Woman adding collagen wound healing powder to her morning coffee

The Role of Collagen in Wound Healing and Management

Wound healing is the most underrated power the human body possesses. You don’t even need to flip a switch to activate this power; it just happens. The biological processes of collagen wound healing are nearly automatic. 

The human body is incredible. You don’t see smartphones and computers fixing themselves like this. Of course, there is a slight downside to this gift. 

Most people don’t have a clear understanding of what’s going on below the surface while they rest and recover from injury, nor can they name the materials or stages of wound healing. 

Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz about collagen wound healing. If you haven’t, you certainly will have by the end of this article! 

Collagen is the biggest building block in the wound healing process, and there is great benefit to exploring the science of wound healing to understand the medical uses for collagen protein.

You may be currently recovering from an injury, or awaiting an upcoming surgery. Whatever the case, having an awareness of the amazing processes of your body can provide some clarity on how to fuel your body and potentially speed up recovery times.

This way, you’ll feel much better answering some big questions such as: “Can collagen supplements help wound healing?” and “What is the best collagen for wound healing?” to secure yourself the best collagen products.

But how exactly does collagen wound healing work? To answer that question, it’s important to dive into your body’s natural wound healing process. 

The stages of wound healing

Whether they take place in muscles, organs, or blood vessels, there are common repair processes across all soft tissue. Although healing is a continuous process, it can be divided into four basic stages. These stages of a healing wound are commonly referred to as:

Hemostasis: which starts immediately after an injury and helps stop bleeding.

Inflammation: which begins shortly after the wound is suffered, and assists in cleaning the wound.

Proliferation: which normally starts within days of the injury and encompasses the majority of the healing process and new tissue generation.

Remodeling: where scar tissue is smoothed out, which could last up to a year or more.

Let’s unpack what those descriptions mean: both for your body, and for collagen in wound healing.

Stage 1: Hemostasis

Your circulatory system is a vast transportation network for your body. Pumped by the heart, blood is oxygenated by the air you breathe in, and digested nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream to be transported wherever they are needed. 

A disruption to a blood vessel causes bleeding. The blood that was being pumped around you at pressure now escapes through an empty space. Blood is a vital resource, so once an injury is detected, the body acts quickly to stop any bleeding through coagulation. 

Coagulation protects the vascular system, keeping it intact so that the function of vital organs remains unharmed despite the injury. It also provides a supply matrix for cells that are needed in the later phases of healing. 

This coagulation process starts with the deposit of fibrin. Consider fibrin as a rapid-response groundwork at the site of the wound. This temporary patch will later be replaced and strengthened by collagen wound healing protein, as collagen has better strength and flexibility.

The end result of coagulation is hemostasis, which means the bleeding has been stopped and the groundwork is set for collagen wound healing to begin.

Stage 2: Inflammation

Although often considered an inconvenience, inflammation is a vital part of the healing process. Its main function is to establish an immune barrier against invading microorganisms. The site must be cleared of any trespassers so that conditions are optimal for collagen wound healing.

The early stages of the inflammation phase overlap with the hemostasis phase. The immune system infiltrates the coagulation groundwork with an agent referred to as neutrophils.

Neutrophils prevent infection and destroy bacteria around the site of the wound as well as damaged tissue. This is vital to wound healing, as acute wounds that have a bacterial imbalance will not heal.

Even though the risk of infection is now much lower thanks to successful coagulation and neutrophil activity, the immune system requests to have an ongoing presence at the site of the wound to prevent further threats. Therefore, macrophages are deployed. 

Macrophages are assigned the task of breaking down devitalized collagen and blocking future foreign microorganisms from the wound site.

Unlike neutrophils, macrophages don’t require constant exclusive access to the wound, so restorative collagen wound healing work can take place alongside macrophage surveillance.

Stage 3: Proliferation

In the proliferation stage, your body forms an abundance of collagen-rich granulation tissue. This collagen wound healing tissue is a much stronger and more permanent reconstructive seal than the previous network made up of fibrin.

Collagen is a strong, fibrous protein with great tensile tenacity and elasticity. It’s created naturally by the human body by combining amino acids received from food or supplements. 

Collagen is found in ligaments, tendons, muscles, bones, skin, organs, and blood vessels. It’s a major building block that makes us, us - and it’s how your body puts itself back together. 

If you’ve ever received stitches you may be able to picture the process of collagen wound healing a little more easily. A medical professional will first clean the area around the wound and then sew the separated edges of the wound back together. 

Of course, the human body is much more sophisticated. and carries out this reconnecting process with thousands upon thousands of stitches made of collagen protein. 

This process starts with the arrival of fibroblasts, normally around 3 days after a wound is detected. The collagen wound healing process is done under the supervision of these fibroblasts.

Consider fibroblasts as the construction workers of the new tissue building project. Among their materials are type I and type III procollagen, the building blocks of the restoration process. 

The wound granulation tissue that is created during the proliferation stage is thicker, rougher, and more disorganized than your normal tissue. Because of this, once the wound is filled in, it’s time to move onto the final stage of wound healing: remodeling. 

Stage 4: Remodeling

To return to normal bodily function, a wound needs to be able to withstand external pressures. Because of this, your body will gradually remodel the already filled-in wound layer by layer, with each step increasing the tensile strength of the tissue.

Although the initial deposit of collagen fibers is highly disorganized, during the remodeling stage, the new collagen matrix becomes more reinforced and cross-linked over time. 

The underlying connective tissue reduces in size and brings the outer borders of the wound closer together. The final product is a fully matured scar with a decreased number of cells and blood vessels and a high tensile strength.

Collagen fibers help your body tissue to return to approximately 80% of its original strength. Fueling your body with collagen is a great strategy to pass through each stage of wound healing healthily and maybe even reduce recovery time.

Collagen acts as the building block to stitch wounds back together, so it makes sense that your body would seek a constant supply of it during wound healing. This is especially true as you age, since your body’s natural collagen production decreases each year after your mid-20s. 

Now that you have an understanding of the role of collagen in the wound healing process, let’s take a look at how doctors and scientists have used collagen to assist in healing. 

How doctors use collagen in wound healing

Doctors use collagen wound healing for a number of treatments, including pressure ulcer treatment and the treatment of burn victims. Here are just some of the ways that doctors use collagen wound healing products to aid their patients:

Collagen for open wound treatment

Collagen has long been touted as a beneficial skin supplement - and the science backs it up. A number of collagen studies have found that oral collagen is effective for open wound treatment and can speed up the healing process. 

Taking an oral collagen supplement can also improve skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density. This means that your collagen wound healing supplement may also come with anti-aging benefits!  

Collagen wound healing after C-sections

Collagen can be used to improve wound healing following cesarean sections. In fact, it’s one of the best methods for how to heal deep wounds faster

A study of collagen wound healing for cesarean sections found that collagen can significantly speed up wound healing after surgery. This is great news for any expectant mothers, and makes it worth talking with your OBGYN about collagen supplements.

Plus, there are many other benefits of collagen during pregnancy as well! 

Collagen for healing burns 

Collagen is important for healing more than just surgical incisions, it is also commonly used for treating burn victims. 

Studies have shown that a hydrolyzed collagen supplement could significantly improve wound healing and reduce hospital stays in burn victims. People who received collagen supplements during the study showed expedited signs of a healing wound compared to those who received a placebo. 

Collagen wound healing dressings

Not all collagen wound healing is done with oral supplements. In fact, collagen wound dressings are very effective as well.

Studies have found that collagen dressings have greater efficacy for treating wounds than conventional dressing materials like silver sulfadiazine, nadifloxacin, or povidone-iodine.

Collagen dressings may also help avoid the need for skin grafting, which is a big plus for some patients.  

Collagen for bone healing

Postmenopausal women often suffer from reduced bone mineral density, caused by the drop in estrogen levels that happens around the time of menopause. Women may lose up to 10 percent of bone mass in the five years following menopause. 

Luckily, doctors can use collagen for bone healing, too. Regular collagen supplementation can increase bone mineral density and reduce bone degradation. 

Collagen biomaterials for wound healing

Doctors are using collagen to heal wounds in a number of forms. We’ve discussed oral collagen and collagen dressings, but medical practitioners have also found success with the use of natural collagen in sponges, injectables, films and membranes, dressings, and skin grafts. 

The success of collagen biomaterials shows promise for more collagen wound healing products in the future. 

Collagen for healing chronic wounds

Sometimes, you run into the issue of a wound not healing. This is especially common in people with diabetes, circulation issues, and elderly patients – but there are many slow healing wounds causes

If your wound takes longer than two months to heal, it is considered chronic. Chronic wounds are susceptible to infections that can result in much more dangerous health conditions and even death if left untreated.

Fortunately, collagen could be the answer to swift healing of chronic wounds. In one study, 961 patients with chronic wounds were treated in 11 controlled trials. 485 of these patients had their wounds treated with collagen dressings, and the rest were treated with regular dressings. 

Upon conclusion of the study, it was found that the patients with chronic wounds who were treated with collagen showed better and faster healing than those in the placebo groups. 

As you can see, collagen wound healing treatments can be used for even the most troublesome wounds. But can collagen supplements help wound healing at home as well as in the hospital? 

Let’s look into how you can assist your body’s natural healing process through simple supplementation. 

Can collagen supplements help wound healing?

There is no longer any ambiguity about collagen wound healing. Thanks to numerous studies we now know we can use collagen to heal wounds effectively. 

If you are dealing with wounds that won’t heal, or have a condition that is causing bone loss, a high-quality collagen supplement may be able to help. 

While it’s important to visit the doctor’s office for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, you can absolutely supplement with collagen from home to help your healing along. 

If you want to assist your body’s collagen production and ensure you have ample collagen to heal wounds, one of the most effective ways to do this is through supplementation. 

That being said, it’s important to choose the right collagen wound healing supplements, as not all collagen products are created equally, and the majority are not even FDA-regulated. 

What is the best collagen for wound healing?

When looking for the best wound healing supplements, you want to search for collagen that is hydrolyzed or nano-hydrolyzed. This means the collagen protein has been broken down into smaller particles that are easier for your body to absorb.

You also want to ensure there are no additives like sugars or preservatives, so check the label carefully for any suspicious ingredients. It’s a good idea to find products that are backed by scientific studies and plenty of positive reviews. 

If you can get your hands on some medical-grade collagen, you will know that your collagen supplement is FDA-regulated and approved for use by doctors. 

ProT Gold is a medical-grade collagen supplement that is nano-hydrolyzed for easy absorption in just 15 minutes or less. This makes it a safe and effective choice for healing wounds. 

Ask your doctor how ProT Gold collagen products could help speed up your collagen wound healing process.