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What is Collagen?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Last Updated On :
  • 23/01/2024
  • 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

  • Muscle pain

  • 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:

  • Dermal fillers

  • Vascular prosthetics

  • Tissue regeneration

  • Wound dressing

  • Cosmetics for skin revitalisation

  • Periodontics

  • Osteoporosis

Wrapping Up

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.

Another essential thing for a healthy life is medical insurance. A health insurance plan is an effective tool to deal with the rising costs of medical services. It gives you peace of mind by taking care of your medical bills during a health crisis.

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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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