Your body has an abundant amount of collagen. In fact, it’s 90% of the bone mass, 90% of connective tissues and 70% of our skin. Your body contains more collagen than any other protein in all animals. There are 28 types of collagens, but most of the collagen in humans is type 1. Since it’s a protein, it’s made from amino acids, hydroxyproline, glycine and proline.
The body needs collagen to give structural support.
Collagen plays an important role in the body, not only for support, but also for tissue repair, cellular communication, cellular migration to maintain tissue and the immune response. Fibroblasts produce collagen in the cells and maintain it. The older you are, the less functioning the fibroblast becomes, the slower the production and the more fragmented the collagen.
You produce your own collagen, but also can get it through diet or supplements.
If you buy skin care products, you may have seen collagen as one of the ingredients on face creams for treating signs of aging or to hydrate the skin. It’s also in supplements for joint pain. While you can buy it in many forms and in many products, the best way to get it is through diet. Some people use powdered supplements or opt for a cheaper option and use packets of unflavored gelatin. Unflavored gelatin has the same benefits as powdered collagen supplements but is ¼ the cost.
Get collagen from your diet.
Since collagen is not limited to man, but all animal bodies contain collagen. Some parts of the animal have more collagen than others, like the skin, ligaments and bones. You can increase your collagen intake cheaply by making bone broth. It uses the bones, joints, skin and cartilage which breaks down to the amino acids for collagen production. You need more than just the amino acids to make collagen, you also need vitamin C. If you’re making bone broth, have a large citrus salad or a greens and sweet red peppers salad as a side dish.
- Collagen-based products are used for treating burns, diabetic ulcers and treating wounds. It’s also used in moisturizers and cosmetics for the skin.
- The wrinkled sagging skin that’s a hallmark of aging comes from changes to collagen. That loss of integrity not only affects the skin, but it also causes loss of bone strength.
- Cigarette smoking causes damage to collagen and makes the skin lose elasticity. The same is true for a diet high in sugar, overexposure to the sun or excessive drinking.
- People who have hypermobile joints—double jointed—may have abnormal collagen or elastin fibers that’s an inherited and make their joints looser. Instead of an organized layered appearance their collagen has an erratic pattern.
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