Collagen is a fibrous protein that is the primary constituent of connective tissue. The substance acts as a glue, holding tissues together and forming an essential part of bone, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
Collagen is present throughout the spinal anatomy, including:
- Spinal discs — The discs cushion the vertebrae, allowing the spine to bend and flex
- Facet joints — Name for the joints that link the vertebrae
- Ligaments, tendons, and muscles — These parts support and connect the spine as well as other parts of the body
- Meninges (dura mater, arachnoid mater, pia mater) — These are the protective layers that surround and nourish the spinal cord
- Blood vessels — Blood Supplies nutrients, oxygen and hydration to spinal anatomy
Benefits of Collagen for our spine:
1) Reduces Joint Degenerations and Pain
Collagen has a gel-like, smooth structure that covers and holds our bones in place, that allows us to glide and move without pain. Think of ingesting more collagen-like greasing a creaky door hinge; It helps your joints move more smoothly, reduces pain often associated with aging and even reduces the risk of joint deterioration. (1, 2). A study by Bello and Oesser (3) also found that collagen is an effective treatment for treating osteoarthritis and other joint related pain and disorders.
Researchers at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston found that supplementing with type 2 collagen assist patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experience relief from painful symptoms by decreasing swelling in tender joints. (4) Another study published also stated that people with osteoarthritis joint pain treated with type 2 collagen show significant enhancements in general daily activities, such as walking up stairs, ascending or sleeping, and an improvement in their quality of life. (5)
2) Improves Liver Health
Little do we know that Collagen assists in the detoxification of our body from harmful substances, improving blood circulation, as well as keeping our heart young and robust. Glycine, one of the three most abundant amino acids found in collagen, minimizes damage to our liver when it absorbs foreign substances, toxins or alcohol that shouldn’t be passing through it. This directly helps our liver to rid itself of chemicals and “reset” our gut, hence improves overall immune function. Studies have also found that glycine can be used to help reduce alcohol-induced liver damage and other forms of acute or chronic liver injury. (6)
3) Protects Cardiovascular Health
The amino acid proline, also one of the three major components of collagen, helps our artery walls release fat build-up in the bloodstream, shrinking the fat in the arteries and minimizing fat accumulation. We need Proline for tissue repair within the joints and arteries, and it helps control blood pressure. Proline also buffers our bodies from the effects of vibration or shock and helps us hold on to valuable cartilage as we get older. It’s also linked with the prevention of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) since it helps our arteries stay clear of dangerous plaque build-up.
1) clark, KL., Sebastianelli, W., Flechsenhar, KR.,Aukermann, DF., Meza, F., Millard, RL., Deitch, JR., Sherbondy, PS., Albert, A. (2008). 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 24(5):1485-96. doi: 10.1185/030079908X291967.
2) Bruyère O, Zegels B, Leonori L, Rabenda V, Janssen A, Bourges C, Reginster JY. (2012). Effect of collagen hydrolysate in articular pain: a 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. complementary therapies in medicine. 20(3):124-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.12.007.
3) Bello, AE, Oesser, S. (2006). Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 22(11):2221-32
4) Trentham, DE., Dynesius-Trentham, RA., Orav, EJ., Combitchi, D., Lorenzo, C., Sewell, KL., Hafler, DA., Weiner, HL. (1993). Effects of oral administration of type II collagen on rheumatoid arthritis. Science. 24;261(5129):1727-30
5) David C. Crowley, Francis C. Lau, Prachi Sharma, Malkanthi Evans, Najla Guthrie, Manashi Bagchi, Debasis Bagchi, Dipak K. Dey, and Siba P. Raychaudhuri. (2009). Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. International Journal of Medical Sciences. 6(6): 312–321
6) Barakat HA, Hamza AH. (2012). Glycine alleviates liver injury induced by deficiency in methionine and or choline in rats. European review for medical and pharmacological science. 16(6):728-36.