Weak Whole-Body Structure

Our body structure is made up of joints, bones, muscles, skin, hair and nails. As with everything in life, a strong foundation, i.e. whole-body structure is imperative for physical fitness and good quality of life. As we age, changes in body structure, especially joints, bones and muscles affect the posture and walk, leading to weakness and slow movement. On top of this, chronic inflammation is another primary cause of many heath issues, including joint pain, bone loss, muscle aching or weakness.

Joints

Our body structure is made up of joints, bones, muscles, skin, hair and nails. As with everything in life, a strong foundation, i.e. whole-body structure is imperative for physical fitness and good quality of life. As we age, changes in body structure, especially joints, bones and muscles affect the posture and walk, leading to weakness and slow movement. On top of this, chronic inflammation is another primary cause of many heath issues, including joint pain, bone loss, muscle aching or weakness.

Collagen is a major protein in connective tissues and can be classified into 3 types.

Type I

is the predominant collagen in tendons and ligament and confers strength to the tissues.

Type II

makes up 85 – 90% of collagen in joint cartilage.

Type III

is not a major component of the extracellular matrix in connective tissues. It is synthesised in the early stage of the repair process and has also been suggested to restore part of the physical tensile strength. It is believed to be of great advantage during the healing and rebuilding process due to its ability to form rapid crosslinks and help stabilise the repair site.

With the tremendous benefits of collagen in rejuvenating and repairing joint tissues, replenishing the full spectrum collagen types I, II & III, is the holistic way to manage joint problems thoroughly and protect the joints comprehensively.

Bones

From around 30 years of age, bone density starts to decrease, and the fall is much higher for women after menopause. As a result, bones become more fragile with age and are more likely to fracture. Hip fracture is a primary concern in the healthcare of elderly population as it often leads to morbidity and mortality.a

According to statistics 

Bones primarily consists of collagen matrix, that is, collagen mineralised with calcium and phosphorus crystals. When combined, the flexible collagen and hard mineral crystals will result in the bone being both hard and elastic, but not brittle. In the bone, 90% of the organic matrix is comprised of type I collagen, rendering toughness in the bones. As we age, collagen crosslink concentration in the bones decreases and mechanical integrity of the bone’s collagen network deteriorates. These are associated with decreased bone stiffness and toughness as well as an increased risk of fractures. Inflammation can also lead to age-related deterioration in bone quality on top of age related changes in the collagen network. Inflammation induces bone loss by interfering with normal bone homeostasis. It accelerates local cartilage degradation as well as local and systemic bone destruction by osteoclasts while suppressing bone formation by osteoblasts.

Inflammation is one of the key drivers of bone loss. In normal bone remodelling, the balanced action between bone-forming osteoblasts and bone-resorbing osteoclasts are tightly regulated and maintained, ensuring no major net changes in bone mass in mature bones. In chronic inflammation, inflammatory cytokines induce an uncoupling of bone formation and resorption, resulting in significant bone loss.

(Extracted from J Immunol Res. 2015: 832127 (2015))

In essence, the three crucial keys to achieving and maintaining healthy bone mineral density, flexibility and strength for all ages, particularly middle aged and older adults is to restore type I collagen, maintain cross-links between collagen networks, and address inflammation.

Muscles

Sarcopenia, also known as age-related muscle loss, is a natural part of aging that starts around age 30 and progresses throughout life. After age 30, muscle loss can be as high as 3% to 5% per decade. Most men losses 30% of muscle mass during their lifetime. Sarcopenia can affect mobility, and increase mortality risk.

Sarcopenia is a slow process and can be caused by many factors

Old age is associated with chronically elevated levels of inflammatory markers. These markers can be 2 to 4 times higher than those of younger adults. In addition to aging, chronic diseases can also contribute to inflammation which would interfere the normal teardown and healing balance, resulting in muscle loss. Besides inflammation, collagen deficiency could be one of the key drivers of sarcopenia. Collagen is a vital component in muscles and collagen deficiency is one of the reasons that muscle mass decreases. Collagen supplementation can help improve muscle mass as it contains amino acids arginine and glycine. Both are important building blocks for creatine. Numerous evidence has supported that creatine helps improve muscle mass, build muscle strength and improve athletic performance.

In brief, managing inflammation and restoring collagen in the body, either by direct replenishment or stimulating body’s own collagen production is critical to maintain optimal muscle mass and muscle strength in old age.

Skin

Ageing, regular UV exposure and unhealthy lifestyle compromise the skin’s firmness, softness and radiance. After the age of 20, collagen in the skin falls by 1% every year. The skin will resultantly start to lose elasticity, and signs of skin aging starts to sneak in.

Fine lines >> wrinkles >> loss of volume >> loss of skin density UV exposure causes collagen to break down at a quicker rate, leading to premature skin aging. Free radicals can also cause oxidative stress, damaging the skin’s DNA and adding years to the skin age. Also, chronic stress, aging and many other factors can elevate inflammation, which in turns exhausts the skin’s defense system and weakens its structural integrity, resulting in the collagen degradation and accelerated skin aging.

Hence, re-activation of body’s collagen production, instant collagen “top up”, antioxidant protection, as well as reducing inflammation are holistic approach to delay the onset of skin aging.

Hair

It is normal to lose 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. If a hair follicle is damaged, hair may begin to shed quicker than it can regenerate. This results in excessive hair shedding, receding hairlines, hair falling in patches or overall hair thinning.

Collagen holds the dermal layer and hair follicles together which in turn keeps the hair strong and healthy, besides keeping the hair glossy. However, collagen production starts to fall by about 1% each year in most people, starting as early as 20s. (consider flow chart) With decreased collagen production, hair follicles become brittle AND the dermal layers get dried up. These will result in hair fall. Inflammation of the hair follicles, usually caused by staph bacteria or fungi, can affect the scalp, which causes temporary hair loss.

By boosting body own collagen’s production, replenishment with high-quality collagen and managing inflammation are the primary approaches to thicker, fuller and shiny hairs.

Nails

Collagen is a building block for the nails and thus, lowered collagen levels in the body can cause weak, peeling, splitting or brittle nails. Maintaining nail health depends on the nutrients delivered through the skin’s blood circulation. Collagen is a rich source of amino acid arginine, which is the biological precursor of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide plays a crucial role in improving circulation and delivering nutrients throughout the body, including the nail bed, which in turns supporting strong and healthy nails. Hence, restoring the body’s collagen stores can help improve nail growth and reduce the risk of brittle or broken nails.