All over the globe, the life expectancy of humans has markedly increased over the past decades. Many of the so-called “golden agers” lead an active lifestyle, but at the same time, there are a growing number of seniors whose quality of life is impaired by physical disorders. These include, in addition to joint and bone diseases, excess weight or malnourishment. Hydrolysed collagen can help prevent these disorders or alleviate their effects – for a mobile and active lifestyle in the “golden years”.
The following infographic gives an overview.
The right nutrition
The body’s needs change over the years. A sufficient supply of nutrients and proteins is especially important in later years. This can be difficult to achieve from time to time, as many older people suffer from a loss of appetite. In these cases, the foods they do consume need to be adequately fortified to ensure that even small portions provide a sufficient supply, or that appropriate dietary supplements are taken.
Dietary supplements with hydrolysed collagen can meet the body’s protein requirement. Hydrolysed collagen is a pure protein with 18 amino acids among which eight of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesise by itself. At the same time, hydrolysed collagen is easily digested by the human organism, it does not contain sugar and has no fat – all important factors when manufacturing products that are high in protein and low in calories. As an example, this protein can replace sugar as a binding agent in cereal bars. Moreover, sugar and sugar substitutes no longer need to be added as a sweetener because hydrolysed collagen does not have a bitter aftertaste, as compared with proteins gleaned from milk or soya.
Thanks to its neutral taste and smell, but also its good solubility, hydrolysed collagen can easily be produced in a variety of dosage forms: hydrolysed collagen is available as liquid ampoules, protein shakes, capsules as well as in powder and tablet form.
Hydrolysed collagen is also recommended for the prevention of joint disorders such as osteoarthritis and for the therapeutic support of patients suffering from these disorders. Those affected benefit from a long-term reduction in pain, improved joint mobility and increased joint resilience. This often makes it possible to reduce painkiller use.
Worldwide, osteoarthritis is one of the most common joint disorders in adults and a typical disorder in seniors. Those affected primarily suffer from two symptoms: joint pain and an increasing loss of mobility. Osteoarthritis is caused by a chronic breakdown of joint cartilage. About 70 per cent of the cartilage substance in joints is made up of collagen. Should there be an imbalance in the body’s natural ability to synthesise and convert collagen in joint cartilage, this can lead from joint deterioration all the way to osteoarthritis. This destroys the cartilage surface, the lower cartilage layer and the adjoining bone tissue.
The importance of dietary supplements with a regenerative effect on cartilage such as hydrolysed collagen is growing because, according to laboratory studies, they stimulate the synthesis of collagen. Numerous clinical studies also document the positive influence of this natural active agent. Experimental research has shown that following oral intake, hydrolysed collagen permeates into the body through the intestinal wall and is primarily taken up by the joint cartilage, where it stimulates the generation of collagen in the cartilage cells. This ensures that the cartilage substance can naturally regenerate, which counteracts the wear and tear on the joints.
On the far side of 60, even those people who were vital and healthy often become less agile and weaker. These changes can be caused by excessive muscle breakdown that increases with advancing age and a loss of muscle power. What causes this phenomenon, which is called sarcopenia, has yet to be conclusively resolved. In addition to other factors, lifestyle and nutrition play an important role: little exercise and an insufficient supply of energy, proteins and nutrients favour excessively rapid muscle breakdown.
To counteract this, seniors should ingest sufficient amounts of protein on a daily basis and exercise regularly. Essential amino acids are crucial in promoting the synthesis of muscle proteins. These amino acids, however, must be taken in via the diet since the body cannot produce them by itself. The protein supply can be improved through foods and dietary supplements that are enriched with proteins such as collagen, one of the most important basic building blocks of the body. Thanks to the amino acids it contains as well as the wide variety of dosage forms, hydrolysed collagen is especially well suited as a dietary supplement for seniors. Many products provide only these building blocks, others have combined them with a special cocktail of vitamins and other nutrients.
Osteoporosis and its precursor, osteopenia, are diseases that are most common in women after menopause. The bones become more brittle, their micro-architecture changes. Two cell types play an essential role in this: osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The former are responsible for synthesising the bones, the latter for breaking them down. While in younger years, bone formation predominates, from about the age of 40, bone resorption does. In addition, bone metabolism may also change during menopause due to a reduction in the female hormone oestrogen, which accelerates bone resorption.
However, this can be prevented. From a nutritional standpoint, risk factors for developing osteopenia are, among others, collagen, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Proper nutrition can rectify these deficiencies in time. Vitamin D is primarily found in fattier fish such as salmon or tuna, calcium can be found in milk products.
A dietary supplement with hydrolysed collagen can ensure that collagen is ingested in sufficient quantities. Medical studies on ovariectomized mice* have shown that a daily dose of 10 grams of hydrolysed collagen, ingested over a period of at least three months, not only was able to prevent, but also stop the progression of osteopenia. The studies showed that hydrolysed collagen is completely taken up by the bones as a building block, thus strengthening them.
*Guillerminet, F., Beaupied, H., Fabien-Soulé, V., Tomé, D., Benhamou, C-L., Blachier, F., Roux, C. and Blais, A. 2010. Hydrolyzed collagen improves bone metabolism and biomechanical parameters in ovariectomized mice: an in vitro and in vivo study. Bone, 46: 827–834.