These are the benefits of collagen supplements
Collagen seems to be entering conversations ranging from skin care and aging to supplements and muscle building, and for good reason: this protein is actually the most abundant protein in the body, comprising about a third of the protein makeup. from the body. Collagen protein forms aspects of bones, teeth, skin, ligaments, tendons, muscles, blood vessels and corneas, and is instrumental in keeping cells and tissues together.
There are several different types of collagen in the body, with properties that mirror the functions of the role it performs. Below, we take a look at the benefits of collagen, foods with collagen, and whether you should consider taking a collagen supplement.
Functions of collagen
As mentioned, collagen is a protein found in abundance throughout the body. Although there are several distinct types of collagen, there are four main types that make up the majority of collagen in the human body.
- Type I: Type I collagen is made up of dense fibers and is found in harder structures such as bones, teeth, tendons, and fibrous connective tissue. It is the most abundant form of collagen in the body, accounting for 90% of total collagen.
- Type II: Type II collagen fibers are more tightly packed than type I. This type of collagen forms elastic cartilage and cushions the joints.
- Type III: Type III collagen is primarily involved in supporting and connecting muscles, organs and blood vessels.
- Type IV. Type IV collagen is prevalent in the skin, where it helps filtration.
The body naturally produces collagen protein by combining proline and glycine, two amino acids, in a synthetic process that also requires vitamin C, zinc, and copper. As such, ensuring an adequate intake of these nutrients can support endogenous collagen production. Foods high in proline include egg whites, dairy products, wheat germ, and certain vegetables, such as asparagus. Glycine is particularly high in animal skin (chicken skin, pig skin) and gelatin, but it is also present in most foods rich in protein. Foods rich in vitamin C include peppers, black berries, citrus fruits, kiwis, and cruciferous vegetables. Zinc is found in oysters and shellfish, seeds, some vegetables, and animal meats, while copper is found in legumes, seeds, organ meats, and cocoa.
Factors that damage collagen or slow down production
While some nutrients support collagen production, there are also factors that inhibit the synthesis or damage collagen.
- Aging: As we age, the natural production of collagen slows down and the quality of collagen produced decreases. Collagen begins to deteriorate throughout the body. For example, this decline is manifested by visible changes in the quality of the skin, with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but may also occur less overtly in all other tissues supported by collagen, especially muscles. , bones, teeth and blood vessels.
- UV rays: Studies Show Excessive Sun Exposure Can Damage Collagen, due to the production of free radicals.
- Refined carbohydrates: A healthy diet is important because a high intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates can interfere with the renewal of collagen.
- Smoking: Smoking was show to inhibit the synthesis of type I and type II collagen.
- Autoimmune disease: Some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, can cause the body to attack its own collagen.
Benefits of collagen
Collagen plays a key role in supporting a variety of tissues and systems in the body. Taking collagen or making sure your diet supports collagen production can provide many benefits.
- Reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Improved skin texture and elasticity
- Faster wound healing
- Improvements in bone health and density
- Muscle growth or delayed sarcopenia with aging
- Reduction of joint pain with arthritis
- Better cardiovascular health
- Gut health improvements
Foods rich in collagen
You can find foods rich in collagen from the connective tissues of animals or if you are vegan or vegetarian, from various plants, seeds or nuts.
- chicken skin
- fish skin
- bone broth
- tempeh, tofu and soy protein
- beans and other legumes
- pumpkin, squash, sunflower and chia seeds.
- nuts such as pistachio, peanut and cashew.
Should I take a collagen supplement?
Collagen supplements can be particularly beneficial as you age, in reducing the natural decline in collagen production. They are also useful for vegetarians and vegans, who are less likely to have collagen in their diet. However, since the body can produce its own collagen from proline and glycine, it is possible to meet your collagen needs with a plant-based diet if you follow a well-balanced diet with enough protein and enough protein. micronutrients. That said, collagen supplements tend to be well tolerated with minimal side effects aside from the risk of heartburn and an unpleasant aftertaste.