The Benefits of Collagen Protein- What Does Collagen Really Do?
The Benefits of Collagen Protein – Today I want to give you a little bit of an education on collagen protein and how it’s synthesized within the body and what it actually does.
We’re seeing lots and lots of collagen products come on the market these days, and it’s important that we have an understanding of what’s actually happening when it comes down to the amino acids that collagen contains and quite frankly, what collagen is in the first place.
So what I want to discuss today is the amino acid structure and what it does within your body. So first and foremost, collagen is what is known as a long-chain amino, okay? It’s a very unique kind of protein that’s actually the most abundant protein in the body.
A lot of us don’t realize it, we tend to think that skeletal muscle and things like that are going to be the most abundant protein. It’s actually collagen.
30% of the protein in your entire body is collagen and over 70% of the entirety of protein in your skin is collagen.
Benefits of Collagen – Collagen Provides Elasticity
You see what collagen does is it provides elasticity. It provides a lot of the actual stretch and the actual movement of tissue in the first place. However, it also gives structure; it’s what allows the skin to be flexible but also allows it to be somewhat rigid as well.
The same kind of thing with cartilage, it is flexible, yet rigid at the same time. That’s because the protein in collagen is pretty unique. You see, it’s comprised of a few different amino acids. We have proline, which I’m going to talk about in just a minute.
We’ve got glycine, we’ve got arginine and then in some cases, we have glutamine, usually small amounts.
So what I’m going to do in this article is I’m breaking down what collagen does, but then I’d break down the individual amino acids and how they have their own respective roles when it comes down to creating connective tissue and also helping you feel better.
Benefits of Collagen – Structure of Collagen
So let’s talk about the structure of collagen and the amino acids involved. But first off, let’s make sure that you know that the main purpose of collagen is going to be to help rebuild cartilage, help strengthen your joints, but also to help restructure, reorganize, and make sure that your gut remains flexible as well.
So let’s first look at proline, the most abundant amino acid that’s in collagen. The job of proline is to break down protein tissues and that sounds a little bit counterintuitive, why would we want to break down protein tissues if we’re actually looking for structure and flexibility?
Well, it’s the breaking down of the protein tissues that allows those proteins to become flexible, otherwise, they would just be rigid. So when we’re looking at the skin, we need that proline to break down the proteins so that the skin can actually move and do its thing.
The same kind of thing with the intestinal tract. You see when we look at the lining of the intestinal tract, it needs to have some flexibility too. The best way that I can describe this, if your skin were to get very very very dry, it would get rigid, it would get brittle, and when you move your arm when you move your leg, your skin would probably crack.
Well, your intestinal lining’s the same way. You see if it doesn’t have the elasticity, it’s going to get rigid and it’s going to crack, and it’s going to become permeable, which means that larger food particles are going to get into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response.
The point is, we need the elasticity, we need the collagen and it’s the proline that allows that to happen. Now additionally, proline also allows fat to get mobilized if it’s been stuck to an arterial wall.
Benefits of Collagen – Glycine
A total side benefits, but it’s a nice little perk at that. Now let’s talk about glycine. Glycine is the next most abundant amino when we’re looking at collagen and it’s the job of glycine to help synthesize DNA and RNA. Now you might be wondering, “Why does this even matter?” Well, you see we have a genetic blueprint.
Every time that we rebuild cells, or every time that we restructure something in our body, we require DNA, we require our RNA. What this means is we need this blueprint to build ourselves back up to the way that we are supposed to be built.
Let me give you an example. How weird would it be if you were to shatter your elbow and you didn’t have a genetic code to rebuild it the same way that you are, so you rebuilt it with somebody else’s elbow?
It would look weird and it would feel weird, and it wouldn’t work, right? Well, that’s exactly why the DNA and the RNA are so important when it comes down to cell regeneration and rehab in the first place and what this glycine does is it helps the DNA and the RNA are synthesized better, they communicate with the cells so that the collagen can rebuild the right kind of things.
If you injure the cartilage, or you injure the connective tissue, you need the DNA and the RNA to rebuild it to the right genetic code, otherwise, you’re not going to heal properly.
Benefits of Collagen – Arginine
How the proline and the glycine work in-tandem. Then we have the arginine. Now arginine you might know of, arginine’s going to stimulate nitric oxide production what’s gonna allow the blood flow to be more powerful. It’s gonna allow you to get more blood to the cell, more blood to where it needs to go to deliver nutrients.
You can see how this is a lethal weapon when it’s combined with the proline and the glycine. So you take the actual restructuring component along with the DNA, along with the improvement of blood flow, you’ve got a nice little structure there.
Benefits of Collagen – Glutamine
Now let’s talk about glutamine for just a second. There’s not a whole lot of glutamine in collagen, but enough to make a big difference. What glutamine’s main function’s going to be when it comes down to collagen, is going to be solely for the gut.
You see what this glutamine’s going to do, is it’s going to slow down or stop epithelial cell apoptosis. What that means is it’s the pre-programmed cellular death within the gut.
We have this cell apoptosis, which is pre-programmed death that is dictated by the DNA. Our DNA will tell a cell to die at a certain point because it’s just time to die.
Well, what the glutamine can do is it can slow down that process the cell, even when it’s supposed to die, could stay alive a little bit longer, allowing the gut to flourish and allow that gut mucosal layer to rebuild even stronger.
Now that’s pretty powerful when it comes down to really trying to absorb as many of the nutrients as you possibly can and to reduce inflammation in the body.
Benefits of Collagen – Bacteremia
We also have a massive reduction in what is called bacteremia. Bacteremia is going to be the overall composition of bad bacteria’s in the gut that slow down digestion and also affect the motility of the gut in a very negative way.
So glutamine has a big impact. So now that we know what collagen is made of, let’s talk about why it’s so important to make sure that you’re getting it from an exogenous source as much as possible. You see even if you’re eating a lot of meat, it’s extremely hard to synthesize collagen. Not that it’s difficult, it’s just metabolically expensive.
Metabolically expensive is a word that I like to use to describe how much efficiency is involved in synthesizing something and synthesizing collagen is not very efficient.
It requires a lot of different things, it requires a robust amount of enzymes, a robust amount of anti-oxidants, and a ton of vitamin C to ultimately link these amino chains together.
Our body can do it, and our body can do it from vegetarian sources too, it can extract this different amino and link them together, it just takes a lot of work, and we might not be getting enough. We also have to factor in how many greens we need to be taking in order to actually synthesize collagen the proper way.
You see, chlorophyll, which is in deep leafy greens, is what is going to help the body produce procollagen. This procollagen allows collagen to actually be formed without chlorophyll, collagen doesn’t form very well, so if you’re eating a lot of meat, but you’re not getting your veggies, you’re not gonna built a lot of collagen.
Which means even if you’re consuming enough protein, you might not be feeling like your joints are recovering. That’s why it’s extremely important to try to utilize collagen supplement if you don’t think that you’re getting enough. The collagen supplements these days are super high-quality, especially if you know what you’re looking for.
You wanna make sure you’re looking for grass-fed whenever possible, don’t go with the low-quality stuff that’s from inhumanely treated animals, but also the stuff that’s not going to absorb and be utilized in your body.
You end up wasting your time, wasting your money and ultimately wasting a perfectly good collagen drain. So if you have a hydrolyzed collagen protein, all the hard work is already done. It’s pure collagen that’s ready to be utilized and ready to help you heal.
So the real theory of this is that you don’t have to be consuming as much protein or as much animal source if you take a collagen supplement. Because the bulk of what we’re trying to extract from an animal source of protein is going to be the collagen in the first place.
It ultimately being much easier, inexpensive and finally far better to get your collagen coming from a collagen health supplement compared to to consume massive quantities of meat, hoping that you’re going to be able to synthesize just enough collagen to get yourself feeling better, allow your joints to feel better.