Collagen is a scorching topic these days. We decided to demystify it, so we let the cat is out of the bag. The popularity of collagen products is sky-high, but claims about its miraculous effects are often exessive. As always, we are going down to earth and putting things right. Let's have a realistic look at collagen and its benefits.
Can you guess what the most common protein in your body is? Bingo, it's collagen! Yes, seriously. This abundant protein performs a vast number of essential functions. For example, it helps the blood to clot and of course, influences the structure of the skin. This beauty industry's darling is becoming increasingly popular as a cosmetic hero ingredient or a miraculous food supplement.
What is This Thing Called Collagen?
Collagen makes up about one-third of the protein composition of the human body. It is the building block of bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments, but you can also find it in blood vessels, the cornea or teeth. Simply put, it is possible to nickname collagen the glue as it holds everything in the body nicely together, even on its own. The word collagen comes from the Greek word kólla, which means "glue". See?
There are at least 16 types of collagen, but here we'll introduce you to the four main types: I, II, III and IV.
Type I which makes up to 90% of the collagen in the body, is made of dense fibres and takes care of the structure of the skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissues and teeth.
Type II consists of several loosely packed fibres and functions as elastic cartilage that dampens joints.
Type III supports the structure of muscles, organs and arteries.
Type IV is in charge of filtration in the layers of the skin.
With increasing age, there is a gradual decrease in collagen - respectively a reduction of its production in the body. Evidence of this may be, for example, ageing of the skin or weakened cartilage.
Nutrients That Increase Collagen Production
The collagen starts its journey as procollagen. The body makes it with two amino acids - glycine and proline. This process uses vitamin C. You can also support the production of collagen yourself by consuming certain nutrients, such as vitamin C. Chose rich sources which are far more potent than just citrus fruits. For example, parsley, rosehip, cabbage, peppers and strawberries are all rich in vitamin C. You can get a much higher dose from acerola, the tropical cherry which is the richest source of vitamin C. Another vitamin C bomb is the exotic fruit camu camu.
Another nutrient to look for is proline. Do you know where to find it? It enters the body thanks to the consumption of egg whites, wheat germ and dairy products. You can also find it in cabbage, asparagus and mushrooms. You can also boost your collagen production with glycine as large amounts of glycine are found in pork or chicken skin and gelatin. The last recommended nutrient is copper. You get it when you indulge in eating organic meat, sesame seeds, cocoa, cashews and lentils. The body also needs quality proteins that have enough amino acids to make new proteins - so put your bet on a balanced diet, enriched with sources of amino acids such as meat, fish, tofu, dairy products and legumes. And what to avoid?
Oh, That's How You Damage Collagen
In addition to substances that boost collagen production, some substances do the exact opposite. If you want to protect collagen and its amount in the body, then avoid it refined sugar which reduces the ability of collagen to regenerate. Surprisingly, too much sun is harmful - UV radiation has the same effect, so quality protection in the form of natural physical filters helps. Don't forget to use suncare - preferably natural, preferably daily, even in winter. Smoking also reduces collagen production. Therefore, a higher incidence of wrinkles is common in smokers. Isn't it the right time to stop smoking?
The Truth About Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements come in the form of powder, capsules or gelatin supplements. Marine collagen comes from fish skin. Always depends on the quality of the source - as with all food supplements it is essential to know the origin - in case of marine collagen, it is advisable to check whether it comes from wild fishing. However, veggie collagen is also becoming popular, but the structure of this substance is entirely different from that in animals. It can bring some benefits, but it cannot replace animal collagen. And what are they like? The benefits of collagen? No, wrinkles will not miraculously disappear after applying or using collagen. But don't worry, we also have great news. Here are seven benefits of collagen use:
Wrinkles don't go away immediately, but collagen pleasantly and effectively hydrates when used externally and internally. Why doesn't it work better? It has too large molecules to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin when applied directly to the skin. However, a clinical study of cream application with 0.06% collagen revealed slight firming of the skin and softening of scars after only a few weeks of use. Wow!
So what about the rejuvenation? Collagen peptides can slow down ageing, especially by hydrating and improving skin elasticity. These benefits come from the ability of collagen supplements to stimulate the body to produce even more collagen on its own. Additionally, it helps the body to produce other proteins: elastin and fibrillin, which improve the structure of the skin.
Collagen maintains the integrity of the cartilage that protects the joints. As collagen production decreases with age, there is a risk of degenerative joint disorders. Taking collagen can improve the symptoms of these diseases and even reduce unpleasant joint pain.
Collagen maintains the strength of your bones. Low bone density may be the result of disease associated with older age, but collagen delays their possible breakdown. Collagen is a handy helper for overall health.
Strong and healthy muscles? Collagen will help. Collagen makes between 1 to 10% of muscle tissue, which is necessary for muscle maintenance. It can help those who want to gain more muscle mass, such as athletes during regular training. Collagen also supports muscle strength in people with loss of muscle mass due to old age.
BEAUTIFUL HAIR AND NAILS?
And finally, beauty - yes, collagen also benefits hair and nails by protecting their fragility and preventing drying. And that's not all. What else can collagen do? We will probably learn this from other studies soon because collagen seems to have an unlimited amount of benefits for the human body. It supports not only beauty, as many people think, but also overall vitality. And that's great!
TIP: Marine collagen in capsules
KIKI Health that we have already introduced produces premium quality nutritional supplements. In the health section, you will find 100% type I collagen in capsules. This product is a hydrolysed marine collagen from sustainable wild fishing. It is enzymatically processed so that the peptides remain intact. It is fully digestible and gentle on the intestines. The advantage over non-hydrolysed collagen is above all easy absorption. It stores collagen for ease of use in hypromellose capsules, an extract of cellulose known as a veggie replacement for gelatin capsules. But it's mainly about the purity of formulation - collagen contains nothing more, no fillers or unnecessary other substances. Thanks to the gentle hypromellose packaging, collagen remains pure and also tasteless and odourless. It, therefore, allows comfortable use and significant effects - collagen supplementation, but also the encouragement of collagen production itself. That's it!