Chicken capsules may ease joint disease

A new study has found that supplements containing chicken collagen may provide relief from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a disease for which knee replacement surgery is sometimes recommended.

Scientists at Anhui Medical University in China studied 503 patients and found that those who took supplements containing chicken collagen tended to show significant improvements in a number of symptoms.

According to their report, which is published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, a 12-week course of collagen tablets was associated with improvements in joint pain, morning stiffness, tenderness and swelling.

Although the benefits were not quite as large as those achieved by taking the rheumatoid arthritis drug methotrexate, patients who took collagen capsules experienced fewer and milder side-effects.

Researcher Wei Wei, from Anhui Medical University, said that chicken collagen is a "promising alternative therapeutic strategy that may be used as a nutritional supplement against rheumatoid arthritis".

More than 350,000 people in Britain are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs in around three times as many women as men.

Treatments for the disease include medicines and surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement.

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