Studies Show FORTIGEL® Is the Best Collagen For Joints

August 23, 2023

Have you noticed your knees aching or popping when you get out of bed in the morning, bend over to tie your shoes, or squat down to play with your kids/grandkids? 

Joint pain is incredibly common, affecting millions of people in the United States every year (1). The principal cause is wear and tear of the joint cartilage brought on by age, overexercise, and stressed joints.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how a lack of collagen can impact your joints, and the best collagen to take for joint health (plus the scientific studies behind them).

The Role of Collagen in Your Joints

Think of collagen as the glue that holds your body together. It provides structure and support to all of your connective tissues, including your skin, bones, ligaments, tendons, and the cartilage that protects your joints. In fact collagen makes up about 60% of the dry weight of cartilage (2).

Here are a few things to know about the cartilage in your joints:

  • The cartilage in your ankles and knees range in thickness from 1.0 to 1.62 mm and 1.69 to 2.55 mm respectively, while the cartilage in your hips is about 1.35 to 2.0 mm thick (3). For reference, a credit card has a thickness of about 0.76 mm.
  • As your cartilage wears down, you may experience joint pain, stiffness, clicking, creaking, locking, and swelling. 
  • A physical examination and MRI scan are most commonly used to assess the damage to your cartilage.

The main reason you don’t experience creaky joints and popping knees when you’re young is because you have a plethora of collagen in your body—and joints. It’s not until your mid-to-late 20s when this natural collagen production begins to decline. And by the age of 40, you’re losing about 1% of your collagen per year (4). By 60 years old, you’ve lost roughly 50% of the collagen you were born with.

This steep decline in collagen is most likely correlated to many of the joint pains you may face: joint stiffness, popping and cracking, pain or discomfort, decreased shock absorption, reduced joint stability, limited range of motion, swelling and inflammation, impaired healing of joint tissue, increased risk of injury, and longer recovery times.

So what can you do? Perhaps the answer is obvious: take a collagen supplement. But more specially, a collagen supplement for joint health.

What to Look for in a Collagen Supplement for Joint Health

Since collagen plays such a pivotal role in your joint health, it's important to choose the right one. But with dozens of collagen supplements on the market, how do you know which one to choose?

When shopping for a collagen supplement, there are two things you’ll want to look for:

1. Bioactive Collagen Peptides

Bioactive collagen peptides (BCP) are unique in that they stimulate the body to produce more collagen, whereas collagen peptides (CP) simply replenish the collagen in your body that’s been slowly declining over the years. (Your natural collagen declines by about 1% each year starting in your mid-20s.)

Basically, BCP helps your body make its own collagen. CP doesn’t—it just goes straight to the areas your body needs it most: skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles, joints, teeth, and even your corneas.

2. FORTIGEL®

FORTIGEL® is a type of highly purified bioactive collagen peptide. Backed by numerous scientific studies (which I’ll dive into next), FORTIGEL® is specifically designed to aid in the regeneration of joint cartilage and reduction of joint pain. 

A container of NativePath Joint Health collagen sitting on a person's knee while they hold under their knee

Support Your Joints

NativePath Joint Health contains FORTIGEL® and VERISOL®—two proprietary and clinically-proven Bioactive Collagen Peptides that promote strong joints and healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones.

Shop Collagen

The Scientific Studies Behind FORTIGEL®

Regeneration of Cartilage

In a 2011 study by McAlindon and colleagues for the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (ORSI), the long term effects of FORTIGEL® were analyzed on individuals with early knee osteoarthritis (5). 

30 subjects were randomized into one group receiving 10 grams of FORTIGEL® a day for 48 weeks and a control group receiving a placebo. Three MRI scans of the knee were performed on each subject—one at baseline, one at 24 weeks, and the final scan at 48 weeks.

MRI images of study participants knees on Day 1, Weeks 24, and Weeks 48 of the study. The control participant's images are on the top row and the collagen participant's images are on the bottom row.

The Results: When researchers looked at the cartilage scans, they were shocked. After 48 weeks, individuals who supplemented with FORTIGEL® experienced a notable 8% increase in knee cartilage density compared to the placebo group.

These results are not only statistically significant, but also indicate that FORTIGEL® has a direct impact on human cartilage. This is extremely promising for anyone experiencing wear and tear in their joints from overexercise/overuse, injury, or aging.

Reduction of Joint Pain

A 2008 study at Penn State University recruited 147 athletes who were experiencing activity-related joint pain (6). 

Those athletes were divided into two groups, one group taking 10 grams of FORTIGEL® and a control group taking a placebo for 24 weeks. The severity of symptoms was rated both by the treating physician and by the study participants with a scale from 1 to 10 in relation to the severity of symptoms, with 1 being no symptoms and 10 being very severe symptoms.

Graphs showing the difference in joint pain for walking and standing between the placebo group and the group receiving collagen.

The Results: In this prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, it was interesting to observe a statistically significant difference of pain perception between treatment and control groups.

Pain perception is how our bodies alert us when something is hurting us. It works through special sensors in our skin called pain receptors. When these receptors sense something harmful, they send a message along nerve cells to our brain, which interprets it as pain. Our brain can also control how much pain we feel which is why everyone experiences pain differently.

So for those taking FORTIGEL®, their perception of joint pain seemed to decrease.

A container of NativePath Joint Health collagen sitting on a person's knee while they hold under their knee

Support Your Joints

NativePath Joint Health contains FORTIGEL® and VERISOL®—two proprietary and clinically-proven Bioactive Collagen Peptides that promote strong joints and healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones.

Shop Collagen

A similar study was also conducted in Germany by Zdzieblik and colleagues in 2021 (7). 180 active men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 years old completed the trial over a period of 12 weeks. All had exercise-related knee pain, but no diagnosed joint disease.

Participants were randomly assigned to the group receiving 5 grams of FORTIGEL® (CP-G) or to the placebo group (P-G). Changes in pain during or after exercise from pre- to post-intervention were assessed by the participants. These changes were additionally evaluated by the examining physician—by looking at the participant’s medical history and by doing a physical examination of the affected knee joint. 

Graph showcasing the pain reduction in both the participants assessment and the physicians assessment for the collagen group and the placebo group.

The following were recorded and compared across the two groups: 

  • Pain under resting conditions
  • Pain after completing 20 squats
  • Mobility of the knee joint (ie how well it moved)
  • The use of alternative therapies (i.e. ointments or physiotherapy)

The Results: The study showed that FORTIGEL® had a positive effect on knee joint pain—particularly during activity. It also revealed that it may help prevent chronic degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis. Both participants and the physicians saw a 38% reduction in “pain during activity” after taking FORTIGEL® compared to the placebo group.

The results from these studies are extremely promising for those finding themselves suffering from osteoarthritis or activity-related joint pain. 

A container of NativePath Joint Health collagen sitting on a person's knee while they hold under their knee

Support Your Joints

NativePath Joint Health contains FORTIGEL® and VERISOL®—two proprietary and clinically-proven Bioactive Collagen Peptides that promote strong joints and healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones.

Shop Collagen

Disclaimer: FORTIGEL® is a registered trademark of GELITA AG.

The Bottom Line

Whereas traditional collagen peptides are exceptional for restoring depleted collagen in the body, bioactive collagen peptides go above and beyond by helping the body make its own collagen. And in the case of FORTIGEL®, cartilage is actually regrown. With cartilage in the body ranging from the thickness of one to three credit cards, a little cartilage can go a long way in keeping you free from aches, creaks, popping, and more. Taking one to two scoops of a collagen supplement with FORTIGEL® will keep your joints healthy, smooth, and mobile.

Kat Kennedy
Article by

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy is the Fitness and Nutrition Editor at NativePath. With a NASM CPT, NCSF CPT, and NCSF Sports Nutrition Certification, she has a passion for giving people the tools they need to feel healthy, strong, and confident.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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