New Study: Collagen Builds Bone Health in Women
Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash
It’s common to think that bones are hard, lifeless parts of your body. But it’s actually the opposite – your bones are living and growing tissue. As both men and women age and reach peak bone mass, the balance between bone formation and bone loss might start to change, actually causing bone loss faster than bone formation.
Did you know that women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men? The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that women are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones because of this. Another factor is estrogen, a hormone that protects a women’s bones. But estrogen, like many hormones in the body, decreases sharply as women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss. What can women do to support healthy bones? Many experts suggest Collagen.
Our body has a very high content of collagen; it accounts for 70% of our skin, 36% of our bone, and 67% of our joint cartilage. It is found all over our body including in our spine, the protective barrier of our brain called the blood brain barrier, the filters in our kidneys, the valves of our heart, the lining of our blood vessel walls, and the whites of our eyes. Our ligaments, tendons, meniscus, and many other tissues have a large collagen content.
Here’s the issue
There are two problems with collagen and our body; one is that we make less and less each year starting at the age of 25 and the second is that it is a big molecule, so you don’t absorb it from food sources. To get around this absorption issue, researchers have found that if you add enzymes to collagen, it releases its peptides – the constituents that heal and rebuild the body – and they are easily absorbed. This liberated collagen is called hydrolyzed collagen.
Many human clinical trials show that collagen – rich in collagen peptides and that is hydrolyzed – aids joint health, bone health, and skin health.
In a recent study published in the journal Nutrients, doctors from the University of Freiberg in Germany gave 131 postmenopausal women either hydrolyzed collagen (HC) or a placebo daily for 12 months. HC had a notable effect on bone health, improving the thickness of the femoral neck (this is where the hipbone fractures) and improving the thickness of spinal bone. Additional evidence for the bone building was seen in a decrease in CTX 1, or C-Terminal Peptide. This peptide is made out of collagen and is found in your bone; doctors look for it in your urine where it is excreted. In the HC-treated ladies CTX-1 decreased, whereas in the placebo-treated ladies it increased indicating further and accelerated bone loss. Also, in the HC-treated ladies P1NP improved. This is a form of collagen found in bone and is the most sensitive marker that you are building bone. Doctors use it to see if medicine is working to help rebuild your bone and a rise in this indicates that you are actively building bone.
What foods are best for bone health?
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, there numerous foods that can give you the nutrients you need each day that contributes to healthy bone growth and maintenance, including dairy products, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Recent research has also found foods like olive oil, soy beans, blueberries, and foods rich in omega-3s like fish oil and flaxseed oil, may also have bone boosting benefits.