Let's be honest with each other, I didn't know collagen was a thing to take until I was 30! I know, I know but looking back it was because before living clean I wasn't taking care of myself, not taking any supplements, not eating right and using toxic products. This new way of taking care of myself comes with a lot of learning which I had to do all myself, but I made it out and now I get to share with you making it easier to understand everything you need to know about collagen. Don't beat yourself up if you haven't taken collagen or didn't know what it was, we all start somewhere no matter age. Be proud of yourself for opening your mind to a new change and taking baby steps to a healthier you!
What Is Collagen?
The name collagen comes from Greek meaning "glue" that is a protein made up of these amino-acids – Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine. Collagen is naturally made within the body but as we age the production begins to slow down, usually starting in your 20s. Collagen is located all over the body with 30% found in: bones, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and skin.
There are over 30 different types of collagen but in the human body 90% of the collagen is Type I Collagen. Type I Collagen forms large eosinophilic fibers (collagen fibers) and is found in: skin, tendon, vasculature, organs and bone. It just so happens to be the main component in the organic part of the bone!
The five most common types of collagen are:
- Type I - skin, tendon, vasculature, organs, bone
- Type II - cartilage
- Type III - reticulate, usually found alongside type I
- Type IV - forms basal lamina, epithelium secreted layer of basement membrane
- Type V - cell surfaces, hair and placenta
How Collagen is Used Within the Body
90% of collagen of organic bone mass provides the structural framework that calcium and other minerals are anchored to. The fibers also provide bone flexibility.
Made up of cellular building blocks that produce an extracellular matrix made up collagen and proteoglycans. 70% of cartilage is made from collagen fibers and responsible for the structure and strength. The other 30% is proteoglycans serves as the lubricant to the joints.
75% of the skin's dry mass content is made up of collagen that is the key component of the skin's structure. Collagen fibers provide the infrastructure for elastin, that maintains the skin elasticity and for hyaluronic acid to trap moisture. It also is the body's key natural resource and component of skin tissue during the healing process.
Tendons are strong fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone. Created for the role to withstand tension, tendons are made up of 85% collagen type I and 15% proteoglycans the same lubricant found in joints.
Collagen provide the structure to arteries that are blood vessels carrying blood from your heart to the rest of the body. Without enough collagen, the arteries become weak and fragile.
Science-Backed Health Benefits of Taking Collagen
Improves Skin Health
As the body ages less and less collagen is being produced that leads to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. With the addition of a collagen supplement this will encourage the skin to age slower reducing wrinkles and dryness. This happens because the body is stimulated to produce collagen on it owns along with other proteins that all help keep the skins structure firm and hydrated.
Relieve Joint Pain
With the addition of a collagen supplement this will lower your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis. With the supplement this helps maintain the cartilage and encourages the body to stimulate the tissues to make collagen. This may lead to less inflammation, better joint support and less pain.
Slow Down Bone & Muscle Loss
Since bones are mostly made up of collagen, the less we produce naturally the lower bone mass your body has. With a low bone mass you are increasing the changes of bone fractures, weaker bones and conditions like osteoporosis.
Muscles tissue is composed of 1-10% of collagen and is necessary to keep your muscles strong and working properly. Taking a collagen supplement promotes the synthesis of muscle proteins like creatine and stimulates muscle growth after exercise.
Without enough collagen, the arteries become weak and fragile leading to atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) that has the potential of causing heart attack or even stroke. According to one study 31 healthy adults took 16grams of collagen daily for 6 months and at the end saw a significant reduction of artery stiffness compared to where they started. They also saw and increase level of HDL the good cholesterol by about 6%. HDL is important to to lower the risk of heart conditions. Check more on that study here.
How to Buy Collagen
It is important just like anything you are putting in your body as a supplement to understand that no all are created equal. Since collagen supplement is an animal product look for grass-fed, pasture raised animals or wild caught fish. There should be no additional fillers or additives and look for certified by a third party quality testing company like NSF International or United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
For all my vegans, there is no sources of collagen that is vegan friendly. Collagen is only produced by humans and animal but there plant based food that can boost the body's natural collagen production. Those plant based foods are soy, beans, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, avocados, asparagus, and sunflower seeds.
You will find these four different types of collagen supplement on the market:
- Hydrolyzed Collage (Collagen Peptides) are collagen proteins that are broken down by an enzymatic process called hydrolysis, into a smaller, more easily absorbable form called peptides
- Collagen Peptides (Hydrolyzed Collagen) tasteless, odorless powdered form of collagen that can be added into either hot or cold liquids. It essential just dissolves into whatever it is mixed with, making it extremely easy to take.
- Collagen Capsules are collagen peptides in a capsule. Should have no ingredients except collagen which is usually more difficult to find. The powder is the best route!
- Collagen Gummies are collagen filled with sugar based ingredients and fillers. Not really recommended!
I am confident you are ready to start adding a collagen into your diet daily and if you already are way to go! Do you have a favorite brand? I can personally say that after starting a collagen regimen my skin looked healthier and my joint were not as stiff. Before starting write down how you feel, where the stiff joints may be and take a picture of your skin and body before starting. After 6 months come back to the page, write down how you feel, go over the stiff joints you had before and see how they are feeling today and compare your picture of the skin! This is something I wish I had done but hopefully you can do it and see the results with your own eyes. Don't forget to tag me @yourtoxicfreemomma and come hang with me on Instagram. Can't wait to see you glow!
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/ - Skin Health
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/ - Vascular
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/ - Muscle Loss