Collagen 101: What Is It and What Is It Good For?
Collagen plays an important role in your body including providing structure to your skin and helping your blood clot. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a nutritional supplement and ingredient in shampoos and body lotions.
Still, you may wonder what collagen is, as well as what it’s good for. We hope to provide you with an overview of this important protein in this article.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for about one-third of its protein composition. It’s one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth.
You can think of it as the “glue” that holds all these things together. In fact, the word comes from the Greek word “kólla,” which means glue.
What does it do in your body?
There are at least 16 types of collagen. The four main types of collagen are type I, II, III, and IV.
Here’s a closer look at the four main types of collagen and their roles in your body:
Type I: This type accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Type II: This type is made of more loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
Type III: This type supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
Type IV: This type helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.
As you age, your body produces less and lower quality collagen. One of the visible signs of this decline in collagen is your skin, which becomes less firm and supple with more wrinkles. On top of that, your skin becomes drier and becomes less hydrated.
How do you increase collagen production?
Let's start with the basics. All collagen starts off as procollagen. Your body makes procollagen by combining two amino acids, i.e. glycine and proline. This process uses vitamin C.
Therefore, you can help your body produce more collagen by making sure you get plenty of the following nutrients:
- a) Vitamin C: Large amounts are found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries
- b) Proline: Large amounts are found in egg whites, wheat germ, dairy products, cabbage, asparagus, and mushrooms
- c) Glycine: Large amounts are found in chicken skin but glycine is also found in various protein-containing foods
- d) Copper: Large amounts are found in organ meats, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews, and lentils
In addition, your body needs high quality protein that contains the amino acids needed to make new proteins. Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, legumes, and tofu are all excellent sources of amino acids.
To accelerate your body's production of collagen, researchers recommend including collagen supplements such as collagen drinks in your daily diet. For a refreshing collagen drink that is packed with Type I and Type III collagen together with powerful nutrients as well as HACCP, GMP and Halal-certified, do check out B'ieune Beauty Drink.
It's also equally important to avoid the following collagen-destroying behaviours:
- a) Eating too much sugar and refined carbs.
Sugar interferes with collagen’s ability to repair itself. Minimize your consumption of added sugar and refined carbs
- b) Getting too much sunshine.
Ultraviolet radiation can reduce collagen production. Avoid excessive sun exposure
- c) Smoking.
Smoking reduces collagen production. This can impair wound healing and lead to wrinkles