Collagen is one of the body’s greatest proteins, as it makes up about a third of the body’s protein amount. Collagen plays an important role in the body through the connective tissue, as well as providing the skin with structure and strengthening the bones. Collagen can be thought of as the glue that holds certain parts of the body together.
How does collagen work?
Many people have opted to do collagen supplementation for the potential health benefits, skin benefits, and other improvements such as joint pain relief. It is natural for collagen to decrease with age, which is another reason why certain individuals look to supplements for increasing the collagen protein in the body.
This article will provide information about the benefits of collagen and how it should be taken. But first, let’s take a look at what are the types of collagen.
Types of collagen
As a whole, there are at least 16 different types of collagen. The four main categories are type I, II, III, and IV. Here is a deeper diver to the four main types of collagen and what they do in your body:
Type I collagen:
The first category of collagen makes up 90% of the body’s collagen and consists of densely packed fibers. Type I provides structure to the skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Type II collagen:
The second type of collagen is consistent with more loosely packed, elastic fibers. It is also found in elastic cartilage, which is the type of cartilage that cushions joints in the body.
Type III collagen:
The third type of collagen supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries in the body.
Type IV collagen:
The fourth type of collagen is found in layers of the skin and contributes to filtration.
As the body ages, the collagen that is being produced by the body naturally becomes less and of lower quality as the production of the collagen protein slows down. An evident sign of lower quality collagen production can be seen when the skin becomes less firm and wrinkles begin to form.
This is often referred to as losing skin elasticity, which is the skin’s ability to bounce back into its original shape. One of the main reasons that people choose to take collagen supplements is that increasing collagen intake can make skin health better by increasing skin hydration and helping to improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Now that we’ve learned a bit about the types of collagen, let’s look at how collagen production can be increased in the body.
Increasing collagen production
The collagen in our bodies begins as procollagen. The body makes procollagen as a result of combining the two amino acids of glycine and proline. Vitamin C is used in this process.
If you are wondering in what ways you can increase collagen in your body, here are some nutrients that may help:
Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a great factor in the collagen in the skin. It can be found in amino acid-rich foods such as beans, root vegetables, and soy. Collagen levels can be greatly increased by adding hyaluronic acid to the diet. It is also available as a supplement.
Aloe vera gel: A study has been conducted to show the increase of collagen through aloe vera gel. The gel also provides a great reduction in facial wrinkles as it stimulates the correct cells to grow.
Glycine: Often times glycine can be found in pork skin, chicken skin, and gelatin. It also can be found in foods containing natural proteins.
In order for your body to produce new proteins, it needs high-quality protein containing the necessary amino acids. Some great sources of amino acids include meat, poultry, seafood, and legumes.
Now that we’ve discovered how collagen can naturally be increased in the body, let’s learn about how to take collagen.
How to take collagen
We have taken a look at some of the health benefits that collagen provides to the body, but how are they taken exactly? Well, in order to add collagen to your diet, collagen can be taken in the form of supplements. The collagen supplements undergo a process called hydrolyzation, which means that the collagen within the supplements is broken down into peptides. These peptides make it easier for the body to absorb and use it.
There are various collagen products, and the collagen supplements themselves can be taken as a tablet, capsule, and a powder that can easily be added to most foods. Collagen powder won’t usually form into a gel, so it can easily be mixed into various foods such as smoothies, soups, or baked goods (even pancakes!) without the texture of the food being altered. Collagen is also found in various natural food sources. This includes pork skin, bone broth, and gelatin.
How will you know if collagen supplements will work for you? Similar to other supplements, the effectiveness of collagen supplements varies from person to person. It’s possible that taking collagen supplements will show great results in your body and also possible that it may not at all. Also, like other supplements, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not study any claims made by companies on the effectiveness of their collagen product.
Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements can offer benefits such as an improvement in the categories of skin health, joint health, muscle mass, prevention of bone loss, supporting heart health, promoting the growth of nails and hair, and other benefits such as maintaining a healthy weight and improving mood.
Now that we’ve discovered a bit more about collagen supplements and how to take them, the question may remain as to what kinds of side effects collagen supplements may present.
Side effects of collagen supplements
Healthcare professionals will generally say that taking collagen supplements is safe for most individuals. Of course, as with trying anything new, you should consult your healthcare provider as to whether collagen supplements may be right for you.
The most commonly reported side effects of taking collagen supplements include mild cases of diarrhea, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and some rashes. Aside from those, there have not been many health risks associated with the consumption of collagen supplements. There are also factors to note in regard to how collagen can be damaged.
How collagen is damaged
There are certain activities or behaviors that can contribute to a decrease in collagen or destroying it altogether. These include:
Sugar and refined carbs: Sugar and carbs can affect collagen growth, as they interact with its ability to repair itself. This can lead to premature aging. In order to protect the collagen in your skin, it may be better to avoid consumption of lots of sugar and excess carbs.
Sunshine: An excess amount of sun for the body can reduce collagen production from the ultraviolet radiation. Sunlight is good for vitamin D production, but it may be suggested to avoid too much direct sunlight for the benefit of the body’s collagen stores.
Smoking: Smoking causes a great deal of loss in collagen production and an increase in wrinkles. To better protect the body’s collagen, it’s better to skip the cigarettes.
Should I take collagen ?
We’ve learned that collagen is one of the most important proteins in the body, and as such, should be taken care of accordingly. As we know, collagen production decreases as the body ages and as a result, certain parts of the body are affected. This includes the development of wrinkles in the skin, bones becoming less strong through the development of certain joint problems such as osteoporosis, and an overall decrease in muscle mass amongst additional issues. So it can really benefit a wide variety of people.
Supplements are a very easy of increasing the benefits of collagen in the body (with no major side effects). There are many collagen products offered in different forms for consumption, including a tablet, capsule, or powder form. At Clean, we are determined to providing high-quality products to help individuals transform their health. Our 21-Day Cleanse may provide some happy side effects such as weight loss, increased energy, reduced stress, and calmer mood. We recommend trying our cleanse with extra collagen-enhancing foods to see the beautifying effects it can have!
Written by the Clean Team