Collagen and Gut Health

The human gut, or gastrointestinal tract, is a complex system that plays an important role in food digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune homeostasis.1,2 When the gut is functioning properly, a structure known as the intestinal barrier allows nutrients and other benefi cial molecules to pass from the lumen into the bloodstream while preventing penetration of most antigens and pathogens.3 The intestinal barrier also minimizes interaction between benefi cial gut microbes and immune cells, further contributing to immune homeostasis.4
The intestinal barrier is comprised of three main lines of defense, each with several components. The first line of defense is located in the lumen–the hollow space of the intestine–and is comprised of gastric acid, pancreatic juice, and commensal bacteria. Lining the lumen, there is a second line of defense made up of mucus layers and the epithelial glycocalyx; this second layer prevents bacterial adhesion and contains antimicrobial products.3 The third line of defense is the epithelium, a layer of cells that serves as yet another physical barrier and has an important role in regulating immune responses to gut microbes.4 The cells in this third layer, known as epithelial cells, are joined together by a variety of cell junction proteins which allow only select ions and molecules to permeate the epithelium.3

Figure 1: The intestinal barrier is a complex structure that allows for nutrient absorption while blocking antigens and pathogens. Impaired intestinal barrier function has been associated with a variety of gut disorders.

Increased intestinal permeability, also referred to as leaky gut syndrome, describes conditions in which intestinal barrier function has been compromised.5 It is particularly associated with dysfunctional tight junctions between epithelial cells.6 One pro-inflammatory cytokine that especially disrupts tight junctions is known as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a); TNF-α antibodies have been successfully employed in treatment of leaky gut symptoms.6 In addition to TNF- antibodies, collagen supplementation has also shown promise in reducing this harmful cytokine and healing the gut. In fact, both in vitro and in vivo studies have indicated that supplemental collagen decreases production of TNF- in the body, helping to reduce inflammation.7,8,9 Furthermore, one of these studies demonstrated that TNF- significantly decreased the expression levels of occludin, a tight junction protein. However, treatment with collagen protected the tight junction protein from TNF- induced breakdown,8 suggesting that collagen supplementation may help prevent or reverse increased intestinal permeability.

While distinct from leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as ulcerative colitis have also been associated with this specific gut issue. Ulcerative colitis is characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the mucosa in the colon, and diagnoses are made on the basis of biopsy, colonoscopy, or stool test results.10 Various environmental and genetic factors are thought to contribute to the development of ulcerative colitis, perhaps by altering gut barrier function and leading to abnormal immune responses and chronic inflammation.11 Consequently, management of ulcerative colitis often involves anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant medications, which alleviate inflammation but do not necessarily heal the damaged mucosa. In contrast, a recent study indicated that treatment with collagen both lessens infl ammation and promotes mucosal healing.7 Collagen treatment was found to decrease expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a factor known to correlate to disease severity. Collagen treatment also decreased expression of TNF-a, the cytokine already noted as responsible for increased expression of various other pro-inflammatory mediators as well as matrix metalloproteinases that appear to contribute to mucosal ulceration.7
In addition to leaky gut and IBDs, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is another gut disorder impacting many Americans. In fact, it is among the most prevalent gut disorders in the United States, with an estimated prevalence of 10-15%.12 IBS is diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms such as are abdominal discomfort and abnormal bowel habits rather than a diagnostic test,6 which can make it difficult to distinguish IBS from other conditions. Several biological factors have been identified as possible contributors to IBS development, including increased mucosal permeability and activation of the mucosal immune system12 – phenomena also associated with leaky gut syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Thus, the beneficial effects of collagen supplementation on gut permeability and inflammation may also improve the symptoms of IBS.

Figure 2: Inflammation of the tight junctions between epithelial cells contributes to increased permeability of the gastrointestinal tract.

COLLAGEN•NATIVE•TYPE 2 is designed to help maintain gut health. It is produced from bovine cartilage through a gentle extraction process that maintains the “native” or natural helical structure of the collagen. This structure is thought to have powerful immune-modulating effects that lessen inflammation.9,13 In addition, native collagen is at least partly broken down by enzymes of the stomach and pancreas for absorption in the small intestine. After entering the bloodstream, these peptides are further broken down for incorporation into new collagen structures both in the gut and throughout the body. Supplementation with COLLAGEN•NATIVE•TYPE 2 is therefore an easy way to alleviate the discomforts of digestive symptoms by easing inflammation and promoting repair of the intestinal lining.

Supports Healthy Gut Function and Eases Infammation

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2. de Mattos BRR, et al. Infl ammatory bowel disease: an overview of immune mechanisms and biological treatments. Mediators Inflamm. 2015:493012.
3. Camilleri M, et al. Intestinal barrier function in health and gastrointestinal disease. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012;24:503-512.
4. Okumura R, et al. Roles of intestinal epithelial cells in the maintenance of gut homeostasis. Exp Mol Med. 2017;49(5):e338.
5. Brom B. Integrative medicine and leaky gut syndrome. SA Fam Pract. 2010;52(4):314-316.
6. Kiefer D, et al. A brief evidence-based review of two gastrointestinal illnesses: irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut syndrome. Integr Med. 2004;3(3).
7. Ramadass SK, et al. Type I collagen and its daughter peptides for targeting mucosal healing in ulcerative colitis: a new treatment strategy. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2016;91:216-224.
8. Chen Q, et al. Collagen peptides ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in immunostimulatory Caco-2 cell monolayers via enhancing tight junctions. Food Funct. 2017;8:1144-1151.
9. Ding CH, et al. Oral administration of type II collagen suppresses pro-infl ammatory mediator production by synoviocytes in rats with adjuvant arthritis. Clin Exp Immunol. 2003;132:416-423.
10. Kornbluth A, et al. Ulcerative colitis practice guidelines in adults: American College of Gastroenterology, Practice Parameters Committee. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010;105:501-523.
11. Strober W, et al. The fundamental basis of infl ammatory bowel disease. J Clin Invest. 2007;117:514-521.
12. Barbara G, et al. The immune system in irritable bowel syndrome. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011;17(4):349-359.
13. Bagchi D, et al. E ects of orally administered undenatured type II collagen against arthritic infl ammatory diseases: A mechanistic explanation. Int J Clin Pharm Res. 2002;22(3/4):101-110.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.