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The Benefits of Collagen

Collagen benefits

The Benefits of Collagen



 Young skin is firm, smooth and has a healthy glow, but with age there are changes in the structure of the dermis and epidermis, which has a negative effect on the appearance of the skin. One of the changes that come with age is a decrease in collagen synthesis in the skin and fragmentation of the collagen matrix. The result is a loss of firmness and elasticity of the skin as well as the appearance of wrinkles, a phenomenon that severely affects our society obsessed with youth.

 

To help alleviate and delay the appearance of visible signs of aging, various collagen-enriched cosmetics have been used for a long time. Recently, we have also witnessed the emergence of collagen-based dietary supplements designed to preserve and improve the appearance of the skin.

 

In the continuation of the article, read about the roles of collagen in the human body and how its deficiency can be compensated.

 

What is collagen?

 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body (it makes up 25-30% of total proteins in the body) and is a major component of skin, bone and connective tissue. Collagen is responsible for the strength and stability of the tissue. There are 19 different types of collagen but the most common are four types. In the context of the skin, the most interesting are collagen type 1 - the most common and strongest type of collagen that normally helps to form bones, and collagen type 3 - abundantly present in the extracellular matrix that forms organs and skin along with blood vessels.

 

The human body has the ability to synthesize collagen, but with age the body gradually loses this ability. It is estimated that in the first 4 years of menopause, collagen synthesis decreases by as much as 30%. The consequences are loss of skin elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles.

 

Dietary sources of collagen include bones, skin, ligaments and cartilage of beef, chicken and fish, or parts that are rarely eaten nowadays. A diet high in sugar depletes collagen levels as the abundance of sugar increases the rate of glycation, a process where sugar binds to proteins and forms molecules called AGEs (Advanced Glycation Endproducts). AGE molecules make the structure of collagen weak and reduce its ability to build the structure of the skin, which results in the appearance of wrinkles. Smoking and sun exposure also damage collagen.

 

Given these features of the modern diet, science today is moving in the direction of collagen replacement in the form of dietary supplements (powders, tablets, capsules or liquid preparations), in order to preserve the firmness and radiance of the skin. And judging by the scientific literature, slowing down the physiological loss of collagen preparations can provide a beneficial effect.

 

The roles of collagen in the body

 

• strengthening joints

 

• organ protection

 

• securing structure in joints and tendons

 

• increases mental ability

 

• gives elasticity and strength to ligaments

 

• prevents the development of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis

 

• maintaining skin elasticity

 

• leads to improved growth and structure of hair and nails

 

• builds envelopes around organs and separates them from each other

 

• wraps muscles and individual muscle groups

 

• Coats and protects blood vessels and nerves at the points where they enter or leave organs

 

• preserving the body's natural resistance

 

• regenerative role - participates in the regeneration of all types of supporting tissue

 

Why is collagen so important?

 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It is found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. The benefits of collagen are visible to the eye, because this protein, among other things, helps our skin maintain elasticity. When it comes to our joints and tendons, most simply, we can imagine collagen as the “glue” in our body.

 

Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. This degenerative process can be attributed to the signs of aging such as decreased elasticity and suppleness of the skin (which ultimately results in the formation of wrinkles), and joint pain.

 

During aging, collagen fibers begin to separate, and the interstices filled with hyaluronic acid shrink and empty.

 

Other lifestyle factors — such as a high-sugar diet, smoking, and excessive sun exposure — also contribute to lowering collagen levels. Collagen-related diseases have been found to most commonly result from a combination of genetic factors, insufficient intake of collagen-rich foods, nutritional deficiencies, and digestive problems affecting collagen production (synthesis).

 

Talking about the role and importance of collagen for our body means talking about one of the basic tissues - connective tissue, which together with cartilage and bone forms a supporting tissue, and is distributed throughout the body. Connective tissue is made up of connective cells and the intercellular substance that surrounds them, which consists of a colloidal solution (basic substance) and connective fibers, including collagen fibers.

 

Due to aging, the capacity for collagen renewal decreases

 

The human body has the ability to constantly synthesize collagen, which is needed for the growth and replacement of worn-out tissues, and for the healing and regeneration of injured tissues. However, over time, its recovery capacity gradually decreases due to the aging process, permanent overload (top sports, physical activity) or autoimmune diseases. In youth, the loss of collagen is quickly compensated, but with age it becomes more pronounced, so it is calculated that after the age of 25, the body loses an average of 1.5 percent of collagen per year.

 

Collagen loss negatively affects the appearance and function of the whole body, and leads to various degenerative changes. Collagen deficiency, among other things, causes disorders of the musculoskeletal system (arthritis, stiffness, muscle injuries), immune system dysfunction and the appearance of age-related physical changes such as wrinkles, cellulite, dry skin, hair and dull skin and disturbed body shape.

 

What does collagen consist of?

 

Collagen is often referred to as a “complex protein,” which is not surprising given that it contains an amazing 19 different amino acids.

 

They include a mixture of non-essential (also called conditional) and essential types of amino acids.

 

The structure of collagen consists of three twisted polypeptide chains, each chain containing a repeat triplet of amino acids glycine-X-Y, and X and Y are any two amino acids (most commonly proline and hydroxyproline). Each chain has more than 1400 amino acids!

 

Non-essential amino acids are actually quite important - don’t let the name fool you. Under normal circumstances, your body produces them. However, when you are sick or under great physical or emotional stress, your body will not be able to produce enough amino acids alone. The body then needs the help of external sources, mostly your diet or dietary supplements, to meet the needs.

 

Essential amino acids are those that the human body cannot produce on its own and that need to be taken in additionally.

 

Why take hydrolyzed collagen?

 

The effectiveness of collagen in cosmetic preparations is often the subject of debate as it is considered that due to the size of the molecules collagen cannot be absorbed and utilized. But in dietary supplements, the story is different because it is most often collagen hydrolysates that yield collagen peptides of lower molecular weight and higher bioavailability.

 

In 2015, a study was published in the journal Nutricion Hospitalaria on the effectiveness of oral intake of collagen hydrolyzate in reducing collagen deficiency and the consequences of damage to its structure. The results showed how collagen hydrolysates effectively stimulate collagen tissue regeneration.

 

The absorption of hydrolyzed collagen in the form of a dietary supplement is 90% while the absorption of collagen from food is about 27%.

 

Vitamin C

 

Collagen needs the help of vitamin C for absorption in the body. Without the help of vitamin C, the absorption of collagen will be much weaker. If possible, take collagen powder in the morning, chew a lemon, eat a kiwi, eat broccoli and Brussels sprouts, or mix everything together into a smoothie.

 

The easiest way is to choose a dietary supplement with collagen that already contains vitamin C. It is known that approximately 30 minutes after a meal rich in vitamin C, the body produces six times more collagen. From the amino acids glycine and proline (which are rich in collagen), with the help of vitamin C and trace elements zinc, a tight tissue is squeezed, which is hard intertwined with more elastin fibers. If we supply the body well with a lot of substances, primarily vitamin C, our skin will be firm, smooth and elastic.

 

Consequences of collagen deficiency

 

Precisely because of the lack of collagen, signs of aging appear on our bodies: wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pain. Other factors also contribute to the slowdown in collagen production:

 

• unbalanced diet

 

• smoking

 

• excessive exposure to UV rays

 

• poor physical activity

 

• excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol

 

• Insufficient water intake in the body

 

Types of collagen

 

Cow or bovine collagen comes from the skin, bones and muscles of cows, and consists mainly of type 1 and type 3. They have a positive effect on keratin production and muscle building.

 

Chicken collagen is mostly type 2 collagen. It is useful for building cartilage tissue, which makes it especially good for joint health.

 

The collagen found in fish is mostly type 1. Since we find it throughout the body, fish collagen is one of the best supplements to your diet. It affects the joints, skin, vital organs, blood vessels, digestion and bones. Fish collagen has been proven to have 150% higher absorption. The reason for the higher absorption is that fish collagen has smaller molecules. Type 1 collagen is the most widespread in our body (as much as 80%) and is the most important for the youthful appearance of the skin, nails and hair.

 

Like collagen from fish, collagen from eggs is also type 1. Therefore, eggs and fresh fish are on the list of foods rich in collagen, the consumption of which will give you the best results.

 

Foods whose intake can increase the level of collagen in the body

 

There are many factors that support and stimulate the production of collagen in the body (vitamin C, zinc and many others), so their intake should be paid special attention.

 

There are several foods that are rich in collagen, and these are mostly foods rich in protein. Although these are primarily foods of animal origin (eggs, poultry, fish, milk), this is not a reason for vegetarians to worry, because there are also foods of plant origin that are rich in protein or stimulate the synthesis of collagen such as mushrooms, nuts, soy products , dark green vegetables and citrus.




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