What is Collagen?
With collagen gaining popularity as a beauty and anti-ageing supplement, we answer your burning questions: what is collagen and how can you tell if you’re lacking it?
Collagen is a protein that’s found in our bones, skin and connective tissues. It’s what gives the body its structure and strength. The body produces collagen over time, but as we age, this production slows down, ultimately resulting in the deterioration of connective tissues. As a result, we see signs of ageing such as wrinkles and skin elasticity.
The structure of collagen is made up of a triple helix. The triple helix structure provides strength to tissues by resisting stretching and tearing, keeping everything together tightly.
Collagen's main purpose is to keep your skin firm and your joints supple. It also has a key role in your body's wound healing process, it keeps blood vessels intact and supports bones. Collagen production starts to diminish at the age of 25, which is why many people are looking for ways to boost their collagen intake.
Collagen for Skin
Collagen is a miracle ingredient that helps in healthy and vibrant skin. It helps in reducing the appearance of dark under-eye circles, fine lines and wrinkles, and at the same time, it can help in gaining glowing and radiant skin.
The collagen protein provides support to the skin to make the skin look younger by boosting the production of elastin and hyaluronic acid. When we reach 30 years of age, our body stops producing collagen naturally, but medical treatments can help in reviving this process.
Collagen and elastin are the most important building blocks of your skin. They give it strength and elasticity. The more collagen and elastin you have, the stronger and more elastic your skin will be. The beauty of your skin also depends on the ability of collagen and elastin to glide smoothly over one another. If there is friction between them, they tend to break down and degenerate which causes wrinkles and divots on the skin.
Collagen is also the predominant protein found in scar tissue – this is why scars look "pink" – and it is important for maintaining healthy hair, nails, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Some foods that can help produce collagen include chicken, seafood, egg whites, berries, tropical fruits, garlic, green leafy vegetables, beans, cashews, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc.
Several studies suggest that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow down the signs of ageing like wrinkles and dryness.
In another study, women who took supplements containing 2.5 - 5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity as compared to those who did not take the collagen supplement.
Collagen supplements are made from hydrolyzed collagen protein. Hydrolyzed collagen protein is already broken down into small peptides so it’s easier for your body to absorb.
These peptides are absorbed by the dermal-epidermal junction, increasing the production of fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells that produce collagen.
Collagen supplements can help to improve your health and beauty by:
- Improving the elasticity and texture of your skin.
- Promoting healthy hair and nails.
- Boosting your energy levels and helping to curb cravings.
Health Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. When we think of collagen, we often refer to it as a key component of the skin. It is also found in bones, ligaments and tendons, and even in some muscles. Collagen helps these tissues maintain their elasticity and keep organs maintained. Collagen is responsible for producing elastin and it forms a protective sheath around our muscles and bones. This protein can also be found in the heart, lungs and other internal organs, and even in blood vessels.
Here are some health benefits of collagen:
Collagen may help lessen joint pains as it is a great protein for supporting connective tissues and improving joint pain after workouts. A study published in January 2017 in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that athletes with knee pain who took 5 g of collagen peptides daily for 12 weeks had less joint pain during exercise compared with a placebo group. Oral collagen may support cartilage repair and may also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Collagen may improve gut health by reducing inflammatory digestive conditions like IBD. Some research found that among IBD patients, there was an imbalance between the formation and breakdown of collagen fibers, which led to inflammation. Past research also shows that IBD patients have decreased serum levels of type 4 collagen. Collagen is a part of connective tissue, which makes up your colon and GI tract, so by bringing your levels up, there may be a supportive environment for your body to heal.
Collagen is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. It helps in healthy and glowing skin and also aids in muscle and bones. It makes the skin look healthy and plump by reducing the appearance of fine lines, pores, wrinkles, sagging and dark under-eye circles. It is effective in healing injured or damaged tissues. For best results, consume collagen supplements.