Collagen is naturally produced by our body and plays an important role in our body. One of the most important role that it plays is that it helps hold the whole human body together. Collagen is a protein and when compared to other proteins found in our body, it is the most abundant and can be found in various parts of our body and this includes our skins, bones, muscles and tendons where it acts as a structure or a scaffold that provides strength to those parts.
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is a protein that makes a third of all the proteins in the human body. It is made up of a group of genetically unique molecules and all of them have a triple helix configuration of 3 polypeptide subunits known as alpha-chains and each chain contains approximately 1,000 amino acids, namely, hydroxyproline, glycine and proline.
In total, there are 16 types of collagen and three types make up 80-90% of the collagens in the human body. The 3 types of collagen belong to types I, II and III. The collagens in the human body is characterised as being tensile or capable of being stretched and is even stronger than steel. That is why collagen is an important factor in making our nails strong and our joints flexible yet strong enough to take the toll from our daily activities. People who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are recommended to take collagen supplements to replace the collagen in their weakened joints.
The word “collagen” is taken from the Greek word “kola” which means glue.
Our body is able to produce collagen for us. However as we age, the production of collagen falls and collagen production can also be affected by other factors that includes an individual’s lifestyle, diet, stress and emotional state, etc.
Years ago, during our grandparent’s time, people consume more collagen from the foods that they eat. They get the collagen from their home cooked meals such as broths, gravies, soup that contains bones and meats which are full of collagen.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN?
(1) Collagen Benefits our Skin
Our skin is made up of several layers and in the middle layer of our skin, known as the dermis is where collagen work its magic. In the dermis, collagen assist in the formation of a fibrous structure where new skin cells grow. Besides aiding the growth of new skin cells, collagen also helps in the repair and restoration of dead skin cells. Our skin cells die on a daily basis and needs to be replaced in order for the outer layer of our skin called the epidermis, the layer of skin that we can see to look healthy and well youthful. The new skin cells that are created in the dermis will then push up from the middle layer to the upper layer, the epidermis. When at the top layer, they get weathered and is exposed to the sun and natural elements in our environment that may cause it to die. The top most dead skin layer is known as the stratum corneum and when these falls off, it makes way for the new skin from the bottom layers.
As such collagen plays an important role in the rejuvenation of skin and with the consumption of the appropriate collagen supplements our skin can maintain its youthfulness even as we age beyond 40.
(2) Collagen Benefits our Hair
The amino acids available in collagen is integral for hair growth. Arginine, glycine, alanine and proline can provide benefits to those experiencing hair loss problems. Arginine plays a crucial growth for hair growth and is one of the most important amino acids in the group that can help in the alleviation of hair loss problems. Arginine is known to increase the immunity levels of a person’s body and hence helps in reducing hair loss due to disease. Arginine is known to produce a compound called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide improves the blood flow and supply of crucial nutrients to hair follicles directly. This allows hair to grow well as with increased blood flow and available nutrients, it creates a condition ripe for the growth of hair that has fallen and also for new hair growth.
Lysine on the other hand has been known to prevent balding. It inhibits an enzyme called 5 alpha reductase which causes pattern baldness among men. Hair loss can also be caused by a deficiency in iron and what lysine does is that it encourages the absorption of iron into the body.
It is clear then that collagen supplements can help individuals facing hair loss problems and these amino acids will provide the protein structure for hair growth.
(3) Collagen Benefits our Nails
Some of us might experience peeling and splitting nails as we age. The reason why this happens can be attributed to the lack of collagen in our system as collagen is the protein that acts as the building block of our fingernails. As such consuming collagen supplements and eating a balanced diet can help in keeping our nails healthy and strong.
(4) Collagen Benefits our Bones and Joints
In the same way that collagen have proven itself to be useful to our skin, collagen plays an important role in maintaining the health of our bones and joints. Collagen supplements can in fact help to improve our bone and joint health. The importance of collagen to our joints can be really felt when we start to lose collagen as we age. We will feel that our ligaments and our tendons will have problems moving with ease. The stiffness and at times swollen joints can be a sign that we are lacking in collagen. Intake of collagen supplements can help alleviate this problem as the required collagen can help joints move more easily and reduce the pain that you are experiencing.
A recent study on collagen have found that collagen supplements can be a useful treatment for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders.
(5) Collagen Benefits Recovery from Injuries
Many do not realise that speeding up injury recovery can be accomplished with the right supplements and nourishment. This important factor is sadly often ignored. 2 main supplemental amino acids can help in the recovery of injury and they are arginine and glutamine. Arginine is found in collagens and glutamine on the other hand can be extracted from bone broths.
Studies of the use of Arginine in humans have shown that the supplementation of arginine in high dosage can bring a positive result as it helps to increase the accumulation of collagen and accelerates the healing of wounds that an individual is suffering from. Higher dosages above 30g have been found to provide the biggest effects on test subjects.
(6) Collagen for Arthritis
There is growing evidence that collagen can stimulate the growth of new cartilage in joints. When patients with joint problems take collagen supplements on a daily basis for three months, they experience healing in their joints. Recent medical studies have shown that patients suffering from arthritic or damaged joints experienced improvement in mobility and movement when they take collagen supplements.
A lab study have also shown that growth of new cartilage tissue is stimulated by collagen. These collagen supplements is seen to perform similar roles as natural collagen and they are able to ensure that the tissues in joints remain healthy.
Chris Wilson, an orthopaedic consultant in Cardiff believed that collagen supplements work.
He has an open mind about alternative forms of medication and treatment and is prepared to believe in the effectiveness of collagen supplements in reducing arthritic pain and the repair of joint tissues.
(7) Collagen for Better Digestion
Collagen have also been found to help coat the digestive tract and therefore improve digestion. In fact the taking of gelatin which is a by-product of collagen have been recommended on gut-specific diets. In fact our digestive tracts are made up of the same amino acids that are found in huge amounts in collagen. As such, consuming gelatin or collagen peptides will result in the repair of the sensitive lining of our stomach, benefiting our small as well as large intestines.
COLLAGEN PRODUCTION DECLINES WITH AGE
With age, collagen production in our body goes into a downward trend. This causes our skin to lose its structural strength and may eventually lead to sagging and wrinkly skin. At the same time we may also experience the weakening of cartilage in our joints such as our knees and ankle. A younger body may produce collagen at a desirable level but as we reach age 40 and beyond, collagen production and collagen synthesis declines. The situation becomes worst when a women goes into menopause. A considerable decline in collagen production and collagen synthesis is even more pronounced at the age of 60.
It is important therefore that we supplement our diet with collagen especially if we are above 40. It will help our skin remain supple and our joints in good shape. We have some collagen supplements in our store that are popular with our customers. They have benefited from taking collagen supplements and we hope that you too will have the chance and opportunity to reap the benefits of collagen supplements.
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