A Quick and Easy Guide to Understanding Collagen
People are constantly looking for ways to slow their biological clock and reduce the effects of aging, and if you look around your local drug store, you will see tons of products claiming to do so! One natural solution that has been gaining much hype is collagen, a protein supported by many studies claiming to provide benefits for healthy skin, hair, joints, and nails, among other claims.
Collagen: Definition and Types
Collagen makes up over 30% of our body's entire protein content, making it the most abundant protein in the human body. Due to its abundance, it is found everywhere: Bones, muscles, joints, skin, eyes, and even our teeth.
There are 28 different types of collagens, but each one is categorized into just five based on amino acid composition.
Over 90% of the collagen found in our body is type 1, and this is the type of collagen found mainly in our skin, organs, and bone. Most of the remaining collagen is categorized as:
- Type 2: Cartilage collagen
- Type 3: Bone marrow and lymphoid tissue collagen
- Type 4: A collagen that helps with filtration found in the skin.
- Type 5: Hair and "cell surface" collagen
Food Sources of Collagen
While you can't exactly "eat" collagen, the body does a fantastic way of making its own by breaking dietary protein into amino acids. The most abundant protein source for collagen production is protein-rich foods, including chicken, eggs, beef, pork, dairy, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
However, if you want to take additional steps to preserve the collagen your body produces, it's also recommended to have your fill of fresh vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are packed with antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative stress and degrading collagen.
More Procollagen Means More Collagen
The body naturally produces collagen, but it doesn't make it as collagen but as procollagen. Essentially, if you want to create more collagen, you will have to produce more procollagen first.
Here are some notable nutrients that ramp up procollagen production:
- Vitamin C. The body produces collagen by synthesizing two amino acids: Proline and Glycine. This process involves the use of Vitamin C. As everyone knows, citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, but so are bell peppers and even strawberries.
- Glycine. Glycine is abundant in chicken skin, pork skin, and gelatin. If you're on a plant-based diet, you can also source beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Proline. You can get Proline from egg whites and dairy products. For plant sources, wheat germ, cabbage, mushrooms, and asparagus are all excellent sources.
- Copper. This mineral acts as an enzymatic reactor to lysyl oxidase, an enzyme required for converting procollagen to collagen. You can get a good serving of copper from oysters, crab, sunflower seeds, and cashews.
Should you take collagen supplements? Yes! Everyone can benefit from a boost in collagen.
Just like with most aspects of aging, the body gradually decreases collagen production. This explains why people in their 50s and 60s have more aches and pains, and their skin becomes less elastic and prone to wrinkles and sagging.
Collagen is needed to provide joint elasticity, bone density, and muscle mass. When collagen production starts to decline, the best way to combat it is by taking supplements.
To help the body produce more collagen and fight against the symptoms of decline, we recommend supplements, including ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, proteoglycans, and collagen.
Supplements that contain collagen, hyaluronic acid, and proteoglycans can benefit the body's natural collagen production. As a complementary collagen aid, we also recommend Cartiquil®.
Cartiquil® is formulated with ingredients designed to reduce the anti-collagen effects of an inadequate inflammatory response. The formula is led by Meriva CurcuminPhytosome, a premium form of curcumin known for its high bioavailability and efficacy in a healthy inflammatory response.
Collagen is an essential substance in our body that determines youthfulness, especially when it comes to skin and joint health. Although it is the most abundant protein in the body, it also becomes depleted with age. There are many dietary sources of collagen but eating a collagen-based diet is not always ideal or practical due to the limited amount of collagen you can get per meal.
If you want to maximize your collagen intake per day and make sure the body always has access to it, the best way is to take collagen supplements!