Collagen is the most important protein in the human body. The firmness of the skin and the efficiency of the joints depend on it, but collagen has many more functions, and its deficiencies give unpleasant symptoms. Collagen deficiencies cannot be one hundred percent avoided, because as the body ages, it produces smaller and smaller amounts of this protein. However, it is possible to make up for collagen deficiencies with a properly composed diet, in addition to which collagen supplementation is very helpful.
What is collagen for in the body?
Collagen is a protein that primarily makes up connective tissue. It accounts for about one-third of all proteins found in the human body. The body produces the most collagen at a young age, after which its synthesis decreases, the visible effect of which is, for example, wrinkles. Collagen is responsible for elasticity and tissue strength, which translates into high physical fitness of the body, greater resistance to disease, and an attractive, youthful appearance and wrinkle-free skin.
What functions does collagen have in the human body?
In the skin, collagen is found in the form of elastic fibers that keep the skin smooth, resilient and in good shape. Collagen is also essential for joints to function properly - without collagen, cartilage is destroyed, and this causes severe pain and leads to stiff joints and reduced physical mobility. In addition, collagen is the building block for many internal organs, takes care of the hydration of the cornea, and is found in bones, hair and nails. With the help of collagen, the body regenerates faster and better, and if there is damage to tissues, collagen speeds up the healing process and makes bones or skin knit together properly. It is also the ingredient responsible for proper blood clotting.
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Why is it important to replenish collagen? Where is this protein used?
Collagen losses are inextricably linked with aging of the body. This process begins as early as 25-26 years of age, but initially the losses are not yet so strongly felt. Nevertheless, you can use collagen prophylactically, slowing down aging, which will help not only in the prevention of wrinkles, but will also keep joints and bones in good condition. Collagen preparations are often available over-the-counter like cosmetics, but it is worth bearing in mind that serums or collagen cream will not so much introduce this protein into the skin tissue, but will significantly improve skin hydration - collagen is too large to penetrate through the epidermis into the tissue.
Oral supplements with collagen, on the other hand, help replenish the loss of this protein. Supplements usually work comprehensively, that is, not only on wrinkles, but also on hair, nails, joints. Collagen preparations also help in the removal of stretch marks. In aesthetic medicine, collagen is administered in the form of injections - it fills in wrinkles, improves the oval of the face, models the shape of the lips. Collagen, as a natural substance, is much safer to use than other rejuvenating preparations, but any such treatment must be carried out by a specialist.
Collagen is also used in medicine. Here, collagen injections help regenerate and heal joints, in addition, collagen is used in ophthalmology and as an agent in the manufacture of bandages, surgical instruments and threads. It also works well for women who are experiencing symptoms of menopause, although in this case it will work more for product dedicated to the symptoms of menopause - menozine
What types of collagen are distinguished?
Collagen comes in many forms, but the most important is type I collagen, which makes up as much as 90 percent of all collagen proteins. This type of collagen is present in joints, skin, bones and teeth. Other important types of collagen for health and fitness are:
- Type II collagen, found in cartilage tissue
- Type III collagen, similar in structure to type I, present mainly in muscle, bone and skin
- Type V collagen, found in smooth muscle and blood vessels
These other types of collagen can be found, for example, in skeletal muscles, the cornea of the eye, the brain, the heart, the kidneys, the female sex organs.
What are the sources of collagen?
Diet for collagen is quite troublesome. If one wants to supplement this protein through diet, recommended foods include giblets, which contain a lot of collagen and other valuable nutrients. Other products with collagen are no longer so healthy, because although they help increase the amount of collagen in the body, they also contribute to raising cholesterol or sugar, and on top of that they are still caloric - these products include pork knuckle, chicken feet, brawn, processed meat products with gelatin, vegetable jellies, fruit jellies.
Collagen added to supplements is extracted from either beef/pork or marine fish. It is obtained from skin, tendons, bones, cartilage, scales, fins - after processing it is odorless and tasteless, does not raise sugar or cholesterol, and is not caloric.
Which collagen is better?
Due to its higher bioavailability, it is generally recommended to take marine collagen. Collagen from land mammals is absorbed a little worse, moreover, it can also cause allergies, which very rarely happens with marine collagen. Taking into account the main purpose of supplementation, marine collagen is suitable for people who care primarily about removing wrinkles and rejuvenating the skin, while beef or pork collagen is recommended for joints and muscles.
How should collagen be dosed?
Taking collagen does not solve problems overnight, so you have to wait at least a few weeks for visible improvement. Importantly, it won't happen any faster if you significantly increase the dosage - collagen, although natural, can cause unwanted side effects if used in too large quantities. Side effects, caused by excess collagen, include scarring, tissue fibrosis, failure of selected organs, for example, the kidneys. The optimal dose for an adult is considered to be in the range of 500-1000 mg of collagen per day.
How to take collagen - alone or with other ingredients?
In the case of collagen, supplementation of this protein in combination with vitamin C gives much better results. It is essential in the process of collagen synthesis, accelerates its absorption, stimulates the natural production of new fibers, in addition to having a rejuvenating and strengthening effect. Many good quality supplements are just the formula combining natural marine collagen with vitamin C. Another vitamin that may appear alongside collagen is B7, also known as biotin, and vitamin E with valuable rejuvenating properties.
Hyaluronic acid is also an ingredient that can be administered alongside collagen. It has a strong moisturizing and regenerative effect, which is very useful for natural skin rejuvenation. Another ingredient that will intensify the effect of collagen is coenzyme Q10, responsible for fighting free radicals that damage and weaken collagen fibers.
Can everyone take collagen?
Introducing collagen into the diet or taking it in supplement form is safe for any adult, as long as the correct dosage and other recommendations are kept in mind. Before choosing a supplement, it's a good idea to make sure what specific type of collagen it contains and in what doses - very small amounts, less than 500 mg, will make little difference to the condition of joints or skin. Collagen supplementation is usually recommended for seniors, athletes and people who work hard physically.
Prophylactic collagen supplementation can begin as early as age 25, selecting the dose according to the level of activity. It is worth reaching for collagen when the first wrinkles and the first joint ailments begin to appear, because the sooner you start supplementation, the easier it will be to replenish losses and regenerate damaged tissues. In the case of women, collagen proves to be very helpful during menopause, when there are rapid hormonal changes and rapid aging of the body - by taking collagen you can alleviate these discomforts and slow down aging.
Which people are most vulnerable to collagen deficiencies?
Old age is a major cause of collagen loss - on average, a person loses about 1 percent of collagen each additional year of life. But age does not have exactly the same effect on everyone. Faster collagen loss is often related to a not very healthy lifestyle. Very harmful to collagen are, for example, stimulants, such as alcohol or cigarettes - the fibers are quickly destroyed, but the body is not able to produce new ones in their place. Collagen killer is also UV radiation, so you should avoid tanning, both in the sun and in a solarium.
Collagen in joints is destroyed by immobility, but also by intense physical activity. Lack of movement accelerates degenerative processes in cartilage tissue and collagen can rebuild with increasing difficulty, in turn, with intense physical exertion cartilage is intensely worn out and from a certain point the body can no longer cope with regeneration. People who work physically also have the same problem. Another factor that weakens collagen production is obesity - with excessive weight, joints wear out faster, and a weakened body can't cope with regeneration well enough.
How can you recognize collagen deficiencies?
Collagen deficiencies are unlikely to be overlooked. The main symptom of this condition is the deteriorating condition of the skin - it begins to sag, becomes flabby and dry, its youthful elasticity and smoothness disappear, more and more wrinkles appear. It is not only the skin that loses out, because when there is not enough collagen in the body, the hair becomes dry, brittle and tends to fall out, and the nails become duller, more brittle and no longer grow as fast.
A symptom of a lack of collagen is also nagging joints - the cartilage is no longer in as good a condition as it was when we were young, so moving the joints hurts and they can't always reach their full range of motion. In addition, through collagen deficiencies, the body's immunity decreases, eyesight deteriorates, and many organs, such as the heart, function less well.
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How do you choose collagen for yourself?
Collagen products are worth choosing in terms of dosage and composition - collagen should not be less than 500 mg, and if a more intensive treatment is indicated, you can choose supplements with a collagen content of 4-5 grams. There may be other ingredients in the supplement, but they should be natural, supporting the action of collagen, such as vitamin C or coenzyme Q10.
Oral preparations are available in various forms, and you just have to choose the one that is most convenient for you - it can be a powder that you sprinkle into drinks, or ampoules with collagen liquid, and there are also traditional tablets.