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Collagen and What it does for your body

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein your body makes naturally, and it makes up about a third of all of the protein in your body. It’s essential for healthy joints and it is popularly known for keeping skin elastic to lessen wrinkles.  

It is the most abundant protein in your body which is the primary building block of your body’s skin, muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, and other connective tissues. It’s also found in your organs, blood vessels and the intestinal lining of your body. 

Proteins are made from amino acids Amino Acids – structure, advantages, properties, classification and the main amino acids that make collagen are proline, glycine and hydroxyproline. These amino acids group together and form protein fibrils in a triple helix structure. Besides this, your body also needs the proper amount of vitamin C, zinc, copper and manganese to make the triple helix. This is the reason; collagen supplements are popular.  

What Does Collagen Do for Your Body?

The word Collagen derives from the Greek word “kólla,” which means glue. Collagen’s strong fibers work like glue to hold parts of our body together, like- muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, and skin.  

The main role of Collagen is to provide structure, strength and support throughout your body. 

To be specific its roles include: 

  • It helps fibroblasts form in your middle skin layer, which helps new cell growth 
  • Play a role in replacing dead skin cells 
  • Provide a protective covering for organs 
  • Provide structure, strength and elasticity to your skin 
  • Help blood to clot 

Types of Collagen in Your Body 

Some 28 types of collagen types have been identified and they differ by how the molecules are assembled, the cell components that are added and where the collagen is used in your body. All collagen fibrils have at least one triple helix structure in it. 

The primary five types of collagen are: 

  • Type I- This type makes up 90% of your body’s collagen, which is densely packed and used to provide structure to your skin, bones, tendons and ligaments. 
  • Type II- This type is found in elastic cartilage, which provide joint support. 
  • Type III- This is the type that is found in muscles, arteries and organs. 
  • Type IV- This is the most popular one, found in the layers of your skin. 
  • Type V- This is found in the cornea of your eyes, some layers of skin, hair and tissue of the placenta. 

Role of Collagen as You Get Older 

Your body makes less collagen, as time passes by and you get older. You can’t measure exactly how much you have, but when it drops you will have symptoms such as joint pain or stiff tendons or ligaments, your muscles may weaken and you could also have papery skin. Consult the nearest doctor about the best approach for you.  

What is Hurting Your Collagen Levels? 

Three main things that are common will lower your collagen levels: sunlight, smoking, and sugar. Too much exposure to ultraviolet light makes the fibres unravel. This leads to sun damage, such as wrinkles. Chemicals in cigarette smoke damage it, which can make skin sag and wrinkle. Sugar causes the fibres to cross-link and tangle, which makes your skin less elastic over time. 

Foods to Boost Your Collagen Levels 

You can help your body make more collagen by eating the right kind and healthy foods. To make collagen naturally, your body puts together amino acids called glycine and proline. These acids are in high-protein foods such as chicken, fish, beef, eggs, dairy, and beans. Other nutrients, like vitamin C, zinc, and copper, also play a vital part. You will get vitamin C in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and leafy greens. For zinc and copper, you can try shellfish, nuts, whole grains, and beans. 

Bone Broth the superfood for Collagen 

Some good sources of the proteins that help build collagen are – red meat, chicken, and bone broth. Top 5 health benefits of bone broth | BBC Good Food To make bone broth, you must simmer animal bones in water for 1-2 days. This draws some collagen proteins out into the broth, however, your body doesn’t absorb it right into your skin or joints, though. It breaks it down into amino acids that help build tissue, that in turn helps boost collagen.   

Are Collagen Supplements Required? 

If you are eating a balanced diet, your body likely makes enough collagen for your needs. We need more large studies to understand the supplements’ effects on your health. But if you want to give it a try, they’re generally safe and don’t have side effects. They usually come in powdered form that you can mix into drinks or sauces. 

Are Collagen Supplements Regulated by the FDA? 

The FDA What does FDA do? | FDA – U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate collagen supplements, so companies that make them don’t have to prove that they work or they are safe. If you are using them, look for these key ingredients: collagen hydrolysate, hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides.