What is collagen?
A polypeptide molecule, collagen is a protein in our bodies. In fact, collagen is the largest and most abundant protein in the body, making up about 65% of our total protein.
Proteins are made of amino acids, such as glycine, proline, arginine, hydroxyproline, which are amino acids that exist in collagen in varying proportions, depending upon the source. As the largest protein in the body, collagen is a chain of over 1500 amino acids.
Collagen is the connective tissue for almost all our structures, including
As we age, collagen production drops way off, and any of these systems can be affected. Most common example of collagen decrease: the floorward tendency of our skin and muscles as we age, which doctors call ptosis.
In the organs, decreased collagen causes instability and weakness. Organs like the heart and prostate may enlarge; other organs just get flimsier and weaker. For this type of degenerative problem, drugs rarely work.
Why does collagen production decrease? Hormonal changes, drugs, alcohol, processed food, white sugar, hydrogenated oils, overwork, radiation, fluoridated water, excess sun, nutritional deficits, dehydration, stress, trauma.
What else happens as collagen production decreases? Muscles and skin sag. The bones lose density. The joints and ligaments become weaker and less elastic. Cartilage becomes thinner and weaker at the joints it is supposed to cushion. Hair loses its wave or curl or thickness. Organs may sag toward the floor (prolapse), and may malfunction. The lungs turn to paper. The heart weakens and enlarges. The liver and prostate may weaken and enlarge. The arteries weaken and are less able to resist plaque formation. Also they are more likely to develop a break in one of their 3 layers (aneurysm). The skin becomes thinner and it wrinkles.
Ever notice that kids never lick their fingers for friction when thumbing through the pages of a book – only adults do? Collagen breakdown. Ever notice that plastic surgeons often own large houses overlooking the ocean? Collagen breakdown.
Normal digestion breaks down protein into peptides and amino acids, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.
For the collagen protein found in foods and most supplements to be utilized by the body, it must first be broken down many times by the digestive system, and then absorbed through the intestine into the blood in the precise form needed. It’s then reassembled into your collagen at the proper site. Protein digestion of dietary collagen is often incomplete, resulting in some very large peptide chains. These long molecules are not well utilized in the body’s efforts to keep up with the declining production.
A BETTER IDEA: HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN
With high end collagen supplements, the protein breakdown is pre-engineered and much more thorough, resulting in a more uniform result: usable small chain peptides and amino acids, ready to go.
Quality hydrolyzed collagen supplements are made from high grade gelatin, which has been extracted from cattle hides. The first step of processing separates the skin’s outer layer from the inner layer. The outer layer is used in the leather industry. The inner layer is used by the gelatin industry.
Gelatin is 83% protein, 15% water, and 2% minerals.
Gelatin contains all essential human amino acids except tryptophan, including
Many different grades of gelatin can be extracted from the skins, depending on the processing. The gelatin is graded according to the jelling strength of the finished product. Gummy bears for example typify the high end of this spectrum: high jelling strength. The lower end would be exemplified by marshmallows – low jelling strength.
Gelatin is also graded by the size of the molecules. Low quality gelatin can have huge molecules, as large as 150,000 daltons or more.
Gelatin has been used for decades in the food industry as a thickening, emulsifying, and jelling agent. Examples: marshmallows, candies, health bars, jello, custards, fillings, canning, etc.
Gelatin has a peculiar triple helix protein chain structure which allows it to liquefy when heated and to solidify when cooled. This is called thermo-reversibility.
The best companies produce a grade of gelatin that is actually used in hospitals as a blood plasma substitute. So we might imagine the strict QC standards for sterility and cleanliness in place in producing collagen of this quality.
Hydrolyzed collagen as a food supplement came about later on, once scientists learned to break the long chain triple helix protein into shorter pieces, and then to separate the 3 helices from each other. The resulting short individual peptides make up hydrolyzed collagen. Cleaving peptides into sections is known as hydrolysis.
The method for final hydrolysis of collagen, that everyone agrees is far and away the best, is using proteolytic enzymes. Without heat and acids, the bio-compatible integrity of the finished molecules will be guaranteed.
In our newest version of hydrolyzed collagen, the enzyme process is done up to 6 hours on each batch. The result is very small peptides – averaging 3000 daltons – of highly biocompatible collagen. It is the long duration of hydrolysis that ensures that peptides are cleaved into these very small pieces, uniform within their range.
There have been almost no collagen producers willing to go to the trouble of hydrolyzing only with enzymes for so many hours, because it is expensive and time-consuming to do so, and most people don’t know the difference.
One company goes to that trouble to get the best building material for the body’s new collagen, which can then build lean muscle, rebuild damaged joints and provide for the other collagen deficiencies listed above.
Taken long-term, it is practically impossible not to benefit from such a supplement, even if there is some serious underlying pathology. Once the body is provided with usable building blocks for new collagen, often for the first time in years, so many systems can show improvement:
- lean muscle gain
- muscle tone
- skin toning and thickening
- joint rebuilding
- arterial strengthening
- thickening hair and nails
- increased energy from musculoskeletal surcharge
- organ rebuilding: heart, prostate, lungs, liver, kidneys, blood vessels, etc.
Chronic problems that can improve include:
high blood pressure
arthritis in joints
Impossible? Why have we heard so little about the fantastic effects of collagen? Well just think – if a natural food supplement 100% clean, with no side effects could actually have powerful therapeutic effects on any system dependent on collagen, who would study that? Who would publish the results? University research labs funded by the drug companies?
Actually, legitimate studies have recently been conducted, and the results are overwhelming.
We saw that one determinant of Hydrolyzed Collagen’s ultimate quality is molecular weight, or size of the finished molecules. The unit of molecular weight is the dalton, of course. The molecular weight of a batch of collagen, although expressed as a single number in daltons, is actually an average size within a range.
Commercial collagens sold as food supplements today can run from 3000 daltons up to more than 50,000 daltons, depending upon processing. The average is near 45,000. For optimum bioavailability, or uptake at the cellular level, small is better. The lower the number of daltons, the smaller the molecule, the greater the bioavailability.
Below 3000 daltons there would be too many free amino acids, which would give the collagen a very harsh taste. At 3000 daltons, hydrolyzed collagen gives a neutral taste – actually no taste when mixed with fruit juice. This is the optimum molecular size for the best repair usefulness by the body.
Bioavailability is a prime criterion in evaluating any supplement, not just collagen: how much of the supplement actually gets absorbed at the cellular level. Bioavailability is expressed as a percentage, the higher the better, meaning that the greatest percentage of the supplement actually enters the body’s cells.
Our Hydrolyzed Collagen is in the 3000 dalton range, which is more than 15x better than most. Its bioavailability is 90%, digested and absorbed [ 2, Asghar] Other studies showed 95% bioavailability by radio-assay testing. [3, Oesser]
By contrast, most health supplements sold in mall stores have very cheap ingredients, which result in very low bioavailability, perhaps in the area of 5% or even less. Many pills, as in most of the multi products, do not even dissolve at all and pass through the body intact. That would obviously be about a 0% bioavailability.
SKIN REBUILDING: CLINICAL STUDIES
As we’ve seen, skin is made of collagen. As we age, collagen production drops off and skin sags because it gets thinner, weaker, drier, and less resilient, or pliable. This deterioration is directly linked to amino acid content. Specific amino acids in the skin’s structure, like glycine, proline, hydroproline, and alanine – decrease with age and bad diet.
Since Hydrolyzed Collagen contains most essential amino acids, it is not surprising then that third party clinical studies have clearly demonstrated significant skin improvement by taking it daily.
A 2008 study in Tokyo  of 33 women ages 40-60 who took 10 g of Hydrolyzed Collagen daily for 2 months showed a 91% increase in skin hydration and resilience.
A Dermiscan study in Lyon France in 2008 showed similar findings in an age group of 35-55: an increase in skin smoothness and hydration, using the new Corneometer and Skin Image Analyzer technologies. [15, 16] After 12 weeks of 10g Hydrolyzed Collagen daily, 41% less furrowing, less wrinkles, more resilient, more hydrated. Skin resilience was measured by the C&Z Cutometer, which is objective and state of the art.
Other scientists have shown exactly how the new collagen is rebuilt, not only in the skin, but in bones and ligaments. Metabolites of Hydrolyzed Collagen build bone, skin and ligaments by attracting fibroblasts. This is how they trigger the synthesis of new collagen. ( Posstlethwaite)
Hydrolyzed Collagen also increases the diameter of collagen fibrils in the dermis by the same mechanism: fibroblast stimulation. This in turn increases cohesion of the dermal collagen fibers themselves, which is a true anti-aging step. In the skin, this action means increased thickness, suppleness and resilience, as well as hydration.
Hydration, or water content of skin tissue, is proven directly related to overall smoothness and decreased furrowing and wrinkling. ( Sumida)
AWARENESS OF COLLAGEN
Global awareness of the value of hydrolyzed collagen is skyrocketing across the world today at more than 10% per year, in several applications. In Japan and China the most popular area of increased awareness of hydrolyzed collagen is in anti-aging cosmetics, specifically for skin rebuilding, and for hair and nails. Japan is already a huge market for hydrolyzed collagen, and their demand is increasing about 3% per year.
In China it’s a newer discovery, and that demand is increasing at a rate close to 100% per year. The effective cosmetic uses of hydrolyzed collagen as employed in Asia are now well documented by many clinical studies we will cite.
In Europe, where hydrolyzed collagen is certainly very important for cosmetics, the #1 application is in the area of bone health. Elderly folks, especially women, are acutely aware of the epidemic levels of osteoporosis in their demographic. The unfortunate truth is that most of the standard osteoporosis information, furnished by the pharmaceutical industry to promote drugs and calcium supplements, is incorrect. Many of the drugs, like Fosamax, are not only dangerous, but they actually harm the bones in the long run, making them weaker and more brittle.
But Europeans have known for years that hydrolyzed collagen, as a natural product, can deliver the promised improvement to bone health with none of the documented side effects of drugs. That’s one reason demand for hydrolyzed collagen is increasing at about 5% per year in Europe.
In the US and in South America, the demand for hydrolyzed collagen is increasing by about 20% per year, for these same effects: improvements in skin, hair and nails as well as bone re-mineralization.
The increased global demand for hydrolyzed collagen has brought with it some new dangers, of course. Newcomers to the collagen industry, with little experience in processing traditions, seeing the glittering new market, take many production shortcuts, and then focus on making extravagant claims.
In 2005 the World Health Organization said that 41% of Americans were obese. Think it’s gone up or down since then? Obesity is a Body Mass Index over 30. Overweight is a BMI over 25, so easily more than half the population is overweight, at least 60%.
Obesity happens with a high ratio of energy-dense and indigestible foods compared with body’s energy used. What we don’t need is stored as fat.
It has been known for 25 years that Hydrolyzed Collagen has a very satiating effect: appetite suppressing, thereby promoting weight loss, as shown in many clinical studies. [4,6]
That’s why since the 1990s, the makers of health bars have been adding collagen for weight loss applications because it promotes appetite control. But with our 2000-dalton powder form, mixed in juices, 10 g per day not only suppresses appetite but also provides highly usable protein for the body’s many needs, cited above. Nor are there any acids, fillers, hormones, antibiotics, or harsh processing — the downside of standard weight loss supplements that we’re all familiar with.
COLLAGEN FOR ATHLETES
Another area that is increasing worldwide demand for hydrolyzed collagen is certainly the field of sports nutrition. A natural available molecule that can quickly boost lean muscle gain, decrease recovery time, rebuild damaged joint structures without surgery, improve cardiovascular performance – on and on – athletes all over the world are dumping their steroids and cortisone in favor of Hydrolyzed Collagen.
This is accomplished by its promotion of natural creatine, an essential amino in new muscle growth following workouts. Arginine within the hydrolyzed collagen also promotes increased muscle mass.
Hydrolyzed Collagen is the ideal source for all these amino acids because of the care taken in production: enzymes only. This cannot be said for most brands of arginine, creatine, hydroxyproline, etc. sold in mall stores.
Athletes who want the healthiest training methods are learning that large quantities of pure Hydrolyzed Collagen can be added directly to smoothies and shakes and have a much more immediate effect than the small amounts in the sugared health bars. Or the overblown protein drinks, ubiquitous in supplement stores and health clubs, which are not even in the same category as low molecular weight Hydrolyzed Collagen, in any discussion of metabolic physiology promoting optimum athletic performance.
Another group which benefits from these same exact pathways of amino acid nutrition with Hydrolyzed Collagen is the elderly. With reduced diet intake, the availability of usable proteins is optimized if Hydrolyzed Collagen is employed as a food in the daily routine of elderly folks. Same deal as with athletes: maintenance of leaner muscle, decreased fats to clog arteries, increased organ support. [7, Hays]
BEST OF TODAY’S COLLAGEN: DOSAGE
These days there are many different collagen products available. You see them at health food stores and online. Most are made using harsh production steps, as cheaply as possible and then marketed as the best possible, etc.
The addition of small amounts of 3 extra amino acids to the new Hydrolyzed Collagen significantly enhances the end results, especially in cases of organic function and athletic performance. The three amino acids are
Glycine is the smallest amino acid found in the body. As such it makes the collagen even more bioavailable by ensuring it is delivered to the cellular level, thus acting as a natural anti-inflammatory. Such a process is often able somehow to interrupt the pain pathway, as edema and inflammation diminish.
Carnitine is important for mitochondria production, which of course is going to promote natural energy levels of the cells, and cause efficient oxidation of fats.
Glutamine is essential for healing of the gut mucosa, as well as muscle production. Which explains why so many patients with chronic digestive disorders see such quick improvement. Body builders and athletes benefit from the synthesis and growth of muscle tissue.
In powder form, Hydrolyzed Collagen can be mixed with fruit juice. Any time of day – with meals, without meals – doesn’t matter. Best way is to blend in fruit juice or smoothie. But remember: no other protein powders during the 60 Days.
Because of the expense of the careful processing described, there is no comparison in results with other commercial collagen. Taking it twice a day, 2 or 3 tablespoons in fruit juice, most patients notice a significant difference in a week or less. After a month, many have experienced dramatic changes. But to really give it a fair try, all studies showed that the patient should commit to 2 jars during a 60 day period. As with any completely natural product, the result is cumulative, which means don’t miss a day once you start.
We’ve all heard about Glucosamine sulfate – a protein supplement derived from the chitin of shellfish. Chitin is the hard material that makes up the shells. The theory is that in pure form, glucosamine sulfate will rebuild joints because it is a component of the shellfish’s shells as well as a component of your cartilage.
An Italian researcher, Rovati, was the world authority in the area of glucosamine sulfate for over 60 years. The main problem was stability – isolated glucosamine sulfate naturally tends to degrade into formless mush after about 30 days. In the 1970s, Dr. Rovati patented a process to stabilize glucosamine sulfate, which process is still used today.
Glucosamine sulfate can sometimes deliver what it promises – relieve joint problems. But what usually happens when people stop taking glucosamine? Right – the problem returns. That’s what everybody says. Why is that? Because the action of glucosamine in joints is primarily anti-inflammatory. Glucosamine may stop the inflammation, which is caused by the action of worn out discs, joint capsules, menisci, bursae, etc. But the irritation continues and inflammation is constantly occurring. So when the glucosamine stops coming in, inflammation is once again uncontrolled, and the pain starts back up.
Above we have seen recent clinical studies cited for the use of Hydrolyzed Collagen. Some of the early work that was done with hydrolyzed collagen involved cancer patients. As cancer progresses, it often destroys muscle tissue in a very aggressive fashion. People who have been around family members who are dying of cancer may notice the characteristic way that the muscles of the arms and legs seem to turn to limp string. Doctors call this condition cachexia.
As more and more patients began to use Hydrolyzed Collagen, a wide range of clinical gains was demonstrated. First the chronic arthritis conditions, especially of shoulders and knees that had been weak and painful for years — suddenly, normal. For many patients the skin thickens and tightens, very soon after daily supplementation is begun. Hair commonly thickens as well. Those changes we expected. But what was surprising was the number of organic dysfunction cases that often showed dramatic improvement with daily collagen smoothies – liver problems, prostate problems, lung deficits, heart problems, especially blood pressure. [See: Feedback and Testimonials section on the site]
Such improvements would show up with great regularity, and soon we came to almost expect the noticeable improvement. When the physiology of these conditions is considered, the logic falls into place. For the first time in years, the body is being provided with the building blocks of its own new collagen. It prioritizes where the collagen is needed most. Practically the definition of the holistic model, this is a completely different approach from the pain medications and anti-inflammatories which are self-defeating and ultimately destructive in the chronic case. Most patients thought drugs were their only option all these years.
Performing athletes and bodybuilders find this product a clean source of collagen protein for lean muscle gain, tendon and ligament repair, fast recovery time, and optimum performance. Hydrolyzed Collagen is now a runaway success.
PART OF THE 60 DAY PROGRAM
In the 60 Day Program, it has been practically a mantra that we wanted to keep the number of supplements to an absolute minimum so that the patient was taking the least number of supplements possible, spending the least amount of money, but still taking in everything necessary for a complete detox and nutrition turnaround. With an objective like that obviously I’ve been the target of every Magic Bullet Salesman since Louis Pasteur, all claiming their products were essential to any effective program, etc.
But with collagen this clean and absorbable, there are so many areas of the body that can benefit from suddenly having available something that hasn’t been present for years, but which is the structural material of virtually every part of the body. And it’s the body itself that is doing the prioritizing – the triage. The body directs the repair materials to the locations most in need — truly the epitome of the holistic model. None of this chasing symptoms – what I call the allopathic approach to supplements we see at all the vitamin stores – this pill for this disease, that pill for that disease, etc. If that model doesn’t work in mainstream medicine why would it work in holistic medicine?
Holistic means give the body what it needs to heal its own tissues, remove the interference, remove the accumulated wastes. Stick with the program until normal equilibrium is re-established, no matter what. Classic simplicity, with high expectation of positive results; difficult to commit to. Sadly, when faced with a choice between lifestyle change and death, most people will choose death.
Obviously that’s not the demographic that can expect the best results from the 60 Day Program, which includes 7 supplements all of the same calibre as the Hydrolyzed Collagen we have been describing.
But for those with the wherewithal to follow through and adhere strictly to the regimen, the missing key to their health picture is often discovered.
We didn’t even have time to name it – it’s just called Hydrolyzed Collagen. And it fulfills every criterion as a natural and holistic product, as set forth in the chapters of thedoctorwithin.com – a product that works with all the systems of the body at the cellular level.
1. Engelbrecht, Christoph – Interview: Paris, France 6 May 2010
2. Asghar, A – 1982 chemical biochemical and functional characteristics of collagen—Advances in Food Research vol 28 p 231
3. Oesser , S – 1999 oral administration of 14cgelatinhydrolasate
Journal of Nutrition vol 129 p1891
4. Veldhorst M – A breakfast with a-lactalbumin protein Clinical Nutrition vol 28 p 147 2009
5. Posstlethwaite, A – 1978 Chemotactic attraction of human fibroblasts National Acad. Of Sciences vol 75(20 p 871
6. Martin A – Advanced nutritional intakes Ed. Tec. & Doc Paris 2001
7. Hays N – Effects of whey and fortified collagen Journal of Am. Dietetic Assn. vol 109 p 1082 2009
8. Guyton, A.C., M – Textbook of Medical Physiology
9. Sumida E The effect of oral ingestion of collagen peptide on skin hydration Journal of Nutritional Food vol 7(3) p 45
10. Theodesakis – The Arthritis Cure
11. Warberg, Otto – The Metabolism of Tumors
12. Rotta Research Labs – “Profile of Glucosamine Sulfate”
13. Woods, Chris – “Repairing Parchment With Collagen” 16 Apr 1997
14. SOUKEN study Tokyo Japan: two month study hydrolyzed collagen 2008
15. DERMISCAN study Lyon France Cutaneous properties of hydrolyzed collagen 2008.
16. COURAGE and KHAZAKA study: Moisturizing effect of hydrolyzed collagen measured with Corneometer and Skin Image Analyzer