Detailed Review of the Collagen Cure by Dr. James DiNicolantonio and Siim Land
I bought the Collagen Cure after enjoying to Siim Land’s podcasts on longevity science, this is my detailed review.
The key take-away is that collagen is not the simple skin scaffolding I had assumed.
In fact, as the work of Dr. James DiNicolantonio shows, it has a vital role in the health of our bones, organs, our circulatory system and more. What’s more, precursor molecules – notably glycine – which are vital to collagen synthesis, are not naturally produced in sufficient quantities.
The Collagen Cure is information dense. Its claims are backed by citations, with more than half of the book dedicated to references. This creates a dual role. You can get the facts without the fluff – or to dive into the papers on specific topics. If you were expecting a popular science book style, then you might be in for a shock.
There are actionable suggestions throughout this book. They include food choices, supplement options and the importance of resistance training.
Eating collagen rich animal skins or tendons is not for me – fortunately, there are alternative ways to boost your collagen turnover.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Collagen Cure, below are five things which stood out for me. You’ll find a quick wrap-up at the end of this post.
My Top Five Take Aways from the Collagen Cure
#1 – We are 30% Collagen
The pervasiveness of collagen in our bodies was new to me. We are 30% overall, with 70%+ in the skin. There are significant amounts of collagen in our bones, hair, teeth and even organ membranes / circulatory system.
Before reading the Collagen Cure, I thought of osteoporosis as a calcium issue. In fact, collagen is vital to bone health.
#2 – There are 29 Different Types of Collagen
Nothing is simple in biology, and collagen is no exception.
The Collagen Cure dived into the 29 variations, splitting them into categories based on their role. A key difference is the amino acid that makes up each type (more on that below). Type I collagen forms tough ‘triple helix’ structures, giving it strength.
Just like with muscles, collagen synthesis decreases with age. We lose 10% per decade after 20. This contributes to many age-associated conditions including osteoporosis and loss of skin tone.
#3 – Glycine, Collagen and an Excellent Example of Disposable Soma Theory
Glycine is an amino acid, one of the earliest organic molecules.
A full chapter of the Collagen Cure is dedicated to its multiple roles. Glycine is needed for collagen synthesis. While we produce some, it is not enough to maintain a healthy turnover of collagen. Foods rich in glycine, or supplements are recommended to boost it.
An interesting side note in the book is that glycine production is not regulated. There are no messenger or levels of anything internally that would increase or decrease the amount of glycine we create.
The authors suggest that there is no biological need. Since collagen only becomes an issue with old age, and glycine production does not affect reproduction during youth – there was no evolutionary reason for this regulation.
Sounds like a perfect example of the disposable soma theory to me.
#4 – Vitamins and Minerals Involved in Collagen Biology
If it were as easy as popping a handful of collagen supplements every day, we’d quickly solve a lot of conditions associated with ageing.
The Collagen Cure highlights many of the biological pathways involved. This includes things that support production as well as things which damage it. The list will be familiar to anyone that has studied longevity. Oxidative stress causes damage. Glycine helps reduce this via the glutamine / glutathione pathways.
For support, vitamin C is needed, with copper and sodium playing key roles.
You’ll find details on how these minerals interact and optimal levels of supplementation in the book.
#5 – The Collagen Cure: Food / Lifestyle Recommendations
The final part of the collagen cure has detailed lists of foods. They cover the minerals and vitamins associated with collagen biology. There are enough choices to keep people on different diets happy.
While omnivorous, I really don’t like the idea of eating skin, boiling bones, or chewing on a tendon. Luckily, there are many delicious alternatives (as well as supplements).
Wrapping Up: The Collagen Cure Book Review Final Thoughts
An excellent book, and one for the reading list of anyone interested in diving deeper into the science of collagen and related pathways.
I’ll certainly be upping my intake after reading it, both through food, collagen supplements and a focus on glycine.
The Collagen Cure is not light reading, but when you start to uncover the facts, you’ll be drawn right in.
I believe that with a little help from someone that understands editing – think pacing, page / paragraph structures and narrative – James DiNicolantonio and Siim Land have a future longevity best seller in them!
I’ll be checking out their other titles just as soon as I finish my current pile of longevity books.
As usual, I won’t include commercial links here to prevent bias (unconscious or otherwise). You can find the Collagen Cure at Amazon.
Here is where to find the authors:
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