Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein and helps give structure to our hair, skin, nails, bones, ligaments and tendons. This structural protein is naturally found throughout the human body (making up 80% of your skin).
Thanks to collagen, we’re better able to move, bend and stretch. Collagen is also behind helping hair shine, skin glow and nails stay strong.
So, what is collagen made of?
What Is Collagen?
As we age, and the more stress we put on our body, the greater the impact on collagen production. Adding ingestible collagen to a balanced diet can help our bodies regenerate what’s been lost or broken down.
Collagen protein is different from whey and casein protein because of these high levels of amino acids. Muscular growth, joint health and an overall glowing appearance can be partially attributed to the amino acid blend in collagen.
What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?
Collagen is important for the skin in many ways:
• Collagen keeps your skin firm, plump, hydrated and supple
• Collagen Helps Smooth Wrinkles and Boost Elasticity in Skin
• Collagen influences your skin’s elasticity
• Collagen forms between one to two per cent of tissue which boosts muscle mass
• Collagen accounts for skin structuring, helping the wound to heal
• Collagen increases the strength of the nails
• Collagen improves gut health by impacting the lining of our gastrointestinal tract
• Collagen improves the quality of your hair
Types of Collagen
There are, however, about 16 types of collagen found in the body. The four main types are I, II, III, and IV.
Type I: Type I collagen accounts for about 90% of your body’s collagen. It provides structure to bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue amongst many other organs.
Type II: The second type of collagen is made of loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage which provide cushioning to the joints.
Type III: The third type of collagen helps in building the structure of muscles and arteries.
Type IV: The fourth most important type of collagen helps infiltration, which is found in the layers of the skin.
Where does collagen come from?
The body naturally makes its collagen by breaking down dietary protein into Amino acids. The amino acids are what build the various types of protein in the body, including collagen.
Experts recommend eating foods with collagen rather than taking collagen supplements.
Any supplement, have very limited research on whether or not we absorb these nutrients. On the other hand, nutrients in food are much more bioavailable to us. Therefore, my recommendation is to always try to eat your nutrients versus taking supplements.
Eating whole foods versus collagen supplements will allow you to intake more nutrients rather than limiting your intake to only collagen. Whole foods are functional because they have other properties like enzymes, fibers, etc. over only consuming collagen.
It’s probably safer to stick with a dietary approach to boosting collagen.
To produce collagen, your body puts the amino acids glycine and proline together with other amino acids including vitamin C, zinc, and copper.
1. PROLINE: egg whites, dairy, cabbage, mushrooms and asparagus
2. GLYCINE: chicken skin, gelatine and a variety of other protein-rich foods
3. VITAMIN C: citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers strawberries and broccoli
4. ZINC: beef, lamb, pork, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, beans, milk, cheese and nuts & seeds
5. COPPER: organ meats, cacao powder, cashews, sesame seeds and lentils
Choosing A Collagen Supplement
At what age you should start taking collagen supplements?
When it comes to collagen supplements, there isn’t a “right” age to start taking them. There also isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. The optimal time for you depends on many factors, including genetics and lifestyle habits. With that said, if you do choose to take collagen supplements, it’s best to understand what you’re getting into.
Start in Your 20s or Early 30s
We know specifically that the body’s ability to naturally produce collagen drops off shortly after age 20. By age 40, production levels are greatly reduced. It probably makes more sense to start taking collagen in your early 20s than, say, waiting until you turn 60 to take it instead.
How Much Collagen Should I Take?
To be frank, you should never add supplements to your diet without talking to your physician or medical provider first. Studies suggest that the standard dose for people seeking to improve their skin and eliminate fine lines is around 10 grams of powdered collagen peptides per day. That’s around two scoops if you’re using a pre-made powder.
You don’t have to spend money on trendy collagen products created to capitalize on the fad when you can reap the same collagen benefits naturally with a simple, well-informed trip to the grocery store.