One of the compounds that appear over and over again in my search was collagen, both type I and type II. If we remember, collagen is one of the compounds that the chondrocyte actually excrete (the other being proteoglycan) when they are still in the proliferate zone in the multilayer hyaline cartilage growth plate.
For most people, when they hear the word “collagen” they might think of collagen injections people get for plastic surgery to make their face look smoother and younger. Since I am currently living in a location of the world very famous for its plastic surgery clinics, I am very familiar with the use of collagen for plastic surgery reasons.
The first question to answer is “what is collagen type 2?”
From the Wikipedia article on it (HERE)…
Type-II collagen is the basis for articular cartilage and hyaline cartilage.
It makes up 50% of all protein in cartilage and 85-90% of collagen of articular cartilage.
Type II collagen does form fibrils. This fibrillar network of collagen allows cartilage to entrap the proteoglycan aggregate as well as provide tensile strength to the tissue.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to a study published in the journal Science, oral administration of type II collagen improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The authors conducted a randomized, double-blind trial involving 60 patients with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis. A decrease in the number of swollen joints and tender joints occurred in subjects fed with chicken type II collagen for 3 months, but not in those that received a placebo. Four patients in the collagen group had complete remission of the disease. No side effects were evident.
Me: What the study seems to say is that collagen type 2 might have helped regenerate some lost articular cartilage at the ends of long bones or just in joints. Since the articular cartilage is made of 80-90% collagen type 2, it would kind of make sense that taking some type 2 collagen orally may indeed lead to some articular cartilage regeneration. Unfortunately, one of the most well known and accepted facts in the medical community is that unlike almost all other tissues, cartilage are not supposed to be able to regenerate back. This means the study for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and the results don’t agree with the non-regeneration of cartilage axiom held by mos tof the medical community.
Note: It seems that while articular cartilage is 80-90% collagen type 2, for cartilage in general, specifically the hyaline cartilage in growth plates, it is only 50%. This seems to suggest the rest, the other 50% of proteins that form cartilage is from the proteoglycans. If that is true, I hypothesis that to keep the proliferation zone of the growth plate around longer, we should be taking something to help increase the proteoglycan in our bodies, not the collagen type 2!
Tyler at HeightQuest.Com already wrote an article on the idea HERE.
He states that “”…and if microfractures occur while the bone is in this stretched state it stands to reason that the bone will maintain some of this state. If we can increase the collagen content of bone, then we should be able to put more of a distraction force on the cortical bone. Microfractures will maintain some of this distracted state.””
From the paper he highlights, he concludes that “”Collagen is increased by Mesenchymal Stem Cells. To increase collagen content in bone or the hyaline cartilage growth plate line then one needs to increase expression of the genes that control mesenchymal stem cell lineage(such as COL2A1 for hyaline cartilage).””
He continues to suggest that the other types of collagen (1, 9, 10) can all help in increasing height because they cause the mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate more into chondrocytes that hypertrophy.