What is Collagen and How Does it Work?

Posted by on Jul 6, 2021 in Health | Comments Off on What is Collagen and How Does it Work?

Collagen is a fibrous protein that is common throughout the body and is the primary structural protein in the various connective tissue structures present in our bodies. As the primary structural protein of connective tissue, collagen is the most plentiful protein in mammals, forming up to 35% of our body protein content. Like every other protein, collagen is subject to damage from free radicals which can cause its deterioration. This deterioration, however, is not fully understood yet, leaving us to wonder what exactly causes the damage of collagen. One theory is that collagen protein is damaged by certain enzymes in our bodies known as cathepsin and hyaluronidase. These enzymes can form the alpha hydroxyl acid (AHAs) and the non-alpha hydroxyl acid (NAA), two of which cause the tearing apart of the protein in our skin. The breakdown of collagen occurs when the skin loses moisture it needs in order for it to maintain its elasticity and suppleness. Because of this, researchers have developed a number of creams and lotions which use ingredients such as hydroxyproline, amino acids glycine and hyaluronic acid in them in order to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Another theory on what is collagen goes something like this: as we age, our bodies produce less of it, which leaves us with less ability to keep our bones and muscles healthy. When our skin, muscles and bones are not properly nourished, they become weaker and more susceptible to damage and inflammation. In response to this weakening process, the skin produces collagen and surrounds it with amino acids such as hyaluronic acid and glycine in order to strengthen its structure and firmness. When we take a collagen supplement, these amino acids are able to pass into our body directly through our bloodstream and then act on our body tissues. This makes sense when you think about it. So, if our bodies aren’t producing enough collagen, what’s the solution? It seems that the answer is to give our skin an extra dose of natural collagen production by taking collagen supplements. So, what are collagen and elastin anyway? Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues of our bodies, such as tendons, ligaments and bones. Elastin is a protein found in our connective tissues, too, but only in a density that allow it to be easily woven into other types of tissue; it cannot be made naturally. If you want to increase your collagen intake, it would be smart to take a collagen supplement, since proteins from plants (such as those found in collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid supplements) can be absorbed directly through the skin into the bloodstream. These proteins can then stimulate the natural collagen production in your body. Another benefit of taking a collagen supplement would be to avoid certain common disorders that can affect the production of collagen. For example, aging, stress and illness can all lead to decreased collagen levels. Some examples of common collagen-rich foods include: yogurt, egg whites, dairy products, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, legumes (particularly black beans), cereal, nuts, seeds, and seaweed. The great news is that you don’t have to go through a special diet to include collagen-rich foods in your diet. In fact, you might even be surprised at the number of collagen foods you already consume in your regular diet! Simply add collagen-rich food to your diet gradually over time. Remember to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and get a moderate amount of rest each night.