What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein and is one of the main building blocks of our skin. It’s also found in our bones, tendons, and ligaments. It is the substance that holds the body together. Collagen forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure. Collagen occurs throughout the body, but especially in the skin, bones, and connective tissues. Collagen production declines with age and exposure to factors such as smoking and UV light. Collagen is a hard, insoluble, and fibrous protein that makes up one-third of the protein in the human body. In most collagens, the molecules are packed together to form long, thin fibrils. These act as supporting structures and anchor cells to each other. They give the skin strength and elasticity.
Types of Collagen:
There are at many different types of collagen, but 80 to 90 percent of them belong to the I, II, III, and V types. These different types have different structures and functions.
Type I collagen is the most abundant protein found in humans (and in all vertebrates). Type I helps to form our skin, bones, tendons, corneas, blood vessel walls, and other connective tissues. Type I or type 1 collagen is the strongest type of collagen. If you’re looking for collagen for supporting skin health, type 1 is a top choice since it’s literally a building block of the skin. Generally speaking, our collagen production naturally decreases as we age, which is why many people are turning to collagen supplements featuring type 1 collagen to support healthy skin.
Type II is the major collagen found in cartilage. Cartilage is the connective tissue that protects the ends of long bones at the joints. It’s also a structural component of the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes, the rib cage, and more. Since type Ill collagen helps to form the cartilage that protects our joints, it’s no wonder that this variety of collagen is often known for supporting healthy joints. Supplements featuring chicken collagen, such as chicken bone broth protein powder, can be great supplements featuring type II collagen. Chicken collagen also inherently features chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate, which are both popular for supporting healthy joints.
Type III is fibrillar collagen and is a major component of our skin and organs. In the body, type collagen is often found in the same locations as type l. Like type l, it is often in supplements designed to support healthy skin. Bovine collagen, which is derived from the muscles, bones, and skin of cows is another collagen supplement option that features mainly types l and III collagen. These are two of the most abundant types of collagen in the human body.
Type V collagen is one of the minor collagen components, forming interstitial collagen fibers along with type I collagen and plays a significant role in regulating the development of collagen fibers of connective tissue. Type V collagen co-exists with type II collagen in joint cartilage while supporting healthy collagen fibers of type II collagen. Type V collagen also functions to create the cells of a pregnant women’s placenta, which is the organ that attaches to the lining of the womb. Type V collagen also helps to form cell surfaces and hair.
Benefits of Collagen:
- Collagen gives body tissue structure, toughness, rigidity, and texture. In the skin, it’s akin to a layer of leather. And when it intermingles with elastic fibers, it gives skin strength and resilience When collagen begins to degrade in skin and levels drop in the body, you may notice wrinkles, stiffer tendons and ligaments, weaker muscles, joint pain, and even GI problems, It’s clear that collagen is vital for the health of every system in your body.
- Ingestion of collagen helps healthy nail growth
- Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.
- Collagen injections can improve the contours of the skin and fill out depressions.
- Collagen can help heal wounds by attracting new skin cells to the wound site. It promotes healing and provides a platform for new tissue growth.
- Collagen-based membranes have been used in periodontal and implant therapy to promote the growth of specific types of cells.
- Collagen tissue grafts from donors have been used in peripheral nerve regeneration, in vascular prostheses, and in arterial reconstruction.
- Collagen supplements or formulations may help treat osteoarthritis.
- Collagen is resorbable. This means it can be broken down, converted, and absorbed back into the body. It can also be formed into compacted solids or lattice-like gels.
- Consuming collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis. They have the potential to help increase BMD and lower levels of proteins in the blood that stimulate bone breakdown. Research has shown that consuming collagen supplements increased muscle growth and strength in people with age-related muscle mass loss.
- Taking collagen supplements may help reduce the risk factors associated with heart conditions such as atherosclerosis.
Nutrients that may support collagen formation include:
- Proline: In egg whites, meat, cheese, soy, and cabbage.
- Anthocyanidins: In blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries.
- Vitamin C: In oranges, strawberries, peppers, and broccoli.
- Copper: In shellfish, nuts, red meat, and some drinking water.
- Vitamin A: Occurring in animal-derived foods and in plant foods as beta-carotene.
Q: What is the purpose of collagen?
A: Collagen is a protein that gives structure to skin, joints, and bones.
Q: What is collagen made of?
A: Collagen is made up of three amino acids: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.
Q: What foods are high in collagen?
A: Protein-rich foods, like meat, eggs, fish and seafood, beans, and dairy will all supply your body with a range of amino acids needed to make collagen. Bone broth and gelatin are other foods that are collagen-rich.
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