Collagen - The Protein Providing Strength and Structure
A healthy lifestyle includes regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Most people highlight the importance of taking enough vitamins, minerals, and proteins which plays a major role in many functions of our bodies. But we often tend to miss out on an important protein, which is collagen.
Collagen is one of the most important proteins of the human body and comprises over 25% of all our proteins. It is the most abundant protein and is found in skin, bones, muscles, and tendons.
Types of Collagen
Perhaps you have used collagen in the form of supplements or gelatin to improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails. But there are various types of collagen and it becomes essential to know what type of collagen must be taken together or separately from each other.
Collagen Type 1 & 3
Collagen type 1 & 3 is essential to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves elasticity and supports the bone matrix. You can also get strong nails with collagen as it corrects weak or damaged nail beds. Collagen for hair is used to thicken fine hair and slow hair loss. The intake of collagen 1 & 3 also promotes glycine production which helps to build lean muscles and burns fat during sleep.
Collagen Type 2
Collagen type 2 makes 50-60% of the protein in your cartilage and 85-90% of the collagen in articular cartilage. This type of collagen may help you to reduce popping knees, and support your back, jaw, and other joints.
It is suggested to take Collagen Type 2 at bedtime on an empty stomach. To improve its effectiveness, do not consume it with Type 1 & 3 Collagen.
Foods To Help Produce Collagen
“Diet plays a surprisingly large role in the appearance and youthfulness of skin” - Krista Goncalves
Collagen is that protein of the human body that gives skin its structure, suppleness, and stretch, reduces hair fall, and supports joints. The natural production of collagen slows down with the passage of time and its quality falls. Hence, it is important to know how to stimulate the production of this protein in our bodies. You can do the same by the consumption of the following:
It may not be a very reliable source of collagen but it is surely the most popular. Prepared by simmering animal bones in water, this process is believed to extract the collagen. If you are preparing it at home, season it according to your taste and preferences.
If you have ever cut up a chicken, you might have noticed that poultry contains various connecting tissues. These tissues make chicken a rich source of collagen.
Fish and Shellfish
Both fish and shellfish have their ligaments made of collagen. Some people also claim that fish collagen is one of the most easily absorbed.
Vitamin C has a major role in the production of pro-collagen, the human body’s precursor to collagen. Therefore, it is essential to get enough vitamin C. It can be found in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.
Though citrus gets all the glory for its vitamin C content, berries are another excellent source. Ounce for ounce, strawberries provide more vitamin C than oranges. Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries provide a hefty dose too.
Eggs, specifically the white part, contain glycine and proline which are the major amino acids that make up the collagen. But that does not mean you will skip on the yolk. They are filled with vitamin-D and healthy fats that help skin, bones, and muscles.
Collagen is also found in green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, tomatoes, cashews, beans, and garlic. But usually, food products are not enough to attain the required amount of collagen in the body. This is why medical specialists recommend taking collagen supplements. Their benefits have already been proven by a number of medical researches. Hydrolyzed collagen is one of the most popular forms of collagen supplements. The research revealed that the muscle mass of elderly people taking these supplements increased, which is especially important to maintain good health and physical activity in old age.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
There are various benefits of collagen supplements. Some of them are discussed below.
Improves Skin Health
Collagen is an essential component of your skin. It plays a major role in strengthening skin, provides elasticity, and hydration. As you age, your body reduces the production of collagen, leading to dry skin, and the formation of wrinkles.
Helps Relieve Joints Pain
Collagen helps in maintaining the integrity of the cartilage, which is a rubber-like tissue protecting your joints. Some studies show that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall.
Can Prevent Bone Loss
Bones are made of collagen which gives them structure and keeps them strong. Just like collagen deteriorates in your body as you age, bone mass reduces too. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and is linked with a risk of bone fractures. Certain studies suggest that people who took calcium along with collagen had an increase of up to 7% in their bone mineral density.
Promotes Heart Health
Taking collagen supplements may also help to reduce the risk of heart-related diseases. It provides structure to your arteries which are responsible for carrying blood from your heart to the rest of the body. Without enough collagen, arteries can become weak and fragile.
Hair and Nails
You can expect to have strong nails with collagen as it prevents brittleness. It also stimulates your hair and reduces hair fall.
To sum up, collagen is very important for our bodies and its lack results in earlier aging and overall worsening of one’s health. It is highly recommended to ensure a sufficient amount of collagen in the body by having a proper diet and taking collagen supplements, the benefits of which have been proven by many scientific researches.