T Nation

Catabolism Of Collagen


Hey all,

I'm something of a n00b around here, so I'm pleased to meet you.

Currently, I seem to be in a very catabolic state, whereby my body is not necessarily wasting skeletal muscle (already pretty wasted) but collagen in my skin/etc., to the effect that I'm aging rapidly under the influence of cortisol (also with elevated estradiol now).

There are two strange things I did recently:
- used a soil-based probiotic (in an attempt to curb yeast infection)
- exposed myself to copper from the lining of a drinking vessel

Also, I'm losing salt, which implies that the hormone aldosterone is affected somewhat - maybe through the mechanism of chronically high cortisol and its respective "pregnenolone steal".

I've been doing investigations with a functional medicine practitioner, although things are getting expensive and adrenal modulators don't seem to be making any difference.

It's clear that I have a yeast infection, although I've probably had this for some while and didn't experience this kind of inflammatory-mediated catabolism before, which is downright scary - I'll have the skin and connective tissues of a pensioner if this continues much longer.

I typically maintain a diet of good fats, moderate unrefined carbs and high quality proteins.

My adrenal saliva tests showed elevated cortisol, elevated estrogens, midrange testosterone and midrange progesterone, although it's also worth noting that I recently started a course of antibiotics for h. pylori (something I thought may be a source of inflammation), which seemed to trigger some kind of growth in my right breast (maybe consistent with immunosuppression and high estradiol).

With cortisol and estrogen on the move, I can only wonder how catabolic I can get, not to mention constant dehydration from losing salt/water.

If anyone has any ideas how I can tackle this catabolic wasting, it would be most appreciated.

Maybe I've been somewhat vague in presenting information, so please ask for more information if necessary.

This wasting phenomena is a scary experience, to say the least.

Thanks for your consideration.

Very best,


I'm not familiar, unfortunately, with your problem and even more unfortunately cannot provide advice that is worth high confidence. I will look further into this however.

My first thought quite well may not prove useful, but it is that the body is known to break down collagen for the purpose of yielding proline.

I cannot say that proline supplementation would stop that but if it were me personally, I would give it a try.

Dietary proline intake is actually fairly high in the first place -- very roughly 10% of protein intake -- and so I would doubt that low dose supplementation would do much. I'd try 5 g at a time 4-6 times a day, or if it proves quite tolerable in larger doses, 10 g 3x/day and see if this does any good. If there isn't benefit within say 2 weeks then I would dismiss the idea.

High gelatin intake could be worth trying as well. Knox Gelatine (that is how they spell it) is available at the supermarket in unflavored packets at a quite reasonable price. I'd suggest three packets per day.

Absolutely there could be and probably are other things going on as well, but such supplementation might possibly address part of the problem.


I am by no means an expert in this kind of thing but has your doctor eliminated the possibility that it could be some sort of autoimmune disease? The fact that you mentioned inflammation made me think of it.


Do you have a defined medical condition with a name?


Your situation is probably going to be way outside of the scope of what most people on this board are familiar with, but I'm curious to know a bit more about your problem.

How were you diagnosed with H. Pylori and a yeast infection? What does your diet look like in terms of calories and actual foods consumed? Could you give us an average days breakdown? What treatments have you tried with this functional medicine practitioner? Are they the first doctor you've seen about this? How have your symptoms changed since starting treatment?

Have you had your D3 levels tested? Cholesterol? Like Bonesaw93 asked, have you been tested for auto imune diseases?


What is your definition of "good fats"? Vegetable oils? Polyunsaturated fats? Butter, lard and grown-on-the-range fatty meat? Palm & coconut oil?


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This might seem strange, as I am also a new poster (long long time lurker though), but this smells a little troll to me...

This sounds like an attempt to make a strange, semi-scientific question out of all the aspects of endocrine medicine that a seasoned BB has a general knowledge about. For me, it looks like a way to try to make ppl go wild with speculation and bizarre suggestions...

However, you can always expect the unexpected...

If you are serious, you have to give some info about your age and other medical conditions... And tell us why you think you are loosing salt...


I'm no troll, even though I'm a noob. The point to consider is that I'm in a serious situation - smoke coming out of my ears, you could say. Almost something akin to smoking 80 cigarettes per day (smokers destroy collagen through vitamin C antagonism).

The L-proline supplement is a good idea - I was supplementing with 500mg along with natural vitamin C, although I think I'll need more somehow. This could even affect the collagen network throughout my arteries/veins etc., which is alarming, to say the least. They call this "rapid/premature aging".

Cortisol likes to eat healthy tissue, including structural collagen, does it not? Even bone and teeth can be catabolised.

Furthermore, aldosterone controls electrolyte balance - collagen matrices are very susceptible to dehydration from electrolyte dysregulation.

If chronic excessively high cortisol was to suppress the anabolic hormones, whereby estrogen could not be opposed and the mineralcorticoid aldosterone was suppressed, would this not be a BB's worst nightmare?

Dehydration and catabolism are my waking experience at the moment and they're continuing every second of my rapidly ending life! I appealed for help from this forum because I'm desperately looking for answers to stem/stop the catabolism.


Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?
Lupus disorders?

<--------------- Not an MD


Not an MD, but Cushings? Maybe?


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