Collagen is the tissue in the body that works like cement. It is the tissue that holds all our cells and organs together. Without it, we would be a formless blog mass. So collagen is important. You’ve probably heard of collagen diseases like lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus (great 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 in which there is not enough collagen!
What if collagen was deficient in the body? Is it possible to have a collagen deficiency? You have probably not heard of this deficiency and possibly have never seen any RDA requirement for necessary daily collagen requirements. That’s because collagen is rarely essential. Which means that the body produces its own collagen. But for every strand of collagen produced in the body, an essential nutrient is required. We’ll get to this a bit later in the article.
The question you and I have today is: Is the commonly known disease called hemorrhoids a collagen deficiency disease? Hmm. I’m sure the answer to that question is Yes. Studies have shown that to be a fact.
This may sound like fun to you, but the hemorrhoidal tissue (after surgery, of course) has been tested for collagen content.. The collagen content of the hemorrhoidal tissue of 31 patients who had undergone a hemorrhoidectomy was analyzed and compared with another 20 people who did not have hemorrhoids and had died a natural death. The analysis clearly showed a large collagen deficiency in those samples from patients with hemorrhoids compared to those without this disease.
The funny thing about this study is the following sentence given by the scientists as a conclusion: “It is not clear whether this is due to exogenous or endogenous influences.” In other words, is it due to something external or internal to the body? This clearly reveals how scientific minds can sometimes go wrong with the simplest problems.
As mentioned above, an essential nutrient is required to form every strand of collagen in the body. If any of these nutrients are missing, collagen is not formed or is formed incorrectly. It is like building a concrete 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 that is lacking in soil and food. 4. Bioflavonoid found in citrus.
5. Anthocyanidins: found in certain fruits and vegetables.
As you can see from the list above, most of these nutrients are not available in the standard American diet. Lysine is easy to obtain because it is found in all high-protein foods. But the other essential nutrients are not consumed enough by most Americans to supply good quality collagen tissue. Where can we get these nutrients?
1. Zinc can be found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
2. Vitamin C can be found in lemons, citrus fruits, and all fruits and vegetables to varying degrees.
3. Anthocyanidins are found in blueberries, pomegranate, and the entire berry family.
4. Bioflavonoids can also be found in the above foods, especially citrus fruits.
* 1. Willis, S., et al., Hemorrhoids: a collagen disease? Colorectal disease, 2009.