Collagen is the main constituent of your eyes, liver, skin, brain, muscles, lungs and more. From approximately 30 years of age your body stops producing collagen so as the years go by inevitably this begins to take its toll. Your body slows down, illnesses are more common, wear and tear more lasting and painful and a debilitating old age inevitable.
Unfortunately Collagen is not available from food, so supplementing is the only option to enable you to rebuild your collagen stores and thus regain a youthful appearance as well as overcome joint and arthritis problems as well as the many other health concerns noted throughout this leaflet.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins, and also most important proteins, making up about 30% of your body and approximately 80% of all connective tissue (a natural component in tendons, joints, ligaments, muscles, hair and skin and is necessary for the successful maintenance thereof).
As we age this protein is slowly lost, leading to joint degeneration, synovial (joint) fluid loss and dramatic skin changes (wrinkles, cellulite, dryness and loss of elasticity).
As 75% of the dermis, the body's largest and most visible organ, consists of collagen which accounts for 90% of dermal volume, with age depleting collagen in the dermis by 50% between the ages of 30 and 50 it is obvious why people who do not take Collagen as a supplement, have far more wrinkled and aged skin than those that do!
The amazing health benefits of Collagen supplementation go far beyond alleviating joint and skin concerns.
Although there are some 10 types of Collagen in the body, Types 1 & 2 have the most influence of the health status of adults.
Type-I Collagen is the most abundant collagen of the human body. It is the major collagen of tendon and bone, but it is also the predominant in lung, skin, dentin, heart valves, fascia, scar tissue, cornea, and liver. It is essential for the tensile strength and density of bone.
Type-II Collagen makes up 50% of all protein in cartilage and 85-90% of collagen of articular cartilage. Patients suffering arthritis, experience a selective destruction of collagen type II in the cartilage within their joints. It as the "glue" that holds together cartilage and it helps provide elasticity within the joints. In addition, cartilage can heal itself because of the mucopolysaccharides contained in Type II Collagen.
It is generally acknowledged the body loses collagen at a rate of approximately 1.5% per year from the age of 25-30 onwards.
Depletion of collagen in connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage) results in the reduction of support for the joint structure of the body contributing to conditions such as arthritis and musculoskeletal injuries.
Within the skin, depletion of collagen shows in dramatic and obvious changes such as wrinkles, cellulite, dryness, loss of elasticity and the obvious appearance of ageing - this is because hydrolysed collagen acts like scaffolding in the skin forming a framework upon which new cells can grow.
A lack of a framework to lay down and regenerate new cells results in rapid degeneration.
Hydrolysed collagen is essentially a gelatine made from the connective tissues in the body and helps to connect ligaments, tendons and joints. It also helps to keep skin supple and prevent it from wrinkling & sagging. As if that were not enough, it also helps to keep muscles smooth and firm. It incorporates 25% to 30% of the protein found in the human body.
A proper balance in the body is obviously highly desirable, but it is not easy to achieve and maintain. It is a fact that today's food and diets do not provide the body with the sort of nutrition that it needs.
For example, even if you eat a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables eaten in their natural state (i.e., raw, uncooked), such is the quality of even organic produce these days that foods do not contain the nutrients that they contained as little as 50 years ago, due to the increased use of pesticides, pollution, poor growing conditions and inferior soil quality.
Because of this, as we get older our body's ability to produce collagen slows down significantly. The slow down being seen in brittle hair, split ends, wrinkles, cuts and bruises that can sometimes take weeks to heal, weak nails, lowered energy levels and importantly, aches and pains in our joints. In short, the amount of collagen produced is insufficient for all the body's demands.
Supplementing with collagen (particularly types 1 & 2) provides the body with the amino acids necessary to manufacture and support collagen. Without healthy collagen, our bodies virtually fall apart as we age.
Much different from other protein sources, collagen contains a unique combination and ratio of high-nitrogen amino acids (proteins), most importantly, glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine. These are the ones that influence:
Over 39 million Europeans suffer from osteoarthritis (OA) according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). There is no cure to the disease, and they predict an epidemic of joint disease will see numbers of Europeans alone OA double by 2020.
OA of the knee and hip is a growing health concern and is the most common form. Pain and disease can range from very mild to very severe. Patients with OA have pain that typically worsens with weight bearing, incl. walking & standing, improving with rest.
Other symptoms include morning stiffness and gelling of the joint after periods of inactivity.
Currently the most used natural products taken to alleviate OA are glucosamine & chondroitin. Fortunately, a recent natural nutraceutical ingredient known as "UC-II" has received considerable attention in the treatment of OA, because it has shown to be rapidly effective in the treatment of OA.
In a randomized, double-blind study of 52 osteoarthritis patients, one group took 40mg UC-II and the other a combination of 1500mg glucosamine and 1200mg chondroitin (g&c).
The researchers concluded - A small daily dosage of UC-II reduced joint pain and increased joint mobility and flexibility significantly - more than twice as much as larger dosages of g&c.
UC-II is an Un-denatured* Type II Collagen derived from the cartilage of chickens.
* Denaturing is a phenomenon where bonds within protein molecules are randomly broken and difficult for the body to digest and use.
**A Protein is "hydrolysed” after it has undergone an enzymatic process to reduce the large protein molecules into smaller counterparts known as short-chain peptides. Peptides are special because they are easily digested and assimilated by the body, but they are also special in that they are resistant to denaturing.
UC-II stimulates the production of cells responsible for maintaining joint- cushioning cartilage, according to a study published in Cell and Tissue Research.
"This is the first time a cell culture model has shown that collagen, can lead to an increase in cartilage formation" ...said researchers Dr Oesser and Professor Seifert from Germany's Kiel University.
The researchers investigated the effect of collagen on the metabolism of the cartilage cells called chondrocytes. These produce UC-II, the dominant collagen in cartilage and essential for its structure. The results showed UC-II collagen increased the active capacity of the cells (i.e., their ability to bring about new cartilage formation) 2.5 times more than that seen in the control cells.
"Particularly in situations in which cartilage is under massive stress, the intake of collagen could be highly significant and reduce degenerative changes" ...said Dr Oesser.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease indicated by chronic inflammation of the joints, which gradually erodes the cartilage and bone. Recent clinical trials involving patients with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis showed a decrease in the number of swollen joints among subjects using UC-II for 3 months.
At Harvard University School of Medicine, Dr. David Trentham and his colleagues gave small doses of UC-II to 10 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The clinical response was defined as a 50% or greater improvement in the number of swollen and tender joints, accompanied by a 50% or greater improvement in two additional measures (morning stiffness, 15m walking time, grip strength), lasting for at least two months after the treatment period.
60% of the patients showed substantial clinical response and one patient a complete response in which the disease was eliminated for 26 months.
These results were so profound that a 90-day study was conducted on patients with very severe active rheumatoid arthritis. These patients were not moderate cases, but the most severe cases that can be usually encountered. 28 received UC-II and 31 received the placebo.
Compared to the placebo group, the UC-II group showed significant improvements in joint swelling, tenderness or pain. During the period at which the patients were taken off immuno-suppressant drugs, those that received the UC-II show stability and / or even improvement while those in the placebo group tended to deteriorate.
Almost unbelievably, 4 patients in the UC-II group showed a complete resolution of the disease. No side effects or negative laboratory effects were seen during the study. The conclusion was simply that ingestion of UC-II may well prove to be the most effective natural means of arthritis management regardless of the form of the disease.
UC-II collagen also contains cartilage matrix glycoprotein or CMGP. CMGP enhances antioxidant protection within joints by carrying the essential trace mineral copper to the chondrocytes.
Chondrocytes are small cells interspersed within the cartilage matrix of joints. The chondrocytes produce new collagen and mucopolysaccharides to keep joints well cushioned and lubricated.
The chondrocytes also produce and secrete copper SOD (superoxide dismutase), a free radical-destroying enzyme that is critical to protect joint tissue from the free radical damage that occurs as part of the process of joint degeneration.
Dr. A Duarte, O.D., Ph.D., notes in summary that various components of hydrolysed UC-II collagen have multiple protective benefits. ...It:
Apart from making the skin supple and tender, collagen, along with bone minerals, is also responsible for giving mechanical strength to bones. Quality of the bone is determined by interaction of collagen with the bone minerals and by the amount and orientation of these collagen fibres in the bone.
These fibres are held together by interactions of the fibres amongst themselves and amongst bone minerals (calcium and phosphorus), which act like cement supporting the fibres. These minerals, absorbed by bones from blood, provide strength to the collagen fibre-rods and give mechanical strength to the skeletal system. However, any abnormality in the uniformity, organization, and alignment of collagen structure leads to weakening mechanical strength of bones (e.g., osteo-genesis imperfecta and Bruck syndrome).
Bones are a specialized form of connective tissue, and the cells that make the bone tissue are called osteoblasts. Unlike cartilage, bone contains blood vessels and is constantly undergoing repair and replacement. In a process called remodelling, cells called osteoclasts remove old bone cells while the osteoblasts add new bone cells. A diet that provides adequate collagen is necessary to keep this bone formation and regeneration going.
Taking collagen supplements for long periods of time makes bones stronger by increasing bone mineral density.
Collagen also gives structural shape and strength to teeth. There has been wide use of collagen in dental procedures such as: filling cavities in teeth, dressing oral wounds, and attaching dental membranes. To ensure infection & disease-free conditions, collagen membranes embedded with antibiotics are used to fill cavities and gaps in teeth.
The human body contains over 40,000 miles of arteries and blood vessels. Regeneration of collagen helps to rejuvenate the blood tissues, vessels and arteries throughout the body. Usually in just four days you will start to feel your body coming alive again. There will be further improvement within the first few weeks also for conditions including swollen legs, oedema, varicose veins, thread veins & migraines.
Collagen is one of the most plentiful elements of your cardiovascular system, according to Ray Sahelian, and a reduction in replacement of collagen has been linked to several cardiovascular diseases that include pathological cardiovascular problems.
Collagen fibres are the most abundant components of the extracellular matrix in the arteries and the heart. Disturbances in the collagen turnover (i.e., degradation and synthesis) have been linked to inflammatory diseases including cardiovascular syndromes. In the myocardium (the muscular tissue of the heart), changes in collagen turnover results in ventricle dilatation and subsequent dysfunction with potential for significant consequences. In arteries, collagen synthesis and degradation are associated with the progression of atherosclerotic disease.
UC-II is mainly made up of a chemical substance called 'chondroitin sulphate A' that forms the natural lining of our body's arteries. This substance prevents blood clot formation and hence prevents heart attacks and strokes. Recent research shows UC-II is one of the most efficient cardio-protective agents to date.
Studies prove UC-II significantly reduced incidence of heart attacks & also reduced body cholesterol & lipids that accumulate in the heart valves, leading to blockage.
Much different from other protein sources, collagen protein contains a unique combination and ratio of high-nitrogen amino acids, most importantly, glycine, proline, hydroxy- proline and arginine. These have been shown to influence: weight loss, improve metabolism and elevation of growth hormone secretion (which affects fat loss, muscle retention & energy levels).
As we age, our bodies lose their muscle content and gain fat, so the muscle-to-fat ratio is lower than in one's youth. Collagen protein's muscle sparing and supporting capacity also make it highly effective in helping the body to regain its shape and tone. Users typically notice a reduction of fat in inches (not muscle or water weight) and a firmer, more toned body.
According to one Chinese study, hydrolysed collagen showed great effectiveness in reducing the weight of 50 obese patients. The study, led by Joel B. Lao, found taking a collagen supplement daily produced an average weight loss of 10 pounds within 3 months. The dieters were not required to exercise!
Hydrolysed collagen contains amino acids that trigger your body to increase muscle. More lean muscle leads to a faster metabolic rate, which leads to a faster fat-burning rate, which in-turn leads to weight loss and improved body shape.
When taken at bedtime, it is extremely effective during the first phase of sleep in which the body is in a natural state of repair, building and healing muscle tissue. Collagen's specific amino acids help to preserve and build lean muscle. Since muscle helps to regulate and increase the metabolism, fat can then be burned as energy to help support this bodily repair process.
Cellulite is known to be one of the most annoying conditions that a woman may suffer from. However, cellulite is typically caused by the breakdown of collagen fibres in the skin. This will eventually force fatty tissues with their associated stored toxins to be pushed upwards and through the gaps in the epidermis.
This will result in the orange peel and dimpled effect that cellulite is typically recognized by. However, as collagen naturally contains glucosamine and chondroitin, it can work from the inside and rebuild and repair the gaps within which cellulite usually occurs.
The fat burned from increased lean muscle on the body is converted into energy. As a result, many people feel increased energy throughout the day because their bodies are rapidly using fat as an energy source.
Many people notice increased energy when taking collagen protein during the day. Indeed, enzymatically hydrolysed collagen protein is absorbed quickly and utilized by the liver like a complex carbohydrate to help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day, so smoothing out 'peaks and troughs' in energy.
There is a link between collagen and how the body disposes of fat. Collagen helps the body rid itself of harmful toxins. However, when production is lowered, the body finds it more challenging to let go of toxins, and instead holds onto them. What results is overall weight gain in men and the development of cellulite in women.
The abundant amino acids including arginine, found in collagen protein, create a self-regulating effect to enhance sleep when taken before bedtime, as it has been shown to affect the secretion of growth hormone, which helps to produce a deeper sleep.
Hydrolysed collagen, when taken regularly optimises hydration and firmness of the skin. It improves the elasticity of the skin, combating the body's natural reduction in collagen production. The collagen is underneath the dermis in tight bundles, like springs in a bed. As it decreases, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle. By replacing some of the collagen loss, skin will look more youthful.
Hydrolysed collagen also increases the diameter of collagen fibrils in the dermis. This in turn increases cohesion of the collagen fibres themselves, which is a true anti-ageing step. In the skin, this action means increased thickness, suppleness, resilience and hydration.
The results that people are benefiting from with their skin problems are astounding. Dry skin is going away, smoothness and elasticity in one’s skin is improving, and rough skin is diminishing after taking Collagen after just a couple of weeks.
Collagen makes up 75% of our skin tissue. The skin consists of several overlapping layers of cells. The outermost epidermal layer includes the stratum corneum and consists of dead keratinized cells. The stratum corneum, when compared with the lower layers of the epidermis, is rather dry. This dryness results in roughness, increased flakiness and, in more severe cases, cracks and actual peeling - in the worst cases severe eczema and psoriasis.
The skin may appear reddened and even inflamed if dryness is sufficiently acute. In the lower layers of the skin, degenerative changes occur as we age, whereby not only moisture is lacking, but also certain complex polypeptides, such as collagen, break down. Collagen gives the skin strength and suppleness, as well as an inherent ability to retain moisture, but with ageing or as a result of exposure to the sun, our collagen fibre components begin to weaken, become less pliant & more hardened. The result is the development of dry, wrinkled skin that has lost elasticity.
The result of two studies presented at a conference in Geneva showed that giving a daily supplement of hydrolysed collagen improved both skin texture and appearance in a study of 47 women. The women were given a collagen supplement for a period of 3 months at which time the condition of their skin was re-assessed. It was found that women given the hydrolysed collagen treatment for ageing / general dry skin experienced a 28% improvement in skin hydration levels as well as a 30% improvement in fine lines and wrinkling.
In another recent article Dr. N. Novick a practicing M.D., & associate clinical professor of dermatology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, commented on the usefulness of UC-II for promoting youthful skin.
"I recommend daily oral supplementation... to nourish the skin from the inside out where topical applications cannot reach. "This dietary supplement provides the only natural and bioavailable source of collagen needed to maintain skin moisture and elasticity".
A Dermiscan study in Lyon, France, in 2008 showed in an age group of 35-55, that after 12 weeks of taking hydrolysed collagen daily, there was 41% less wrinkles and a more resilient skin.
UC-II also contains good levels of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) which is central to regular cell growth. HA and collagen are vital structural components of skin that decline as we age. Both are low molecular weight compounds, that are readily and easily absorbed into the bloodstream. HA functions as a lubricant between the collagen matrix of the skin. Since it is a component of the skin and declines with age, collagen supplementation helps ensure adequate levels to support its healthy appearance and function.
Collagen is often prescribed for sports related ligament & tendon injuries. Indeed, collagen wraps help keep the injured nerves and tendons in place - ensuring a safer and faster recovery from injury. In one clinical study, a daily dose of collagen decreased student athletes use of analgesic pain relief drugs by as much as 81%. Numerous other studies lasting from 14 to 24 weeks find collagen significantly reduces pain and joint discomfort, increases mobility and strength in afflicted joints and reduces the use of NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen in amateur sportsmen.
In a review on the role of collagen in bone and joint disease, Professor Roland Moskowitz, M.D., commented on the excellent safety profile of collagen. He noted that it has been used as a food since at least early medieval times. He says “Collagen is of interest as a therapeutic agent of potential utility in the treatment of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Its high level of safety makes it attractive as an agent for long-term use in these and many other chronic disorders."
The symptoms of collagen deficiency in many aliments often begin to be alleviated in two to four weeks. However, for serious conditions that have been prevalent for some years collagen must be taken for a period of eight to twelve weeks before any decision can be made as to whether the product is working. Those who will benefit the most from supplementation include:
Dosage:Take 2-4 capsules throughout the day, in between meals or as directed by a health care practitioner as a food supplement.
Usage:Apply twice daily to required areas, massaging cream fully into the skin.