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Pomegranate - An Ancient Fruit with Infinite Wisdom

Pomegranate - An Ancient Fruit with Infinite Wisdom

Pomegranate has multiple modes of action influencing various bodily systems; hence the reason pomegranate, in particular the standardised extract offers a plethora of health benefits; recognising the potential of this remarkable fruit led to the creation of Skin+Beyond.

The following blog will showcase the therapeutic modes of action and benefits pomegranate extract (PE) has to offer. Backed up by over 3,000 studies on PubMed. PE exhibits many attributes including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, mitophagy (regeneration of cellular parts), autophagy, skin protection, hormone and gene regulation.

NB Patented, pomegranate extract (PE) is different to the fruit since it contains the key compounds linked to health in standardized amounts, mainly from the inedible peel.

ANTIOXIDANT

PE contains potent antioxidants, namely punicalagins that are not only unique to pomegranate, but possess powerful bioactive free radical scavenging properties, with Pomella® standardised to 30% punicalagins. (1)

PE upregulates Nrf2 activity, an important mediator of antioxidant signalling during inflammation by boosting antioxidant enzymes e.g. superoxide dismutase. (2)

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

Inflammation is the key driver of all ageing processes and not just skin, mediated at every stage of disease progression by nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-κB), the master inflammatory pathway.

Punicalagins found in PE not only demonstrate potent anti-oxidant activity, but anti- inflammatory by suppressing the master inflammatory pathway, NF-κB that is implicated in every chronic disease including skin ageing, cancers, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to name a few. (3)

PREBIOTIC

Pomegranate extract or PE exerts potent prebiotic properties that not only boosts gut health, but all areas of health.

PE polyphenols are converted into Urolithin-A by gut microbes. (4) This novel anti-ageing postbiotic improves mitophagy, the regeneration of the mitochondria or energy plants of the cells. (5) See under “Mitophagy” below.

PE polyphenols, especially punicalagins that are unique to pomegranate have put Urolithin- A in the higher echelons of health compounds with wide ranging benefits including skin, gut, joints, muscle, heart, brain, exercise performance and longevity to name a few.

Further PE via prebiotic action boosts akkermansia muciniphila, a novel probiotic strain that protects the gut barrier from inflammatory damage and exerts weightloss, anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties as well as protecting the digestive tract from inflammatory/immune disorders e.g. IBD, Crohn’s. (6)

MITOPHAGY

Mitochondrial dysfunction is the root to most if not all conditions of ageing. (7)

Due to age and/or poor lifestyle factors, the mitochondria (energy plants of the cells) are not replaced or regenerated via mitophagy, causing a reduced output of cellular energy (ATP) and more free radicals. Combined they lead to ageing of different bodily systems e.g. skin, joints, heart, brain, muscle, immune etc.

Mitophagy represents a new paradigm in anti-ageing, courtesy of Urolithin-A and transcription factor EB, that is metabolized (in the gut) and upregulated respectively via pomegranate polyphenols. By optimising mitophagy, you are essentially giving your engine (mitochondria) a tune up that runs the car (body) better with less exhaust emissions (free radicals in cells).

AUTOPHAGY

Similar to mitophagy, but this clearing and recycling process involves other parts of the cells that have become senescent or aged, including toxic and damaged aggregated proteins that are the hallmarks of neurodegeneration.

Autophagy plays an important role when it comes to ageing and longevity. As a person ages, autophagy decreases, which can lead to a build-up of cellular junk parts that hamper normal cellular functioning, and cause inflammation and mitochondrial damage.

Transcription factor EB (TFEB) regulates autophagy. (8) See directly below.

TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR EB (TFEB)

Pomegranate extract or PE also shows a separate mechanism of improving or rebooting mitophagy by activating the gene regulator, Transcription Factor EB (TFEB) independent of the gut postbiotic, Urolithin-A. Singapore researchers made this remarkable finding in 2019. (9)

TFEB has widespread implications for health including neuroprotection, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory attributes. (10)

In fact improved expression of TFEB via pomegranate balances the immune response so effectively that it has been linked to the prevention of sepsis, a significant finding since sepsis has been implicated in 20% of global deaths. (11)

TFEB has been referred to as the master regulator of mitophagy (12) and autophagy. (13)

COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN SYNTHESIS

PE protects dermal fibroblasts (collagen and elastin producing cells) from UV damage similar to MitoQ, a £60 per month super antioxidant. This potent antioxidant and anti- inflammatory activity gives PE the ability to boost collagen and elastin synthesis. (14)

NB Dermal fibroblasts provide the machinery for dermal hyaluronic acid or HA synthesis and should be the key priority in targeting skin hydration. Importantly HA from creams and ingestible formats is cleared quickly and degraded from the dermis. (15)

ANTI-GLYCATIVE

Glycation is a process caused by free radicals from stimuli such as UV light and sugars reacting with proteins and fats to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs); these AGEs damage keratin, collagen and elastin in connective tissues e.g. skin, joints, vascular system (heart, brain), resulting in premature ageing. In fact glycation is a major issue for diabetics. (16)

Pomegranate especially in the patented Pomella® extract form, is a natural AGE product inhibitor and anti-inflammatory agent, showing great potential as an anti-glycative agent, thus slowing the progression this damaging process. (17)

SKIN

Pomegranate offers so many mechanisms of action on skin health that it genuinely offers “All in one skin solution” that is 100% natural including the following:

Antioxidant

PE and specifically Pomella® exerts potent, synergistic effects on protecting keratinocytes from free radical induced oxidative damage. (18)

PE protects the collagen and elastin producing cells, the dermal fibroblasts from DNA damage caused by free radicals, specifically the DNA of mitochondria that generate cellular energy, the lifeforce of all bodily systems including skin.

Skin ageing researchers in the UK, made a remarkable finding when PE compared well to MitoQ, a patented super antioxidant when protecting against UV induced damage. Further PE has many other therapeutic properties other than antioxidant. (19)

NB This was an inferior pomegranate product, and PE has many more attributes than just antioxidant.

Further antioxidant action of PE bioactives prevent glycation that damages keratinocytes and alters ceramide (fats) production in the epidermis, and damages the collagen and elastin structures in the dermis and the extracellular matrix. (20)

Anti-inflammatory

The key polyphenol unique to PE, punicalagins exerts potent anti-inflammatory attributes on via the inhibition of NF-κB, TFEB upregulation and courtesy of its gut metabolite, Urolithin-A Inflammation drives more free radicals and oxidative stress, leading to damage to epidermis and dermis layers of skin. (21)

Prebiotic

PE also boosts skin barrier integrity via the prebiotic action in the gut that influences the skin via the gut-skin axis. It does this by making Urolithin-A that exerts gut barrier protection, which is anti-inflammatory, in turn protecting the skin via the gut-skin axis. (22)

Further PE boosts the novel probiotic, akkermansia muciniphila that also exerts gut barrier protection, that is anti-inflammatory in turn protecting the skin via the gut-skin axis. (23)

Mitophagy

PE improves mitophagy via the gut metabolite Urolithin-A and upregulation of the gene expressor, transcription factor EB (TFEB). Both keratinocytes (keratin) and dermal fibroblasts (collagen and elastin) benefit from regenerating their mitochondria or energy plants via the mitophagy process that declines with age and/or poor lifestyle. (24)

Autophagy

If senescent cells and aggregated proteins are not cleared in the ECM due to a breakdown in autophagy, mitochondrial damage will result, thus effecting collagen synthesis and hyaluronic acid synthesis.

Autophagy plays a key role in the health of keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts, thus optimising keratin, collagen and elastin production. (25)

Fortunately pomegranate extract or PE via the upregulation of transcription factor EB (TFEB) stimulates autophagy. (26)

Collagen and Elastin Synthesis

Pomegranate extract or PE boosts collagen synthesis by protecting the dermal fibroblasts from oxidative damage and improving mitophagy. This amazing finding has only come to light recently and it represents a paradigm shift in bodily ageing. This study showed in relation to skin urolithin A increased type 1 collagen expression and reduced MMP-1 expression. (27)

NB MMP-1 is largely responsible for collagen and elastin degradation along with glycation.

Anti-Glycative

PE prevents and slows glycation, a process caused by environmental stimuli e.g. UV rays and where sugar in the form of circulating glucose reacts with proteins, in turn forming advanced glycation end products or AGEs that damage the collagen matrix in skin as well as other areas such as joints; PE inhibits glycation significantly. (28)

PE and its polyphenols have been shown to prevent methylglyoxal (MGO) induced DNA damage of keratin producing cells (keratinocytes), and boost collagen and hyaluronic acid production in the extracellular matrix. (29)

NB Damage to keratin via AGE products also affects the structure and production of ceramides. Although PE does not directly boost ceramide production, it indirectly does and the niacinamide in Skin+Beyond boosts ceramide synthesis by 34%. (30)

This in turn helps to retain moisture and skin barrier integrity, thus maintaining firmness and protecting skin from environmental insults that cause inflammation and associated damage.

How do these qualities of PE improve skin health?

Please note there may be references to other extracts, but they have the same amounts of the key bioactive compounds e.g. 30% punicalagins.

  • PE boosts water content by +51% in the stratum corneum, and +40% increase in skin hydration overall since PE boosts the production of hyaluronic acid that has impressive water retention properties (31)
  • Pomegranate boosts hyaluronic acid (HA) in the extracellular matrix by 50%, and prevents cross Cross linkages prevent removal of damaged collagen (32)

NB The extracellular matrix or ECM that makes up over 70% of the skin, is the key player in repairing and regenerating the skin. (33)

  • PE reduces wrinkle volume or depth by -26% and skin roughness by -31% (34)
  • PE boosts blood microcirculation by reducing blood vessel permeability; this increases nutrient, water and oxygen delivery to the skin layers, in turn improving radiance (35)
  • PE reduces the appearance of dark spots or hyperpigmentation and inhibits tyrosinase to decrease melanogenesis, reducing both melanocytes and melanosomes (36)
  • PE can be helpful for severe cases of acne, especially when it’s inflammatory driven evidenced by papules and pustules. By reducing inflammation in the gut via S+B prebiotic action, you will alleviate all inflammatory linked skin conditions (37)
  • PE protects against free radicals and oxidative stress caused by environmental stressors e.g. UV sunlight, pollution and toxins (38)
  • PE improves skin tone and reduces dark spots and blemishes (39)
  • Pomegranate extract also has been proven to boost hair health; the researchers found better hair strength, increased hair density and thickness, and an improved speed of hair growth in the participants (40)

HORMONE

Pomegranate extract or PE promotes hormone health since it contains the highest amount of oestrogen in the plant kingdom; hence the reason it is a boon for postmenopausal women; further PE boosts healthy estrogen in younger women, and prevents xenoestrogens (toxic metabolites) from chemicals and other products e.g. plastics

Pomegranate extract or PE offers postmenopausal protection from osteoporosis, heart disease, moods and hormone cancers e.g. breast; these benefits extend to all women. (41)

MUSCLE

Longevity is very dependent on the amount of muscle you have! Sarcopenia is a muscle wasting condition that accelerates over 40, and is central to chronic decline and early

mortality. Believe it or not muscle wastage is linked to cognitive decline and even dementia. (42)

Pomegranate extract or PE makes Urolithin-A in the gut, which boosts mitophagy that prevents and reverses sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass); muscle mass and strength are the ultimate determinants in preventing chronic decline and improving longevity. (43)

Further Urolithin-A actually boosts NAD+ levels and upregulates the sirtuin-1 gene in skeletal muscle. NAD+ is a crucial co-factor in cellular energy production or ATP in the mitochondria.(44)

NB The sirtuin-1 gene is central to longevity, and NAD+ is often referred to as “The biggest discovery in regenerative medicine” or “The secret of life and anti-ageing”. Importantly niacinamide, another ingredient in Skin+Beyond is an effective precursor for making NAD+. No need for expensive NR and NMN precursors.

CARDIOVASCULAR

Pomegranate is often referred to as “The heart fruit” due to its positive effect on multiple factors that lead to heart disease and stroke. effective multiple mechanisms of action, including the reduction of arterial plaque by 36% in one year and that includes the carotid arteries supplying the brain with blood, in turn preventing and reducing the risk of stroke as well as heart attack. (45)

There is no such thing as bad cholesterol; oxidized cholesterol (oxLDL), a key factor in heart disease, is when LDL becomes oxidised or damaged due to inflammation from poor lifestyle. A further study showed a 59% reduction in oxidised cholesterol (oxLDL), a more accurate predictor of arteriosclerosis and associated heart attacks compared to LDL cholesterol. Further the study showed: (46)

  • 130% increase in antioxidant capacity
  • 21% reduction in systolic blood pressure
  • 39% improvement in arterial plaque in one year

BRAIN

Due to various stimuli e.g. toxins, infections, gut inflammation (gut-brain axis), neurons come under assault via oxidative stress, inflammation and free radicals. Resultant neuroinflammation results from overstimulated microglia, the immune cells of the brain and key protectors of neurons. (47)

Pomegranate extract or PE has been demonstrated in a recent study to control (balance) microglia activation and dampen neuroinflammation, in turn protecting brain cells from further damage in an Alzheimer’s model. (48)

Further autophagy helps clear these toxic, aggregated proteins. When autophagy is dysfunctional in microglia, phagocytosis (clearing damaged cells and toxic proteins) breaks down and neuroinflammation ensues, leading to neurodegeneration.

Autophagy is boosted by the upregulation of Transcription Factor EB or TFEB (49), which in turn is upregulated by pomegranate extract or PE polyphenols as identified by researchers from Singapore in 2019. (50)

Another key factor in the initiation and progression of neurodegeneration is mitochondrial dysfunction. Caused by environmental stimuli induced oxidative stress and inflammation, and the breakdown in mitophagy system that removes and regenerates the damaged mitochondria, the energy plants of the cells. (51)

Pomegranate upregulates or boosts mitophagy via the production of the gut metabolite Urolithin-A and the upregulation of the gene expresser, TFEB. Further the pomegranate metabolite, Urolithin-A exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory attributes, and crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect neurons and their mitochondria (energy plants), in turn preventing the chronic microglia response (overreaction) that causes neuroinflammation, protein aggregate formation, and potential neuronal damage and loss. (52,53)

Glycation plays a role in the formation of amyloid protein aggregates, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, and further amyloid proteins found in Alzheimer’s patients show evidence of glycation. This is significant when you consider that pomegranate prevents and retards glycation (see under “Anti-glycative”) and prevents the formation of amyloid plaques or deposits via microglial inhibition and autophagy as discussed here.

Interestingly the researchers in this study concluded that oxidative stress causes both

glycation and amyloid protein formation, and therefore effective treatment strategies could include antioxidants, and in particular polyphenols that are well studied for proven for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory attributes. (54)

The gut-brain connection

It’s often overlooked that the gut and brain are dependent on each other for optimum health via the gut-brain axis making the gut microbiome a key player not only in preventing neurodegenerative and mental health conditions; hence the reason the gut is often referred to as “The second brain”. (55)

When the good to bad microbes in the gut become imbalanced known as gut dysbiosis, the immune system reacts with an inflammatory response that migrates to the brain via the vagus nerve and in the case of gut barrier damage via the bloodstream.

If gut dysbiosis and associated gut inflammation is left unchecked, the intestinal barrier can be breached, often referred to as leaky gut syndrome, in turn allowing microbes, undigested food particles and toxins into the bloodstream. This prompts a chronic immune response and inevitable autoimmunity that causes a plethora of disease states e.g. irritable bowel disease Crohn’s, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, MS, MND, Alzheimer’s.

The prebiotic activity of PE has three mechanisms of action:

  • The gut metabolite, Urolithin-A protects the gut from inflammation and damage, which in turn prevents neurological and psychiatric problems via the gut-brain axis or leaky gut (56)
  • PE boosts the numbers of akkermansia muciniphila, a novel probiotic that protects the gut barrier, in turn preventing damage and resultant inflammation and gut barrier permeability that causes brain inflammation (57)
  • Boosting of probiotic numbers including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria family strains keeps a healthy balance of good to bad microbes (58)

IMMUNITY

Pomegranate improves immunity via multiple mechanisms of action. Mitophagy (via Urolithin-A and TFEB) or the regeneration of mitochondria to prevent uncontrolled immune responses such as chronic inflammatory chemical release and excess immune cell activation. The key is a balanced response to threats. (59)

Gut health equals immune health since 70% of immune cells are made in the gut. The potent prebiotic activity of PE promotes gut health. (60) See above under “Brain”.

Further PE upregulates TFEB that in turn improves immune health, so much so it has been shown to prevent sepsis, a pervasive condition due to imbalanced immune response, that can be deadly. (61)

GUT & DIGESTION

Prebiotic action of pomegranate polyphenols as outlined above under “Brain” protect both the gut and beyond the gut into the digestive tract; worthy of special note is the novel gut microbe akkermansia muciniphila (AKKM) boosted by pomegranate polyphenols. (62)

AKKM consumes mucin in the gut wall, in turn releasing short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that protects the digestive tract including the colon from inflammatory disorders (IBD, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s) and cancers including colon. (63)

METABOLIC HEALTH

Pomegranate improves metabolic health by exhibiting cardiovascular (See under “Cardiovascular”), anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. It does so via a range of modes of action e.g. anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, prebiotic. However rising star in metabolic health is the exciting probiotic, akkermansia muciniphila that is boosted by pomegranate polyphenols and exerts its metabolic enhancing attributes through its actions in the gut and digestive tract. (64), (65)

JOINTS

Pomegranate extract or PE exerts multiple modes of action on preventing and improving joint and bone disorders.

Pomegranate extract or PE exerts potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect the fibroblasts (collagen and elastin producing cells) in joints and bone from free radical induced oxidative damage. (66)

PE boosts collagen synthesis and inhibits collagen and elastin degrading enzymes (MMPs), in turn boosting and protecting the health of joints and bone. Further PE exhibits ant- glycative properties, in turn protecting connective tissue from this other degrading process affecting connective tissues. (6768)

PE upregulates the gene encoder, transcription factor EB or TFEB that improves mitophagy (similar to Urolithin-A) and autophagy, in turn protecting joints and bones from degenerative disorders including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. (69)

Further pomegranate contains the highest amount of oestrogen in the plant World; post- menopausal women are low in oestrogen, which is also linked to joint and bone conditions. (70,71)

SPORTS PERFORMANCE & RECOVERY

As well as the joint and bone promoting properties of PE (See under “Joints”); PE has potent sports performance and recovery attributes. (72)

LIFESPAN

The pomegranate gut metabolite Urolithin-A promotes NAD+ and Sirt-1 gene expression, both linked to increased muscle mass and increased lifespan. (73)

Further Urolithin-A prevents and reverses sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass); muscle mass and strength are the ultimate determinants in longevity. Hence the reason Urolithin-A also increased the lifespan of c. elegans worms. (74)

CANCER

Pomegranate extract or PE demonstrates potent anti-cancer activity in many cancers including breast, colon, prostate, skin and lung. (75)

Written by Clark Russell, Founder of Skin + Beyond, a unique, hybrid prebiotic drink with patented Pomegranate Extract for skin and much, much more. 

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two protein scoopers containing powdered protein, side by side

What You Need to Know About Collagen Supplements

What You Need to Know About Collagen Supplements

One nutrients that has proven extremely popular in recent years is collagen. In my estimation, it has a lot to offer in terms of dense nutrition to help promote wellbeing.

Although the most commonly-touted benefits of collagen are for skin, hair and joints, it reportedly provides value elsewhere – particularly with regards to helping heal leaky gut, and also fortify the cardiovascular system.

In a recent newsletter, Dr Colbert, a prominent US medical doctor and best selling author, gave a resume of the different types of collagen and their uses. Below is an extract from his letter, which you may find interesting and informative.

‘There are almost 30 types of collagen that have been identified. And they are not all equal. Some are more important to human health than others. Among these, the different types have different functions. If you want the benefits of collagen powder, it’s important to know which type does what, and ensure that you are taking the right type of collagen for your goals.’

What is collagen powder?


Collagen powder is a nutritious food supplement that has been specially hydrolysed from bones, hooves, skin, ligaments, and tendons of animals.

While it isn’t the most appetising supplement, it has much to its credit, including the fact that it contains powerful and effective nutrients such as amino acids, many of which are absent in modern diets.

There are 3 ways you can benefit from collagen on a daily basis:

1. By drinking bone broth.

2. By ingesting tiny bones that are within seafood (you will eat some when having salmon, for instance).

3. By using a gelatin or collagen powder.

Of the aforementioned options, using a collagen powder might be the most convenient method.

How to use collagen powder


Although bone broth and nutrient-rich animal bones are highly beneficial for your health, they are not so easy to come by, or for that matter cost-effective. Bone broth in particular can be incredibly pricey.

Admittedly, collagen powder isn’t exactly cheap either. However, it is very convenient, appetising and nutritious. You can add collagen powder to hot drinks like coffee and tea, and also to smoothies and soups.

It only takes a small quantity – perhaps 2 tablespoons a day – to obtain the benefits cited in research. Providing you are taking the right type of collagen, of course!

There are several forms of collagen, and each can assist the body in unique ways. As mentioned, collagen powders typically derive from cow, chicken, fish, pig or egg sources.

Type 1 collagen: Benefits, uses, sources

Type I collagen makes up 90% of our hair, skin and nails. If you’re seeking to enhance your appearance, Type I is the one you should be looking at.

Believe it or not, Type I collagen can help to address the signs of skin aging, such as elasticity and wrinkles. More details are provided below.

1. Improved elasticity of skin and tissue

A 2014 study of 46 women, aged 35-55, indicate that eight weeks of collagen powder intake improved skin elasticity within a month.

When the elasticity of skin is improved, it can stretch and rebound better without sagging.

And the best part? Collagen is wholly natural. Skip the synthetic skincare and naturally nourish your glow.

2. Reduced wrinkles

Another 2014 study found that collagen take reduced wrinkles after just two months.

Moreover, a study which appeared in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology concluded that collagen not only improved skin moisture but also produced younger-looking, less-fragmented skin.

3. Improved skin and tissue structure

In a 2017 lab study, researchers found that 6 months of oral consumption of collagen increased the collagen content in the skin. It also improved skin structure and the density of different types of collagen (type I and type III), resulting in improved colour and lustre of skin and fur.

While it’s important to remember that this was a study on mice, it is promising for human skin and hair as well.

Type I collagen is most abundant in bovine and marine collagen. However, many people have an allergy to bovine collagen – and there are also concerns about disease in the cows transferring to humans. The best source, therefore, is from fish.

Check your sources and make sure they include fish.

Type 2 collagen: Benefits, uses, sources


Type II collagen in considered the most helpful during times of illness. There’s a reason why our grannies can’t offer a bowl of chicken soup or broth quick enough!

Type II collagen is deservedly famed for its powerful immune-boosting and joint-nurturing properties.

Type II collagen also aids digestion, no surprise given that it represents a major part of our gut lining, acting as a barrier between the substances we ingest and our bloodstream. This serves to assist both digestion and immune health.

Of course, type II collagen is a key building block of cartilage, which explains why it is so vital for the health of our joints. Studies show it is beneficial for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and also post-surgery/post-injury joint pain.

Type 3 collagen: Benefits, uses, sources

Type III collagen is also important, with benefits particularly to cardiovascular health.

T3 helps form arterial walls and is often found alongside type I collagen in both human and animal bodies. When you get fibrillar type III, you are also often getting type I. In other words, both the cardiovascular system and skin benefit.

Studies show that type III collagen represents nearly 10% of the total collagen components in cartilage.

Type III collagen supplements are often made from bovine (cow) and other animal sources. 

Other types of collagen


Although 80-90% of human collagen is types I, II and III, there are, to be sure, other types. The most important being types V and X.

These are crucial for cell membranes, placenta health during pregnancy, the formation of bones and more. When you consume chicken or bovine sourced collagen, you are typically getting at least a modest quantity of these types too.

Conclusion

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and as such, it’s important to know about the different forms and what they can do for you.

Hopefully we have provided some food for thought (pardon the pun), and you now better appreciate the unique properties of collagen.

Adding one or two tablespoons of multi-collagen powder to hot drinks or smoothies each day is a great idea, and will ensure you benefit from a natural protein source that doesn’t provoke a blood sugar spike.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Chicken Collagen for Arthritis, Joints, Skin, Hair & More

Chicken Collagen for Arthritis, Joints, Skin, Hair & More

Weird and wonderful ingredients have a habit of popping up in the supplement industry, and chicken collagen is one of the more recent success stories. Given the protein is found in cartilage, bone and other tissues, it’s perhaps no surprise that collagen supplements (including collagen protein and bone broth) are almost always formulated to improve joint and bone health. But there are other uses.

In this article, we intend to summarise some of the more popular uses of collagen. Although most of our focus will be on chicken collagen, since that appears to be the most popular ingredient employed for these purposes, we will also take a look at marine collagen and explore the similarities and differences between the two.

Let's get to it.

What is Collagen?


Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, located in muscles, bone, tendons, the skin and internal organs.

In essence, this fibrous, building-block protein helps to hold the body together. Amazingly, some forms of collagen are stronger, on a gram-per-gram basis, than steel.

The vast majority of collagen in the body belongs to types 1, 2 and 3, each with its own unique structure and function. While types 1 and 3 are typically associated with bones, skin, hair and nails, type 2 collagen services joints and cartilage. Indeed, type 2 makes up around 60% of protein in cartilage and as much as 90% of collagen in articular cartilage.

Collagen degrades over time, as a natural part of ageing. However, other factors deplete collagen in the body. These include tobacco, alcohol, poor nutrition (especially vitamin C deficiency and a surplus of pro-inflammatory foods), excess sun exposure and lack of sleep.

If your lifestyle habits are on the unhealthy side, your collagen production is almost certainly suffering. The consequence can be wrinkled or sagging skin, as well as arthritis-like symptoms such as joint pain.

Since no supplier is yet harvesting this valuable protein from healthy humans, chicken collagen is the solution most often recommended. Generally extracted from chicken cartilage, chicken collagen is a rich source of amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline and could well provide relief for a variety of conditions.

Of course, chicken collagen is not the only form on the market: cow collagen, pig collagen and marine collagen are all commercially available. As ever, quality is key: so pay close attention to the method of processing. Not all collagen proteins are the same.

Chicken Collagen for Arthritis: What Does the Research Say?


A number of studies highlight the efficacy of chicken collagen in decreasing joint pain and stiffness from arthritis.

In one which looked specifically at knee osteoarthritis, intake of native type 2 collagen (from chicken sternum cartilage) resulted in fewer swollen joints, joint tenderness and better walk time when compared with a placebo. What’s more, there were no side effects.

Meanwhile, in a 2017 review paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, collagen was listed as one of 7 supplements to have “demonstrated large and clinically important effects for pain reduction at short term” for osteoarthritis.

The other supplements were passion fruit peel extract, Curcuma longa extract, Boswellia serrata extract, curcumin, pycnogenol and L-carnitine.

It’s not just osteoarthritis either. A 2009 double-blind trial involving over 500 subjects with rheumatoid arthritis established that collagen supplements improved pain markers, morning stiffness, tender joint count and swollen joint count.

While it’s not possible to say that everyone with arthritis will experience relief by taking supplemental collagen – there are far too many factors involved to suggest a panacea – we can say that collagen represents a novel option. Incidentally, you might like to read our article Natural Remedies for Arthritis Pain, which summarises some of the best options.

Cosmetic Uses of Chicken Collagen


Collagen has been suggested as a means of nourishing skin. This is because naturally, collagen helps skin cells renew and repair.

In fact, your skin is composed of 75% collagen. As such, smooth, soft skin is typically a result of healthy collagen production.

Indeed, research suggests that the primary difference between radiant and sagging skin is the density of the collagen matrix.

Collagen supplementation was put under the microscope in a 2014 study, which sought to establish whether it could enhance the skin of women aged 35-55. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial confirmed a significant improvement in skin elasticity after just 4 weeks.

Skin moisture and skin evaporation also benefitted, although such improvements were ‘less statistically significant’.

A separate study, meanwhile, showed improvements in wrinkles, roughness, moisture and elasticity after eight weeks of collagen supplementation.

According to skin specialist Paul Banwell, “Collagen drinks increase collagen in the bloodstream which in turn trigger the body’s own collagen production by firing up the fibroblasts, our own collagen factories.”

One thing worth noting: the process of collagen formation is heavily dependent on vitamin C. If you want to maximise your skincare routine, therefore, make sure you’re getting enough dietary vitamin C. (Arginine and zinc also impact collagen synthesis.)

As far as cosmetic benefits are concerned, collagen may also help to strengthen nails and restore lustre to hair. More studies are needed, however.

Chicken Collagen vs Marine Collagen

While chicken collagen is largely composed of type 2, the ideal form for building cartilage due to its provision of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate, marine-derived collagen mostly supplies type 1.

Distinct from its counterpart, marine collagen also contains a high concentration of the amino acid hydroxyproline, which is highly effective at creating collagen in the body.

Type 1 is considered to be the best option for cosmetic purposes and marine collagen in particular is credited for its easy absorption.

Of course, you should bear in mind that collagen consumption is about  rebuilding all of your collagen, not just Type 1, 2 or 3. Healthy collagen production across the board should be the ultimate goal. A variety of collagen sources can help in this regard.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to strengthen connective tissues, maintain strong bones or ensure smooth, supple skin, chicken collagen is a great choice of supplement. The thing is, many products on the market come laden with added sugars and artificial sweeteners, not to mention additional chemical additives.

Hydrolyzed collagen, in case you’re wondering, refers to collagen produced from a process of triturating bone and cartilage into tiny components known as gelatin: a process which makes the protein much easier on the stomach, all the better for the body to digest and use.

Oh, and if supplementation isn’t on your agenda, do everything in your power to preserve your own collagen production: that means no smoking, adequate hydration, sensible nutrition and a good level of fitness. Oh, and the occasional facial massage can work wonders.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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