The Benefits of Collagen When Recovering from Surgery
Posted January 2022
Don’t sneeze too violently. Keep your incision(s) clean. Avoid baths – strictly showers only. Wound management instructions, as well-intentioned as they are, can feel overly restrictive, putting a damper on your days. But there’s good news. Collagen supplementation could potentially speed up your recovery rates, allowing you to get back to living your best life ASAP. How and why? Read on to find out.
What Are the Benefits of Collagen When Recovering from Surgery?
Do you know how your body "patches up" wounds? Here's a hint: collagen plays a vital role in the process. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; instead, we'll start from the beginning. In adult humans, wound healing occurs in four phases:
- Hemostasis: The body utilises clotting factors to prevent further blood loss from the wound site.
- Inflammation: Kicks off a cascade of events that eventually lead to the arrival of white blood cells (i.e., macrophages), critical for fighting any infections.
- Proliferation: Involves the deposition – and increased synthesis of – protein (with most of it being collagen) to “close” the wound, re-establish tissue integrity, and replace damaged tissue proteins.
- Remodelling: Depending on how large or deep your wound – i.e., surgery incision – is, the last stage of wound healing can last for years (even after the site looks closed and repaired).
At this point, the mechanisms through which collagen supplementation speeds up post-surgery recovery should become apparent.
#1: Promotes Wound Healing
Remember how much of the new protein deposited during wound healing in the proliferation stage is collagen? Are you wondering why that's so? Well, it's because collagen plays two crucial roles. The first is that it acts as a scaffold for cellular entry and growth in the wound bed (i.e., it serves as a foundation that other cells build on), and the second is that it, in and of itself, encourages the deposition of new collagen.
So, given this information, the findings gathered from a 2020 study published in Burns shouldn't be all that surprising. The researchers concluded that a hydrolysed collagen-based supplement helped significantly improve wound healing and clinically reduced hospital stay in patients with 20-30% burn.
#2: Fends Off Infections
Unfortunately, sometimes, a wound may fail to heal correctly. And one of the biggest contributing factors? Infection. Or, in other words, the presence and growth of bacteria in the wound. Given the difficulty of successfully removing large-scale bacterial communities, however, medical professionals advise that the best strategy to promote wound healing is to prevent wound infections from occurring in the first place. But how? Answer: by supporting your body’s immune system with collagen supplementation.
Um, wait a minute. What’s the link between the two? Here: your antibodies – the “search” battalion of your immune system’s search-and-destroy system – are proteins. That means collagen supplementation provides your body with the building blocks needed to produce the antibodies necessary to fight off infections!
#3: Rebuilds Cartilage
If you underwent joint surgery, collagen supplementation could promote cartilage repair at the surgery site and even throughout all joints in your body – ramping up recovery and lowering your risk for future operations at the same time. That’s because collagen (more specifically, type 2 collagen) makes up your articular cartilage, the tissue that “lubricates” the ends of bones at the joints. So, researchers believe that supplemental collagen could accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make more collagen.
Which Collagen Is Best for My Post-surgery Recovery?
For the best results, the collagen supplement you choose to support your post-surgery recovery should contain:
- Hydrolysed collagen peptides: Collagen that’s been broken down into smaller chains of amino acids; allows for better absorption by your body.
- Vitamin C: Known to stimulate collagen synthesis; taking vitamin C and collagen together may quicken your recovery rate.
Psst: The Collagen Co’s Premium Collagen Powder does better by incorporating hyaluronic acid and biotin – in addition to vitamin C that’s paired with 15 grams of hydrolysed collagen peptides per serve!