Can Collagen Heal Leaky Gut?
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In 1973, as a naturopathic medical student, Joseph Pizzorno, ND heard his professor declare "Death begins in the colon!" and he was skeptical. After graduating in 1975 and spending well over 100 hours looking at the research, he is now convinced the concept of a 'leaky gut' is worth more exploration. In this article, let's see if can collagen help heal a leaky gut.
If you suspect you have a 'less than healthy gut', it could be because all parts of your digestive tract are not functioning as they should.
Although we are not physicians and recommend you consult with your health provider for medical advice, we hope to give you valuable information and get you back on the path to complete health and wellness.
What is Leaky Gut?
Many traditional doctors and healthcare professionals don't acknowledge leaky gut syndrome (LGS) as a 'real' condition. However, there is a lot of scientific evidence that suggests there is something to this condition and worth consideration.
Not only, but leaky gut may be the cause of many different medical conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Fibromyalgia.
What exactly is leaky gut?
Once the food you're eating reaches the stomach and the intestines, digestive enzymes go to work and break down nutrients into smaller molecules so the body can use them for energy, growth and repair.
Actually, the intestines have an essential role and protect your body from harmful bacteria and toxins. Their walls have tight openings that allow water and nutrients to pass into the bloodstream.
At the same time, the intestines keep harmful bacteria and toxins moving through to elimination.
Over time, those tight opening in the intestines can become larger as a result of your lifestyle, environment, diet and a natural loss of collagen protein over the years.
As a result of the wider openings, food particles, bacteria and toxins may leak out into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body (called intestinal permeability).
Bacteria and leaky gut
In addition to the tight junctions in the intestines, there can be a bacteria imbalance in the gut.
Known as gut microbiota, they help with digestion, protect the intestinal wall and support your immune system.
Some in the medical community think that an imbalance in gut microbiota can actually cause a leaky gut.
Furthermore, the imbalance puts your body's immune response into overdrive.
Which, in turn, inflames the gut and further opens up those tight openings in the intestinal wall.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
There appears to be a possibility that a leaky gut might cause these health conditions:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Chron's disease
- Celiac disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Diabetes (type 1 and 2)
- Food allergies
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Of course, see your medical professional for more personalized guidance.
Collagen and Intestinal Walls
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It's what's known as a triple-helix protein, which makes it very strong and also flexible.
To clarify, collagen protein is made up of amino acids (mostly glycine, proline and hydroxyproline) which are synthesized by vitamin C, zinc and copper.
You'll find collagen protein in connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments and skin.
Not only that, but you'll also find it in your corneas, cartilage, bones, blood vessels, gut, intervertebral discs and the dentin in your teeth.
What happens is that new collagen production begins to slow down in your 20s that can cause a weakening of joints, bones, tendons and intestines.
Not only that, but there are collagen killers you'll want to know about:
- Poor diet (processed foods, chemicals)
- Lack of sleep
- Too much sun
Consequently, the lack of collagen protein in your intestines can cause the walls to weaken, possibly leading to larger openings and then, unfortunately, a leaky gut.
Healing Leaky Gut Naturally
So now you know that collagen:
- is the most abundant protein found in your body;
- is in your intestinal lining
- you start to stop creating as much new collagen starting in your late 20s
With all this information, how can you help heal a leaky gut or avoid one, to begin with?
Here are some useful suggestions:
Collagen peptide supplements:
Collagen supplements have exploded on the health and wellness scene because they are useful to not only help restore collagen to your , but also for their anti-aging properties.
Along with this, a promising 2017 study showed that collagen peptides were able to help prevent a breakdown of the intestinal lining.
In order to make the large collagen protein more able to be used by the body (bio-available), water is used to hydrolyze it into much smaller molecules called peptides.
That technology is what kicked off the explosion in providing easily-available and cost-effective collagen supplements for consumers.
Because collagen peptides supplements are so popular, you can get them in powder form (you can add the powder to food or smoothies), liquid drinks, coffee, pills or even in protein bars.
Another excellent way to get collagen protein and important amino acids is through drinking bone broth.
Bone broth has been around since ancient times when humans would use all parts of the animal--not just the meat.
By boiling the bones and joints from animals for at least 24 hours, the rich protein and amino acids are drawn into the water to make a rich broth.
You can sip this nutritious and comforting broth at any time and also use it for a healthy snack or meal replacement.
Bone broth is easy and time-consuming to make at home. Actually, butcher shops are an excellent place to get the bones for the broth.
Thankfully, it also can be purchased pre-made or in powder form too.
Eat These Types of Food
As we mentioned, it's important to eat an anti-inflammatory, healthy diet and avoid processed foods.
You can add these foods to add fiber and amino acids and minerals that help to create new collagen (and help to maintain what you already have!):
Although leaky gut syndrome isn't an 'official' medical diagnosis, many medical experts suspect there could be a strong connection between gut health and other chronic conditions.
Although many chronic conditions may need pharmaceuticals to help control, it may be wise to also look at more natural ways to heal the source of the problem.
In this article, we outlined how a collagen supplement, bone broth and a healthy diet can help heal leaky gut and get you back to feeling great again!