Collagen has been deemed the Fountain of Youth by many. For centuries, women have eaten foods high in collagen to maintain bright, youthful complexions, which is also essential to maintaining good health.
What is Collagen?
The name "collagen" derives from the Greek word "kolla," which means "glue," and the French word "gen," which means "giving birth." It's a crucial component of strong and flexible tissues all throughout the body, including skin, hair, nails, ligaments, muscles, tendons, bones, and cartilage. Collagen may be found in high concentrations in the vascular system, the corneas of the eyes, the dentin of teeth, and the gastrointestinal tract. It's commonly classified as a "complex protein" due to the incredible variety of amino acids it contains (a total of 19).
The skin's flexibility and strength come from collagen, which also aids in healing and cell renewal. There are at least 28 distinct kinds of collagen recognised at this time. The percentage of type I collagen in our body is far more than 90%.
The five most common types are:
Type I: Found in skin, tendons, bones, cartilage, connective tissue, teeth, and the digestive system.
Type II: Found in cartilage.
Type III: Reticulate (fibrous), commonly found alongside type I, muscles, and blood vessels.
Type IV: Forms a supporting layer in the connective tissue, separating epithelial cells from underlying tissue containing blood and lymph vessels.
Type V: Found in hair, placenta, cornea, bones, and cell surfaces.
Benefits & Uses
Research has confirmed many health benefits of collagen:
In daily doses of 2- 2.5 grams, collagen may aid in maintaining the skin's natural radiance and firmness.
When there is pain in the joints, this protein may aid by maintaining a healthy level of cartilage synthesis and promoting easy movement.
Supporting healing processes, collagen helps maintain healthy gut membranes, which in turn reduces gastrointestinal pain by calming irritated gut lining.
Maintaining a healthy body requires a number of factors working in harmony, and collagen's support of muscle growth, metabolism, and weight control are all crucial.
Collagen helps maintain healthy skin and nails and may even promote hair development.
The amino acid glycine, which is found in collagen, helps keep liver cells healthy.
Collagen contains the amino acid proline, which is good for the cardiovascular system because it promotes the health and elasticity of blood vessels.
What happens to Collagen as we age?
As you become older, your body not only creates less collagen, but the collagen you already have, degrades at a quicker pace. There is also a decline in the quality of the collagen compared to when you were younger.
In women collagen synthesis significantly decreases during and after menopause.
After the age of 60, collagen synthesis naturally slows for everyone.
How do we know our collagen levels are decreasing?
Even while the drop in collagen can't be detected by a simple blood test, it does leave telltale indications. Some of the symptoms include:
Skin with visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, crepiness, and/or drooping.
Hallowing in and around your eyes and face.
Muscles that hurt and are shrinking.
Less elastic and more rigid connective tissue.
Damage to cartilage in the joints may lead to discomfort and eventually osteoarthritis.
Reduced range of motion as a result of worn or stiffened joints.
The digestive system lining becomes too thin, causing gastrointestinal distress.
Blood circulation issues.
In what ways can our daily routines harm collagen?
Reduce your risk of collagen damage by avoiding these lifestyle habits.
Smoking. Cigarette smoke inhibits the body's natural ability to produce collagen. It breaks down collagen and elastin, which results in sagging skin and a slowed healing rate after injuries. If you smoke, your blood vessels close to the skin's surface will tighten, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your skin.
Overconsumption of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Sugar combines with proteins to create AGEs. Collagen becomes dry and brittle as a result of the corrosive effect of these molecules on the surrounding proteins.
Radiation from the sun's UV rays. Excessive exposure to sunlight inhibits collagen formation and has been shown to hasten collagen's degradation. Wrinkles are caused by UV radiation from the sun. In order to keep your skin healthy, you should stay out of the sun as much as possible and always use high-SPF sunscreen.
What diseases and other factors damage collagen?
Collagen may be damaged by autoimmune illnesses (when the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body). Autoimmune connective tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, dermatomyositis, and scleroderma are known to damage collagen.
collagen may be damaged by genetic abnormalities as well. Disorders like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta are brought on by flaws in the collagen molecule's structure.
As we age, our collagen levels inevitably decrease.
How is collagen utilised in the field of medicine and cosmetics?
Collagen is a protein that may be broken down, transformed, and absorbed back into your body. It has several applications in medicine and cosmetics. Collagen used in medicine is derived from Bovine, Poultry, Eggshells, sheep, and Fish.
Among the uses are:
Dermal fillers: Collagen injections can fill out shallow depressions in your skin, such as lines and wrinkles.
Wound dressing: Collagen helps wounds heal by attracting new skin cells to the wound.
Periodontics: Collagen acts as a barrier to prevent fast-growing gum tissue from developing into a wound in a tooth, giving the tooth cells the time they need to regenerate.
Vascular prosthetics: Donor collagen tissue grafts have been used to reconstruct arteries, help regenerate peripheral nerves and make blood vessel prostheses.
Does consuming collagen-rich foods boost our collagen levels?
Collagen cannot be absorbed by the body in its whole. Your body converts the collagen proteins you ingest into amino acids. So consuming collagen-rich foods does not immediately result in greater collagen levels in your body.
Nonetheless, many foods that contain basic elements that encourage collagen formation may be consumed as part of a healthy diet. These foods include the amino acids proline and glycine. Vitamin C, zinc, and copper are also required for the process.
Foods that contain these amino acids, vitamins, and minerals include:
Vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes.
Proline. Proline is found in mushrooms, cabbage, asparagus, peanuts, wheat, fish, egg whites, and meat.
Glycine. Glycine is found in red meats, turkey, chicken and pork skin, peanuts, and granola.
Copper. Copper is found in liver, lobster, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, tofu, and dark chocolate.
Zinc. Zinc is found in oysters, red meat, poultry, pork, beans, chickpeas, nuts, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and milk products.
You may always assist your body in producing collagen naturally by consuming a well-balanced diet rich in nutritious foods. Chicken, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, leafy greens, other vegetables, whole grains, and citrus fruits are all part of a well-balanced diet. To reduce collagen damage, don't smoke, prevent secondhand smoking, and wear sunscreen every day.
Collagen supplements may help promote the health of the skin and skeletal system and may help improve symptoms related to osteoarthritis.
(Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.)