Can Collagen Heal Leaky Gut?
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When Joseph Pizzorno, ND as a naturopathic medical student in 1973 heard his professor declare "Death begins in the colon!", 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 poor-performing digestive system, it could be because your digestive tract is not functioning as it should.
Although we are not physicians and recommend you consult with your health provider for medical advice, we hope to give you valuable information that can help get you back on the path to 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 current scientific evidence that suggests there is something that is called 'leaky gut' that may be the cause of many different medical conditions.
What exactly is leaky gut?
Once the food you're eating reaches the stomach and the small intestine, digestive enzymes go to work to break down the nutrients into smaller molecules that the body then uses for energy, growth and repair.
The intestines have an essential role in protecting your body from harmful bacteria and toxins. Their walls have tight openings throughout which allow water and nutrients to pass into the bloodstream while keeping harmful bacteria and toxins inside.
What happens in leaky gut syndrome is those tight openings become wider.
In turn, that lets food particles, bacteria and toxins to leak out into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
Bacteria and leaky gut
In addition to the tight openings in the intestines, there is also the subject of bacteria in the gut.
Known as gut microbiota, these important bacteria help in digestion, protect the intestinal wall and support your immune system.
The current medical theory is that leaky gut may be tied to an imbalance in this gut microbiota.
As a result, imbalances in this type of bacteria can make your body's immune response go into overdrive, which in turn inflames the gut and opens up those tight openings.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
Although there is no hard proof that leaky gut leads to these conditions, the medical community believes there could be a connection:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Chrohn's disease
- Celiac disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Diabetes (type 1 and 2)
- Food allergies
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
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'l also 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 teeth.
There are at least 28 types of collagen in your body. Type V is what is mostly found in intestinal walls.
Unfortunately, new collagen production begins to slow down in your 20s and may be a source of intestinal permeability.
Not only that, but there are day-to-day activities that are considered collagen killers, these include:
- 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 leaky gut.
Healing Leaky Gut Naturally
So now you know that collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body and in your intestinal lining and that you start to stop creating as much new collagen starting in your late 20s.
In addition, you also learned that there are collagen killers that damage existing collagen.
Along with that, you know that leaky gut is when the natural small openings in your intestinal lining get bigger than normal--allowing toxins, bacteria and food to leak out into the rest of the body.
With all this information, how can you help heal a leaky gut or avoid one, to begin with?
Here are some useful suggestions:
Collagen supplements have exploded on the health and wellness scene because they are useful to not only help restore collagen to your body, but also for their anti-aging properties.
In fact, a promising 2017 study showed that collagen peptides were able to help prevent a breakdown of the intestinal lining.
Manufacturers take unused parts of animals, which are rich in collagen and amino acids, and hydrolyze the collagen protein into much smaller molecules.
What this does is make the collagen more readily absorbed by your body.
In other words, the peptides are more bio-available.
Not only that, but you can also get collagen protein made from bovine (cattle/cows), marine (fish) and other sources too--or get the benefits of all types of collagen protein in one product.
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.
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, but time-consuming to make. 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, avoiding processed foods.
We suggest adding more fiber into your diet along with these types of foods to help create new collagen and maintain what you already have:
Although leaky gut syndrome isn't an 'official' medical diagnosis, many medical experts are seeing more of a connection between the gut 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 collagen can help heal leaky gut along with bone broth and eating healthy foods.