COLLAGEN AND ITS IMPORTANCE FOR AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS
Collagen is the main structural protein of the connective tissues making up to 25% to 35% of the total protein makeup of our bodies . It contains specific amino acids such as Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine. It is found in skin, muscles, connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It is also abundantly found in the gut, blood vessels, heart, corneas, the dentin of the teeth and intervertebral discs.
Why collagen is important?
Collagen is a cementing substance that gives shape and firmness to our bodies. Collagen in the skin acts as a barrier in preventing the attack of pathogens and other environmental toxins from invading the body while keeping the skin soft and supple. Additionally, it has its own significance in carrying out various other functions in the body.
Generally, our body can synthesize collagen on its own. However, certain autoimmune conditions can lead to degradation of collagen in various parts of the body like tissues of internal organs, muscles and joints leading to many complications and degenerative disorders. Therefore, it is important that people with autoimmune conditions eat healthy food to help the body build collagen.
Sources of collagen:
Natural sources like Bone broth and gelatin foods are excellent sources of protein that aid collagen synthesis in our body. Protein-rich foods such as fish, organic meat, beans, seafood supply our body with a range of amino acids needed to make collagen. Additionally, while on the AIP diet, adding AIP friendly protein powder that has good amount of amino acids to your smoothies or plain water can boost collagen production and help tissue repair and regeneration.
Major functions of collagen:
- Reduces Leaky gut:
Apart from the outer skin, collagen also acts as a major tissue in the lining of internal organs such as the stomach and intestines. It adds firmness and strength to the gut and aids in intestinal permeability. Certain autoimmune conditions lead to leaky gut. However, having a healthy diet and adding AIP friendly protein powder to your daily diet can provide amino acids such as glycine, alanine and hydroxyproline that help in tissue repair and promoting healthy gut.
- Collagen helps relieve joint pain:
Same as all other tissue in the body, bones are in a constant state of flux. Bone mineral level and density are constantly altering due to a dynamic process called bone turnover. The body breaks down bone tissue and dumps its minerals into the bloodstream. According to research, it has shown that collagen supports the regeneration of tendons, joints, cartilage and bones improving bone mass and density.
- Improves your nails, hair and skin health:
Though collagen is important for your whole body, it is most widely known for its role in nail, hair and skin health. Collagen adds firmness, strength to skin, nails and hair. It also aids in maintaining the skin elasticity and helps retain moisture thereby reducing dryness of the skin.
- Collagen prevents bone loss:
Bones are generally made of collagen which gives them structure and helps keep them strong. Calcium is not the only component to build healthy bones, but our bones are also filled with a third of collagen which provides flexibility and strength.
- Supports the health of vital internal organs:
Proline an amino acid in collagen (up to 150 mg+ per gram in Paleo Perfection) is known to have a positive impact by reducing the hardening of the arteries and fat deposition in the blood vessels. Another important amino acid called glycine found in collagen is known to play a significant role in the detoxification process carried out by the liver.
Bottom line: Understanding the various crucial functions of collagen in our body, it is obvious that we must follow a protein-rich diet for the betterment of our health. Following the Paleo and AIP diet and replenishing your body with our AIP, collagen rich, protein powder which has all the essential amino acids like glycine, alanine, hydroxyproline is highly beneficial. These amino acids are responsible for collagen synthesis which can help greatly in the process of healing and strengthening you both physically and mentally.