Collagen is our body’s favorite and most abundant protein.
It has important roles in nearly every aspect of your body’s ability to function properly.
Name a part of your body and collagen will most likely play a role. Gut health? Yes. Skin, hair and nails? Yes. Bones? Yes. Muscles and ligaments? Yes. We could go on and on, but you get the idea: collagen is extremely important to us and our bodies.
It is essential for the building blocks of our bones, skin, muscles, tendons, etc. When our bodies lack collagen, it does not function as well as it once did, so making sure we have enough collagen should be a top priority.
We are going to look at what collagen is and more importantly what it is good for. How can collagen help you stay on top of your game?
Stay tuned to find out.
What is Collagen?
Collagen’s importance cannot be overstated enough. This protein powers us and our bodies. It allows our skin, hair, and nails to stay healthy and strong and makes sure our muscles and joints are free from aches and pains. Without it, we would be lost, to put it lightly.
There are 16 different types of collagen, each of which provides us with structure and support.
Though there are 16 types, there are four that are the main ones within our bodies. These four are Types I, II, III, and IV.
The first type is where 90% of our body’s collagen comes from, which makes sense because this is the kind that provides structure to our skin (our largest organ). Aside from skin, Type I also brings support to our bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Type II can be found in our elastic cartilage, which is what makes up our larynx and the external and middle parts of our ears. This type is made of more loosely packed fibers.
Type III collagen can be found in our muscles, organs, and arteries.
The last of the four main types of collagen is there to help with filtration. It is found in the layers of our skin.
Issues with Our Bodies and Collagen
When our bodies age, we begin to produce less and less collagen. This process can begin as early as our 20s. Some signs that indicate your body has slowed its production of collagen are weakened cartilage and skin that is less firm and supple than it once was.
If you are worried about collagen production, take a look at your lifestyle choices.
Some things that damage collagen production include smoking, excessive sun exposure, and too much sugar and refined carbs.
How to Increase Collagen Production
Once collagen production decreases you may want to start looking into a supplement in order to counteract this process.
Dr. Emil offers a Multi Collagen Peptides Powder for hair, skin, nails, and joints.
This powder is unflavored hydrolyzed protein, so incorporating it into your morning coffee or smoothie won’t be a problem.
The supplement is non-GMO, dairy, gluten, and sugar free.
You can do other things in tandem with supplements to try and help increase your body's collagen production.
One thing is to make sure you have a balanced diet. A diet of high protein will help collagen production so look to meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, legumes, and tofu.
Another option is to incorporate more vitamins and nutrients into your diet or daily supplement regime. Options for this include Vitamin C, proline, glycine, and copper. All of these can be accessed through supplements or dietary choices like lentils, sesame seeds, gelatin, mushrooms, dairy, egg whites, citrus fruit, and cashews.
What is Collagen Good For?
Collagen and Skin, Hair, and Nails
As stated before, collagen is a major part of our skin. It helps it stay supple and elastic which helps negate the introduction of wrinkles, lines, or sagging skin that can occur with age.
The loss of collagen begins as early as our 20s and increases each year, so keeping up with collagen supplements and skin care is important if you want to stay looking youthful.
There are many studies done that show promising results indicating that collagen does in fact help your skin stay fresh and young such as this 2014 one from Germany and another 2014 one from the U.K. Both studies found that women who incorporated collagen powder (German study) or liquid collagen (U.K. study) reported significant increase in the elasticity of their skin and a noticeable reduction in wrinkles.
While there are not many studies done on this topic, the results of the ones we have point to the same conclusion: collagen can help our skin stay young and healthy even once our bodies begin to slow down on collagen production.
Collagen has a similar effect when it comes to hair and nails. The strength of hair and nails can be increased with collagen, lessening the breakage that can come with brittle hair and nails. It can also stimulate your hair and nails to grow longer.
So now, thanks to collagen supplements, your skin will glow, your hair and nails will grow, and breakage and wrinkles no longer become a worry as you age.
Collagen and Joint Health
Collagen is mostly known for its beauty benefits (hair, skin, nails, etc.), but it was originally studied for joint health.
Considering collagen is such an important component of our connective tissues, it makes sense we would look into it to help solve problems that can occur in regards to these tissues and surrounding areas.
A study done at Penn State helped support the idea that collagen is good for joint health. It found that after 24 weeks, the group who took collagen supplements had less joint pain at rest and during activities like walking, standing, and lifting than the group who took a placebo.
With this information, we now can apply collagen to joint pain and injuries. It can also be beneficial to diseases like osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis.
Collagen is incredibly important to keeping our bodies running and in great condition.
Every day there continues to be more research done in the field of collagen and how it can help us. There are so many areas it is being studied in that one day we may be using it to treat many different illnesses and diseases.
Don’t underestimate collagen and your body’s need for it. Look into a collagen supplement today!
Main image courtesy of Picpedia.