Winter 2001 Issue — Hydrolysed Chicken Cartilage Powder and Joint Disease
A natural mix of type II collagen and chondroitin sulfate, both evidencing widely-documented effects on joint pain relief

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Joint pain is the most frequent muscular-skeletal problem found in elderly people. This illness is so wide-spread; it represents a problem of substantial social interest. More than 90% of people over 40 year's old show radiological signs of arthritis, particularly in those joints subject to weight. These signs can potentially lead to disablement when not properly treated.

Traditionally, treatments are drugs acting primarily to relieve symptoms. Based on analgesics and anti-flammatory substances, they generally do not cure the underlying disease but only control it, with significant side effects (Primarily gastro-intestinal).

Another way to help keeping healthy joints is based on the use of chondroprotective agents (for example, type II collagen and chondroitine sulfate are both found in cartilaginous tissue). These substances not only act on symptoms but also on the causes of the joint pain: they stimulate the cells of the joint (chondrocytes) and inhibit mechanisms responsible for joint degeneration.


The joint is a connection between two bones.

The long bones end in epiphysis, covered with smooth articular cartilage (articular surface). The joint capsule is a kind of fibrous muff between the two epiphysis. Elastic and resistant, it keeps the two bones in position. The synovial membrane, containing blood vessels, binds the two articular surfaces. This membrane secretes a synovial fluid which ensures cartilage lubrication.

Cartilage consists of a cellular component distributed in an amorphous extracellular matrix. This matrix is made up of collagen fibers (primarily type II) and proteoglycans. Proteoglycans are complexes formed by a protein backbone with leteral branching of sulfated GlycoAmino Glycans (GAGs), primarily chondroitin sulfate. The gel formed in the cartilage matrix by chondroitin sulfate and water and the structural support formed by the collagen network confer on cartilage its typical hardness, elasticity, surface smoothness and capacity to absorb mechanical stress and strain.

Type II Collagen

Collagen is a complex structural protein, which is an essential and major component of connective tissues (tendons, cartilage, ligaments, joints and blood vessels). It is a particular protein in that the proportion of glycine and proline residues is unusually high and the amino acid sequence is remarkably regular. That provides strength and flexibility to these tissues. Moreover, collagen contains hydroxyproline (hyP) and hydroxylysine (hyL), that are found in very few other proteins.

There are three main types of collagen: I, II and III. Types I and III are primarily found in skin, tendon and bone. In contrast, type II is found predominately and exclusively in cartilage. As type II collagen is known to contain more hyL than type I or III collagen, with practically constant hydroxyproline, the molar ration hyP to hyL is particularly useful to characterize the collagen type (4 to 4.5 for type II collagen and 14 to 15 for type I and III).

Chondroitin sulfate

GlycoAminoGlycans (GAGs) are the basic elements of the amorphous, extracellular fundamental substance of connective tissues. They are glycoside polymers, formed by the repetition of disaccharide units of a hexosamine and a hexuronic acid. Chondroitin sulfate (galactosamine + glucuronic acid) is the main GAG found in cartilaginous tissue. Due to the presence of carboxylic and sulfate groups, chondroitin sulfate constitute an ordered and strongly electronegative structure with high water retention capacity. This guarantees the resistance, resiliency and elasticity of the cartilage itself.

Mechanisms of action

This goes back to the 12th Century, when St. Hildegard of Bingen described the use of calf cartilage broth as a medication against joint pain. Since then, many studies have shown the interest of chondroitin sulfate type II collagen in articular problems. These two chondroprotective agents stimulate cartilage cells (chondrocytes); inhibit mechanisms responsible for joint degradation.

Chondroitin sulfate has been shown to inhibit cartilage breakdown. Cell culture studies have shown the exogenously supplied chondroitin sulfate competitively inhibits the action of metalloproteases in the cartilage matrix, decreasing the degradation of collagen and proteoglycans. The use of this substance can lead to cartilage repair: pain and stiffness are reduced and can disappear.

Furthermore, there is evidence that disease - or age-related decreases in endogenous chondroitin sulfate levels are involved in pathological formation of occlusive thrombi in the microvasculature by helping in the control of blood coagulation. This can be beneficial to synovial membrane and normal production of synovial fluid.

When utilized for long periods of time, type II collagen could minimize and even eliminate the disease specific symptoms. Studies have shown that oral administration of 14C labelled collagen leads to an accumulation of radioactivity in cartilage and can help the permanent turnover of cartilage.

Type II collagen is thought to be able to induce antigen-specific tolerance. This approach, called oral tolerization, takes advantage of a mechanism used by the body to prevent immune reactions to the foods we eat: foreign proteins that enter the body through the digestive system suppress immune responses to those proteins instead of triggering it.

Scientific studies mention that, since joint degeneration can be due to an immune response against Type II collagen, a daily oral absorption of type II collagen could suppress the auto-immune attack, stop the cartilage breakdown and even facilitate its repair.

As with many chondroprotective agents, type II collagen and chondroitin sulfate are slow acting substances and must be utilized for long periods of time (several weeks) to be effective.

Hydrolysed chicken cartilage powder

SPI DIANA has developed an innovative patented process (FR#2782607) for the extraction of high quality chicken cartilage. After hydrolysis, purification and spray-drying, chicken cartilage gives SPI hydrolysed chicken cartilage powder, naturally rich in type II collagen (65%) and chondroitin sulfate (12%).

Safety matters

Hydrolysed chicken cartilage powder is a natural extract, solely derived from chicken cartilage. It is NOT hydrolysed collagen from bovine sources: it is BSE free. It contains NO additives and NO GMO ingredients.

Using hydrolysed chicken cartilage powder

According to specialists, a basis of 1 to 2 grams per day of hydrolysed chicken cartilage powder can be used in any application where dietary enrichment is appropriate. It is a white, low density and free flowing powder which is perfect for tablets, capsules and mixes. As it is highly water soluble, it can be incorporated in soft drink, effervescent tablets, etc.

In summary

Hydrolysed chicken cartilage powder is a natural source of BSE free type II collagen and chondroitin sulfate. Extensive research has shown the benefit of these two substances for health or un-healthy joints. Furthermore, ongoing research and studies continue to uncover their mechanisms of action and to strengthen the evidences of their efficiency.



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