Collagen Peptides Support Joints, Skin, and Muscle Structure and Function

August 6, 2018 | Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Collagen Peptides Support Joints, Skin, and Muscle Structure and Function
Aging is inevitable. With each year, the body shows signs of wear-and-tear with creaking joints, wrinkles, less flexibility, slower injury recovery, muscle loss, and seemingly unrelated concerns like bowel problems and hardening of the arteries. These stress and age related signs may reflect collagen breakdown and loss.

At a certain point in the aging process, the balance changes when collagen breakdown outweighs collagen production. If the collagen building blocks are lacking, then tissue repair is compromised. Summertime is road construction season for the highway department. However, our bodies do repair work every day using several different nutrients, especially collagen peptides. Collagen is the backbone for the body’s re-construction process.

What Is Collagen?

Thirty percent of the human body is made up of collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides integrity and backbone to our structure. Collagen gives flexibility, elasticity, and strength to muscles, skin, tendons, ligaments, hair, and the intestinal tract. It provides sturdiness and repair for bones, cartilage, and gut lining integrity. Collagen is made up of many different amino acids. Fifty-seven percent of type 1 collagen is made up of three amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. The heart itself is made up of about 80 percent type 1 collage and about 20 percent type 3 collagen.

Collagen is required to help your body repair. We start losing collagen production starting in our 20’s and 30’s. Just ask any athlete if they repair as well in their 30’s and 40’s as they did in their 20’s. Not to mention the appearance of wrinkles and achy joints. If we fail to consume collagen supporting foods in the diet like bone broth, leafy vegetables, berries, and foods rich in vitamin C, omega oils, chlorella growth factor, then the natural repair functions are compromised. Science shows us just how important collagen is to the natural structure and function of the body.

Athletes and Repair

Supplementation of collagen peptides increases the amount of the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine essential for tendon and ligament structure. A study published in the January 2017 American Journal of Nutrition reported on the benefits found in athletes who consumed collagen peptides. Results found that the athletes who took 15 grams of collagen one hour before exercise had twice the amount of type 1 collagen in their blood reflecting increased collagen synthesis. Their findings suggested collagen peptides “could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair.”

Chronic ankle instability from previous sprains is a concern that often plagues athletes and former athletes. This can render them to increased risk for arthritis in the ankle but also other joints due the altered gait and instability. Research published May 2018 in the Journal of Sports Science Medicine verified that collagen peptides can help restore function improvement in those with chronic ankle instability. Athletes were given either placebo or collagen peptides for six months. At the end of the trial, there was more ankle stability, less stiffness, and fewer re-injury rates in those who received the collagen peptides versus sham treatment.

Bone and Joint Support

A randomized, controlled study published January 2018 demonstrated improvement of bone mineral density in postmenopausal women who supplemented with collagen peptides. Results showed improved bone density, bone formation, and less bone breakdown.

Knee joint comfort improved in those who supplemented with collagen peptides. Individuals who had the least intake of meat protein in their diets were found to benefit the most with collagen supplementation during a six month randomized, double-blind, controlled, multi-center trial.
Metabolism and Muscle Mass
A study on obese versus lean patients found improved satiety or less hunger with collagen peptide intake in obese individuals. They also experienced better blood sugar and insulin regulation

A 12-week study published in the British Journal of Medicine identified that collagen peptide supplementation together with resistance training helped improve body composition in elderly men with muscle loss. Men who consumed collagen peptides with resistance training were compared to those who just did resistance training. Muscle mass and fat loss were better with collagen peptides and resistance training.

A study in older women average age 71 years found that hydrolyzed collagen and whey protein helped improve body composition. It also supported healthy nitrogen balance, and supported lean body mass in just 15 days of use.

Heart and Blood Vessel Flexibility

Research published May 2018 identified a higher risk of health problems if remnants of broken-down type 1 collagen found in the blood stream in individuals with normal blood pressure. Individuals were more likely to have a higher risk to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, impaired heart muscle function, and heart failure.

Gut Health and Collagen

Research identifies that the multiple changes occur in the intestinal tract with a breakdown in collagen. The intestinal lining and tract becomes fibrotic, scarred and stiff leading to inflammatory intestinal bowel disease. Further consequences include poor absorption, fibrotic material or loss of bowel elasticity, and increased cancer risk.

Glycine and Proline Provide Special Health Benefits

Glycine constitutes one-third of the amino acids in collagen and elastin. This simple amino acid provides a wide array of benefits for health. A spring 2018 study provided great insight into this amino acid. Glycine is essential for the body’s key antioxidant – glutathione. If glycine is insufficient, it limits the rate at which glutathione can be made in the body. Glutathione is a critical scavenging antioxidant within cells and is essential for daily detoxification.

Glycine plays other roles in the body. This amino acid is essential for synthesizing other types of tissues and substances in the body like bile salts, creatine, heme (blood) and others. Glycine helps the transport mechanisms in cellular channels or gates that manage chloride and NMDA. Glycine helps support sleep quality as helps buffer NMDA and glutamate stimulus that can interfere with sleep. It positively modulates body temperature conducive for sleeping. It has been found essential in helping the body manage proteins and cardiovascular structures that get stiff from glycation or advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and assists with blood sugar regulation.

Glycine buffers oxidative stress in the digestive tract, improves intestinal integrity and skin health. Proline, found in high amounts in collagen, combined with other amino acids like cysteine helps build mucin. Mucin is needed for mucosal lubrication, absorption and movement within the digestive tract. Beneficial bacteria balance in gut with increased protection and healing of the gut lining occurred with intake of these amino acids.

Supplementing with Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides

Low molecular weight or hydrolyzed collagen peptides provide an excellent source of these amino acids. Low molecular weight collagen peptides are highly digestible and rapidly absorbed and utilized throughout the body. We use collagen peptides from beef cattle raised in Brazil where they are primarily grass-fed and pasture-raised. Hydrolyzed bovine/beef-derived collagen may be added protein smoothies, beverages (hot or cold), soups, stews, baked goods, yogurts, juice, or even just water. It has a neutral taste and is easy to mix. It also helps add extra protein to your diet. It does not contain any fat or carbohydrates. Our collagen peptides are non-GMO, free of preservative or additives and are non-allergenic.

If you feel like your body needs some repair work or it lacks the strength, flexibility, and structural integrity that you once had, consider upgrading your collagen status. Try some hydrolyzed collagen peptides and give it a test drive for 3-6 months. You might just find things are working and looking better!

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