shared his preparation with his good friend, Roger, who suffered with osteoarthritis so severe he could no longer function normally. Within a few weeks, Roger, too, began to feel and function much better. Both Anne Marie and Roger described the results as extraordinary – a significantly improved quality of life with no side effects.

Since Dr. Moore’s initial discovery, a number of other studies have confirmed the benefits of undenatured type II collagen for joint health in both humans and animals.

Trial Shows UC·II More Than Twice as Effective as Glucosamine and Chondroitin

In a randomized, double-blind study of 52 osteoarthritis patients, one group took 40 mg UC·II and the other a combination of 1500 mg glucosamine and 1200 mg chondroitin. (Double-blind means neither the study subjects nor those tracking the results knew which patients were receiving which doses.) The table below shows the results after 90 days (percentages indicate the reduction in symptomatology):

SymptomUC·IIG & C
Stiffness and difficulty in physical function33.3% less14.0% less
General level of pain40.4% less15.4% less
Effect of pain on daily activities20.2% less5.9% less

A small daily dosage of UC·II reduced joint pain and increased joint mobility and flexibility significantly – more than twice as much as the larger dosages of glucosamine and chondroitin.(1)

Additional Human Clinical Trials

• A pilot study looked at five women who had significant joint pain symptoms. Each took 40 mg of UC·II for 42 days. Four of the five reported significant reductions in pain and stiffness. The average reduction in pain level was 26 percent.(2)

• Six out of 10 rheumatoid arthritis patients reported significant improvement after taking UC·II for three months. One patient experienced complete remission. No side effects were reported.(3)

• In a 90-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 60 patients with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis were split into two groups. In the half taking UC·II, 28 showed considerable improvement compared to the placebo group. Four patients recovered completely.(3)

• Ten children (8 to 14 years old) with active juvenile rheumatoid arthritis were given UC·II for three months. Eight of the 10 experienced a reduction in swollen and tender joints and one experienced a complete remission.(4)

Animal Studies

Humans are not the only ones who suffer the pain of arthritis. One in four pet dogs in the U.S. is diagnosed with some form of arthritis, as are millions of horses worldwide. A number of studies have been done using UC·II to treat osteoarthritic dogs and horses, with good results. For example:

• Osteoarthritic dogs were given either 40 mg of UC·II or a placebo for 120 days. The dogs given the UC·II exhibited significant improvements as measured by detailed observation of pain-related behaviors and responses: 77 percent less evidence of overall pain, 83 percent less evidence of pain after limb manipulation, and 84 percent less pain after exercise. The dogs receiving the placebo exhibited no significant change in observed pain behaviors/responses.(5)

• Osteoarthritic horses were divided into groups of five or six, receiving either 320 mg of UC·II, 480 mg of UC·II, 640 mg of UC-II, 5,400 mg of glucosamine plus 1,800 mg of chondroitin, or a placebo. The horses who received the 320, 480 or 640 mg of UC·II exhibited significant reductions in arthritic pain. The UC·II dosages of 480 or 640 mg had equal effects – an 88 percent decrease in overall pain and a 78 percent decrease in pain upon limb manipulation. UC·II was found to be more effective than glucosamine plus chondroitin.(6)

How UC·II Works on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system turns against itself, and killer T-cells begin to attack the joint cartilage, resulting in inflammation and joint destruction.

UC·II contains molecular regions called epitopes [1]. These are immune system markers that interact with certain antibodies to trigger the deactivation of collagen-specific killer T-cells, and in turn help deactivate the inflammatory process.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by an inflammatory synovial response that leads to joint wear and tear and is usually attributed to aging.

Many of the biochemical markers associated with OA inflammation are also associated with RA inflammation; therefore similar therapies are usually used. Research has shown that UC·II suppresses the T-cell-mediated inflammation in both forms of arthritis.

Denatured vs. Undenatured – Why the Difference Is Important

Denatured (hydrolyzed). As Dr. Moore discovered in his kitchen laboratory, when chicken sternum collagen is heated, it loses its ability to repair and rebuild the joints. Most of the type II chicken collagen found in dietary supplements is denatured or hydrolized, which means that high heat and/or chemicals have been used to process it. These processes fundamentally alter the molecular structure of the protein, rendering the collagen ineffective as an immunomodulator. There are no peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that denatured type II collagen provides any joint health benefits. And in fact one study states, “denatured type II collagen has no observable effect on the incidence and severity of the disease [arthritis].”(7)

Undenatured (native). Undenatured type II collagen is made using little or no heat and very limited processing – just enough to concentrate the collagen and make it soluble. The UC·II manufacturing process ensures that the collagen remains biologically active in its most native, triple helix form, with its immunomodulating ability intact.

The Right Dosage is Essential

Although some people think “if a little is good, more must be better,” this definitely does not apply to undenatured type II collagen.

Small amounts have been found to be the most effective in modulating the body’s immune response, but too much can produce a negative or opposite result. The daily dosage recommended for maximum effectiveness is 40 mg UC·II (containing 10 mg bioactive undenatured type II collagen).

In addition to the bioactive UC·II undenatured type II collagen, OsteoTec UC·II contains Aquamin® (mineralized red algae) – a source of calcium plus more than 70 naturally occurring trace minerals absorbed from the sea; clinically proven to improve bone and joint health.(8)

Unique Natural Support for Joint Health & Function

Overall, clinical trials and studies strongly support OsteoTec UC·II’s unique ability to work with the immune system naturally, often helping to defuse the destructive inflammatory processes responsible for stiffness and pain in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

Karen Lee Richards is ProHealth’s Editor-in-Chief. A fibromyalgia patient herself, she co-founded the nonprofit organization now known as the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) in 1997 and served as its vice-president for eight years. She was also the executive editor of Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine. After leaving the NFA, Karen served as the Guide to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the New York Times website About.com, then worked for eight years as the Chronic Pain Health Guide for The HealthCentral Network before coming to ProHealth. To learn more about Karen, see “Meet Karen Lee Richards [2].”


1. Bagchi M, et al. Beneficial effects of oral administration of undenatured type-II collagen on osteoarthritis: a human clinical trial. Presented at: Journal of the American College of Nutrition 49th Annual Meeting; October 2008; Arlington, Va. Abstract No. 30. (See also Crowley DC, et al. Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: A clinical trial [3]. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 2009;6:312-321. November 2009)

2. Bagchi D, et al. Effects of orally administered undenatured type II collagen against arthritic inflammatory diseases: a mechanistic exploration [4]. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 22(3-4):101-10, 2002.

3. Trentham D, et al. Effects of Oral Administration of Type-II Collagen on Rheumatoid Arthritis [5]. Science. 261:1727-1730, 1993.

4. Barnett, et al. A Pilot Trial of Oral Type-II Collagen in the Treatment of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis [6]. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 39:623-628, 1996.

5. Gupta RC, et al. Pain reduction measured by ground force plate in arthritic dogs treated with type-II collagen. Presented at: Society of Toxicology 48th Annual Meeting; March 2009. (See also: D’Altilio M, et al. Therapeutic efficacy and safety of undenatured type II collagen singly or in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin in arthritic dogs. Toxicol Mech Methods. 17:189-196, 2007; and Deparle LA, et al. Efficacy and safety of glycosylated undenatured type-II collagen (UC-II) in therapy of arthritic dogs [7]. J Vet Pharmacol Therap. 28:385-390, 2005.)

6. Gupta RC, et al. Therapeutic efficacy of undenatured type-II collagen (UC-II) in comparison to glucosamine and chondroitin in arthritic horses [8]. J Vet Pharmacol Therap. 32:577-584, 2009.

7. Nagler-Anderson C, et al. Suppression of type II collagen-induced arthritis by intragastric administration of soluble type II collagen [9]. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 83:7443-7446, 1986.

8. Frestedt, JL, et al. A Natural mineral supplement [Aquamin] provides relief from knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a randomized controlled pilot trial [10]. Nutrition Journal, 7(9), 2008.

Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.