How Does Collagen Affect the Body

The human body consists of thousands of different proteins. Proteins in our body are essentially made up of building blocks called amino acids. We have 20 different amino acids present in our body so can you imagine all the different combinations not only between the 20 but as well in length. However, the protein collagen happens to be the most abundant protein in mammals.

Collagen is responsible for many important functions such as providing our skin with structure and strengthening our bones. It is one of the most dominant components of connective tissue which makes up body parts such as tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. 

The human body creates collagen naturally on it’s own but consuming it in supplemental form or adding collagen through the foods you eat can provide numerous benefits. These benefits most predominantly involve the integumentary, skeletal, and muscular systems. 

Skin Health

  • As your body ages it naturally produces less collagen which can lead to dry skin and wrinkles. Collagen provides elasticity and hydration. 

Increased muscle mass

  • 1- 10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen. Scientists theorize that collagen helps stimulate the production of the proteins responsible for muscle growth. 

Prevents bone loss

  • One study had women taking either a calcium supplement or a calcium and collagen supplement for 1 year. Those taking both, experienced lower levels of the protein that is responsible for breaking down bones. 

Joint Health

  • Collagen may reduce inflammation in athletes as well as adults experiencing osteoarthritis or joint pain overall. 

Hair and Nails

  • Just like skin, taking collagen can benefit other external features. Collagen may strengthen nails by reducing the brittle breaking, and it may also stimulate your hair to grow longer. 

To be more specific, collagen is composed of many different subsets of collagen. Type I,II, & II. Type I being the most common which makes up about 90% of collagen in the body. Type I is most involved in the external features such as preventing wrinkles in the aging process and hydration. If you are not so much concerned about skin care, type II is a different collagen to test out. It predominantly helps with joint health. Lastly Type III, which is the second most prevalent type of collagen. It is associated with the structure of muscles, organs, and blood vessels. Some researches have thought Type III may promote intestinal health. It is also to note there have not been any human studies done in deciphering whether or not collagen rich foods provide the same benefits as supplements. 


Foods that contain collagen:

As we mentioned earlier, collagen is the most abundant form of proteins in all mammals. Therefore, it is also found in not only the connective tissue of humans but as well as other animals. Thus, foods such as chicken, pork skin, beef and fish are great sources of collagen. Gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen after it has been cooked, foods that contain gelatin such as bone broth are high sources of collagen. Egg whites are among another source.


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