Q&A: Is Collagen Good for Brain Health? Alzheimer’s? Neurological Degeneration?

UPDATED LAST ON:

August 19, 2021

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Question

I was referred to you by a friend for questions about collagen type IV or VI. She said you were the guru! Recent research articles have found these types are best for neuro/brain health (maybe prevention or stalling of Alzheimer’s) but after much looking, I have been unable to find products that specify these types. Is the research still premature? Do you have a product?Sharon

Really important questions, Sharon. Thank you for bringing up this topic of collagen and brain health!

Somewhat related, we have explored if collagen helps repair nerve damage. However, this is the first question we’ve fielded on specific neurological degeneration (such as Alzheimer’s).

It’s also an opportunity to discuss other types of collagen such as type IV and type VI.

Type IV and Type VI Collagen

In this video, Dr. Cate, M.D. shares her thoughts on uncommon types of collagen (video will start playing at 19:49).

Most people are pretty familiar with the 5 types of collagen in a multi collagen supplement, but if you do enough research you’ll certainly find other types and wonder why supplement companies (like us!) don’t utilize them.

The short answer, these other collagen types (such as type IV and type VI) are present in small amounts in the body and it’ll take a lot of money to isolate and get into a collagen supplement. Dr. Cate, M.D. thinks it’ll be a long time before a collagen supplement will include more than type I, II, III, V, & X.

See: The Best Collagen Supplement (5 Things to Consider)

Collagen and Brain Health 101

Let’s start with the basics. Collagen could be good for the brain!

At a high level, collagen could support brain health because collagen is pure protein.Dr. Cate

The brain needs a lot of protein and protein deficiency clearly contributes to brain degeneration generally and Alzheimer’s specifically.

But, collagen shouldn’t be the supplement of choice for brain health

Now, let’s address a point in Sharon’s question.

Regarding the possibility of a collagen supplement supporting brain health, Dr. Cate believes it’s still the wrong supplement.

The function of collagen supplements is to support connective tissue, and the brain has very little connective tissue.Dr. Cate

Can a certain type of collagen (e.g. type IV or VI) prevent neurological degeneration?

Bad news collagen lovers.

There is no type of collagen (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, X, etc. etc.) that’ll prevent neurological degeneration (such as Alzheimer’s). Yes, this is disappointing for us too considering we think collagen is awesome and we’re clearly big fans.

As mentioned above, collagen is the wrong supplement here since neurological degeneration is an issue of fatty acid oxidation and collagen supplements have little to no effect on that.

Even though the brain contains minute amounts of collagen called “basement membrane,” collagen issues in the brain are not the reason we develop dementia or any of the other common brain diseases.Dr. Cate

Little research has been done in this area of collagen and the brain, but here’s one from NCBI: Collagen for brain repair: therapeutic perspectives.

Ways to protect brain health (sans collagen)

If you want to protect your brain health, Dr. Cate wrote a chapter for you in her book Deep Nutrition. It’s called Brain Killer: Why vegetable oil is your brain’s worst enemy.

The next chapter after that is about sugar, but vegetable oil is truly the number one issue causing Alzheimer’s in the United States and around the world.

More helpful resources

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Author

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Dr. Cate

Dr. Cate Shanahan is our Medical & Scientific Advisor. She is a Board-certified Family Physician, biochemist trained at Cornell University, and New York Times Bestseller.

Contributors

Eric Sharp CMO

Eric Sharp

Eric discovered collagen back in 2019 (thanks to Charlie) and been a believer since. He brings 20+ years of digital marketing experience to the CB Supplements team. As CMO, he's directly responsible for crafting the CB Supplements positioning, content, branding, and overall marketing direction.

Charlie Bailes - Founder CB Supplements

Charlie Bailes

If you've bought our multi collagen, there's a pretty darn good chance you've received an awesome personalized thank you note from Charlie. Aside from caring A LOT about customer appreciation, he's also our Founder and CEO and responsible for assembling our great team and vision.

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