1. Collagen Function
2. Collagen Types
3. Collagen Structures
4. Collagen Food
5. Collagen Supplements
It is a network of highly specialized, tightly packed fibres that makes the framework and underpinning of the human body. There are many uses of collagen in the human body It supports and connects ligaments, tendons, sinews and fascia. Individual muscles tissues themselves are bound together with collagen.
If all else was stripped away, a network and foundation of tough collagenous proteins would remain. As well as the great protection to our internal organs, collagen is like the scaffolding, the beams and supports that give a building all of its shape and its strength.
Collagen is incredibly absorbable absorbing up to30 times its own volume in fluid. This gives skin an extremely smooth and 'volumous' appearance, decreasing the depth of fine lines and wrinkles. In wound healing collagen also attracts new cells to the area providing the platform for new tissue growth.
Elastin is collagen's 'flexible friend' and roughly 1000 times more pliable. This remarkable interwoven combination of toughness and suppleness together gives the human body support, structure and resilience.
Without this structural support, blood vessels, bones, inter-vertebral discs, teeth, tendons, ligaments, muscles, sinews, fascia would all loose their strength and shape and rapidly become more susceptible to aches and pains and rapidly decreasing mobility.
Of the collagen classifications - [types 1-24] - up to 99% by weight and volume comprises collagen types 1 to 5. Here are their breakdowns:
Type 1 is the most abundant type and located in bones, our skin, discs and to a lesser extent in scar tissue. In the middle layer of the skin - the dermis - collagen forms the fibrous structure upon which new skin cells grow.
Type 2 has tremendous tensile strength and is most abundant in cartilage(prevents bone on bone) and the eyes. Used in joint care formulas.
Type 3 is found in conjunction with type 1 in blood vessels throughout the body, in our liver and lungs,in the muscular walls of the intestines and in skeletal muscles.
Type 4 in the kidneys and smaller organs.
Type 5 make the surface structures and outer parts of all our cells.
Type 6 in 2008 scientists have discovered that a certain type of collagen VI, protects brain cells against amyloid-beta proteins, widely thought to cause Alzheimer's disease. Here is more information on collagen and non-collagen bone proteins inxcluding Type 6 collagen.
For a sufferers of aches, pains, stiff joints and rapidly decreasing mobility, understandng that collagen evolved early in evolution and has changed relatively little since is important. It means its design has reached optimum efficiency a long time ago. The extraordinary beasts roaming the earth millions of years ago, had the very same basic structures as we have today - just a heck of a lot more of it!
Built onto these collagenous components are the solid mineralized crystals and materials that bear up to 4 times the stress of the collagen fibres. This process of collagen mineralisation in bone has attracted a lot of attention recently. This nmineralisation is important as it effects the collagen packing in fibrils. As mineral density increases so does the tensile modulus of the whole network. Bone strength and fracture resistance therefore lies far beyond its individual constituents.
However, given they were mostly herbivores we may have stumbled across a clue to the answer, especially for sufferers of aches and pains. Nutritionists believe that back then soils were up to 30 times richer than today. Considering oxygen density was 4 – 5 times that of today, the plant life, forests was astounding. Carbon dating of prehistoric extracts the bones of the earth show minerals, trace minerals and trace elements of incredible concentration and range. There supply was inexhaustible, in every bough, every vine and every fruit, underpinning the construction and replenishment of collagen day after day, hour after hour.
Collagen renewal takes place at various rates and degrees. Its greatest turnover rate is in muscle while its lowest is in cartilage. In cartilage we find the rate of renewal of Glucosaminoglycans much higher. In fact a recent study shows that here, once collagen is in place, never renews.
This proper formation of collagen, all its 16 types, requires the bulk of these bare essentials through our food chain, consistently. (More than 80% of the body's collagen comprises types 1, 2 & 3.) However, given that the nutrient quality and density of our food has changed more over the past 50 years than over the past 5,000 we urgently need to look elsewhere for the basics. In collagen supplementation we may indeed have found the key to the answer.
“Collagen, in terms of its uses, is broadening,” accordiung to Nick Bitz, Chief Scientific Officer, Youtheory (Irvine, CA). Bitz sees heart health in partiucular as one of the most promising unrealized health areas for collagen to further extend its reach.
We already know that brittle bone disease for example can be the result of a significantly decreased level of collagen or poorly formed and low quality collagen structures. This is not the lack of amino acids, rather the deficiency of the bare necessities - the nutrient components that collagen depends upon.
Without these critical parts, collagen may again be poorly formed, regardless of the amount of collagen amino acid supplementation. This supply of these bare necessities of life may be the limiting factor in collagen renewal in bones, joints, skin, hair, nails, teeth. Even the collagen structures inbetween organs require the element Chloride as the key signaller in regulating the formation of collagen smart scaffolds.
And thankfully excellent research has been done over the last number of years that we can immediately benefit from. Collagne supplements are atoxic - non-toxic. 2 specific things have become abundantly clear.
- Collagen that is enzymatically hydrolysed is first choice for absorption and effectiveness. This makes the majority of collagen supplements pretty much useless, except the few that have used enzymes to reduce it down to its usable constituent parts.
- Collagen stores are most vulnerable during the first 90 minutes of sleep, when its component parts may be disassembled and made available for other important metabolic functions. Collagen is therefore best taken at night time, as close to sleep as possible for maximum strength and effectiveness. In fact, if only one serving per day is used, then this late evening delivery works best.
After 23 years professional practicing as a massage therapist, the above recommendations have provided consistently reliable relief to sufferers of aches and pains of all kinds. To the extent that patients have responded faster to treatments, recovered quicker and experienced far fewer instances of relapse. Importantly, it has been fascinating to watch patients also responding favorably to additional treatments including physiotherapy, ultra sound, faradic and galvanic applications, body work treatments and to energy treatments like acupuncture and kinesiology.
In addition, patients who had not responded to treatments previously had begun responding favorably when this regime was introduced which was accompanied the reduction of pain in most cases.