What is Collagen?
- Author :
- TATA AIG Team
- Published on :
- 2 min read
Collagen is a type of protein in your body. It is present in abundance in your bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, skin and other connective tissues.
In fact, collagen accounts for 30% of the total protein present in your body. Proline, hydroxyproline and glycine are the main amino acids that make collagen.
Collagen provides structural strength and support to your tissues and plays a crucial role in cellular processes. A well-balanced diet can help your body produce collagen naturally.
Keep reading to learn more about collagen's meaning, functions and types and the ways to boost its production in your body.
What Does Collagen Do?
The main role of collagen is to provide support, structure and strength throughout your body. Here are a few essential roles collagen plays:
Provides strength and elasticity to your skin
Helps in blood clotting
Helps replace dead skin cells
Increases muscle mass
Provides a protective layer to your organs
Prevents bone and hair loss
Promotes cardiac, brain and gut health
Types of Collagen
While many collagen types have been identified, the main types of collagen are as follows:
Type I: It makes up 90% of the collagen in your body and provides structure to your bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, corneas and walls of blood vessels
Type II: It is found in cartilage and provides joint support
Type III: It is present in your skin, muscles, organs and arteries
Type V: It is found in some skin layers and tissue of the placenta
Type X: Cartilage of your joints
Signs Your Collagen Levels Are Decreasing
The collagen levels in your body cannot be measured through a blood test. However, the following signs and symptoms can indicate that collagen levels are decreasing in your body:
Wrinkled, dry and saggy skin
Shrinking and weakening of muscles
Osteoarthritis or joint pain
Stiff and less flexible ligaments and tendons
Gastrointestinal issues due to thinning of your digestive tract’s lining
Blood flow problems
Habits That Can Damage Collagen
While collagen naturally decreases as you age, following lifestyle habits can accelerate the risk of collagen damage:
Smoking: Smoking cigarettes tends to damage collagen leading to wrinkles, skin ageing and loss of elasticity
Diet with added sugar and refined carbs: Following a diet with high amounts of added sugar and refined carbs can lead to premature ageing and loss of cartilage
Excessive sun exposure: Excessive sunlight exposure can increase the breakdown of collagen and decrease collagen production in your body. Ultraviolet rays cause wrinkles on your skin
Foods That Boost Production of Collagen
Here’s a list of natural sources of collagen that can boost its production in your body:
Vitamin C: Oranges, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes, bell peppers
Glycine: Turkey, red meats, pork skin and chicken, granola and peanuts
Proline: Cabbage, mushrooms, peanuts, asparagus, egg whites, wheat, fish and meat
Copper: Lobster, liver, oysters, nuts and seeds, leafy greens and cocoa
Zinc: Red meat, poultry, pork, oysters, broccoli, leafy greens, milk products and whole grains
Use of Collagen in Medicines and Cosmetics
Collagen is widely used in the health and cosmetic industry for the following purposes:
Cosmetics for skin revitalisation
Collagen has an essential role in providing structural support and strength throughout your body. The immense health benefits of collagen have led to increased use of its supplements. However, more research is needed to prove their effectiveness. It is best to eat a healthy diet to help your body produce collagen naturally.
You can include collagen sources like chicken, beef, dairy products, fish, eggs, leafy greens, beans, citrus fruits, etc. in your diet. It is also essential to quit habits that accelerate collagen damage like smoking, excessive sun exposure and consuming too much added sugars and refined carbs.
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Which fruits are high in collagen?
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, strawberries, berries, etc. are high in collagen-boosting properties.
Where do collagen supplements come from?
Collagen supplements usually come from animal sources like bone broth using beef, fish and pigs. However vegan collagen is also becoming popular.
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