Collagen Supplements – What You Should Know

Are you worried about getting old? Are you starting to notice wrinkles, sags, and achy joints? Everybody experiences the changes that occur as they age, but some people experience them earlier than others.

People age prematurely because their bodies stop producing enough collagen to maintain firm skin and healthy joints. Collagen plays many other important roles in our bodies and accounts for 65% of all protein. By choosing the best collagen supplement out there on the market, you can be sure that your body always has sufficient levels of this protein, and the aches, pains and wrinkles can be put on hold!

In this article we will explain what collagen is, how to get more collagen into your diet, and the best collagen supplements in UK.

What is Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It comes from the Greek word, kolla, which means glue.  It is a protein that is naturally present in the body and is also very beneficial to the skin, allowing the epidermal tissues to regenerate and preserve their elasticity. Collagen is required to make up connective tissues, providing structure for the organs, joints, skin, tendons, cartilage and bones. It provides a sort of framework for the bodies of humans and animals.

The cells responsible for the production of collagen are called fibroblasts. In addition to collagen, they also produce another protein: elastin, which allows the skin to be supple and stretchable. Collagen forms the largest part of the dermis and is one of its most important proteins. Collagen alone is responsible for 80-90% of the weight of the skin if water is excluded.

Unfortunately, the levels of collagen in your body will start to decline at around age of 25. When you reach the age of 60 years, the levels are about a quarter of what they were when you were in your twenties. This decline in collagen in many cases lead to wrinkles, saggy and painful skin, digestive issues, brittle nails and hair, and joint pain.

Types of Collagen

If you are thinking of trying collagen supplement, then it’s important to understand that there are actually many types of collagen available. Collagen supplements have amazing health benefits. However, the best collagen for you will depend on your health goals as different types of collagen may support different areas.

A total of 28 types of collagen are listed and designated by Roman numerals. Each type has its own function. However, most of the collagen in our bodies belongs to types I, II, III, IV and V.

Type I

Type I collagen is found in the greatest proportion in the human body and key structural composition of several tissues. It contributes in particular to giving resistance and elasticity to the skin and to promoting its healing. They are found in skin, tendon, vascular, ligament, organs and is the major component of bone. It is also synthesised in response to injury and in fibrous nodules in fibrous diseases.

Type II

Type II collagen mainly helps to build cartilage, which is found in connective tissue. Pain and trauma in the joints are often linked to the reduction of type II collagen. This collagen is the most important component of our joints, making up 50% of cartilage, tendons and ligaments. When we do not have enough cartilage for our joints, we start to feel pain and inflammation.

Type II collagen is responsible for lasting flexibility. Its lack leads to more serious joint symptoms such as arthritis, rheumatism and other joint diseases. This is why Type II collagen is beneficial in preventing age-related joint pain or arthritis symptoms.

Type III

Type III along with Type I constitute 90% of collagen produced by our body. They are composed of reticular fibres and and is a major component of the extracellular matrix that makes up our organs and skin. It is usually found with type 1 and helps give the skin its elasticity and firmness. Type III collagen is used by our body to reduce inflammation in the muscles and surrounding important organs such as our lungs, blood vessels, and lungs. For these reasons, type III collagen deficiency has been associated with a higher risk of blood vessel rupture.

Type IV

Type IV collagen is the main component of the basement membrane, which is a kind specialized sheet of extracellular matrix. It is found naturally in different skin layers as building blocks. These skin layers often surround muscles, organs, fat cells, and other parts of the body. They perform important function of forming a basal lamina, which is found in the endothelial cells that form the tissues surrounding organs, muscles and fat.

Type V

Type V collagen are the less important components of the tissue and occur as fibrils with type I and type II collagen respectively. They are found on skin surfaces, hair and placenta.

Health Benefits of Collagen

Let’s take a look at the main health benefits!

  • Improved Circulation – Collagen supplements can help strengthen blood vessels. Collagen fortifies the vessels and this leads to improved circulation in the body. Nutrients are also delivered more efficiently to the skin, which keeps it looking vibrant and healthy. Collagen also provides the elasticity to blood vessel walls.
  • Healing – The health benefits associated with collagen include its ability to repair and rebuild connective tissue when it becomes damaged, encouraging strong skin, joints and muscles. Many athletes supplement on collagen to help them recover from sporting injuries.
  • Arthritis – This condition is caused by inflammation of the joints and can result in a lot of pain and frustration. Increasing your collagen intake can help to increase mobility and reduce pain. Studies have also found that when collagen is added to cartilage tissue, it encourages extra cells to grow.
  • Cellulite – One of the health benefits for women is that it can reduce the appearance of cellulite. The dimpled appearance of the skin is caused by fatty tissues being forced up to the top layer of skin. Collagen supplements work from the inside of your body to repair the fibres that cause cellulite to appear.
  • Wrinkles – Reducing wrinkles is probably the most well-known of the health benefits that collagen provides. The skin seems to benefit the most from supplementation, with users reporting much suppler and firmer skin.
  • Hair – Without collagen, your hair would struggle to grow. It kills of free radical toxins that can affect your hairs thickness, texture and growth. Supplements strengthen hair and improve the width of each strand. This leads to a fuller appearance.

Why We Need Collagen Supplements

As we age, the human body produces less and less collagen. If our diet contains less amino acids it will further cause to loss of collagen. Other factors that contribute towards decrease of collagen include stress, smoking, sugar and deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.

Collagen deficiency can cause joint pain, joint stiffness, sagging skin, increased wrinkles and fine lines, and premature skin ageing. The collagen deficiency can also cause osteoarthritis, arthritis, rheumatism and can be partly responsible for cellulite, healing difficulties, tendonitis, etc.

A collagen supplements are beneficial for those who are deficient in collagen. There are different sources of collagen, most of which are of animal origin. Collagen can be extracted from the bones and cartilage of cattle or chickens. It can also come from the bones and scales of fish or the shells of crustaceans. This is what is known as marine collagen.

Read also: Best Protein Powders For Women

What is Hydrolyzed Collagen

Collagen cannot be absorbed by the skin because the molecules in the protein are too large. The only way to increase the levels inside your body is by taking collagen supplements. Not just any type though, it has to be hydrolyzed collagen.

This particular type of the protein is formulated from the connective tissues of animals and marine life. It is combined with hydrochloric acid to remove the calcium. It is then soaked in sodium hydroxide. Once the mixture is dehydrated it can be used in supplements to increase the levels of collagen in the body. When the collagen protein is hydrolysed (broken down), it becomes a highly soluble protein nutrient that can be assimilated by the body. This is the most suitable form to be included in our diet.

Hydrolysed collagen contributes effectively to the nutrition and regeneration of collagen tissues. It helps to reduce, prevent and slow down their deterioration and the consequences that follow. Studies show that properly hydrolyzed collagen peptides can be found in the bloodstream within 2 hours or less of intake.

Collagen Producing Skin Product

Products which naturally allow your body to produce its own collagen do not contain collagen as an ingredient. The reason for this is collagen contains molecules which are too large they cannot be absorbed into the skin therefore making them impossible to help restore and build collagen and elastin fibers. However here is what will work to help you produce more collagen and elastin to achieve that firm and smooth skin you are looking for.

Your body begins to slow down in its natural production of essential nutrients as you age. You produce much fewer skin cells. Without new skin cells being produced you are unable to regenerate new collagen and elastin fibers causing your skin to sag making you look older than you truly are.

If you are able to naturally produce more collagen and elastin fibers then you are on your way to achieving that younger looking skin you are searching for.

Finding the right products means reading the label of every product before you purchase it and making sure it contains the right combination of ingredients which will ultimately help to boost your body’s ability to produce collagen and elastin fibers naturally allowing you to regains skin that is firm and elastic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I increase collagen through diet?

Although this decrease in collagen production is irreversible, it is always possible to prevent the damage. And as is often the case, beauty starts from the inside. Certain foods are particularly interesting to eat to replenish collagen. And it’s also an opportunity to treat yourself to some good food!

Meat, and especially cartilage, are natural collagen reserves. Bone broth, for example, may not look very appetising at first, but it is a valuable beauty aid. You should also try fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C (peppers, citrus fruits, guava), which is known to stimulate collagen synthesis.

Can collagen peptides by vegan?

There are no vegetarian collagen peptides. There are two types of collagen supplements: marine collagen, which is derived from fish scales, skin, and bovine collagen, which is made from cowhide.

How much collagen should I take daily?

The amount of collagen that you need to consume each day will vary depending on which collagen supplement you take and the reason you take it. However, If you are healthy adult, 2.5 to 15 grams of collagen per day is generally recommended for most people’s needs

Can collagen replace my protein powder?

If you eat a balanced diet and get other sources of protein, collagen can be used as a replacement for traditional protein powder. Collagen is not recommended as your primary source of protein if you are a vegetarian or vegan. It lacks essential amino acids that your body requires.

At what age should I start taking collagen supplement?

There is no specific right age to take collagen supplements. However, most people start to lose collagen around the age 25-30. The decrease in collagen production is about 1-2% per annum . Some people start collagen supplements as early as their 20s, while others wait until they see signs of poor skin elasticity.

Do fruit contains collagen?

Although fruits does not contain collagen, they have the building blocks that your body requires to make collagen. Vitamin C is a key ingredient in many fruits, which helps to prevent free radical damage. Consider eating berries, citrus, and kiwi fruits.