Collageena by Tiffany Mattessich, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
What is Collagen?
Collagen is an essential bodily protein and it accounts for 30 % of total protein in the human body. It is vital to interconnective and supporting tissues including cartilage and overall skin elasticity.
As we age collagen levels plummet, especially in women as they go through menopause and estrogen levels fall causing reduced elasticity, sagging skin, dry eyes, reduced bone matrix and joint flexibility. Men do not experience the same substantial lose in collagen levels however, as testosterone acts as a collagen supporter, also maintaining bone density and muscles strength.
A good test of your collagen levels is a simple bone density test as reduced collagen levels will reduce your bone density.
We know Collagen is beneficial, but what is Hydrolyzed Collagen?
Hydrolyzed collagen protein (HCP) is a modified version of the collagen protein that has been broken down by enzymes from animal based collagenous tissue such as bone, hide, and hide split to ease its integration and digestion. Other than enzymatic hydrolysis, purification, concentration, drying, and sterilization are also forms used to obtain HCP. This break down eases the digestion and absorption of amino acids by the intestine. HCP supplements are known to improve joint health, nourish cartilage, maintain bone density and assist in athletic injuries.
On average today, men consume 90g of protein per day and women 80g, however even with this significant amount of animal and plant proteins in our diets, it is common to have a deficit in both proline and glycine collagen characteristic amino acids. Glycine and proline amino acids are essential to the stabilization and regeneration of the cartilage metabolism. This deficit can lead to a variety of serious degenerative joint diseases characterized by the destruction of joint cartilage such as osteoporosis.
Radiology studies show that osteoarthritis is a serious risk; 4.3% of men and 7.5% of women between the ages of 55 and 64 develop some form of it. Once over 65, this figure rises; 8.7% of men and 19.5% of women find themselves experiencing pain and reduced joint functioning.
However, this can be prevented by getting a balanced nutrition high in hydrolyzed collagen proteins. Hydrolyzed collagen is superior to other proteins as it has three times the glycine and proline as other proteins. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that a long-term diet high in hydrolyzed collagen (10g daily) acts as an osteoporosis therapy and plays a beneficial role in enhancing your joint cartilage metabolism and synthesis. This works by increasing proline and hydroxyproline in plasma.
Don't get it from every-day life, why.
Your nutrition is vital to your health, eating the right foods and getting the right combination of vitamins and minerals is essential to ensuring that you do not develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, or become obese. Currently, 65% of the US adult population is obese, and this number is growing. The vast numbers of fast-food chains serving overly-processed foods don't help.
Even with nutrition necessities gaining attention in the medical field today there is a growing population of people suffering from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Take meat processing for example; nutritional collagenous parts are removed from the meats, even with the food abundance industrialized countries have there are deficits in collagen content. With the media's promotion of being thin and the increase in vegetarianism today, meat consumption has fallen considerably.
Based on clinical studies, we recommend that you take a daily dose of 10g of hydrolyzed collagen for a period of 3 months or more to achieve optimal results. We advise that to maintain your joint cartilage metabolism and prevent the onset of osteoporosis, hydrolyzed collagen be taken daily and habitually.
Are there any risks involved?
Hydrolyzed collagen supplements present no health risks, as they are not a pharmaceutical drug but a food free of additives and preservatives. The US federal Drug Administration (FDA) has even rated collagen products (including hydrolyzed and collagen) at the highest safety category upon clinical testing: GRAS (generally recognized as safe), a category comprising sugar, vitamins, and salt. As with all foods, both native and modified, there is a potential of increased cancer vulnerability if administered over longer periods. This potential issue has been studied in depth, the results confirm there is no increased mutagenicity or carcinogenicity resulting from administering HCP over long periods.
There is no evidence of any serious intolerance reactions, clinical tests show that no allergic reactions to hydrolyzed collagen. Further, there is no evidence suggesting any food incompatibility that is common among other proteins resulting from enzyme intestinal defects. In the recent international Moskowitz study, the most significant complaint was diarrhea.
Allergy tests are recommended prior to any invasive administrations of collagen, such as wrinkle treatments, however oral hydrolyzed collagen supplements have had no reports of allergic reactions or gastro-intestinal reactions.
Hydrolyzed collagen supplements can be taken with any other medications, the US FDA has imposed no restrictions on its use.
Is it right for you?
According to the data compiled in practice and as a result of studies, hydrolyzed collagen might be effective and meaningful for:
Prophylaxis of degenerative joint disease, especially for risk groups such as:
- The elderly
- Those whose families have suffered from joint disease in the past or present
- Adipose persons and those who are slightly overweight
- Those involved in heavy manual work in their professions, sports or hobbies
- Patients with existing orthopedic conditions (including secondary osteoarthritis) and false positioning of joints
- Those who are following false or extreme diets
- Those going through growth phases
- Intensive training
- Support during symptomatic treatment (relief of pain, reduction of functional restrictions, anti-inflammatory therapy) in:
- Existing osteoarthritis, in particular coxarthritis, gonarthritis, polyarthritis of the finger and vertebral joints)
- Other degenerative diseases of the vertebral column (e.g. Scheuermann's disease)
- Chondropathy (e.g. chondropathy of the patella)
- Growth disturbances
- Consequences of trauma
- Pain resulting from excess stress on joints
- Prevention of deficits of certain amino acids (glycine, proline) in chronic digestive disease and, generally, in the case of preferred, highly-processed (i.e. lacking adequate amounts of collagen) foods, in extreme, meatless diets and for general optimization of nutrition.
- Special indications such as subcutaneous application in cosmetic operations (e.g. injection of wrinkles) or intravenously as hypoallergenic plasma expanders.
The excellent tolerability of hydrolyzed collagen enables a wide range of therapeutic applications without narrow dosage limitations.
Sarah Quadri, Bachelor of Science in Biomolecular Science
Appendix from Prolotherapy: Living Pain Free
The word "collagen" is derived from kolla, the Greek word for glue. It is the strong fiber that weaves throughout the body for strength and support to literally hold the body together like glue would. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body with about 14 or so known types.
As we age, the body's ability to make collagen protein and its different complexes slows down. In time, a collagen deficiency occurs in the skin, joints, and other parts of the body, weakening the connective tissues, that holds us together. The remaining collagen fibers may also lose their moist texture and become rigid, mainly due to free radical damage. The combined lack of collagen and dehydrated collagen can manifest itself as wrinkles; joint pain; brittle hair, skin and nails; and other connective tissue conditions.
To replace lost and replenish dried out collagen, external lotions and creams have been popular for years. Collagen injections for wrinkles are also popular. Recently, however, attention has shifted to the use of collagen as an oral supplement.
Oral supplementation of collagen provides a way in which the body can be provided vital amino acids and proteoglycans (specialized sugars in the body) important to maintenance of connective tissues. Currently, two main collagen supplements are being utilized - a combined collagen type I & collagen type III oral supplement and a collagen type II supplement, as these are the most abundant types in the body.
Collagen type I & collagen type III are the chief collagen types in hair, skin, nails, tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, teeth, eyes, and blood vessels. Although their presence is beneficial in joint tissues, collagen type II is the true major component of joint cartilage. Collagen type II (particularly from chicken sternal cartilage) supplies vital amino acids, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine for optimal articular (joint) cartilage support.
Collagen Type I & Collagen Type III
Studies have shown that more than 90% of the collagen found in the body is collagen type I & collagen type III, which are naturally found together as fibril forming or tissue forming collagens.
The protein composition consists of nineteen amino acids responsible for growth, maintenance, and repair of the body, with unusually high proportions of the amino acids glycine and proline, as well as hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine (two amino acids unique to collagen) all found in particularly high concentration in tendons ligaments, bone, organ capsules, skin, fibrous cartilage, blood vessels and fascia.
Collagen type I provides a great deal of mechanical strength to structures like bones because of its ability to resist tension, while collagen type III is involved in the maintenance of expansile organs, wound healing, and tendon and ligament attachments.
Due to the importance of the roles of collagen type I & collagen type III, it would be logical to provide a supplement which is geared towards providing the building blocks to support collagen in the body, and this is where collagen oral supplementation fits in.
1.Collagen type I & collagen type III supplements can be made from bovine (beef), porcine (pork), or fish sources. When made from these sources, the product is best utilized when it is hydrolyzed, (broken down into smaller pieces on the molecular level by the addition of enzymes for better absorption.) Bovine skin offers one of the best sources of collagen type I & collagen type III with the following breakdown of amino acids*:
Aspartic Acid 5.70%
Glutamic Acid 9.50%
*represent average grams amino acid per 100 grams, amounts may vary.
Note: the high levels of glycine and proline offer ideal building blocks for repair of muscles, tissues, and skin. By supplementing this natural ratio of amino acids, rather than large, random amounts of certain amino acids, an individual can receive more balanced collagen support.
Oral supplementation of collagen type I & collagen type III can be used not only for aesthetic concerns like hair, skin, and nails, but also to address damage such as a torn meniscus, back muscle problems, and even nutritional support for muscle and collagen diseases like fibromyalgia and Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
In fibromyalgia, a disease involving unexplainable muscle pain, some speculate that some sufferers may have low amounts of collagen type III in their bodies, and this may be addressed with supplementation and nutrition. Interestingly enough, collagen type III is especially important in that it is the earliest collagen laid down by the body in the connective tissue healing process. In the genetic disease Ehlers Danlos syndrome, individuals lack the chromosomal marker for making collagen and suffer pain as a result. Individuals supplementing their diets with collagen type I and collagen type III have seen some relief in their symptoms.