Humans are primarily composed of collagen, which accounts for around 30 percent of the protein in our body. Without it, the skin, muscles, bones, and connective tissues that make up our body would not be what they are today. Even though there is a significant amount of data to support the majority of collagen supplements, it is possible that eating a nutritious diet will provide your body with the components it needs to create collagen on its own.
What Exactly Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most common protein since it makes up most of the human body and is also the most abundant. This particular source contributes around a third of its total protein content. Collagen is essential to the construction of skin and muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. Additionally, it may be found in your organs, blood vessels, and the lining of your digestive tract.
Proteins are constructed from amino acids, which are chemical components. The three amino acids proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline are essential when it comes to producing collagen. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins folded into a triple helix. For the body to create the triple helix, it needs an appropriate supply of vitamin C, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Why Is Collagen Such a Crucial Component?
The fundamental role that collagen plays in the body is that of serving as a sturdy structure and dependable support system for the body.
The following are some of the specialized roles of collagen:
- Promoting the growth of dermal fibroblasts, which in turn helps facilitate the production of new skin cells.
- Assisting in the process through which dead skin cells are removed from the body.
- Increasing the skin’s elasticity, firmness, and strength.
- Promoting the coagulation of blood and other bodily fluids.
Is There a Vast Range of Collagen Types Available?
Approximately 28 distinct types of collagen have been identified. Their collagen molecules are constructed differently; they also include a variety of cellular components; and last, they are used in various organs and regions of the body. There is always at least one triple helix structure present inside collagen fibrils.
The following is a list of the five primary types of collagen and the roles that each one serves:
- Type I – It provides structural support in the skin, bones, tendons, nails and ligaments. This kind of collagen makes up 90 percent of all the collagen in your body.
- Type II – These are held in place by the elasticity of cartilage, which cushions and protects the joints.
- Type III – It may be found in skeletal muscles, arteries, and internal organs.
- Type IV – It is possible to discover this deep inside the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin.
- Type V – It may be found in each eye’s cornea and parts of the skin, hair, and placental tissue.
What Happens to Collagen as We Age?
Not only does your body produce less collagen as you get older, but the collagen it already has starts to break down faster over time. This is a double-whammy effect. Additionally, the collagen quality is lower than when you were younger. When a woman reaches menopause, the rate at which she produces collagen dramatically declines. Everyone has a natural slowdown in their collagen production beyond the age of sixty.
Signs That Your Body’s Collagen Is Decreasing
There is no reliable method for determining your collagen level. The following are some of these symptoms:
- A skin texture that is excessively creped, wrinkling, or sagging.
- Your eyes and cheeks are showing less fullness.
- Continual muscle pain and a slow but steady loss of muscle mass.
- Tissues that are less flexible and have a higher resistance to being stretched than other tissues.
- Joint pain, also known as osteoarthritis, results from cartilage worn down over time.
- Movement is impaired due to damage to the joints or stiffness in the joints.
- Irritability in the intestines is a result of a reduction in the strength of the gut lining.
What Makes Balanced Diet So Crucial in This Regard?
According to a study on nutrition and aging by a reputable source, the most secure and beneficial way to enhance the health of one’s skin is to increase one’s consumption of whole foods, such as fruit, vegetables, and organic meats, poultry and wild fish. Foods like bone broth offer a bioavailable sort of collagen that your body can use straight away. Collagen powders can also be helpful.
In addition, since dietary supplements sold over the counter are mainly unregulated, it is often preferable to stick with a dietary approach when trying to raise collagen levels. Collagen-rich diets, or diets that boost collagen creation may also help develop the building blocks (amino acids) essential to attaining your skin goals. The amino acids proline, lysine, and glycine are the three most important for the production of collagen. This is because amino acids are vital for collagen formation.
What Can Potentially Harm the Collagen?
You should avoid doing anything that has even a remote possibility of lowering the amounts of collagen in your body, such as the following:
- Smoking: People who smoke have lower levels of collagen production in their bodies. Nicotine decreases the amount of blood that flows to the skin, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients supplied to the skin. Damage to collagen and elastin leads to the formation of wrinkles as well as a delay in the healing of wounds.
- Excessive amounts of both sugar and processed carbs in one’s diet: A byproduct known as an Advanced Glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that are formed when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream. AGE is produced when sugar attaches to proteins. Because these chemicals degrade the proteins next to collagen, the latter becomes weaker, dried out, and brittle.
- Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays: After extended exposure to UV radiation, collagen production slows down, while the rate at which collagen is broken down speeds up. The sun’s UV radiation is responsible for wrinkling the skin. When going outside, you should always apply sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF and limit your time in the sun when it is at the highest for UV exposure. Sun is great for your health, but best in the morning or evening.
Things That May Help Stop the Skin from Losing Collagen
Always put on sunscreen to prevent your skin from becoming older. Because exposure to UV radiation breaks down collagen, you should minimize your time spent in the sun. Use products with an SPF of at least 30 to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. When going outside, it is essential to protect oneself from the sun by wearing a hat with a brim, sunglasses that block UV rays, and long-sleeved shirts and pants that are light in color and have a loose fit, such as white or beige. An extra line of defense may be achieved by wearing garments rated for their resistance to ultraviolet radiation (labeled “UV protection factor”). Your best bet is to steer clear of indoor tanning salons.
It would be best if you consumed a modest diet of wild fish and organic, grass fed meat, poultry, and eggs but high in vegetables, nuts, and fruits.
How Collagen Is Used in Medicine and The Cosmetics Industry?
Collagen may be derived from four different types of sources, including human, bovine, porcine, and ovine. It is conceivable for the body to re-absorb collagen after it has been metabolized into a different form. It has a wide range of uses in medicine and aesthetics. Among its functions are:
- To hide creases and wrinkles on the skin’s surface, dermal fillers such as collagen injections are often utilized.
- Collagen-based wound dressings have been shown to hasten the healing process by attracting new skin cells to the area of damage.
- Collagen fulfills the function of a periodontic barrier, limiting the advancement of quickly developing gum tissue into a wound in a tooth and enabling the tooth cells to heal. This is accomplished by preventing the gum tissue from attaching to the tooth.
- The repair of arteries, the regeneration of peripheral nerves, and the production of artificial blood vessels are all applications for vascular prosthetics, which have been made possible by using collagen tissue grafts from donors.
How Can Diet Help in Boosting Collagen?
When collagen is in its natural condition, it cannot be digested by humans. Amino acids are produced by the breakdown of collagen proteins in the body. Consuming foods rich in collagen will not, on its own, result in increased collagen levels in the body. Although, a diet that is considered to be balanced may include many of the foods that are rich in the fundamental components that promote the creation of collagen.
These foods could contain the amino acids proline and glycine in varying amounts. In addition to the minerals already mentioned, the process also requires zinc, copper, and vitamin C. The following are some examples of foods that are exceptionally high in the respective amino acids, vitamins, and minerals:
- Vitamin C may be abundant in citrus fruits, berries, peppers, cruciferous vegetables, and tubers, among other foods.
- Proline may be found in various foods, including mushrooms, cabbage, asparagus, peanuts, salmon, egg whites, and beef.
- Glycine may be found in foods such as red meat, turkey, chicken, and pig skin; peanuts; granola, and nut butters.
- Copper may be found in high concentrations in various foods, such as liver, lobster, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, nuts, seeds, greens, tofu, and dark chocolate.
- Zinc may be found in high concentrations in various foods, including oysters, red meat, poultry, pork, beans, chickpeas, almonds, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.
Need More Guidance?
If you are seeking help regarding your collagen, here is a great source. We, at Benehealth are always working to improve your health and overall wellness. Our experts are always there to be your guiding source and offer the best advice and treatments, so you can live a happier, healthier life! Book your appointment today and get in touch with us so we may embark on the journey to make your collagen healthy and strong!