Collagen for Health
I have been studying the mechanics of diet-health interactions for over 20 years.
This has included analysis of the many and varied supplements available which have been found to improve health in various ways.
Accumulating evidence from various lines of enquiry have elevated two particular food supplements above all the rest, in terms of sheer scope and power to reverse the many disorders associated with the western diet and lifestyle.
These are taurine and collagen-rich glycine.
In this article I will be focusing on collagen, as collagen has more studies supporting its efficacy and safety of long-term use.
If You Only Take One Nutrition Supplement- Make it Collagen.
Collagen is emerging as the most potent and effective supplement for preventing and reversing the entire spectrum of health disorders associated with western diet and lifestyles.
The most important therapeutically active component in collagen is glycine.
Accumulating scientific evidence implicates a deficiency of glycine (or taurine) as being at the root of the development of the many and varied health disorders which are characteristic of western diets and lifestyles.
Western diets and lifestyles increase the requirement for glycine and it has been shown that increasing intake of glycine (or taurine) is able to prevent and/or reverse the development of western diet- induced health dysfunction.
We’re not getting enough glycine (or taurine).
The diets upon which humans evolved were rich in glycine.
Until recent times, the whole animal was consumed.
This meant generous helpings of connective tissues, organ meats such as kidney, liver and brain. Even bones were ground down, extracted and consumed. These ‘extra parts’ of the animal are very rich in collagen and/or glycine.
These days, most of the meat that we eat is muscle meat, like steak and chicken breast.
Considering this modern way of selectively only consuming muscle meats, it is hardly surprising that glycine deficiency is a very common problem.
And considering the vitally important role which glycine plays in health regulation, glycine deficiency is highly implicated in the many and varied diseases of western civilization.
Collagen is, by far, the richest source of glycine and is therefore the best supplement to ensure optimal intakes of glycine, whilst also providing other beneficial nutrients, such as Chondroitin Sulphate A.
The important role of collagen (and glycine) in preventing systemic health dysfunction and premature ageing is supported by a wealth of studies.
Glycine in Collagen Prevents and Reverses Obesity
Glycine increases the secretion of the very important gut hormone, GLP-1. http://openheart.bmj.com/content/1/1/e000103
GLP-1 hormone is emerging as the ultimate target for reversing obesity, since it has a potently corrective effect on the brain to reduce food intake and increase fat burning.
It has been found in an animal study, that dietary scallop, which is very rich in glycine and taurine, completely prevents high-fat, high-sucrose-induced obesity whilst maintaining lean body mass and improving the plasma lipid profile. 1]
In mice fed high- sugar diets to induce metabolic syndrome, including obesity; the supplementation of glycine decreased body weight, cholesterol levels, intra-abdominal fat tissue, fat cell growth, blood pressure, triglycerides, insulin, insulin resistance index, leptin, total fatty acids and non-esterifies fatty acids. 2]
Glycine was also found to prevent maturity-onset obesity and metabolic steatohepatitis in diabetic mice. 3]
One of the ways in which collagen prevents and reverses obesity is due to its highly satiating properties.
By being more ‘filling’, it prevents subsequent overeating.
One clinical trial found collagen to be 40% more filling than the same quantity of whey, casein or soy. Another study among obese and diabetic patients found intake of hydrolyzed collagen stimulated the release of satiating hormones into the blood.
Individuals, who supplemented with collagen, consumed 20% less at their next meal than those who consumed other types of protein.
Anti-Ageing/Anti-Wrinkle/ Sun-Damage Protective Miracle
One study found that mice who didn’t eat gelatin lost 53 percent of the collagen in their skin when exposed to UV light radiation.
Meanwhile, the mice that did eat gelatin had a large increase in collagen levels, by 17 percent when exposed to UV light. 4] 5]
Collagen intake has been shown to increase skin collagen expression and suppress the activity of the enzymes which break down collagen. 6]
Another placebo-controlled study found that women who took 2.5 grams of a hydrolyzed collagen peptide once a day for eight weeks exhibited a 20 percent reduction in wrinkle depth around their eyes.
Additionally, the subjects' levels of pro-collagen I—was up 65 percent.
And these results were long-lasting: The women's skin still demonstrated elevated moisture levels and elasticity four weeks after they stopped taking the supplements. 7]
Collagen Improves Cellulite
A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, demonstrated that regular ingestion of collagen over a period of 6 months led to
a clear improvement of the skin appearance in women suffering from moderate cellulite. 8]
Glycine has also been found to increases the speed by nearly double of which skin ulcers heal. 9]
Glycine in Collagen Helps You Sleep and Function Better on Less Sleep
Taking glycine decreases the time to fall asleep, and increases slow wave deep sleep. 10]
Glycine improves REM sleep and decrease non-REM sleep. 11]
3g Glycine given to volunteers before sleeping resulted in improvements in fatigue, ‘liveliness and peppiness’ and ‘clear-headedness’ the following day.
This indicates that glycine induced better, longer restorative reparative sleep. 12]
For those who are unable to avoid sleep restriction due to shift working, getting up with babies or other reasons; glycine can relieve virtually all the unpleasant symptoms of sleep deprivation, from eye strain to morning fatigue to feelings of unease and difficulty concentrating, and even improve memory recognition too. 13]
Glycine in Collagen Prevents Cavities!
In rat models, supplementation with 4% glycine caused a 65.7% reduction of cavity occurrence! 14]
Collagen Alleviates Joint Pain, Stiffness, and Arthritis (Better than Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate)
One trial demonstrated a 70% response rate for significant or noticeable improvement in joint pain among patients who supplemented with collagen.15]
In another study, collagen proved 25% more effective in reducing osteoarthritis pain and stiffness compared to other anti-inflammatory supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. 16]
Clinical studies have shown collagen peptides improve mobility and flexibility in both arthritic patients and in athletes. After collagen supplementation, subjects have been able to exercise for longer durations before experiencing joint pain.17]
Studies have shown collagen supplementation decreases tendon and ligament injury rates.
One study that measured effects of daily intake of collagen peptides found significant increase of the collagen fibers in the Achilles tendon. 18] 19]
Scientists have also found that collagen increases the speed of healing from torn muscles, joints and ligaments. 20]
Collagen Prevents Heart Attacks and Stroke
Type II collagen is 14.2 percent Chondroitin sulfate A.
Chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) has a powerful anti-thrombogenic or anti-coagulant effect which, in essence, prevents blood clots and has been shown to reduce the incidence of stroke and heart attacks.
One study found that after six years of taking CSA on daily basis, there was a 600 percent reduction in the incidence of fatal heart attacks, simply by taking oral CSA on a daily basis. 43]
Glycine in Collagen Prevents/Reverses ‘Leaky Gut’ and Systemic Inflammation
Accumulating evidence implicates leaky gut (and the ensuing inflammation) as the key precipitating factor in a growing number of health disorders.
When intestinal contents, particularly bacterial cell components, leak out of the intestine into the blood stream, they activate the immune system systemically.
Chronic Inflammation is the effect of a chronically activated immune system.
The effects of inflammation are experienced differently, depending on the individual genetic makeup.
Although the symptoms may be diverse and individual; the root cause is the same: ‘leaky gut’- induced inflammation.
Glycine in Collagen has Potent Effects to Prevent Inflammation
A scientific 21] review concluded that “multiple protective effects make glycine a promising treatment strategy for inflammatory diseases”. They began by saying “in recent years, evidence has mounted in favour of the anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and cytoprotective effects of the simplest amino acid L-glycine”.
Glycine acts directly on inflammatory cells to suppress activation of transcription factors, the formation of free radicals, and inflammatory cytokines. 22]23]
A very important way that glycine helps to prevent systemic inflammation is due to glycine’s preventative effect against leaky gut.
By directly reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the intestine, glycine prevents the development of leaky gut. 28] 29] 30]
And by preventing leaky gut, systemic inflammation is dramatically reduced, if not completely ameliorated.
Glycine reduces inflammation via direct anti-inflammatory action, but more importantly than this; glycine prevents leaky gut and inflammation by increasing glycine-conjugation of the hydrophobic bile acids.
Hydrophobic bile is very inflammatory, which directly increases leaky gut by creating inflammation in the intestine.
Even more importantly, hydrophobic bile also activates certain bile receptors, which profoundly increase leaky gut and down-regulate the body's protective anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Therefore, by conjugating hydrophobic bile to its less damaging hydrophilic conjugated state; glycine prevents inflammation on several fronts.
Collagen/Glycine Reverses/Prevents Intestinal Disorders
By decreasing inflammation in the intestine, many intestinal- based disorders are prevented/reversed by glycine supplementation.
Glycine possesses significant anti-ulcer activity 31]
Glycine prevents chemically induced colitis in animal models 32]
Glycine has even be found to be protective against inflammatory bowel disease.33]
Glycine has also been found to be highly protective of acid reflux, due to its anti-inflammatory effects. 35.]
Other Inflammatory Disorders Which Glycine in Collagen Prevents/Reverses
It is increasingly being understood by scientists that many types of mental illness are profoundly exacerbated, if not entirely triggered, by systemic inflammation.
For this reason, strategies which reduce inflammation (like glycine supplementation) have a key role to play in treating mental illness.
Glycine supplementation has been shown in one instance over the course of 5 years to significantly reduce symptoms of OCD and body dysmorphic disorder. 36]
Glycine has shown positive results when used in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults. 37]
Glycine supplementation significantly reduced symptoms of schizophrenia. 38]
In treatment-resistant schizophrenia; glycine improved cognitive and depressive symptoms. 39]
Glycine in Collagen Prevents and Reverses Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders
Since accumulating evidence increasingly implicates inflammation and leaky gut in the development of metabolic disorders; glycine's benefits unsurprisingly include improvements in metabolic function.
Glycine helps with diabetes and metabolic disorders.40]http://openheart.bmj.com/content/1/1/e000103
Glycine reduces glycated haemoglobin (A1C), a risk factor associated with poor blood glucose management in patients with type 2 diabetes. 41]
Glycine in Collagen Helps the Liver- The Ultimate Hangover Cure
In rats with alcohol poisoning, feeding glycine reduced accumulation of cholesterol, phospholipids, free fatty acids and triglycerides in blood circulation, liver, and brain, ultimately reversing liver disorder associated with fat accumulation. 42]
Other Inflammatory Disorders Which Glycine/Collagen Can Prevent and Reverse
Evidence continues to accumulate for a causal role of inflammation and leaky gut in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases 46], Irritable bowel Syndrome 49] 34], acne 47] 48] and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 50].
Another syndrome for which glycine holds corrective potential, is chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome has recently been identified as a symptom of failing AMPK activation in the body.http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122982
Since glycine is known to potently increase AMPK activation (via increasing GLP-1 secretion) http://openheart.bmj.com/content/1/1/e000103, glycine is highlighted as a promising therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Since glycine combats AMPK failure and inflammation on several fronts, glycine is indicated as a supplement with great potential for the prevention and reversal of most, if not all, of the diseases which are characteristic to western diets and lifestyles.
If you would like to experience the many health and beauty benefits of collagen; I offer collagen supplements.
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I am a degree level Nutritionist, formally educated in Nutrition and Molecular and Cellular Biology .
My education is continuous as I intensively research, analyse and incorporate the very latest scientific findings in ‘root cause’ physiology.
The advanced understanding I have gained from 20 years of research has enabled the formulation of highly targeted diet and lifestyle strategies for the correction of failing health and obesity progression.
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