For anyone suffering joint pain, you have probably come across both collagen and glucosamine offered as supplements that can help you. Is collagen or glucosamine better for helping with joint pain? What are the differences between the two supplements? And can collagen and glucosamine be taken together?

What is collagen?

Collagen is the main structural protein found in our skin and the other connective tissues of the body. Collagen is the major component in much of our bodies, including our bones, muscles, skin and tendons. As we get older, collagen production falters. For most adults, this happens around the age of 20-30. Many factors can contribute to the depletion of Collagen:

  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Night shift work over a sustained period
  • Several summers of overdoing suntanning

What is glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage. Our bodies use it to create the chemicals needed to manufacture ligaments, cartilage and tendons. Glucosamine gives cartilage a helping hand in making it more elastic, and it forms in the liver before being converted into smaller molecules.

Glucosamine levels decline with age. Glucosamine loss is sometimes the cause of osteoarthritis and joint pain.

How is collagen sourced?

Our bodies manufacture collagen. Supplements sources include bovine, poultry or marine life. Collagen molecules are large, so we must hydrolyse them to reduce their size. Once this happens, these hydrolyzed collagen peptides can be more easily absorbed.

How is glucosamine sourced?

The supplement is manufactured from shellfish or synthetically in the laboratory.

What are the health benefits of using collagen?


  • Prevents bone loss
  • It helps relieve joint pain
  • Healthier skin, nails and hair

What are the health benefits of using glucosamine?


  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improve the function of an individual’s joints

What are the possible side effects of using glucosamine supplements?

Upset stomach

Glucosamine does cause stomach upsets for some people.

Allergic reactions

Taking glucosamine may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.

Don’t mix your medications!

Mixing medications can cause other pharmaceutical products to function less effectively. If you are already taking medication for something else, consult your doctor before using glucosamine.

Does collagen have any side effects?

Collagen is remarkably free of side effects compared to most medications. The reason for this is because it is a natural product. Occasionally, individuals have an allergic intolerance to it.

What are the best ways to tackle osteoarthritis and joint pain?


Regular exercise helps joints to grow stronger.

Reducing your weight

Being obese (more than 40 per cent of Americans already are) puts a lot of extra burden on our bodies, especially our joints. If you cut down your weight, you might experience improvements in your joint health. 

Supplements support

As we are discussing here, collagen and glucosamine supplements are available to help us counter joint pain issues.

What is the difference between collagen and glucosamine?

While they serve similar functions, glucosamine and collagen differ significantly in origin and nature.

Similar but very different!

Glucosamine is a sugar, while collagen is a protein.

Calorie count

Collagen is richer in calories but offers more in the way of protein than glucosamine.


There are more carbs in glucosamine than in collagen.

Ease of use

Take collagen supplements once daily, for example, with your morning coffee. Glucosamine supplements are not so easy to use as they must be taken three times per day.

Side effects worth considering

As collagen is natural, the expected side effects are minimal. Glucosamine, on the other hand, might prompt nausea or stomach issues.

More bang for your buck

Collagen is more effective than glucosamine.

Is collagen better than glucosamine?

Collagen and glucosamine are both used for treating joint problems. However, studies show that collagen is more effective than glucosamine. That said, collagen and glucosamine function even better when used in combination.

Why you might prefer to take collagen instead of glucosamine

If you only want to choose between collagen and glucosamine, then collagen should be your preference. Marine collagen is absorbed much more easily by the body and is sourced naturally from fish and shellfish.

Using collagen and glucosamine together

Collagen and glucosamine complement each other. It is viable, therefore, to take collagen and glucosamine together.  

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