Collagen

  • Excerpt

Collagen is part of the connective tissue that holds all the cells of the body in place. According to its name (French colle = glue), collagen acts like a glue for our cells. Quite literally, collagen keeps us in shape. At the same time, collagen allows flexibility, motion, and mobility. In that sense, collagen allows life because without motion, we die. In the vascular system, collagen and elastin hold the form of the vessels and provide flexibility, strength, and resilience. Collagen is found abundantly in the skin as well as in cartilage, bones, and tendons. It could be described as a sort of wrapping material, comparable to the paper that a salesperson might use for wrapping up a fragile article you just purchased.

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OPCs recognize collagen and attach to its constitutive amino acids so that the collagen matures, maintaining its elasticity and strength. While OPCs directly protect collagen in this manner, they are only indirectly involved in the continuous creation of fresh collagen. The making (biosynthesis) of collagen takes place under the influence of only one unique substance: vitamin C. Without sufficient vitamin C, no collagen synthesis will take place. Because OPCs protect vitamin C, they contribute indirectly to collagen synthesis, showing in an impressive manner that Szent-Györgyi was right in recognizing vitamin C and vitamin P as co-factors. It is only under their joint effect that the body is able to fully unfold its capacity to produce fresh collagen. OPCs and vitamin C meet at a biological crossing from which they pursue the identical objective, the building, maturation, protection, and maintenance of collagen. In chapter 39: OPCs, Vitamin C and the Facts of e-life you will see in greater detail the intense relationship between Vitamin C and OPCs.

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Collagen is structured like a winding ladder in that it possesses twisting parallel poles connected by regular cross-links or rungs. The lateral parts consist of protein chains, or polypeptides that are intertwined. In fresh collagen, the lateral poles and the rungs that link them are very regularly positioned. The rungs are placed at equal distances, thus keeping the poles regularly spaced. People who are familiar with carpentry and ladders know that only ladders that have regular rungs and poles that are flexible do not break without warning. Ladders that have misplaced, irregular, and oblique rungs are not flexible and will rapidly break. The same is true for collagen. Only regular collagen is flexible; collagen that is irregular will break. In addition to the normal wear and tear that destroys collagen, free radicals disturb the making of collagen and impair existing collagen. Free radicals cause the misplacement of the crosslinks, the rungs, and as a result, the connective tissue becomes weak and brittle.

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Dietary habits form a major influence that can either support the body’s efforts to repair and maintain health or impair those efforts by undermining and/or overwhelming them. The nutritional element in these matters has been accepted by the scientific community as well as by the general public. Nevertheless, when it comes to advising the public about the intake of vitamins and minerals, scientific consensus recommends daily allowances, which are negligible when it comes to satisfying the body’s requirements. While orthodox medicine wants us to believe that 60 mg of vitamin C per day is enough to meet all our needs, Linus Pauling and other orthomolecular-oriented scientists recommend at least several grams per day.

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OPCs bridge the abyss between those conflicting views in that they may help boost suboptimal dosages of vitamin C to the mega-level proposed by Pauling. Masquelier once said, “In a way, Pauling was right about his high doses of vitamin C. Not knowing about OPCs, he had no other options. But I am convinced that if Linus Pauling had known OPCs, he would not have prescribed 18 grams of vitamin C, but a small amount of vitamin C and a small amount of OPCs. Most certainly I feel that I would have been able to convince him.”

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In an otherwise healthy person, insufficient production of collagen is caused by a deficiency in vitamin C and OPCs. No matter how much officialdom disagrees, when you accept cardiovascular disease as a form of scurvy that is caused by nutritional deficiencies, you gain more control of your life. By all scientific means, the breakdown of collagen stands for scurvy. The branch of medical science called etiology occupies itself with the causes and origins of disease. When logically, truthfully, and scientifically applied, etiology can only confirm the causal relationship between insufficient collagen production and a deficiency in vitamin C and OPCs. It may seem an impossible leap to label cardiovascular disease a kind of scurvy, but chapter 23: The No. 1 Killer, OPCs, and Cholesterol shows that the equation is not as mind-boggling as it appears.