Recently a long time friend was relating a story of recent visits to his doctors. He had thought that he had a shoulder issue which caused pain that radiated into his arm and severely limited his use of that arm. The pain was very significant and occasionally incapacitating. He asked his primary doctor about it and after a brief inspection referred my friend to a surgeon who sent him for an MRI with contrast dye. At his next appointment with the surgeon, he was told that the problem was torn tendons and ligaments and the only viable solution was to have them surgically repaired.
The surgeon went on to tell my friend that although the surgery could potentially relieve the pain as well as increase his range of motion, there was also the chance that he could be worse after the surgery! As it was, my friend could only raise his arm to just below shoulder height, but that movement also caused a very significant increase in pain. The surgeon told him it was not likely that he would get back to 100% normal. He also mentioned that physical therapy would not help in his particular case, again reiterating that surgery was his best and only practical option.
When my friend got done relating his experience to me, I asked him if he would be interested in trying a less invasive approach first, as it was not likely to hurt him and could possibly help him and if it didn't help, he could always go ahead and schedule the surgery. After a little more discussion, he said that he would be interested in trying this different approach since it was just a very common supplement and not too expensive as his insurance was not going to cover a supplement. He also reminded me that the surgeon had told him that the surgery could potentially leave him in a worse condition than he was in now.
Having decided to go ahead, I ordered a specific collagen supplement for him to start on as soon as it arrived. I know that many people are aware of the many different collagen supplements out there and that they are mainly noted for improving hair, skin and nail quality and sometimes showing the ability to relieve joint pain, but a little research into collagen suggests that the right type or blend might be capable of "many other benefits"! I told my friend that even if this turns out to be of no benefit for his tendons and ligaments, he was likely to have very radiant hair, vibrant more elastic & youthful skin and strong nails 😚 and we both laughed at that! I let him know that collagen has a very good safety profile which seems to make plenty of sense since collagen is 25 to 35% of the whole body protein content in humans. Type one collagen is the highest content in humans and this supplement contains type 1,2,3,5 and 10. Type 1 is found throughout the human body and makes up more than 90% of organic bone mass. Here are some studies that discuss the benefits of collagen supplementation from Achilles tendinitis issues to skin elasticity to bone density to possible muscle mass increase to improvement in hair quality and more!
The following abstract discusses the use of collagen for wound healing and skin aging.
This next abstract discusses a collagen supplement with other active components which together improved skin aging and joint health.
This study describes how the use of collagen in combination with resistance training can increase muscle mass in men.
This next abstract shows that collagen can increase nail growth while reducing nail brittleness.
Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients
The following study shows Improvement of activity-related knee joint discomfort following supplementation of specific collagen peptides.
The following study shows that dietary supplementation with specific collagen peptides has a body mass index-dependent beneficial effect on cellulite morphology
The following study suggests that oral collagen may improve ankle instability
The following study suggests that collagen bone mineral density and bone markers in postmenopausal women improve with collagen intake
The following abstract discusses how oral collagen supplementation can enhance facial skin moisture and elasticity and reduce facial ageing signs
This last study describes how oral collagen supplementation in conjunction with resistance exercise affects body composition
As you can see from just these few studies, collagen has many health benefits that are much more than just skin deep!
The following link gives a short list of potential collagen benefits which you may not be aware of such as improving bone health and near the bottom of the lists are a list of potential side effects such as allergic reaction to fish (Hydrolyzed Fish Collagen Peptides) which the product my friend used contains so obviously this particular product will not be for everyone, but there are other collagen supplements that don't contain a fish form of collagen.
When the supplement arrived, I gave it to him and he started on it right away. I mentioned that if this supplement could help, he could be looking at a few months before he might see any benefit if at all. He said he didn't mind because he had had this condition for years and what would a few more months hurt? After about a week or two, I saw him again and he mentioned that he didn't notice anything different and I reminded him that he would be looking at months before he could possibly see any benefit if at all. Shortly after that visit, he went on a three week vacation and I didn't see him during that time, but he mentioned to me in a phone conversation that he was still taking his supplement faithfully once a day, everyday. When he returned from his vacation, we got together and when he greeted me, he said, look at this and he raised his arm up straight over his head and he had a great big smile on his face!. It took a moment, but I remembered he was taking the supplement for that arm and I gave him a big smile back and immediately asked for details. He said that shortly after our conversation while he was on vacation, he noticed significantly less pain in his arm and with that reduction in pain came an increased range of motion! He told me that while he was on vacation, he felt there were days when he almost felt that he could tell a difference from one day to the next. He also told me that when we had that conversation, he thought that there might have already been a little improvement, but he didn't mention it because he wasn't positive and he also remembered that I told him not to expect anything for a few months, so he didn't mention it to me at that time. I asked him to try and give me an idea of how much improvement he thought had occurred. He thought for a moment and said he felt that at least a 75% improvement had occurred over the period of about a month! I didn't say it to him, but I was shocked! He said that although he could raise his arm straight up over his head, there was still some pain at the top of the motion and he told me that he could not curve his arm when straight up over his head in a direction toward his opposing shoulder as that would push the pain level up a notch, but other than that he said it was very functional again!
He told me he was going to continue taking the collagen supplement indefinitely to see just how much he could improve. I asked him if he could tell any difference in his hair, skin and nails and he told me that his hair seemed thicker and that his nails have always been hard and he hadn't really checked his skin, but he would when he got a chance and let me know about it.
I have no idea if this would be the same for others, but I thought I would mention it as an anecdotal report of interest. I don't like to recommend specific products on this forum because I don't want to appear to be hyping anybody's product, but in this case I am going to make an exception because when I was reviewing collagen products, it became apparent to me that not all collagen products are created equal. I read through a ton of Amazon reviews, which I know is about as unscientific as it gets, but with supplements, this is often our only means of getting an idea of what a specific supplement is anecdotally noted for. I ended up choosing a collagen product that had the highest percent (90%) 5 star rating that I could find with over four thousand reviews. I have since found another product that has a 92% five star rating, but it has well under a thousand reviews, so for now, the product I ordered is :
So far, I have only found it on Amazon and it is around $25 per month which is not the cheapest nor the most expensive, but it is the one that worked for my friend and it is the one I chose based on the reviews I read. You will find that reading through the reviews that some collagen products seem to get very poor reviews, so I do not think they are all created equal or have exactly the same effects. The ingredients vary also and none seem to tell you how much of each collagen form is in it. The one I chose has five different forms of collagen in it as well as bioperine, a proven absorption enhancer. One good thing about this particular product is that they are capsules and only require that you take three all at one time each day. Some of the other supplements I looked at were big tablets which were reported by some reviewers to be hard to swallow. Another advantage is that this supplement required 3 capsules per day while some required 6 capsules or tablets per day which could be daunting for some, considering how many pills they may already be taking! On that note, as always, please seek the advice and guidance of your doctor or healthcare professional to make sure that this collagen supplement is safe for you and compatible with everything you are taking.
I know this is not directly related to PD, but it is a common enough health issue that it may apply to some of our forum members and so I decided to write about it and even though you may not have this problem now, you never know if it may come up at some point or you may have a friend or relative who it may apply to. Just one unexpected fall could possibly make this post relevant. Another consideration is that some forum members may be suffering from this issue, but because this is a PD forum, they may choose not to bring it up because it is not discussed here. Some members have reported shoulder and arm pain on a regular basis, but the cause is often unknown, so collagen may apply in some of these situations. If you find at some point in the future you would like to find and review this post, simply click on my icon and select this post from a short list of posts that I have written more recently.