Supporting the Immune System with Bioactive Collagen Peptides®
It would be hard to find a topic that has attracted more global attention than immune health during the last year. People are increasingly doing as much for their overall wellbeing as they possibly can in the light of the ongoing pandemic, especially with supplements. This is clearly reflected in the significant sales uptick for vitamins and minerals. However, within that category, there is another popular nutrient that may come as a bit of a surprise to some: protein and, in particular, collagen.
Now, you may already know about the connection between collagen and the “white” connective tissue, such as bones, tendons, ligaments and muscle fascia. But, you might be wondering how collagen can benefit the immune system. Well, there’s actually a growing body of evidence that suggests a role for collagen-rich tissues in supporting a well-functioning immune system. To make this benefit consumer-friendly, our new products — IMMUPEPT™ 25 and IMMUPEPT™ 50 — are the first solutions to bring collagen and Bioactive Collagen Peptides® (BCP®s) to the immune health category. Both variants include the same ingredients; the only difference being that IMMUPEPT™ 50 also contains bone-specific BCP®s.
So, what is IMMUPEPT™ exactly? It’s a specific, well characterized composition of collagen peptides that optimally stimulate the collagen-rich connective tissues, which play a key role in supporting the immune system.
That leads us directly to the next question: which tissues are we talking about and how can BPC®s help? Basically, we’re looking at three kinds of tissues: the skin epidermis, the ECM (extracellular matrix) and the bone marrow. If you follow our blog, you, undoubtedly, have heard of these terms in combination with collagen. And, you’ll be aware that collagen is abundant in all of these body parts. So, you can probably guess where this is going next!
First, let’s talk about the skin epidermis. It’s the outermost layer of the skin and, in terms of the immune system, it’s the body’s most important physical barrier against external threats. Put into simple terms, the epidermis is the first line of defence. It’s made up of a “brick-wall” of keratinocytes, the skin cells that help to maintain the skin barrier. IMMUPEPT™ contains specific BCP®s that stimulate the metabolism of these cells to produce the several components that strengthen and repair the skin barrier, thus helping to prevent attacks on the immune system.
Beyond skin, the role of connective tissues in immune health extends to the whole-body ECM, which is often described as the body’s “scaffold.” In addition, numerous metabolic functions occur inside the ECM, because it’s here where most of the immune cells that are responsible for inflammatory responses operate. Present throughout the whole body, fibroblasts are the most common connective tissue cells and the metabolic “heart” of the ECM. When inflammation occurs, these cells are responsible for an active and functional immune response. IMMUPEPT™ contains specific BCP®s that optimally regulate fibroblast cell metabolism, stimulating the biosynthesis of several ECM proteins involved in the immune response.
Last, but surely not least, we need to look at the relationship between bones and the immune system. All immune system cells derive from the bone marrow — a collagen-rich tissue complex of blood vessels, nerves and cells. This connection, which may be surprising at first, is actually a well-accepted concept and even has its own dedicated interdisciplinary field called osteoimmunology. And, thanks to recent studies, we now know that bone cells don’t only regulate each other, they also influence immune cells too — and vice versa. Put in (very) simple terms: strong bones equal a strong immune system and the other way around. Bone-specific BCP®s in IMMUPEPT™ 50 regulate the metabolism of human bone-remodelling cells, which may also contribute to immune health.
So, this is how our new IMMUPEPT™ ingredient works. It’s a lot of information to digest. If you want to know more about IMMUPEPT™ and the relationship between collagen and the immune system, we invite you to watch our webinar and download further information here.