The most abundant protein in the human body is collagen. Collagen is responsible for a plethora of physiological processes in the body, four of which will be described in this article. In a general sense it helps support the structural framework of the body and reinforce connective tissue strength and stability. Natural production of collagen can decline with age. Production can also be impeded with certain lifestyle factors like smoking, poor diet and even overexposure to sunlight. Lets dive into four major functions that collagen serves in the human body.
Collagen has an incredible ability to reduce joint pain. Typically with joint pain there is inflammation present, a wearing down of the bursa and less synovial fluid present. Collagen helps reduce the inflammation, reduce the friction of the bone on bone and can help reinforce proper joint glide and lubrication of the joint.
Secondarily, collagen has powerful effects on gut health. We know that leaky gut syndrome allows toxins to pass out of the gut and enter circulation. This can lead to body-wide inflammation, autoimmune conditions and a myriad of diseases. Fortunately collagen can bolster the lining of the gut and therefore offset the probability of an intestinal permeability issue.
Skin, hair and nails all benefit from a healthy supply of collagen. When it comes to skin, collagen aids in hydration and proper elasticity as well as reducing wrinkles and dryness. Cosmetically it's a homerun ingredient.
The fourth benefit is that collagen reinforces bone health well. There are proteins in the body that can stimulate bone resorption. Collagen helps to block those proteins so that bone mineral density stays adequately established in the body. Collagen can aid in calcium absorption into the bones as well minimizing problems like osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Collagen helps improve complexion by aiding in skin elasticity and hydration.
These are four of the major benefits I wanted to focus on when it comes to collagen. There are many more than this, which goes to show just how vital proper collagen levels are. I will do a follow-up blog focusing more on the supplement of collagen and the top collagen-forming/building foods to include in the diet.
Dr. Seamus Allen
CFMP, DACBN, DC