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Collagen and Immune Health

It stands to reason that collagen, the most abundant protein found in all mammals, could boost our immunity and protect us from diseases.

Collagen is found in the bones, cartilage, and connective tissue of the human body. In fact, it is the single most abundant form of protein in our bodies.

More than 90% of your body's collagen is made of type I fibers.

Taking collagen has been shown to increase skin health, reverse or reduce the effects of aging, and speed up healing for wounds and other injuries.

Here's a bit more on each benefit:

Improved skin health:

Taking an oral collagen supplement has been shown to boost your skin's hydration levels, elasticity, and density. The skin is the largest organ in your body and protects your internal organs from harmful foreign objects, so these are all major benefits for overall vitality.

Anti-aging:

The first benefit parlays into this one, seeing that dehydrated, unhealthy skin tends to wrinkle faster. But it's important to note that as the body ages, collagen production naturally begins to decline. (This is what leads to aesthetic skin changes in the first place.)

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Bones

All immune system cells are derived from the bone marrow — a collagen-rich tissue complex of blood vessels, nerves, and cells.

This connection, which may be surprising at first, is actually a well-accepted concept and even has its own dedicated interdisciplinary field called osteoimmunology. And, thanks to recent studies, we now know that bone cells don’t only regulate each other, they also influence immune cells too — and vice versa.

Put in (very) simple terms: strong bones equal a strong immune system and the other way around. Type I Collagen regulates the metabolism of human bone-remodeling cells, which may also contribute to immune health.

Mannose Binding Lectin

The first line of host defense is the innate immune system, including mannose-binding lectin (MBL). MBL provides a surveillance system both locally, at points of possible contact with the external environment, as well as systemically. In this manner, MBL can contribute both to immunity from pathogens as well as maintenance of tissue integrity and homeostasis.

Mannose receptors play a well-documented role in mediating the clearance of pathogenic micro-organisms.

Mannose receptors consist of a tail with a collagen-like domain that binds to and internalizes collagen.

Therefore, supplementation of Type I collagen supports the function of MBL, your FIRST POINT OF CONTACT with ANYTHING FOREIGN.

Collectins (Collagen + Lectin)

Your body needs collagen to support the role of collectins.

Collectins (collagen-containing C-type lectins) are a part of the innate immune system. The binding of collectins to foreign invaders may trigger the elimination of microorganisms by aggregation, complement activation, opsonization, activation of phagocytosis, or inhibition of microbial growth. Other functions of collectins are modulation of inflammatory, allergic responses, adaptive immune system, and clearance of apoptotic cells.

Glycine

Collagen (high glycine content) is the main protein of the extracellular matrix. Collagen is made mainly from the abundance of three amino acids: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.

Glycine has emerged as the amino acid superstar with an expansive reach of benefits to the body, including its role in immunity.

Ancestral Backstory

When we look back to many hunter-gatherer or farming ancestor’s meat-eating habits, what do we find? Nothing was wasted. They utilized every part of the animal. The focus on only eating lean meats is a much more recent phenomenon that got started in the mid-1900s from the fear of dietary cholesterol. When we only eat muscle meats and neglect the organ meats, bone broth, gelatin, skin, and other collagenous material, we are neglecting 50% of the nutrition.

It has been hypothesized that deficiencies in glycine would have affected immunity and been problematic for populations that faced infectious disease epidemics, including their ability to repopulate due to higher glycine requirements during pregnancy.

Anthropological history has shown that when the ability to hunt, gather and farm nutritionally dense plants and animals is diminished by war, colonization, and cultural destruction, so does the ability to recover from an epidemic.

Connection to Immunity

Type I collagen is also a major structural protein in the lung and is stimulated during certain inflammatory reactions in the lung. In respiratory distress, the need for type I collagen increases further.

A lack of glycine creates a high methionine / low glycine balance, which systemically affects health, including collagen production and immunity.

Glycine is one of the three major amino acids for glutathione production, protecting the body from oxidative damage during the immune response, and supporting T-cell proliferation

Glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, vitamin C and B6 are the major constituents of collagen production.

Glycine is an amino acid superstar for many reasons. Here are a few:

• Improves DNA and RNA integrity

• Improves sleep quality

• Strengthens tendons

• Produces creatine for muscle strength

• Reduces inflammation

• Stimulates stomach acid (low stomach acid is a major reason for acid reflux)

• Protects the gut lining

• Delays the progression of cataracts

• Protects against the toxic effects of alcohol

NSAIDs and Collagen

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medicines that are widely used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation.

Aspirin, for example, contains salicylic acid which conjugates with glycine. One of the concerning side effects of aspirin includes a two-fold risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Due to a huge percentage of your immune system being found in your gut, you want to protect it from injury. A hypothesis for why aspirin causes this damage has to do with glycine protecting the gut lining. When glycine was administered with salicylic acid, gastrointestinal complaints by volunteers decreased over two-fold.

Glycine can prevent and fight viruses

The extracellular matrix, mainly composed of collagen, is a mechanical barrier against infective agents, including viruses. High glycine availability is needed for a healthy collagen turnover.

Glycine intake assists the body in the prevention and the spread of viruses by strengthening the extracellular matrix barriers against their advance.

The extracellular matrix, mainly composed of collagen, is not only the mechanical support of the tissues, but also a mechanical barrier that impedes or blocks the invasion of infective agents, such as bacteria (Lemichez, Lecuit, Nassif, & Bourdoulous, 2010), protozoa (Piña-Vázquez, Reyes-López, Ortíz-Estrada, de la Garza, & Serrano-Luna, 2012), fungi (Allert et al., 2018) and viruses (Stavolone & Lionetti, 2017).

In fact, many invasive agents secrete proteases to destroy the collagen of the cellular matrix to allow or improve their advance and proliferation through the tissues. Collagenases and other proteases have been found in bacteria (Harrington, 1996), protozoa (Piña-Vázquez et al., 2012, Santana et al., 1997), fungi (Allert et al., 2018), and even viruses (Makarova et al., 2000, Gorbalenya et al., 1989); some viruses increase the protease activity of invaded tissues (Yeo et al., 1999, Wang et al., 2010) or decrease collagen synthesis (Levinson, Bhatnagar, & Liu, 1975).

 

The extracellular matrix must be continuously regenerated and remodeled, which involves the body’s own proteases in order to eliminate old damaged collagen, which accumulates deteriorations in its structure (glycation and others), and to resynthesize new molecules (Kielty et al., 2002, Verzijl et al., 2000, Birkedal-Hansen, 1995). Collagen constitutes approximately 25–33% of the total protein in mammalian organisms.

Glycine is the main component of collagen (one-third of its amino acid residues (Meléndez-Hevia and de Paz-Lugo, 2008, Meléndez-Hevia et al., 2009), which implies a high availability of this amino acid to support a healthy turnover of collagen, as a protein-deficient diet causes a poor turnover of proteins, especially collagen (Gibson, Jahoor, Ware, & Jackson, 2002).

Results confirm the need for glycine to regenerate and strengthen collagen.

Invasive agents (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, or viruses) advance in the body to invade new areas through the extracellular matrix, which acts as a mechanical barrier that prevents their expansion within the body. As this matrix consists mainly of collagen, whose renewal and regeneration are difficult due to the lack of glycine, its reinforcement thanks to an increase in glycine in the diet help to prevent the entry and advance of infectious agents.

These results can also help to explain one of the benefits of vitamin C (l-ascorbate) against viruses and other infective agents (Pauling, 1974). Vitamin C plays a key role in collagen synthesis (Kivirikko et al., 1989, Myllyla et al., 1989). Ascorbate contributes to precise collagen synthesis by avoiding or eliminating collateral reactions in proline and lysine hydroxylation (Myllyla et al., 1989), but it cannot cover the need for glycine, which must be ingested additionally to make possible the synthesis and renewal of collagen necessary to maintain firm extracellular matrix.

Let your soul GLOW and your immune system SHINE…

GLOW - Advanced Type 1 Collagen with Superfood Antioxidant Support

Wound healing:

Cuts, scrapes, and even internal injuries can heal faster if they have plenty of raw materials. Or at least that's what a 2015 study surmised when they called collagen the "material of choice" for speeding up the healing of wounds.

Improved immune system health: Think of all the organs that collagen is responsible for holding together. Your skin and kidneys, sure. But also the organs and tissues responsible for keeping you disease-free, such as your gut.

Speaking to the latter benefit, remember that your immune system comprises all the cells, tissues, and organs that help you fight off diseases and stay healthy.

Without collagen, there would be no networks through which white blood cells and other disease-fighting cells could travel.

Taking collagen can help improve your immune system by assisting in the recognition of self vs. nonself. Sometimes when the body gets sick, cells can mistakenly begin to attack or damage themselves. This overactive immune response has led to well over 80 different immune-related disorders.

Because collagen contributes to the strength and resiliency of all human tissues, it might be able to help slow down the damage being done to cells.

Collagen and Immune Health

The skin epidermis, the ECM (extracellular matrix), and the bone are abundant with collagen.

Skin epidermis

It’s the outermost layer of the skin and, in terms of the immune system, it’s the body’s most important physical barrier against external threats. Put into simple terms, the epidermis is the first line of defense. It’s made up of a “brick wall” of keratinocytes, the skin cells that help to maintain the skin barrier. Type I Collagen stimulates the metabolism of these cells to produce several components that strengthen and repair the skin barrier, thus helping to prevent attacks on the immune system.

Extracellular matrix

Beyond skin, the role of connective tissues in immune health extends to the whole-body ECM, which is often described as the body’s “scaffold.” In addition, numerous metabolic functions occur inside the ECM, because it’s here where most of the immune cells that are responsible for inflammatory responses operate. Present throughout the whole body, fibroblasts are the most common connective tissue cells and the metabolic “heart” of the ECM. When inflammation occurs, these cells are responsible for an active and functional immune response. Type I Collagen optimally regulates fibroblast cell metabolism, stimulating the biosynthesis of several ECM proteins involved in the immune response.

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Enrich Digestive Enzymes

Prepare faster. Perform better. Recover quicker.

Make the most of every phase of your active lifestyle—from what you eat, to what you do, to what impact it has on your body.

Optimize is formulated with powerful proteolytic enzymes, antioxidants, and chelated minerals that support improved immunity and protein digestion while easing muscle soreness and speeding up recovery.

Your go to for pain and supporting healthy levels of inflammation are proteolytic enzymes.

While proteolytic enzymes are most commonly known for their role in the digestion of dietary protein, they perform many other critical jobs as well.

For example, they are essential for cell division, blood clotting, immune function and protein recycling, among other vital processes.

Proteolytic enzymes are said to have many potential health benefits, including:

Supporting a healthy immune system

Promoting healing of tissues

Encouraging muscle recovery

Aiding in digestive function (particularly in the digestion of proteins)

Pain

Proteolytic enzymes may be beneficial for treating various types pain (such as long-term neck pain)

May Decrease Inflammation

Several studies have shown that proteolytic enzymes are effective at reducing inflammation and symptoms related to inflammatory conditions.

Sports Injuries

A 1965 double-blind placebo study (the gold standard of studies) of 44 people with ankle injuries from sports accidents discovered that proteolytic enzymes helped to promote faster healing and 50% less time away from training, as compared with the study group who took the placebo.

May Reduce Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness can occur up to three days after a workout.

Proteolytic enzymes may help reduce muscle soreness and speed muscle recovery after an intense workout.

In one small study in men, a proteolytic enzyme blend containing bromelain and curcumin significantly reduced post-workout muscle tenderness and pain, compared to a placebo.

May Improve Digestion

One of the most common uses for proteolytic enzymes is to improve the digestion and absorption of dietary protein.

One study found that when people with indigestion took a supplement containing proteolytic enzymes, they experienced a significant improvement in bloating, abdominal pain, belching, heartburn and loss of appetite.

Immune

The immune system produces macrophages which digest damaged tissue and debris from injury. This is a necessary step in the healing process, but the inflammatory fluid that comes with the macrophages causes pain and slows the healing process. Proteolytic enzymes assist in digesting debris, reducing the need for macrophages and inflammation, so healing occurs at an increased rate.

The result of inflammation and the healing process is scar tissue formation. Scar tissue, which is made up of proteins, can decrease the motility of muscles and joints. Proteolytic enzymes break down scar tissue, thereby increasing tissue motility.

 

Breaking down the scar tissue also gives the body an opportunity to replace it with the original type of tissue that was damaged for more complete healing.

If you know anyone dealing with chronic pain and inflammation Optimize is a MUST.

*Pro Tip - Try adding Suthe (CBD), Relieve (CBD), and Glow (collagen) together with Optimize for a whole other experience.*

 
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SIGNS OF TOO LOW STOMACH ACID

You might be intrigued to read this if you’re someone who experiences uncomfortable digestion.

However, digestive distress is not the only symptom associated with an imbalance in your stomach acid.

 

Do you have acne? An autoimmune disease? Are you anemic? Food allergies? If you answered yes to one (or all of these symptoms), then this is also for you!

What's stomach acid and why do we need it?

Stomach acid, also known as hydrochloric acid (HCl), is made in the stomach and used to break down our food. This acid is so strong that if we poured it onto our skin, we would get burned. Stomach acid isn't only used to break down food, it also breaks down the proteins that we eat, aids in mineral absorption, activates intrinsic factor that is needed to absorb B12, and much more.

Stomach acid also acts as the first line of defense against foreign "friends" that get in through our food (bacteria and parasites). If stomach acid levels are low, it may cause imbalances in GI bacteria.

I have heartburn...That means I've got too much stomach acid, right?

Up to 90% of people actually have TOO LITTLE stomach acid,
NOT TOO MUCH!!!!

Not necessarily. More often than not, when someone comes to me with symptoms like heartburn, reflux, indigestion, or GERD, they actually don’t have enough stomach acid. As a result, food will get into the stomach but won't be fully broken down. This causes fermentation and gas production that feels like too much acid but is actually due to not having enough. Taking an antacid will help for the time being by neutralizing these gases, but long-term use can actually worsen the problem.

What are the other symptoms of low HCl?

Low stomach acid can cause a feeling of fullness after eating, bloating and discomfort, and even lower your appetite (this is oftentimes the case in the elderly). You may also have irregular bowel movements and dysbiosis in the gut (an imbalance in your gut bacteria). You may notice that you’re developing allergies or sensitivities to foods that you used to be able to tolerate. You may have been diagnosed with anemia or other nutrient deficiencies like B12 and folate. These can often lead to chronic fatigue and mood imbalances like depression and anxiety. You may also be experiencing acne or other skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, hives, or rosacea.

 

Low HCl can also coexist with autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or celiac disease.

How does my stomach acid get low anyway?

Stomach acid declines with age, which is why many elderly people experience low appetite, feelings of fullness, and are generally uninterested in eating. Stomach acid can also lower due to stress, gum chewing, nail biting, and other habits that "trick" your body into thinking that food is on its way. Chlorine and fluoride in our drinking water can lower acid levels. Chronic use of antacids will also deplete stomach acid, ultimately making symptoms worse.

How can I find out if I actually have low HCl?

Testing for stomach acid levels is tricky because there's no (easy) way to measure stomach acid levels directly. In my functional nutrition practice, we will often determine low stomach acid based on symptoms during a patient’s consultation. You can also try the "beet test."

 

This is done by literally just eating a beet; if you notice that your urine or stool turns pink or magenta within one day of consumption, your stomach acid levels may be in the tubes.

 

The theory is that stomach acid plays a major role in breaking down the pigments in foods, so if there are still pigments left at the end of digestion, you may not have enough HCI.

I live on antacids; what can I do?

One of the best solutions on the planet you can find is called "Enrich" digestive enzymes.

When your body doesn't digest your food appropriately, this means your food literally sits and ROTS in your digestive tract.

This means your food sitting and rotting causes your digestion to suffer, your microbiome to suffer, your energy, your nutrient absorption, your mental health.....

EVERYTHING.

By adding digestive enzymes such as "Enrich" - this allows your body to ACTUALLY DIGEST your food instead of rotting.

This means you're actually getting the NUTRIENTS your body requires, because if you don't digest your food - you can't get the nutrients out of it.

This can have an incredible cascade of health across the entire body - from skin, to immune, to energy, to mood, to weight management, to healthy bowel movements, to literally......everything.

Enrich is designed to support the body's ability to actually digest food, and not have the cascade of health issues that follow poor digestion.