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Collagen: everything you need to know

Collagen: everything you need to know

These days have made us aware of our health, and maybe the concern about another huge problems surrounding our world has made us forget about other aspects of our health. We cannot let our guard down, specially when aging can’t be stopped and has enormous impacts on the human body.

The skin, bones and joints are tissues get debilitated when we get older. There is a reason behind this, and it is that collagen production declines in time. 

As consequences of collagen loss, we can mention joint pain, teeth problems, weight gain, lifeless hair, and other complications (What Happens to Collagen as We Age - Vibrance MedSpa). 

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it accounts for approximately 25% of our weight. It is part of the bones, skin, muscles, and tendons. (Mapping the Ligand-binding Sites and Disease-associated Mutations on the Most Abundant Protein in the Human, Type I Collagen* - Journal of Biological Chemistry (jbc.org)). 

The collagen in our body is so abundant that it was necessary to elaborate a classification to make its study easier. There are 16 types of collagen, but only 4 of them are considered as the most important ones (Collagen — What Is It and What Is It Good For? (healthline.com)).

What are the types of collagen?

The collagen in our body is so abundant that it was necessary to elaborate a classification to make its study easier. There are 16 types of collagen, but only 4 of them are considered as the most important ones (Collagen — What Is It and What Is It Good For? (healthline.com)).

Type I: This type is found in the greatest proportion. It accounts for 90% of our collagen. This one is related to the skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth. 

Type II: This type can be found in our joints, specifically in the elastic cartilage. 

Type III: This one is related to the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries. 

Type IV: This one is the main component of the basement membrane and can be found in the layers of our skin (Biochemistry of Collagens, Laminins and Elastin | ScienceDirect).

What makes collagen levels decrease?

Age 

As we have pointed before, the production of collagen declines in time. So, let’s dig a little deeper there. 

The decrease starts when we turn 20, at this point the dermis layer starts producing 1% less collagen each year (Why Does Collagen Production Decrease After We Turn 20? (rejuvaustralia.com.au)). 

Our cellular machinery gets deteriorated with aging, just like any machine we use every day.

Also, our body tends to equilibrate the rates of production and consumption of collagen, but the aging process turns the table, and we end up consuming more collagen than we produce (6 Reasons Collagen Declines + How To Support It Naturally (mindbodygreen.com)).

Smoking

There are some unhealthy habits that make us age at an accelerated rate. For example, it has been shown (Facial Changes Caused by Smoking: A Comparison between Smoki... : Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (lww.com)(6 Reasons Collagen Declines + How To Support It Naturally (mindbodygreen.com)) that smokers have more noticeable facial aging than their non-smoker twins. 

Doctor Goldenberg How Stress Depletes Collagen & What You Can Do To Help Your Skin (mindbodygreen.com)) says that collagen is directly affected by smoking, as it decreases oxygen levels causing great damage on the tissues’ regeneration process.

Stress

We all know that stress is a huge enemy that is responsible of many health conditions. The collagen decrease is also triggered by stress. This is caused by the fight-or-flight response. 

When this response is activated, the blood flow is taken away from the skin and the collagen production decreases. (5 Ways to Boost Collagen (healthline.com))

UV rays

Taking sun feels great, but it could be really dangerous if we are not careful enough. 

Sunscreen can prevent UV rays from damaging the collagen structure, the DNA that codifies the collagen production and the cells in charge of the collagen synthesis.

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Reverting the loss problem

It’s absolutely sad, but we cannot stop the aging process. Nevertheless, there are ways to make this more bearable. 

Vitamin C (5 Ways to Boost Collagen (healthline.com) One of the options to boost collagen is through the diet. The perfect amount of nutrients and the balance between proteins, vitamins, lipids, and carbohydrates are a great start. 

Vitamin C plays a main role in the enhancement of the collagen production. Vitamin C boosts the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and it has been suggested that this could also increase the collagen production.  

You can easily obtain vitamin C from many fruits, such us oranges, tangerines, grapes, and strawberries, but the best option is Camu camu. Camu camu is known for being the most potent source of vitamin C. You could enjoy its benefits by directly eating it or by consuming supplements like powders or pills. 

Just 1 teaspoon of camu camu powder contains 10 times more natural vitamin C than an orange.

Magnesium  

Magnesium doesn’t directly enhance the production of collagen, but it helps collagen to accomplish its functions.  

Magnesium helps tie collagen with elastin which provides elasticity to the skin (https://www.ojuslife.com/overall-wellness/why-you-should-pair-collagen-with-magnesium-supplements-uses-benefits/). When the skin loses elasticity, wrinkles start to show.  

It’s also been proved that magnesium deficiency promotes oxidative stress which causes great damage to your body.  

(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S135727259700068X)

Collagen supplements

For a long time, we have been relying on the external use of commercial collagen, most likely on beauty creams because it has shown great effects on skin repair. 

Moreover, this is not the best way to take advantage of the collagen’s properties. Lately it has been discovered that consuming collagen peptides has more benefits than just apply them on the skin surface. 

“What’s the difference?” you may ask. It is quite simple; collagen peptides are huge -molecularly speaking- and cannot be completely absorbed through our skin. 


Since collagen molecules are so big (What is the Difference Between Collagen, Collagen Peptides, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Gelatin? A Nutritionist Explains (furtherfood.com)), ingestion is not as effective as it could be. So, investigators found another way to make collagen even more accessible to the organism: collagen peptides.

What are collagen peptides? (What is the Difference Between Collagen, Collagen Peptides, Hydrolyzed Collagen and Gelatin? A Nutritionist Explains (furtherfood.com))

Collagen peptides, also known as hydrolyzed collagen, are molecules of collagen that have been broken down in a process called hydrolysis. 

Hydrolysis ‘cuts’ the molecules making them more bioavailable, as shorter chains of amino acids are easier to absorb into the bloodstream.


Collagen peptides benefits

Tougher bones

The bones become less dense when we get older and studies (Sci-Hub | Biological Effect of Hydrolyzed Collagen on Bone Metabolism. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 00–00 | 10.1080/10408398.2015.1038377 (sci-hub.se)) have shown that including collagen peptides in the diet can improve bone mineral density.

It’s known that menopause causes bones to deteriorate. Luckily, investigations (Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study (nih.gov)) have shown that postmenopausal women’s intake of hydrolyzed collagen improves their bone density. But that’s not it. It’s also associated with an increased bone formation and a reduced bone degradation.

Stronger muscles

If you like to look super fit and you are interested in gaining muscular mass, collagen peptides might be a great alternative. 

Scientists (Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial | British Journal of Nutrition | Cambridge Core) have discovered that collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training is likely to improve the body composition and generate stronger muscles!

Flawless hair, perfect nails, and beautiful skin

Not only collagen improves your body structure, but it also makes you look better. The effects on hair, nails and skin are the most visible ones and they are also the ones that tend to show sooner. (Why Collagen Might Be a Great Option for Seniors Health | (trilliumcommunities.com))

Counteracts joint issues (Why Collagen Might Be a Great Option for Seniors Health | (trilliumcommunities.com))

We’ve mentioned before that the joints contain collagen, and as we age, they get damaged. Moreover, hydrolyzed collagen can counteract this because its ingest boosts collagen levels.

Promotes heart health 

Some heart-related conditions could be prevented by consuming collagen. The structure of arteries is compound by collagen, and not enough collagen could make the arteries become weak and fragile (Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements (healthline.com)).

Promotes heart health

The weakening of the arteries could lead to heart attack, that’s why it’s so important to keep boosting your collagen levels (Page not available - PubMed Health (nih.gov))

Where can I get collagen peptides?

You can find collagen supplements on Amazon and Walmart. You can also get hydrolyzed collagen on Mother Nature Organics’ website. 

What makes MNO’s hydrolyzed collagen better?

We’ve learned here that there exist many types of collagen. We’ve also learned that just a few of them are found more often and are more relevant.

Collagen Peptides by Mother Nature Organics has hydrolyzed type I & III collagen. These types are involved skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, teeth and arteries’ structure. 

Not only it contains the most important types of collagen, but it is also sugar free!


Is it as good for children as it is for elder people?

Here we’ve been talking about the benefits collagen provides to elder people and what it can do to revert issues related with aging.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean its inclusion in the diet doesn’t have benefits for the younger ones. 

“Daily dietary intake of hydrolyzed collagen seems to have a potential role in enhancing bone remodeling at key stages of growth and development” – Elena Martin-Bautista (A nutritional intervention study with hydrolyzed collagen in pre-pubertal spanish children: influence on bone modeling biomarkers - PubMed (nih.gov)

Collagen is for everybody!

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