COLLAGEN- protein of youth
We often tend to believe that our worsening blood morphology is caused by lack of a substance, whereas, in fact, it is nearly always related to the condition of the connective tissue, namely of systemic collagen.
Comparing the results of tests carried out every few years and concluding that the level of erythrocytes, leukocytes and platelets is gradually falling, we should realise that nearly always there is a correlation between the decrease and the degradation of collagen, a protein that is omnipresent in our body organs. The decrease in the quantity of leukocytes is a proof of a decline in immunity, and a lower concentration of erythrocytes makes it impossible to deliver an adequate amount of oxygen to the tissues, which automatically accelerates the processes of cellular damage in the organs as well as their ageing.
In such a situation there also typically occurs a problem with the transfer of oxygen and nutrients between blood and other tissue cells. Where capillaries join with cells there is collagen, which is a bridge in the transfer of the exchangeable substances.
What results from the knowledge? Firstly, the prognosis.
The kind of collagen structure we have genetically inherited is vital for our longevity. If your connective tissue is strong, and collagen is ”good” and dense, it means that you are genetically predestined to be a centenarian.
Your susceptibility to most diseases and the intensity of their symptoms will be lower, if you have a good collagen framework. If, however, your connective tissue is weak, you have to be extra careful because strong connective tissue constitutes a barrier against disease spread. Weak systemic collagen, however, lets inflammatory conditions or cancerous changes develop. People who have good quality collagen during the convalescence period are also able to get rid of the sequelae of pathological changes faster and more effectively. It is easy to confirm that collagen is a protein of youth by just looking in the mirror. Wrinkles, the most obvious sign of ageing, are a simple result of the collagen fibres thinning in the skin tissues. You would probably like to find out what your very personal protein of youth is like.
Well, there is a solution. To estimate it, you do not have to undergo any complex tests. If you are not scared of the truth, just remember that there is a spot in the human body where it is possible to have a look at collagen - the most mysterious of the proteins...
It is the iris, which may be freely observed, preferably in a well-lit magnifying mirror. The iris may be inspected like this because it is situated just behind the transparent cornea, built from i.a. pupillary sphincter, dilator muscles and numerous blood vessels. This, however, cannot be seen with the naked eye. What may be seen is the surface of the iris, built in a way which is typical of connective tissue, mostly from proteins, three quarters of which are collagen fibres. If the surface of your iris is ideally smooth, thanks to a compact, dense collagen structure, you belong to the 5-6 per cent of the lucky ones with a chance for longevity. The connection between the strongest perfectly compact structure of the iris, found in nearly 30 per cent of nonagenarians and in over 45 per cent of centenarians, and longevity has been confirmed by different kinds of research conducted in many countries on various study groups. Most doctors are aware of that, but the results are not published as they would return a very negative social response. An obvious question would be: what about the statistically overwhelming majority, whose iris looks as if it is perforated, with visible bunches of delicate crossing fibres that create an impression of a fine meshwork? And also, what if hollows and loosened iris trabeculae may be noticed?
In most cases it means that the collagen in a person with such an iris is, regretfully, rare and not the highest quality – and not only in the eyeball but also in the entire body. So, what to tell such a person? Advise them to stop worrying about their pension scheme because the genetic chances of ever using the savings are scarce? So far predicting the date of departing this earth has been a domain of second class literature. After deciphering the human genome, however, and in view of the expanded knowledge of proteins, it ceases being science-fiction. A mere figment of imagination becomes a reality.
Some researchers are convinced that collagen may tell them more about it than DNA. This is because the quality of systemic collagen is a merciless measure of the biological quality of the entire body.
It is also more and more frequently and more and more seriously discussed that fibroblasts contain not only the secret of metabolism but also the biological clock with quite a precisely set last chime.
Is it possible to reset the alarm to go off at a later time? Of course, it is. There is a lot to do in this matter!
Firstly, it is necessary to realise how long and in what health we are going to live. We cannot predict accidents, wars, disasters and epidemics but, generally, our longevity solely depends on two things: the genetic matrix of our collagen and our personal care of the condition of the connective tissue protein.
And what we are talking about is not coronary or cancer prophylaxis. Non-smoking, low- cholesterol diet, frequent diagnostics, etc. are to protect us from a sudden death, which from the biological clock perspective, is a kind of accident that cuts the life unexpectedly and tragically.
But by maintaining the connective tissue proteins in the best possible condition, you keep the most important element of your organic potential, thus prolonging the biological age.
Is your conscience clear about your collagen? You know best yourself about your credits and faults in the area of strengthening and rejuvenating your connective tissue proteins. Rarely do we encounter people who have nothing to blame themselves for, when reflecting on how they have been treating their bodies to date.
You must know that your actual biological age is not decided in your birth certificate or the amount of gray hair, the look in your eyes or the posture. How old you actually are is determined by the condition of proteins bonding nearly all the cells in your body. It is the collagen, in which you body is literally immersed, that is the most faithful reflection of its biological potential.
Give me any sample of your connective tissue, where using the microscope and measuring the amount of hydroxyproline and so called dynamic viscosity, and I will determine, with a high degree of probability, your real biological age and your prospects for longevity.
Using this criterion, we may easily meet pensioners among the population who are as fit as a fiddle at a biological age of a tricenarian, and, unfortunately much more frequently, tricenarians of a pensioner’s immunology.
This is why it is so important to maintain the best possible systemic collagen structure and function throughout our lives. Let’s stop perceiving collagen as just a protein meshwork that protects our face from getting wrinkled.
Collagen is a protein so far differentiated into at least a dozen or so well described types, a basic protein of the connective tissue, which bonds and shapes the body organs. It also has supportive, protective function and is a mediator in cell nutrition and at the same time has the properties to rejuvenate and regenerate the body components. It really is a protein of youth.
If your systemic collagen maintains its youthful structure and youthful potential, you will stay young, too. If you still have the smallest doubt, have a look at how the proteins of the connective tissue work in a frequently occurring event in a body, i.e. when after an illness or mechanical injury they contribute to the recovery of the injured body parts. We are able to forget about an injury, a fracture, a haemorrhage after some time only because they will repair the damage.
It is enough to look at a scar – and realise that there wouldn’t be life if it wasn’t for the process of healing, and at a ridiculously low price we can be sure to survive.
The processes of renewal and regeneration take place not only as a consequence of illnesses or injuries. Most components of the human body renew themselves in a determined cycle. Collagen in the liver gets fully replaced in less than a month, and in the bones - in over a year. The connective tissue is closely related to the exchange of biological material, also of other type than protein. Thus, when its vitality worsens, you are bound to feel the consequences of effort, tiredness and illnesses. The people whose systemic collagen levels decrease, immediately need more time to relax after a tiring day, they take a longer time to recover after an illness, their brain chemistry changes which affects their mental state. What is worse, there is a bigger risk of feeling some of the ailments till the end of their lives.
A coursebook example may be women entering their menopause. Their level of collagen may get by as much as 30% lower within less than a year.
When you have acquired this knowledge, try not to forget it.
It is very often observed that a person with a potentially good collagen matrix wastes their genetic capital by simply an outrageous lifestyle, inadequate nutrition and simple laziness.
In 20 – 30 years developed societies will be divided into those living a healthy lifestyle and masses of ill people.
The solution for people of both genders at a chronologial age of 30 – 70, not working physically is: exercise for 30 – 45 minutes every day; starve your fibroblastic cells as often as possible, which simply means as little as possible of monosaccharides and animal fats in your diet; do not disrupt your circadian rhythm, i.e. do not work in three shifts, do not stay up late, sleep regularly so as to wake up to your day naturally; do your best to oxygenate your body and keep away from toxins; always consume, for at least half a century, foods that encourage connective tissue synthesis, or simply systematically eat collagen.
A word of comment.
Physical movement and activities are recommended by experts in many fields but so far in vain, because people do not have the willpower for this necessary thing. However, you must move if you really want to improve your collagen matrix. Why? Well, for example because movement is a condition for oxygenating the cells of collagen synthesis: fibroblasts, chondrocytes, and, to a lesser extent, keratinocytes, to a sufficient level for them to produce as much connective tissue as is degraded until senile age.
So, if you have not succeeded in going to the fitness club for longer than a month yet another time, if the exercise bike has landed in the attic again, try cheating yourself: find a part-time physical job, buy a dog that has to run or damage the lift. Or start a career in distribution, which will necessarily mean a lot of walking. Movement is necessary. Life between the car seat, the living room seat, the office seat and bed kills the synthesis processes in you body, kills your collagen, and as a result, kills you thirty years too early. And all that without cancer, heart attack, stroke or a contagious disease. You will die of flue complications, a seemingly harmless inflammation or complications after a small injury. And to make things worse, you will die after having suffered a few
Collagen diet is not the 1000 calories diet or Montignac diet. It emphasises the need of consuming large amounts of vegetables and fruit, but also plant and animal proteins, with special consideration to dishes not generally recommended in slimming diets, such as: gelatine, offal, terrines, aspics and all edible skins of vertebrates and invertebrates. It is not an arduous diet. But there are practically no obese people among those who follow it. It does require some sacrifices – when it comes to starch, carbohydrates and fats. We just eat as little as possible of those. Apart from food that contains collagen, we also prefer all edible things containing vitamin C. This vitamin is the main collagen synthesis activator in cells. You must never let its level fall. So what would be a short conclusion after discussing the question of what to eat? Let me put it this way: eat the same way sportspeople do only in a more modest manner. And what if someone has no time, depends on mass nutrition, fast food bars or unhealthy cuisine for some other reasons?
Well, then it is absolutely necessary to consume dietary supplements. The absolute minimum is vitamin C and collagen in capsules. It is true, that the latter is not easily available in Poland. Very often what is advertised as “collagen” is in fact protein hydrolysates, i.e. chopped peptides from pork or beef fibre, and sometimes just gelatine. However, this is changing. There are already cosmetic gels on the market that are actually pure tertiary collagen from fish skin. They might be consumed with unquestionable benefit if it wasn’t for their high price. There has also appeared a well absorbable fish collagen in tablets. And it will become a sensation, just as capsuled enzymes, carotenes, flavonoids, antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids did before. The world is becoming easier and easier to live in and offers us numerous possibilities to make our stay on the planet longer – both as the species and as single representatives of Homo sapiens.
It is worth using the opportunity!