Collagen is mainly known as a beauty product, but it is so very much more. Collagen is a structural protein which accounts for about 1/3 of the bodies total protein. Every element of our bodies contain collagen. From the beauty perspective, this includes skin, hair and nails. From a more important health perspective (depending on your view-point) this includes connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles, which is why I now take it.
Just over a decade ago, collagen was only really available topically or injected as a beauty treatment. It could not be taken internally as the collagen was usually attached to a water molecule which was too big to be absorbed properly when taken orally. However, special manufacturing techniques have been found to separate the collagen from the water so that it can be taken orally. This means that collagen produced this way can now support the whole body, externally and internally, and not only at the site it is applied.
There two main types of collagen, with the wildly exotic names of “Type I” and “Type II”!
Type I collagen is mainly for the skin, hair and nails which is why it is enthusiastically endorsed by celebrities such as Lucy Liu, Gwen Stefani, Carol Vorderman and Martine McCutcheon. However, as much as my friends(?) tell me that I need all the help I can get in the looks department, it is the internal benefits that interest me most.
In the city of Bath, UK, near to where I live; is a former British captain of the Olympic Modern Pentathlon team, James Greenwell. Whilst training to compete for Great Britain in 2003, James snapped his archilles tendon. This was considered a career ending injury and the medical team advised that it would probably be 12 weeks before he could even train again. However, James was back in training in just over 3 weeks and was able to compete internationally again. He believes this is due to using large quantities of collagen. As a bonus, he also noticed that his skin improved as well. Being in the modern pentathlon, he spent a lot of time swimming and fencing. Chlorine in the water and extended periods in a hot sweaty fencing mask had taken its toll on his skin, the improvement was easy to see.
James was so impressed with the Collagen that set up his own company to market this brand manufactured with the new technology. As I have reported earlier in this blog, I have had knee problems which adversely affected my Karate training. I thought at one point that I may have to give it up. However, I have used orthotics to correct the structure of my legs (collapsed arch leading to knee problems) and have also taken collagen and ginger to help my joints. There is a vast improvement in knees now. I can’t say how much is down to each element. Certainly the orthotics played the main part in correcting my leg structure, thus reducing pain. However, it never completely cured the problem and having started taking the collagen as well, I do find that it helps to further alleviate the problem to the extent that although still get some discomfort, I have actually been able to produce an instruction DVD on Kicking.
I’ll provide more of the science in the next posting. In the meantime, although he’s not as pretty as Lucy Lui here’s a James himself to tell you a bit more about the benefits of collagen:-