Beauty products that contain collagen have been all the rage for decades as people search for ways to reduce facial wrinkles and sagging skin. More recently, health companies that make food supplements have caught on to the power of collagen to help offset the loss of collagen as we age. It is not just about trying to prevent aging skin and flabby muscles, but collagen is in your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, and the gut lining. In fact, collage is the most abundant protein in your body!
You can’t take a blood test to determine your level of collagen, but you can tell when you don’t have enough. Here are a few symptoms of low collagen:
- Wrinkles and crepey skin.
- Stiffer, less flexible ligaments and tendons.
- Muscle weakness and less muscle mass.
- Joint pain from weakening cartilage.
- Gut issues due to thinning of the gut lining.
We tend to lose our ability to make collagen as we age because we may not absorb the nutrients necessary for the building of collagen. When we notice some of the symptoms of collagen depletion, we can add some collagen-rich food to our diet and we can also include a dietary supplement to boost our collagen levels.
There are so many proven health benefits to collagen beyond just keeping those face wrinkles at bay! In this blog post, we will explore some of the many health benefits of this superfood.
The Origin of Collagen in Your Body
Collagen is protein that the body makes from amino acids, specifically glycine, proline, hydoxyproline and arginine. Those amino acids come from our diet when we eat meat and fish protein, eggs, dairy products, and beans. The manufacturing of collagen also requires vitamin C, zinc, and copper which come from fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains. Almost 30% of the proteins in your body are collagen, so you can see how important this protein is to good health.
Collagen is a natural protein that forms your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Although collagen exists throughout your body, it is highly concentrated in your skin and bones. You can think of collagen as a frame to give the body structure and strength. Otherwise, we would look like a large jellyfish!
The Different Types of Collagen
You might be surprised to learn there are at last 16 types of collagen. Here are the five main types of collagen that work in different ways to support your health:
- Type I collagen is the most common type of collagen in our bodies. It makes up around 90% of our structures and is found in skin, blood vessels, bones, and connective tissues. It is associated with healing wounds and helping blood clots by attracting fibroblasts and depositing collagen inside the wound to promote the growth of new cells.
- Type II collagen is known for its role in joint health. It is not that helpful for the skin and hair but ensures bone strength and joint flexibility.
- Type III collagen plays a role in structuring your muscles. It is the second most abundant type of collagen in your body.
- Type IV collagen is a lesser-known type that is known to promote kidney health. It also plays its role in wound healing and the formation of the embryo.
- Type V collagen is present in your skin and hair. The deficiency of type V collagen is also linked to visual problems and weak eyesight.
Benefits of Collagen
Given the abundance of collagen in the body, you can assume there are a multitude of benefits to making sure you are forming enough collagen either through getting the right building blocks in your nutrition or through a supplement. Let’s dive in deeper and have a look at some of the health benefits of collagen:
Great for the Heart
Did you know the use of collagen-based supplements is associated with lowering the risk of heart attacks?
That’s right! The heart pumps blood: however, it is the arteries and blood vessels that carry the oxygenated blood to the rest of the organs. Collagen provides structure to these arteries and blood vessels to keep them supple and limit the stress on the heart. By preventing the arteries and vessels from becoming stiff, collagen plays an important role in reducing heart attacks.
Ensures Clear and Healthy Skin
Collagen is responsible for providing elasticity and hydration of your skin. As you age, your body may no longer absorb nutrients as well or synthesize them as efficiently. The end results are those dreaded facial wrinkles and sagging skin.
Older women are often recommended collagen supplements to fulfill their body’s collagen need. Research has found that women who take collagen supplements have skin that is far more elastic and hydrated as compared to those who do not incorporate collagen in their diets.
There are supplements that serve as direct source of collagen, whereas others promote the production of collagen in your body.
Relieves joint pains
The cartilaginous tissue found between your joints is made of collagen. As the amount of collagen in your body decreases, your cartilage suffers and becomes rigid, leading to osteoarthritis.
Intake of collagen supplements nourishes your cartilage, keeping your joints healthy and elastic. People who experience joint pain might want to consider taking collagen supplements to alleviate pain and restore back some of the health joint’s elasticity.
Prevents Bone Degradation
Collagen is a significant compound that constitutes your bones. When collagen levels in your body decrease your bone density decreases, and the risk of fracture increases by a significant factor.
Research was conducted to examine the impact of collagen supplements on bone mineral density. The experimental group participants were given collagen supplements regularly. At the end of the study, researchers found an increase in the bone mineral density of the participants by 7%. This increase can help lower the risk of developing bone disorders and fractures.
Muscles and their supportive tendons and ligaments are also made up of collagen. In fact, around 1-10% percent of your muscle mass is made from collagen proteins. Intake of collagen supplements promotes muscle growth in people with muscle-related diseases as well as people who have overall collagen deficiency. Collagen can also play a prominent role in healing wounds and relieving muscle strain.
For people who enjoy exercising and want to build muscles, collagen will work wonders to stimulate their muscle growth.
Promotes Hair Growth
The impact collagen has on your skin is similar to the impact that it has on your hair.
This incredible protein increases the elasticity of your hair, which leads to an overall strengthening of hair. What’s more, collagen can boost overall hair growth and regenerates hair follicles. If you are suffering from baldness and extreme hair loss, incorporating collagen in your diet can help regenerate your hair and help give back its volume.
Other Benefits of Collagen
The benefits of collagen do not end here! Here are a few more health benefits of collagen to get you excited about its possibilities for your health:
- It makes your nails stronger by preventing breakage and reducing brittleness in nails.
- It boosts your gut health by increasing the absorption capability of your intestines.
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety and helps improve overall mood and wellbeing.
- Increases metabolism and helps you in losing weight.
Getting Collagen Through Your Diet
Incorporating collagen in your diet is not that hard because many food items are rich in collagen. People switch to a collagen-based diet to overcome collagen deficiency in their body. You can take collagen by eating natural food items that are rich in proteins. Food items rich in collagen include:
- Fish and chicken
- Citrus fruits like lemons, lime, and orange
- Egg whites
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach
- Green, red and yellow capsicum
- Strawberries and berries
If you plan to switch to a collagen-boosting diet, bear in mind that it takes a while to show results.
Collagen Through Using Supplements
As the saying goes, good things don’t last forever. As you grow older, the natural production of collagen in your body declines usually due to a more limited absorption of collagen’s building blocks. Not eating collagen rich foods and a generally poor diet also leads to a decrease in collagen production.
In either case, the body is unable to produce ample collagen, and that’s when you might want to consider collagen supplements to ensure improve your overall health.
There are plenty of collagen supplement varieties available on the market. look for hydrolyzed collagen supplements for better absorption.
Collagen is an integral component of your body whose deficiency can lead to many health problems, including weaker muscles, bone degradation, thinning hair and nails, joint pain, and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face and skin. Fortunately, it is easy to get sufficient collagen through a healthy diet. But, if you tend to not eat as well as you know you should, there are some good collagen replacement supplements to choose from.
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