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Collagen Slows Aging

Collagen Slows Aging

Collagen Slows Aging
by Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe, M.S.

The word collagen is derived from the Greek word “kola” meaning glue. Collagen is a structural component that makes your bones strong, your tendons elastic and your skin smooth. Collagen is the single most abundant protein in the human body. Newborns have abundant collagen and as we age collagen production declines. There are over 16 types of collagen, but 90 percent of the collagen in the body consists of types I, II, and III.

Collagen is essential to every structure in the body. When collagen production decreases muscles and skin sags; bones lose density; joints and ligaments become weaker and less elastic. Cartilage becomes thinner and weaker at the joints. Hair loses its thickness and wave and breaks easily. Organs may sag toward the floor (prolapsed uterus and bladder), and sphincters weaken. The heart enlarges. Arteries become less elastic, more prone to aneurysm and become less resistant to plaque formation. But where we notice the loss of collagen the most is in the skin.  Maintaining healthy collagen levels as we age will slow the structural decline of the body’s tissues and organs.

Types of Collagen in the body

Collagen is found in the majority of organs, not just the skin.

  • Type I Collagen – The most abundant collagen in the body. It is the strongest and toughest form found in tendons, bones, skin and other tissues. This type of collagen is abundant in scar tissue.
  • Types II, IX, X, XI – Are found in cartilage
  • Type III – Common in fast growing tissue, particularly at the early stages of wound repair which is later replaced with type I collagen.
  • Type IV – Membrane of capillaries
  • Type V, VI – Generally found alongside type I
  • Type VII – Epithelia cells lining the GI tract, urinary tract and vaginal wall
  • Type VIII – Lining of blood vessels

Collagen in Nutritional Supplements

There are many different types of collagen supplements available. Type II collagen from chicken sternum and animal derived collagen from bovine or porcine; Type 1, II and type III and type VII collagen from marine collagen and elastin peptides; and collagen gelatin from boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments of cows.  So how do you know what type of collagen to use? Research has been performed using collagen for arthritis, wrinkles and bone health.

Collagen Type II for Arthritis
Studies have shown that Chicken Type II collagen is effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and a 2009 study found it to be effective in treating osteoarthritis (OA). The new study compared Chicken type II collagen against a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin in the treatment of OA of the knee. The results indicate that the collagen treatment resulted in a significant reduction in all assessments from the baseline at 90 days. The Western Ontario McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score (which is the gold standard for measuring the improvement in arthritis symptoms like pain, range of motion, distance walking), was reduced by 33% in the group taking the collagen compared to 14% in the group getting glucosamine and chondroitin after 90 days. The group taking the Chicken Type II collagen treated subjects showed significant enhancement in daily activities suggesting an improvement in their quality of life. Remember collagen Type II is the key type of collagen found in cartilage so it makes sense that rebuilding the damaged cartilage will help reduce the pain of arthritis.

Collagen Creams

The concept behind collagen creams is that the skin is made up of collagen so applying collagen to skin that is deficient should increase collagen. Unfortunately collagen is such a complex, large sized molecule that it can not penetrate the skin. Building collagen from the inside out is the most effective way of getting collagen enhanced in the skin.

Collagen and Skin

Starting in our early twenties collagen production declines by about one percent a year. Women in menopause are especially susceptible to collagen decline. Women lose as much as 30 percent of their skin collagen in the five years following menopause which is the reason that we see bone loss, muscle decline, prolapsed uterus and bladder and skeletal aging. And as if that is not bad enough, skin elasticity declines 0.55 percent per year after menopause. The effects of slowed collagen production are visibly obvious when skin loses its structure, sags and wrinkles. A, second yet, equally important component of skin is called elastin. Elastin fibers form a matrix with collagen; together they allow the skin to flex and move. When we are young, the skin naturally renews its collagen and elastin. But with age and as exposure to sun and environmental toxins damages the skin, this renewal rate slows down and we lose collagen.

Reduce Deep Wrinkles in 28 Days

In a study of 43 women between the ages of 40 and 55 with crow’s feet wrinkles, consumption of Active Collagen containing Type I, III and VII hydrolyzed marine collagen and elastin polypeptides was found to decrease lines and wrinkles as well as to increase skin moisture. Two grams per day of either Active Collagen or placebo were consumed for 84 days. Subjects’ forearm and face skin condition were measured at day 0, day 28 and day 84. The study was performed during the harsh winter months. After 28 days, seventy-one percent of the group taking Active Collagen had a 20 percent decrease in the depth of deep wrinkles. At day 84 the group taking Active Collagen showed an increase in skin moisture and elasticity and sagging improved. The placebo group experienced an increase in the number of deep wrinkles at both day 28 and day 84 and no improvement in moisture and increased dryness.  Although the skin of the vaginal wall was not evaluated knowing that collagen VII is found in Active Collagen it is most likely an improvement in these tissues would be found as well. No other product shows a 20 percent reduction in the depth of deep wrinkles in as little as 28 days and the effects of Active Collagen are cumulative. The longer you take Active Collagen the better the skin looks and feels.

Vegetarians Can Enhance Collagen Too

Collagen manufacture can be enhanced by providing the body with the building blocks which include the nutrients vitamin A, C, E and selenomethionine and zinc which you can find in a good quality multivitamin with minerals. Collagen. Biotin and silicic acid found in combination also help build collagen and elastin. Garlic contains sulfur, which helps your body produce collagen. Garlic also contains taurine and alpha lipoid acid, which support damaged collagen fibers. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene which inhibits the enzymes called collagenases that breakdown and destroy collagen. A diet rich in vegetables and good sources of protein will aid collagen production from the inside out.

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