Collagen – A natural alternative for musculoskeletal conditions
Written by May 2016 Phoebe Wynne-Lewis, BHSc, Dip Nat Med, Dip Herb Med – FxMed Technical Support
The word “fibromyalgia” comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek words for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). Fibromylgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way our brain processes pain signals. Pain is often regional initially and then spreads to multiple locations over months. Some patients may present with pain in one or two regions, such as the back, neck or the chest area. Pain then becomes progressively widespread, severe, constant, nagging and disabling in a majority of people. Pain is the most common reason for consultation with a physician.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
Collagen is a protein made up of amino-acids and makes up approximately 30% of the proteins within the body. Collagen is the major component of connective tissue in the body and is found in muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, skin, arteries, veins, lymph vessels and joint cartilage.
Collagen types contain different proteins which serve separate purposes within the body; Collagen Types 1 & 3 support skin, muscles (including ligaments and tendons), bone density and hair and nail growth, and are produced by fibroblasts (cells in connective tissues) and osteoblasts (cells that make bones). Over 90% of collagen in the body is comprised of Type 1 & 3 Collagen. Proteins in these types include glycine, proline, alanine, and hydroxyproline.
Collagen Type 2 makes up the fluids and function in the cartilage and joints and is produced by chondrocytes (the non-cellular matrix of cartilage) – a liquid-like filling within the cartilage.
We are constantly involved in a game of catch up to do repairs. Through the years, we lose lean muscle mass, have less demand for energy and our metabolism adjusts and decreases. Therefore, it appears that providing the body with the collagen it needs for repairs and growth may help deficient areas to improve health.
According to Tim O’Shea, D.C., from California, a nutrition expert, it has been postulated that when collagen is absorbed on an empty stomach, it avoids anabolic competition from other amino acids, fatty acids, monosaccharides, sugars and other absorbable elements. The concentrated effect of select amino acids in the blood-stream allows targeting of specific organs.
Supplemental collagen has a specific amino acid formulation that targets the production of new collagen and thus supports natural function by providing in abundance long chain and branched chain amino acids necessary for connective tissue production.