What is collagen?
Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the body that provides structure to much of our body, including bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments and helping our blood clot.
But what is collagen? And what is it good for?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for about a third of its protein composition. It’s one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth.
You can think of it as the “glue” that holds all these things together. In fact, the word comes from the Greek word “kólla,” which means glue.
What does it do in your body?
There are at least 16 types of collagen. The four main types are type I, II, III, and IV:
Type I:This type accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibers. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Type II:his type is made of more loosely packed fibers and is found in elastic cartilage, which cushions joints.
Type III:This type supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
Type IV:This type helps with filtration and is found in layers of your skin.
There are at least 16 types of collagen. It’s found throughout your body, providing structure and support. As you age, your body produces less and lower-quality collagen. One of the visible signs of this is in your skin, which becomes less firm and supple. Cartilage also weakens with age.
What are the Nutrients that Increase Collagen Production ?
All collagen starts off as procollagen. Your body makes procollagen by combining two amino acids: glycine and proline. This process uses vitamin C. You may be able to help your body produce this important protein by making sure you get plenty of the following nutrients:
Vitamin C:Large amounts are found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries
Proline:Large amounts are found in egg whites, wheat germ, dairy products, cabbage, asparagus, and mushrooms
Glycine:Large amounts are found in pork skin, chicken skin, and gelatin, but glycine is also found in various protein-containing foods
Copper:Large amounts are found in organ meats, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews, and lentils
Four of the nutrients that help produce collagen are vitamin C, proline, glycine, and copper. Also, eating high quality protein gives your body the amino acids it needs.
What Can Damage Collagen ?
Sugar and refined carbs:
- Sugar interferes with collagen’s ability to repair itself. Minimize your consumption of added sugar and refined carbs
Too much sunshine:Ultraviolet radiation can reduce collagen production. Avoid excessive sun exposure
Smoking:Smoking reduces collagen production. This can impair wound healing and lead to wrinkles
- Some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, can also damage collagen.
How Can You Supplement Collagen?
Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animal bones, hence animal products such as bone broth, gelatin, chicken skin, and pork skin are very high in collagen and very high in the amino acids needed to produce it. However, eating protein, it’s broken down into amino acids and then reassembled, so the collagen you eat wouldn’t translate directly into higher levels in your body.
As a skincare therapist Dana offers, in her Beauty Salon in Richmond, to the clients mesotherapy facial that helps delivering the collagen cocktail to the deep layers of skin, hence providing a powerful boost of collagen level.