In the grand scheme of things, the human immune system is perhaps one of the frailest of all mammalian systems. While the heart keeps pumping and the brain keeps thinking, nobody really stops to ask how they continue to do so or what it takes to keep our bodies in tip-top shape.
Compromised immune systems tend to generate itchy, dry skin in reaction to allergens, which simply weaken the immune system further. While symptoms are generally easier to treat than causes, the reasons for sudden flare-ups often go unmanaged.
Collagen-related disorders are categorized as either genetic (as with brittle bone disease), auto-immune (such as scleroderma), or (in the case of scurvy) as miscellaneous. Collagen-related disorders are also considered to be incurable.
With this in mind, can collagen boost your immune system? Better yet, is it possible that collagen can aid in keeping flare-ups to a minimum?
What is collagen?
Research suggests that collagen – a simple protein – makes up anywhere between 25-35% of all proteins found in the human body. The largest protein present in our body, collagen is considered a structural protein because of its supporting role in strengthening tendons, delaying premature balding, tightening the skin, and more.
As we age, our collagen supply and production starts to decrease. Along with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, collagen supplements are a great way to maintain and support your immune system.
What are the Different Types of Collagen?
Although there are 29 identified types of collagen in our bodies, collagen supplements for the most part deal with only types I, II, and III because most of the other types of collagen play supportive roles to type I collagen.
When considering collagen supplements, keep in mind which aspect of your body you would like to focus on. For example:
- Over 90% of your body’s type I collagen are fibers that allow tissue, hair, nails, and skin to bend or stretch without breaking.
- Predominantly found in cartilage, type II collagen (protein) forms connective tissue in joints and bones.
- Muscles, organs, and blood vessels are supported by type III collagen.
What are the Benefits of Taking Collagen?
Clinical human trials on much larger scale are needed to validate what the testimonials all say, there can be little doubt that collagen supplements improve skin health and hydration levels, or maintain skin elasticity and density. Anti-aging, wound-healing, and even healing of internal injuries (in certain cases) have been listed as benefits of collagen supplements, while research indicates that taking collagen supplements may help to prevent cancer and heart disease.
As we age, our bodies may not be able to digest and use all the nutrients that it once used to. A protein-rich diet can certainly aid in collagen production, but without a boost, there may still not be enough collagen manufactured to cover a deficiency.
Known as immunonutrition, improving your immune system begins with a healthy, collagen- and protein-rich diet which doesn’t all have to be bone broth; think of cheese, beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or quinoa. The key to a healthy system is a healthy gut.
Always speak to your healthcare practitioner, pharmacist, or dietitian before starting a new diet or supplement. The quantities and types you need may differ to your estimates, or you could manage multiple aspects of collagen deficiency by taking taking a multi-type collagen supplement, such as marine collagen.
Related posts: What is Collagen?
Is collagen the key to a healthy gut and immune system?
Exciting and emerging research suggests that taking collagen supplements may stimulate and encourage the gut to produce a collagen-rich and gut-healthy environment. Bacteria struggle to survive in a healthy environment.
A key amino acid found in collagen, glutamine is part of the foundation of a strong immune system and repairs muscles while stimulating growth of new cells. Glutamine can be found in abundance in marine collagen, which also contains glycine – another essential amino acid that plays a vital role in rebuilding digestive systems.
Shop now: marine collagen