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What is Collagen?

Is too much collagen bad for your hair?

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a key structural protein in the human body—kind of like the scaffolding that supports everything from fingernails to hair to internal organs. 

In fact, about 30% of all the protein in your body is collagen. The primary function of collagen is to provide structure and support throughout your body. It's found in your bones, skin, muscles, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.

What are the Foods that contain Collagen?

Collagen acts as a cushion and shock absorber for our muscles, joints and internal organs. It forms a protective barrier for our digestive tract. A healthy body depends on a steady supply of collagen to keep our skin looking young and vibrant.

Collagen can be found in the connective tissues of animal foods like chicken and pork skin. Bone broth is also another rich source of collagen. Gelatin is cooked collagen and hence it is very high in amino acids needed to produce it. 

However, research is still on regarding the impact of collagen-dense foods on protein levels in the body.

Can too much Collagen production lead to Hair Loss?

Scleroderma or systematic sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system attacks the body by destroying the healthy tissues. Scleroderma is characterized by changes in the texture and appearance of the skin due to increased collagen production. 

Increased collagen production cannot lead to hair loss if a person consumes the doctor-prescribed amount of collagen. In fact, there are many advantages of collagen for hair.

Collagen can strengthen the internal structure of hair and boosts hair growth. It can increase the fullness and thickness of the hair as well.

Collagen can help in preventing premature greying of hair as it can provide ample amounts of essential amino acids to the hair follicles. The follicular structure is responsible for providing colour to the hair. Thus, a balanced level of collagen in the body can reverse premature greying of hair.

Collagen can reduce split ends by providing enough moisture to the hair from top to bottom. A decreased collagen level can lead to a loss in hair elasticity which results in hair breakage. Thus, collagen can relieve the hair from such problems.

If you are facing hair loss problems, there is very little chance that the underlying cause is increased collagen in the body.

Given below are some common causes of hair loss but to be precisely clear about the cause, we recommend consulting a specialist.

1. Genetic Hair Loss: Hereditary-pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss. If you have a family history of baldness, you are very likely to experience hair fall due to genetic factors. This type of hair loss can begin as early as puberty because certain sex hormones trigger these hereditary hair losses.

2. Hormonal Changes: Hair loss due to hormonal changes is usually temporary in nature. Your hair will start growing back without any treatments. Some hormonal changes that can cause temporary hair loss are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Childbirth
  • Discontinuing the use of birth control pills

3. Medical Conditions: Medical conditions such as thyroid, diabetes, alopecia areata, scalp infections can cause hair loss. Certain medications used to treat health conditions like cancer, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure, etc. can also trigger hair loss.

4. Smoking: Smoking affects blood vessels and makes them more narrow, which leads to hair loss. The nicotine slows down the production of certain substances responsible for hair growth. Moreover, it reduces the amount of calcium in the body and impairs its transfer to the skin follicles responsible for hair growth. 

Sometimes emotional or physical shock can also induce hair loss. These shocks include:

  • High fever
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Accident
  • Death of a close family member

Other causes of hair loss are:

  • Hair loss due to tight hairstyles or use of styling tools/heating tools
  • People with trichotillomania, which is a hair-pulling disorder, experience hair loss.
  • An imbalanced diet or lack of nutrients in the body can also lead to hair thinning.

What are the Causes of Collagen Damage?

Given below are some of the behaviours that can potentially destroy collagen production.

  1. Eating too much sugar and refined carbs can disrupt collagen production.
  2. Extensive exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can reduce collagen production.
  3. Smoking can also reduce collagen production which leads to wrinkles and disrupts wound healing.
  4. Autoimmune disorders like lupus can also damage collagen in the body.

3 Health Benefits of Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. The body uses collagen for a variety of purposes and is richly found in bones, skin, tendons and ligaments. It acts as a glue holding our tissues together. Some health benefits of collagen are given below.

  1. Collagen supplements can make your bones stronger and slow down the aging process. This helps in preventing brittle bones.
  2. Collagen supplements might act as a mild pain reliever for knee osteoarthritis. It may take 3-5 months of daily collagen supplements intake to see improvements.
  3. Collagen peptide supplements can strengthen and increase muscle mass.

Take Away

Collagen is as essential as breathing air for continued good health. Collagen gives strength to our bones by producing more flexible and stronger tendons. It also helps to fight off the harmful effects of stress and keep our skin supple and youthful.