Collagen 101

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What Is Collagen?

The most abundant protein in the body is collagen and it is the most prominent component of connective tissues including skin, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen gives skin structure and can strengthen bones and joints. Collagen aids in cellular activities and gives tissues structural support, such as (3,4,5,6).

Collagen fibers form roughly 80% of the dry weight of the dermis in human skin and are the primary proteins responsible for dermal tissue’s structure, strength, and stiffness. In the dermis of healthy humans, type I collagen contributes for around 80% of collagen, whereas type III collagen accounts for 10%.

Collagen is the predominant fibrous protein not only in connective tissues, but also in hard tissues, bone, dentin, cementum, and the epiphyseal growth plate’s mineralizing cartilage. It makes up around 80-90 percent (by weight) of the organic material in demineralized dentin and bone (1).

Glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline are the three amino acids that make up the majority of collagen. Connective tissue, skin, tendons, bones, and cartilage all contain collagen.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Collagen offers a number of health benefits that extend far beyond the realm of mere cosmetic enhancement. The following is a list of collagen’s functions:

Your hair, skin, teeth, and nails will all benefit from this supplement, as will your overall health. A deficiency in collagen can result in a number of skin issues, including wrinkles, cellulite, looser skin, and stretch marks. If you consume more of it, you will notice that your skin becomes more toned and supple as a result.

In addition to reducing or eliminating joint discomfort, its anti-inflammatory effects allow it to: Collagen has a function comparable to that of motor oil in that it makes it possible for joints, tendons, and ligaments to move freely. Joints that are swollen, stiff, and painful can be the result of a deficiency in collagen. Collagen has been shown to help alleviate the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis, according to research conducted at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago.

Can Boost Skin Health

Collagen is an essential part of the skin. As you age, your body produces less collagen. Dry skin and wrinkles are the results of the aging process. Biocell Collagen has been clinically proved to reduce dryness and wrinkles while increasing firmness and elasticity (7, 8).

Collagen peptides or collagen supplements may help slow skin aging by replacing lost collagen and promoting the creation of new collagen.  Hydrolyzed collagen supplements are more easily absorbed by the body. The added collagen may stimulate the body to produce more collagen, along with other skin-friendly proteins such as elastin and fibrillin.

Can Increase Circulation

Since collagen can increase skin’s elasticity, it makes sense that it will also boost the dilation and flexibility of blood vessels. Greater elasticity helps support circulatory health and may contribute to lower blood pressure. Better circulation adds energy and gives skin a healthy tone.

Can Reduce Joint Pain

Another result of aging is the rising risk of joint disorders such as osteoarthritis. Collagen may boost the health of cartilage, which protects and adds cushioning to joints.

Researchers think collagen supplements may stimulate collagen production, lower inflammation, reduce pain and stiffness, and boost joint support.

Can Support Bone Health

Collagen is also one of the main components of bones. As the body’s collagen production reduces with age, bone mass decreases, leading to lower bone density, a higher risk of fractures, and osteoporosis.

Studies suggest that collagen taken with calcium supplements will lower levels of proteins that lead to bone breakdown, performing better than calcium alone.

Can Make Hair Thicker and Nails Stronger

Many take collagen supplements hoping to have healthier, thicker hair. As the body ages, hair can thin out. Collagen peptides thicken hair follicles to give the hair more volume. Collagen can also make nails grow stronger.

Faster Recovery from Injuries

Because of the bone, joint, cartilage, and connective tissue support that collagen and collagen supplements provide, recovery from injuries may be faster when taking collagen supplements.

Can Increase Muscle Mass

Since collagen is the most frequently found protein in the body, it’s also an essential part of the muscles that give the body structure.

Studies have shown that collagen and exercise may help increase muscle mass by boosting the synthesis of creatine and muscle growth.

However, whey protein may be more effective in building muscle than collagen peptides since whey protein is higher in essential amino acids needed for muscle growth.

Types of Collagen

There are 28 known types of collagen, with type I collagen accounting for 90% of the collagen in the human body (8).

Type I

Type I collagen accounts for up to 90% of all collagen in the human body. This essential protein supports the structural health of our tissues. It’s in our hair, skin, ligaments, and most other tissues found in the body.

Type II

Type II collagen is essential in joint, digestive, and immune health. Cartilage and the lining of our guts are the most prominent dwelling places of type II collagen. Several studies have shown that increasing this collagen type can help alleviate arthritis.

Type III

Healthy organs, blood vessels, and muscles rely on type III collagen. It’s the second-most abundant collagen in the body, a crucial part of wound healing. It’s also vital in supporting type I collagen. 

Type V

This particular collagen is unique and is abundant in the human eye, lungs, and liver. Type V collagen is also a vital protein in the placenta. Pregnant people will be especially interested in increasing this type of collagen.

Type X

Type X isn’t as abundant as type II in our bodies, but it plays an essential role in joint and bone health. However, it is often overshadowed because type II collagen is easier to come by. 

Types of Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements come from animal sources so they are not vegan. Vegan “collagen” supplements are usually plant-based formulations that support the body’s collagen production. Let’s look at the sources of collagen.

Bovine Collagen

Bovine collagen comes from cows, making it more affordable than other types of collagen. However, bovine collagen does not absorb well in the body, so it is less effective.

Marine Collagen

Marine collagen is ideal for boosting the body’s collagen levels since it is more easily absorbed. Made from fish skins and shellfish, marine collagen often costs more than other forms of collagen.

Individuals with seafood allergies may have a sensitivity to marine collagen. Marine collagen supplements are flavorless, however, and do not have a fishy taste.

Porcine Collagen

Porcine collagen, derived from pigs, is usually cheaper than marine collagen. Pig collagen, like bovine collagen, isn’t absorbed as well by the body. Also, some individuals may have religious objections to ingesting porcine collagen.

Fowl Collagen

Collagen peptides sourced from chicken are best for supporting cartilage, so most Type II collagen is derived from chicken. However, fowl-sourced collagen isn’t effective as a beauty supplement and doesn’t raise the body’s collagen levels as well as other forms of collagen.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Collagen’s benefits outweigh the chances of side effects. Not only can collagen supplements support bone health and reduce pain, but they boost the health and appearance of skin, hair, and nails. Let’s look at some benefits of adding collagen supplements to your diet.

Easy To Use

To get the same levels of collagen from food, you would have to eat large amounts of chicken or fish. Collagen supplements can be swallowed as a capsule or added to your morning coffee or smoothie.

Collagen powders are either tasteless or come in flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and coconut. Add collagen drink mixes to a bottle of water for a refreshing drink with health and beauty benefits.

A More Youthful Look

The skin, hair, and nail benefits of collagen can give supplement users younger-looking skin, thicker hair, and stronger nails.

Greater Mobility

Joint problems and painful conditions such as osteoarthritis can limit mobility. Collagen supplements provide joint and cartilage support to ease pain and increase mobility and flexibility.

Improved Health

The boosted calcium levels and increased elasticity of collagen supplements can strengthen bones and can help lower blood pressure and support circulatory health. Collagen supplements are an easy way to support overall health and vitality.

Effects of Lost Collagen

Collagen loss is the primary internal factor that leads to visible aging. Deficiency will cause the skin to lose elasticity and lack moisture. Cartilage is dependent on collagen to be effective, so loss increases joint, tendon, and ligament pain.

Individuals with collagen deficiency can experience a wide range of symptoms due to the protein’s essential role in cellular function. Humans naturally lose at least 1% of their collagen every year after age 20.

The loss rate from aging alone can cause significant drops in collagen rates over time. However, collagen decline can be systematically exacerbated by other factors like exposure to the sun, smoking, diet, and stress. 

Furthermore, collagen is essential to connective tissue in the digestive tract. Loss causes sensitivity to common foods and chronic digestive discomfort. These symptoms then become progressively worse with age. Decreased collagen levels can also cause reductions in hair coverage and thickness, as well as causing nails to become thinner and more fragile.

Ways to Get More Collagen

Although our bodies create collagen, we also get some from outside sources. We call the collagen our body makes endogenous and externally received collagen exogenous. Below are examples of exogenous sources:

Collagen Peptides

Collagen peptides are a supplement that aids our bodies in replacing lost collagen. Unlike other supplements, collagen peptides undergo hydrolysis

Some mistake that collagen peptides are the same as gelatin; however, the way they dissolve is what distinguishes them. Gelatin only dissolves in hot water whereas collagen peptides dissolve in hot or cold water and are easier to digest. As a result, collagen peptides can build up in our skin and cartilage.

Primarily, people take collagen peptides to help aging skin, improve joint conditions, brittle nails, muscle strength, and other purposes. However, there is insufficient evidence backing most of these uses.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, collagen peptides may not suit your diet. Most manufacturers source collagen peptides from animal sources.

Diet

Different foods support different types of collagen production including collagen supplements, which are sourced from cows. Additionally. a protein-based approach is ideal for supporting collagen production. This includes consuming more beef, bone broth, chicken, and animal protein like fish and eggs.

You can also increase your intake of the essential vitamins and minerals that support collagen production.

Vegetables like red bell peppers and broccoli are high in vitamin C, and nuts contain copper. Berries, dark leafy greens, and citrus fruits are also recommended.

Collagen Protein

Collagen protein is an umbrella term for collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, collagen hydrolysate, and collagen powder. Tons of products, like powders and protein powders, contain collagen protein. 

Hydrolyzed Collagen

There are many collagen products out on the market, but not all products are created equal.

For example, topical collagen treatments. Although some can help reduce fine lines, most of them don’t do what they claim. The combined amino acids that formulate collagen come together to form a long chain. This means that collagen proteins are relatively large and unable to penetrate far enough into the dermis to be absorbed by the body.

There are still likely some benefits to using collagen lotions or serums, and you will possibly see temporary improvements in your skin after using them. Certain ingredients in topical collagen products often contain moisturizers and additional beneficial components that can help plump your skin for a short time.

Some topical products may have hydrolyzed collagen and likely have a slightly better chance of penetrating deep into the skin, but it is still unlikely. You’re better off boosting collagen production through diet and hydrolyzed collagen supplements to improve skin appearance.

Supplements That Restore Lost Collagen

  • Collagen Supplements
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Ginseng
  • Anti-Oxidants
  • Retinol
  • Carotenoids

Effects of Restored Collagen in the Body

Liquid BioCell’s absorption rate and potency produce striking results, increasing skin’s youthfulness and mobility from reducing joint pain. 

Clinical studies have measured increased collagen and hyaluronic acid levels, which play critical roles in repairing connective tissue and hydrating skin all over the body.

Does the Body Produce Collagen Naturally?

Although our bodies create collagen, we also get some from outside sources. We call the collagen our body makes endogenous and externally received collagen exogenous. 

Both are important to long-term health and quality of life, especially as we age. Adding amino acids and nutrients to your diet can help boost your body’s natural collagen production, but as we age, our stores deplete. In this case, replacing them using a supplement can help you look and feel younger. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before boosting collagen in your body, always research and get all of your questions answered before starting a supplement or making dietary changes. It’s best to discuss your options with your doctor, but here are some inquiries other people had:

Diet isn’t the only way to boost collagen production. Exercise also plays a role in the creation of these proteins. Exercise works the muscles, stimulating the production of collagen, improving the body overall, and giving the skin a younger, firmer appearance.

Exercise also boosts the digestive and immune systems, which help keep collagen levels up to par.

Everyone can benefit from switching to a nutritious diet that supports collagen production. But, if you are already getting enough collagen from natural sources, there are no proven benefits to increasing your intake of supplements.

Generally, extra collagen is most beneficial to aging people that want to improve the appearance of their hair and skin or bodily function. If you are experiencing joint pain, weak muscles, or brittle bones, you may see improvement by adding collagen, but a doctor should address these symptoms.

Because we lose collagen as we age, this isn’t usually an issue for young and healthy people.

Collagen is found in a variety of skin care treatments.

2020 research indicates that :

Hydrolyzed collagen, which is commonly found in creams and other topical preparations, can assist to keep the skin hydrated, while taking oral collagen supplements may help the body produce more collagen. They may have a synergistic effect that helps minimize wrinkles and smooth the skin.

Consuming meals rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, refraining from smoking, consuming a moderate amount of coffee, and protecting the skin from the sun are all things that have the potential to help maintain collagen or increase its production.

When a person is younger, their body makes more collagen, which is a good protein. When there is a lot of good collagen in the body, the skin is more flexible.

As people age, their bodies make less collagen, which makes their skin look looser and more wrinkled.

Work Cited :

Wu, M.  “Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis”.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507709/

Zhao, C.  “Structure of Collagen”.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34472051/

Izu, Y.  “Collagen XII mediated cellular and extracellular mechanisms regulate establishment of tendon structure and function”.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33096204/

Yamada, K M.  “Mechanisms of 3D cell migration”.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31582855/

Schauss, A. “The Effects of Skin Aging Associated with the Use of BioCell Collagen: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial”.  https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/3/Supplement_1/nzz031.P06-122-19/5517780?login=true

Schwartz, S R.  “Ingestion of BioCell Collagen, a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs”.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426261/

Vallejo, C.  “Current Insights into Collagen Type I”.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8399689/

Henriksen, K.  “Type I Collagen”.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/type-i-collagen

Bakilan, F.  “Effects of Native Type II Collagen Treatment on Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial”.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4970562/

Volk, S W.  “Diminished Type III Collagen Promotes Myofibroblast Differentiation and Increases Scar Deposition in Cutaneous Wound Healing”.  https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/322399

Aguirre-Cruz, G.  “Collagen Hydrolysates for Skin Protection: Oral Administration and Topical Formulation”.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7070905/

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