Is Your Collagen Disrupted? These 6 Disorders May Be a Sign
Is Your Collagen Disrupted? These 6 Disorders May Be a Sign
Collagen may be more important than we give it credit for. With just the slightest alteration of your genes, it can cause these disorders.
Low collagen can mean many things…
A deficiency in vitamin C.
The fact that you just hit menopause.
Or these 6 disorders…
Read on to learn what they are, how to reverse them, and how to get your collagen levels flourishing again.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is like the game Jenga. Each wooden block is collagen—a protein that makes up one-third of the protein in your body.
When all the blocks are in place at the beginning of each game, the tower—and your body—is at its strongest and sturdiest.
And once those blocks begin to be removed, the tower—again, your body—becomes wobbly, unhealthy, and prone to injury, saggy skin, and gut problems.
What Does a Deficiency In Collagen Mean?
A deficiency in collagen means that your collagen levels are low due to a variety of factors. Just like each person removes one block during their turn in Jenga, your collagen levels decrease by 1% each year.
So, it’s important to keep your collagen up to par by supplementing with grass-fed collagen daily.
6 Disorders Linked to Low Collagen
There are six disorders that are linked to low collagen. Many of them are caused from a genetic mutation that you’re born with.
Read on to gain insight as to what happens to your collagen levels when these ailments arise.
1. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) falls within a group of hereditary connective tissue disorders in which the amount of type III collagen is low or faulty in the body.
Think: A double-jointed finger, the ability to touch the thumb to the wrist of the same hand, or the ability to put hands in the “prayer” position behind the back.
Signs of EDS include:
- Skin hyperelasticity
- Hypermobility of joints
- Atrophic scarring
- Fragility of blood vessels
In order to determine the type of EDS, the genes of the collagen interacting with it must be identified.
2. Alport Syndrome
Alport Syndrome—discovered by the British physician, Cecil Alport, in 1927—is a rare disease caused by the disruption of genes. And when genes are disrupted, protein is disrupted—specifically type IV collagen. This is because genes are the directors of proteins—telling them what to do in the body.
So when proteins are faulty, inefficient, or absent altogether, our organ systems are greatly affected.
One of the main organs to be affected—the kidneys. This means that the body will have greater difficulty in filtering and excreting waste from the blood and body, creating hormones, and helping maintain the balance of certain minerals like potassium, sodium, chloride, and other electrolytes.
Signs of Alport include:
- Blood in urine, although not visible to the naked eye
- High blood pressure
- Progressive hearing loss
- Abnormalities in parts of the eyes including the lens, retina, and cornea
- Aneurysms of the chest or aorta, although very rare
Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is yet another rare disorder involving a significant plummet in collagen production—type I collagen in particular.
Since it affects bone and connective tissue, it also goes by the name “brittle bone disease” and affects an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people in the United States.
OI ranges from Type I to Type VIII, with symptoms ranging from easily fractured bones (due to only 20 to 50% of collagen being produced) and scoliosis to respiratory problems and very short stature to a larger skull and long bones that are crumbled and bowed.
It’s caused by the mutation of the fibroblast growth factor receptor-3 gene. This gene is what regulates type I collagen.
Whatsmore, when growth plates are obstructed, the secretion of type II collagen is impaired, which is a major component of cartilage.
5. Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis (AD)—a fancy name for eczema—is characterized by red, itchy, inflamed skin that takes the form of a rash.
The irritation is somehow linked to the immune system becoming disordered and overactive. When this happens, inflammation arises, damaging skin to the point of dryness and itchyness.
As the previous diseases we’ve discussed, this one contains a gene mutation too. And similar to the others, this gene mutation disrupts the creation of the protein filaggrin.
Can you guess what this protein’s job is?
It helps maintain a healthy, protective barrier on the very top layer of the skin. Without enough, moisture can escape while bacteria and viruses can enter.
This results in very dry skin that is prone to infection.
Since collagen makes up 75-80% of the protein in skin, you would think that it could help skin ailments like eczema.
Well, you’re in luck—it totally does...
In an 8-week clinical trial, statistics showed that skin hydration increased substantially with the use of collagen. And that’s in just 8 weeks!
6. Vitamin C Deficiency (Scurvy)
Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C, and is usually correlated to socioeconomic status and access to food.
The reason vitamin C is so essential in humans is because it aids the body in healing wounds, forming scar tissue, repairing cartilage, bone, and teeth (thank you collagen!), absorbing iron, and synthesizing collagen (specifically type IV).
Luckily, vitamin C can take on many forms—with up to 90% of vitamin C coming from fruits and vegetables like oranges, strawberries, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, and tomatoes.
Other Symptoms of Collagen Deficiency
Besides these six disorders, there are a few other things to be on the lookout for to ensure your collagen is at an adequate level. Symptoms will vary depending on the person, but may include:
- Skin rash
- Muscle weakness and aches
- Joint pain
How to Reverse Low Collagen
There are 7 things you should avoid at all costs to keep your collagen levels abundant.
That first loading phase of 20-40 grams will get your collagen levels to where they need to be, and then you’ll be set to maintain that level with just 10-20 grams a day.
The Bottom Line
If diseases begin to arise due to a lack of collagen, it’s obvious that it’s a very important compound in our body.
It takes on so many responsibilities—ranging from regulating hormones to enhancing your immune system to building and repairing muscle.
Make it a point to stay in tune with your body. Listen to it. Learn from it. And notice what it’s telling you.
Every symptom is a sign. A sign that tells you what you need—or don’t need—and how to fix it.
As always, be sure to consult a health care professional before adding anything new to your diet, supplement, or exercise regimen. NativePath and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any diseases. All NativePath material is presented for educational purposes only.