There is no doubt you have heard about this powerful protein called Collagen; and how it has rapidly become one of the most sought-after supplements on the wellness market and interest is expected to continue rising. Which raises a big question, Why Collagen? What is so special about the product and is there something we need to know? Today, I am going to be chatting all about Collagen - it’s benefits, as well as it’s possible cautions and if this is something, we should be looking at investing in as we get older.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the bodies most abundant proteins, contributing to 25 – 35% of the whole body’s protein content. It is consisting of amino acids bound together to form a triple helix of elongated fibril known as a collagen helix. It is mostly found in connective tissue and is always working hard to support Tissues, ligaments, bones and so much more!
Did you know There are also at least 16 types of collagen, with four of them being the main types of collagen:
Type I - 90% of the 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 - Consists more loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
Type III - Supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
Type IV - Helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.
Therefore, in simple terms Collagen is the glue that helps hold the body together and as you age, your body produces less and lower quality collagen. It is said that from birth to the age of approximately 20, our collagen levels gradually increase, and from 20 - 25 an optimum level of collagen is maintained. However, after the age of 25 research and studies have shown drastic drops in collagen and therefore, Collagen Supplements are encouraged.
Which bodes the question when should one take a collagen supplement? - This depends entirely on the individual, as you can take collagen supplements as early as you would like. However, it has been said that for an effective anti-aging plan, an individual can begin after the age 21.
Now, let us take a closer look at some of these benefits that this super protein offers.
Because it makes up so many critical parts of our bodies, collagen is not only beneficial but essential to maintaining good health.
Did you know your bones are mostly made of collagen? And as you age, your bones become less dense and more brittle, breaking more easily, and taking longer to heal. Therefore, Studies have shown that daily collagen supplements can help make your bones denser and slow the aging process, which makes them brittle. Resulting in it assisting your body to produce new bone. It is just as essential as Calcium for health bone health, formation, and maintenance!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in skin, making up an impressive 75-80% of the organ.
Along with elastic tissue, collagen is found in the dermis, or middle layer, of skin that gives it its fullness and plumpness. Collagen can improve skin moisture, tone, and increase overall hydration and elasticity. Collagen products have also been known to have antioxidant properties, which aid in protecting the skin by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells. Therefore, these powdery drinks could help repair damaged skin, since antioxidants promise environmental protection and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as the texture of the skin.
It is also interesting to know that some studies have been conducted in 2016, had shown that collagen peptide supplements increase skin hydration after eight weeks and increase collagen density in the dermis after four weeks.
Topical creams, such as vitamin A-based retinoids and peptides, can assist in boosting the production of your skin's natural collagen.
While more men go bald, many women also experience hair loss or thinning as they age. There can be many reasons behind hair loss, However, one significant cause for hair loss is the lack of collagen. If there is a decline in collagen, the hair begins to lose its suppleness and thickness, including the health of the scalp. Collagen aids hair health by providing the necessary nutrients, strength and moisture required to sustain healthy hair. Collagen also improves blood circulation thereby sending sufficient nutrients to the hair follicles and reducing hair loss, as well as boosting hair growth and fullness. Along with this Collagen also improves moisture content of the hair and aids in preventing fizziness, breakage and splits ends. Collagen can help greying hair – Collagen provides a constant dose of essential amino acids to the hair follicle leading to a stronger structure. The follicular structure is responsible for providing your hair with its colour and if the collagen levels are high, this will automatically reduce greying. Collagen peptides are also much easier to digest, and therefore offer quicker results than compared to other hair loss pills.
Another incredible benefit of Collagen is improved nail growth and texture due to collagen peptide powder providing the amino acid, arginine. Collagen peptides contain 18 of the 20 amino acids. Arginine is one of them. Although there are five amino acids in collagen peptides that have more mg per serving than arginine, it is this amino acid that promotes nail growth as it helps supply the nail bed with nutrients and better blood flow. Researchers have also stated in past studies; that the peptides (which are broken down collagen molecules) contain free amino acids. To which provide the building block for the formation of dermal extracellular matrix (ECM is three-dimensional network consisting of extracellular macromolecules and minerals, such as collagen, enzymes, glycoproteins, and hydroxyapatite that provide structural and biochemical support to surrounding cells.) proteins for the epidermal structure and act as bioactive messengers, activating different signalling pathways and stimulating dermal and epidermal metabolism.
As you age, so do your joints. This means the cartilage in your joints begins to dissolve and this means articular cartilage no longer functions effectively. This contributes, in part, to the joint stiffness and the movement limitations characteristic of patients with osteoarthritis. However, Researchers have stated that Collagen Peptides (partially broken-down collagen) can aid in cartilage maintenance and act as a mild pain reliever for those with osteoarthritis and improve joint function. Collage Peptides have been recommended as they can be better absorbed by as much as 95%, and then distributed to tissues throughout the body. Once these collagen pieces reach the skin or cartilage, they stimulate repair and rejuvenation of tissues through:
Directly activating fibroblasts and chondrocytes, stimulating them to increase their production of collagen and other connective tissue components.
Or Immune system cells recognize the collagen fragments and activate a process that stimulates fibroblasts, further energizing their production of collagen and other connective-tissue proteins.
It is important to note that it may take up to three to five months of daily treatment before you see these improvements.
Collagen peptide powders also provide some protein. Not as high an amount as a Whey or vegan protein but acombination of collagen and strength training could potentially help increase muscle strength, aid in repairing muscles and may even speed up recovery time from injuries. Therefore, making Collagen the perfect post-workout drink!
Collagen can help your body burn fat. So if you’re looking to support your New Year’s fitness goals, include collagen in your game plan!
Collagen also supports heart health, gut health, and healthy liver function. Supplementing with this power-packed supplement is a great way to support your body and promote healthy aging.
Hydrolysed Collagen Peptide Supplements:
Collagen really is an incredible little protein, helping us in many ways we might not even realise and personally I absolutely love taking it as a supplement. There are many collagen Supplements out there that are good. However, Life Health SA’s Collagen Pro Range is one I cannot live without. I take both their Capsules and their Superfood as I enjoy taking both, But I have trailed each individually and they both provide incredible results. Life Health SA’s Collagen Pro Superfood does provide more added vitamins and minerals to assist general health and does contain more collagen.
Life Health SA’s Collagen Pro Capsules have added aminos and Vitamin C. A single serving of 2 Capsules provides you with: 1000mg of hydrolysed collagen peptides / 100mg of Vitamin c / 50mg of Essential Amino Blend. I take 2 Capsules nightly to aid my body through rejuvenating during my sleep cycle.
Life Health SA’s Collagen pro Superfood (Blueberry Flavour – A Plain version is launching hopefully in March) contains added Protein, Vitamin C, B1, B2, B5, B6 and an essential amino blend. A single serving of 1 scoop (17g) provide you with: 10000mg Hydrolysed collagen peptides / 250mg Vitamin C / 60mg Essential amino blend / 6.1mg B5 (100% Daily Value) / 1.36mg B6 (100% Dv) / 1.33mg B2 (100% DV) / 1.17mg B1 (100% DV). I take 1 scoop with 200-300ml of water and drink it post – workout or during my workout.
Nutrients that increase collagen production:
All collagen starts off as procollagen. Your body makes procollagen by combining two amino acids — glycine and proline. This process uses vitamin C.
Vitamin C. Large amounts are found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries.
Proline. Large amounts are found in egg whites, wheat germ, dairy products, cabbage, asparagus, and mushrooms.
Glycine. Large amounts are found in pork skin, chicken skin, and gelatine, but glycine is also found in various protein-containing foods.
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.
Things that damage collagen:
Perhaps it’s even more important to avoid the following collagen-destroying behaviours:
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.
Getting too much sunshine. Ultraviolet radiation can reduce collagen production. Avoid excessive sun exposure.
Smoking. Smoking reduces collagen production. This can impair wound healing and lead to wrinkles.
Some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, can also damage collagen.
DISCLAIMER: If you are considering taking a Collagen Supplement although side effects a rare, and you have a chronic disease, are taking chronic medication, Breastfeeding or Pregnant - Please consult a Doctor prior to doing so.