Aleksey Bashkirtsev, a well-known doctor in Ukraine, has already shared the topic of connective tissue with Huxleў. Today we will reveal the secrets of how to ensure the health of the matrix of our body. One of the most important ingredients in this is to improve collagen synthesis.
Complete collagen is a molecule of youth, beauty and health. It is important to know that Its Majesty collagen is the main element of connective tissue, which makes up about one third of all proteins in our body. To date, scientists have discovered 28 types of collagen, of which 1, 2, 3 and 4 are the most common and provide the strength of the skin, bones, cartilage, eyes, teeth, vascular walls and internal organs.
The word collagen comes from the Greek word kólla, which means glue. Just think: collagen, like glue, sticks together cells and tissues into one whole, ensures their vital activity and is the skeleton of our body. The process of collagen synthesis and its assembly into bundles (collagen fibrils) is very complex, and various vitamins, amino acids, minerals, enzymes, etc. are involved in it.
With their deficiency, collagen synthesis will be disrupted and a catastrophe for the connective tissue, the scale of which is difficult even to imagine. With age, the quality of collagen decreases under the influence of various destructive factors, which include: the abuse of sugar and refined simple carbohydrates, excessive sun exposure, smoking.
And without full structural support for collagen, our skin, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bones become fragile and vulnerable. As a result, various health problems appear – premature aging of the skin and joints, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, decreased vision, increased blood pressure, increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
I’m sure everyone understood that complete collagen is the foundation of healthy connective tissue and one of the most important factors in our well-being and appearance. But how to ensure the synthesis of complete collagen in our body? Who are the key players in its synthesis?
A WELL_KNOWN STRANGER VITAMIN C
We have heard about vitamin C since childhood, and everyone knows the taste of ascorbic acid, which my mother gave, especially during a cold. But few people thought about the extremely important role of vitamin C for connective tissue. The uniqueness and importance of vitamin C for the body cannot be overemphasized. What is its significance?
It turns out that our body requires vitamin C for the production of the main component of connective tissue – collagen. Vitamin C is needed for the formation of mature collagen molecules and their assembly into fibrils, which provide the structural strength of our body.
In case of vitamin C deficiency, defective collagen with reduced mechanical strength is synthesized. As a result, collagen-rich tissues suffer – tendons, ligaments, skin, cornea of the eye, cartilage and bone tissue, blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin C deficiency leads to impaired tissue regeneration, in particular the skin, and impaired wound healing.
Moreover, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, helps to resist oxidative stress, neutralizes the activity of free radicals and thus prevents the destruction and aging of connective tissue. And, of course, vitamin C is a powerful booster for the immune system and helps to fight off various infections.
It is important to know that vitamin C is not synthesized in our body. It means that you need to eat foods that contain enough of it every day. The daily requirement for vitamin C varies depending on age, gender, physiological conditions (pregnancy, breastfeeding), and the presence of concomitant health problems.
Bad habits also matter. It has been proven that smoking and alcohol abuse lead to impaired absorption and a decrease in the level of vitamin C. Taking analgesics, antidepressants, anticoagulants, oral contraceptives, steroids can reduce its level in the body. The best source of vitamin C is fresh fruits and vegetables.
Top 5 foods with the highest vitamin C content: red bell peppers, oranges, grapefruits, kiwis and green peppers
Please be aware that food may degrade in vitamin C if stored for a long time and as a result of exposure to high temperatures during cooking.
In some cases, it is not possible to meet the daily requirement for vitamin C through diet. There are also situations when the presence of concomitant conditions (for example, infections, cancers, etc.) require higher doses of vitamin C and even its intravenous administration. For this, there are ready-made preparations that can differ significantly among themselves in quality, bioavailability and dosage.
The best vitamin C preparations are not individually synthesized, but obtained from natural products. They are better absorbed and less likely to cause side effects such as diarrhea, stomach irritation and kidney stones.
Improved forms of vitamin C are liposomal and esterified (calcium ascorbate). In this form, the absorption of vitamin C is twice as much as usual, which allows it to be used in higher doses, which in the usual pharmaceutical form are not absorbed in the intestines and can even cause diarrhea.
The liposomal form is a convenient alternative to intravenous administration when vitamin C is required in large doses (2000 mg), which exceed the ability of its absorption in the intestine.
It is also important to know that the chewable form of vitamin C can damage the tooth enamel. Combined use with aspirin can cause gastritis and even stomach ulcers. In such cases, it is best to take the esterified form, which is acid-free and does not irritate the stomach. The daily dose of vitamin C should not exceed 2000 mg, and it is better to divide it into 2 doses. Vitamin C should be taken with meals.
It is important to remember that vitamin C is not the only source of collagen synthesis in the body. It is also due to a number of other substances. Bioflavonoids, amino acids, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, collagen supplements are also key players in collagen production. Let’s analyze each of them separately:
Bioflavonoids are biologically active substances of plants, of which quercetin and rutin are the best known. They provide the strength of collagen compounds, reduce the production of enzymes that destroy collagen, and are active helpers of vitamin C in its synthesis. The daily requirement is 30-50 mg. A lot of bioflavonoids are found in black currants, rose hips, citrus fruits and apples.
Glycine is the most important amino acid and building block for collagen, making up about 30% of collagen fibers. In the case of its deficiency, the normal structure of collagen is disrupted, and as a result, the connective tissue of the whole organism suffers.
Glycine also has other important functions: it is necessary for the formation of the antioxidant glutathione and creatine, which provides muscle energy. Glycine helps improve sleep quality, memory, and focus. Protects the liver from alcohol damage, reduces insulin resistance.
Proline and its derivative – hydroxyproline (formed from proline with the obligatory participation of vitamin C) are extremely important for collagen biosynthesis, its structure and strength.
ARGININE AND GLUTAMIC ACID
Copper helps the enzyme lysyl oxidase to “cross-link” the tropocollagen (soluble collagen) molecule to form insoluble collagen. Collagen gains unique strength only after multiple crosslinking.
With a copper deficiency in the body, the strength of the connective tissue decreases due to a significant increase in soluble tropocollagen. The daily requirement for copper is 2-3 mg. Copper is found in seafood, legumes, cabbage, corn, spinach, apples, and cocoa beans.
Zinc affects the synthesis and destruction of connective tissue and it is a cofactor of enzymes that are involved in the synthesis of collagen. The daily requirement is 15 mg. Zinc is found in veal, liver, seafood, wheat germ, nuts.
Magnesium. Its deficiency has a huge impact on the development of connective tissue inferiority, including in connection with collagen disorders. The daily requirement is 500 mg. Contained in cereals, legumes, nuts, dried apricots, milk, cocoa.
Iron is involved in collagen synthesis. The daily requirement is 10–20 mg. Found in liver, beef, tuna, spirulina.
Collagen supplements are an essential part of all anti-age programs.
Scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of collagen supplementation in fighting skin aging, treating arthrosis and arthritis, and increasing muscle strength and mass. Elastic skin, shiny hair, healthy joints and strong muscles are just a few of the benefits of regular collagen supplementation.
Note that there are two types of collagen supplements: hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin.
The source for their preparation and collagen extraction is connective tissue (skin, cartilage), animal bones (beef, pork, lamb, chicken) and fish (marine collagen). It is believed that the bioavailability and quality of marine collagen is much higher than that of animal collagen.
Particularly valuable is collagen derived from fish found in the deep, clear waters of the oceans and seas, such as the fins of the blue shark, Alaska cod skin and the salmon found in the waters of Hokkaido.
The classic way to extract collagen in the form of gelatin is by boiling in water, as this is usually done at home when preparing broth or jellied meat, which are also a rich source of collagen.
The gelatin recovered during this process is tasteless and colorless. It dissolves in warm water and, when cooled, acquires a jelly-like consistency. It is composed almost entirely of protein (98-99%), and its unique amino acid profile gives it many health benefits. This gelatin can be used to prepare a variety of healthy fruit and berry desserts, homemade marmalade and jelly candies.
There are many other modern biotechnologies for the production of superior quality collagen, which are used, in particular, in the production of marine collagen and its extraction from the skin and fins of valuable fish species.
When further processed, the so-called collagen hydrolyzate is obtained, which contains the same amino acids as gelatin and has the same health benefits. This form does not gel-jelly, is sold in the form of tablets, powder or liquid, and dissolves well in hot and cold water, so you can easily add it to smoothies, soups or baked goods without affecting their texture.
The choice of collagen hydrolysates in pharmacies is huge, and other components important for the health of connective tissue are often added to them to enhance the healing properties, for example, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C.
Edem Resort Medical & SPA
Aleksey Bashkirtsev – Chief Physician of the Edem Resort Medical & SPA complex, PhD in Medicine, Academician of the European Academy of Natural Sciences, Member of the Supervisory Board of Singularity University (Kiev) in the field of exponential medicine, international expert on anti-age medicine, member of the American Anti-Age Academy medicine.
Photos courtesy of Edem Resort Medical & SPA