Collagen is the tissue in the body that works like cement. It’s the tissue that holds all our cells and organs together. With out it, we would be a mass of blog with no form whatsoever. So collagen is important. You have probably heard of collagen diseases like Lupus or System Lupus Erythematosus (big name huh). But these are autoimmune diseases. This is where the body’s own immune system attacks collagen. But we are not talking about this classification of diseases. We are talking about a disease where there is not enough collagen!
What would happen if collagen were deficient in the body? Is it possible to have a collagen deficiency? You have probably not heard of this deficiency and you possibly have never seen any RDA requirements for the necessary daily requirements of collagen. That is because collagen is usually not essential. Which means that the body produces it’s own collagen. But for every collagen strand produced in the body, an essential nutrient is required. We’ll get to this a little later in the article.
The question of you and me today is: Is the commonly known condition called hemorrhoids a collagen deficiency disease? Hmmm. I am sure that the answer to that question is Yes. Studies have shown it to be a fact.
This may sound funny to you but hemorrhoidal tissue (after surgery of course) has been analyzed for its collagen content. The collagen content of the hemorrhoidal tissue of 31 patients who had gone through hemorrhoidectomy was analyzed and compared to 20 other persons who did not have hemorrhoids and had died of a natural death. The analysis clearly showed a great deficiency in collagen on those samples from hemorrhoid sufferers compared to those who did not suffer from this disease.
Whats funny about this study is the following phrase given by the scientists as a conclusion: “It remains unclear whether this is due to exogenous or endogenous influences”. In other words, is this due to something outside or something inside the body? This clearly reveals how scientific minds may sometimes blunder under the most simplest problems.
As mentioned earlier an essential nutrient is required to form every strand of collagen in the body. If any of these nutrients is lacking, collagen is not formed or it is formed incorrectly. It’s like building a cement wall without the steel that supports it. To form collagen the body requires:
1. Vitamin C
2. The amino acid lysine
3. Zinc – an essential mineral lacking in our soil and foods 4. Bioflavonoid found in citrus
5. Anthocyanidins – found in certain fruits and vegetables
As you may see by the list above, most of these nutrients are not available in the standard american diet. Lysine is easy to get because it is found in all high protein foods. But the other essential nutrients are not consumed enough by the majority of americans to supply good quality collagen tissue. Where can we get these nutrients?
1. Zinc can be found in pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
2. Vitamin C can be found in lemons, citrus, and all fruits and vegetables in different degrees
3. Anthocyanidins are found in blueberries, pomegranate and all the berry family
4. Bioflavonoids can also be found in the above foods, especially citrus
*1. Willis, S., et al., Haemorrhoids – A Collagen Disease? Colorectal Dis, 2009.