Joint supplements offer a safe and inexpensive way of combating arthritis symptoms.
Finding the right one can be difficult, though. There are many options on the market.
Among the most popular ones are glucosamine and collagen.
In this article, we’ll focus on these two joint supplements specifically to see which one is better for you.
TL;DR ARTICLE SUMMARY
Both glucosamine and collagen are somewhat effective at reducing joint pain. Glucosamine seems to be more effective and better studied in terms of slowing down the progression of osteoarthritis specifically. Collagen type II, on the other hand, is shown to reduce symptoms of autoimmunity and rheumatism. Even better than taking either of these two alone is combining glucosamine and collagen with other proven joint supplements. For example, turmeric and Boswellia Serrata. This will address your joint health and function from multiple angles.
Arthritis is a condition affecting millions of people around the world, its hallmark symptoms are joint pain and stiffness.  The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Why do people get arthritis, you may ask? Age, genetics, lifestyle, and injuries are all factors. There’s rarely a single culprit.
Traditionally, arthritis treatments include medication and physical therapy to help manage symptoms at least a little bit.
However, in recent years, studies have shown that dietary supplements such as collagen and glucosamine also have potential to support your joint health.
Let’s explore them both.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein, the most abundant one in the human body at that. It’s called “glue” that holds our body together. This essential compound has a vital role in maintenance of health of your skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and yes— your joints.
Our body’s natural collagen production declines with age, which can sometimes lead to joint troubles. Studies show us that collagen supplementation, specifically in its type-II undenatured form, is easily absorbed and can potentially reduce arthritis symptoms. 
Typically, it’s taken in grams for maximum effectiveness on long-term joint health and skin health. Dosages as low as 40mg are enough to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, though.
What is Glucosamine?
On the other hand, glucosamine is an amino sugar naturally found in your body. It plays a key role in the production of cartilage, the connective tissue that cushions your joints. Glucosamine levels go down as we age, which can be a problem as it leads to joint wear and tear.
Supplementing with glucosamine, particularly in the form of glucosamine sulfate, works to enhance the production of cartilage and alleviates joint pain from arthritis. 
Collagen and Joint Pain
There are a number of studies highlighting the benefits of collagen for both short-term and long-term joint health. A study review found evidence that collagen reduces pain in people with different forms of arthritis.
This benefit is probably the result of collagen’s absorption in our gut and accumulation in the cartilage. What’s more, it seems that collagen also benefits joint pain from exercise, even in younger people who don’t have joint issues.
But these effects take time, at least several weeks, to really kick into high gear.
Glucosamine and Joint Pain
Research on glucosamine and joint pain is similar to that of collagen.
Glucosamine’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant bioactivities are the reasons why it promotes joint health. One of its mechanisms is activating your body’s natural clean-up process in joints.
Glucosamine vs Collagen: Which is Better for Arthritis?
Both glucosamine and collagen are evidenced for their joint health benefits. It’s not the question as to which one is more effective, but it’s more like “which one will I react to better?” If you want faster joint pain relief, glucosamine might work better. However, if you want more holistic benefits for your skin, eyes, teeth, gums, and hair, then collagen is the superior option.
Ideally, you’ll want to combine the effectiveness of both supplements. They have synergistic functions in joint health. Add turmeric, MSM, and ginger extract on top of that, and you’ve got a pretty potent anti-inflammatory joint health formula!
If your goal is to reduce arthritis symptoms, both collagen and glucosamine should help you to an extent. Each one has its unique strengths.
We don’t think that either is a singular solution, but rather they should be a part of a more comprehensive joint health formula that includes proven ingredients like Boswellia Serrata, omega-3, and bromelain, to name just a few.
- Senthelal S, Li J, Ardeshirzadeh S, et al. Arthritis. [Updated 2022 Jun 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518992/
- Khatri M, Naughton RJ, Clifford T, Harper LD, Corr L. The effects of collagen peptide supplementation on body composition, collagen synthesis, and recovery from joint injury and exercise: a systematic review. Amino Acids. 2021 Oct;53(10):1493-1506. doi: 10.1007/s00726-021-03072-x. Epub 2021 Sep 7. PMID: 34491424; PMCID: PMC8521576.
- Williams C, Ampat G. Glucosamine Sulfate. [Updated 2022 Sep 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558930/