Is collagen the Secret to Eternal Youth? No, but it is possibly the closest thing you are going to find and it is a supplement. A cosmetic active par excellence and the most abundant protein in the whole body. That is, until you become 30. The most valuable property of collagen is now more clear than ever: ANTI-AGING. In this post, we are going to talk about all you need to know about this popular supplement. Keep reading!
- 1. What is Collagen?
- 2. Does this supplement truly work?
- 3. Where is collagen?
- 4. What is the difference between the elastin and collagen?
- 5. 8 reasons why you should start taking it
- 6. Gelatin, the best source
- 7. Why do we lose collagen with age?
- 8. Who can benefit from taking Collagen?
- 9. Does it have any contraindication?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that is present in most of the connective tissue from our body. Above all, it has a structural function both for the skin (first protective layer) and the joints. That is why you have probably heard that it is the best product for your skin and bones.
When it comes to supplementation, it is available Hydrolyzed or Undenatured. In general, supplementation is used to keep the skin healthy and to relieve joint pain. However, that is not all, since some collagen peptides seem to improve the neural connection with neurotrophins (BDNF).
Does this supplement truly work?
It does. In fact, most of the population is becoming aware of how important it is to take care of our health. Every day, we deal with many factors that can progressively deteriorate our health.
However, thanks to scientific advancements, we can enjoy a series of products that will help you preserve, improve, care of your skin to the point that you even look younger.
This is when collagen comes into play, a supplement that will help you take care of your aspect and health. In fact, it will become a must in your skincare routine due to its many properties.
Where is collagen?
Collagen is an insoluble fibrous protein from the extracellular matrix and connective tissue. It belongs to a group of conjunctive fibers from the body, which means that you can find it on:
- Collagen fibers
- Reticular fibers
- Elastic fibers
When we talk about connective tissue, we mean any tissue that supports other tissues by connecting them. If there is a lot of these tissues, it will result in a extracellular matrix cell complex. For example, this includes bones and cartilages, as well as the loose connective tissue.
The collagen fibers are the most abundant in the connective system. If we take a microscope to look at them, they are different in terms of a single unit, collagen fibrils. Although this is something that we cannot easily see with our own eyes.
What is the difference between the elastin and collagen?
Before we continue, we want to mention something important, since many people tend to mistake elastin for collagen.
Both collagen and elastin have crucial properties for the skin. In fact, they even work together to provide firmness and strength to our skin.
The thing is that collagen is a polypeptide or protein chain that is mainly available in the connective or fibrous tissues. It is the “glue” that keeps all the tissues together. On the other hand, elastin (which is also found in the connective tissue) is in charge of providing elasticity to the tissues.
Therefore, we could say that elastin helps tissues to recover their original form after being stretched or contracted. From that point of view, we could say that it provides qualities that are similar to the ones of a “rubber ball“.
8 reasons why you should start taking it
Have you noticed that everyone is talking about collagen? It has become a very popular topic, although it is no surprise. In fact, unlike other substances which tend to be forgotten after a while, collagen has managed to stay at the top.
Why do we have to take Collagen Supplements? There are mainly 8 reasons
- It is not easily absorbed with the meals. We usually do not eat products rich in collagen since and they tend to be discarded because they are not appetizing at all.
- You will only take the best one. Not only in terms of amount but also the type! There are more than 20 types and the most important ones are I and II.
- Are you 25 and an athlete? You will find out why you should take it if you keep reading.
- Other benefits. It supports the health of our hair, nails, teeth and gums.
- It prevents and heals. This protein prevents the cartilage degeneration and stimulates its regeneration, specially type II collagen.
- Combine it for extra benefits. High quality products, like the one by HSN, usually combine other ingredients to increase its effectiveness. For example, combine it with hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and magnesium.
- You will immediately experience its effects. All you will need are 10 days and you will start experiencing its effects on your hard and nails. Then, 2-3 weeks on your skin and 6-8 weeks on your joints. To top it all, it will make your skin look bright and young from the very first day. In addition, it will be more hydrated and elastic after 15 days.
- Forever. You will not have to stop taking it regardless of what others say. It is like eating apples, do you like them and feel good after eating them? Actually, collagen works exactly like that.
Gelatin, the best source
Traditional diets are way richer in gelatin than our current diets. Why? Because gelatin is not that healthy and appetizing snack that you would buy at the supermarket.
“Nose-to-tail” or “eating the whole animal” is an excellent way of eating tendons, skin, guts and other gelatinous parts of animals. However, this is no longer a popular practice in our gastronomy. So, if you do not even want to try, go for supplementation.
In the end, gelatin is just cooked collagen and you can also purchase it as odorless and tasteless product to add consistency to your meals.
What are the differences between Hydrolyzed Collagen and Gelatin?
Even though both substances have the same amino acids and share many of their benefits, there are actually some differences:
- Gelatin only dissolves in hot water
- Our body can digest gelatin easily
- Gelatin becomes a viscous gel when mixed with water
When it comes to their shared benefits, these substances:
- Improve the health of our skin
- Strengthen the connective tissues: ligaments, tendons, cartilage…
- Stimulate the growth and protection of the muscle mass
- Help to relieve joint pain
- Improve the health of the bone system
Why do we lose collagen with age?
As we grow old, one of the symptoms of aging will be a progressive loss of collagen.
A less young looking aspect and the deterioration of the bone system are two of the main consequences of a lack of collagen. Moreover, it will also affect our joints and cartilages.
Thus, the cells that replaced the broken collagen fibers for new ones start to have more problems to do so.
Inevitably, this process eventually leads to the onset of wrinkles. Therefore, if we want to prevent and treat this issue we need to prevent the breakdown of collagen and increase its production. But, why does it happen? Let’s find out:
Factors that lead to a loss
Even though there are many factors that condition our ability to produce collagen, we will mention the most important ones:
- Free radicals: they are substances that damage the cells, increasing the symptoms of aging. In fact, we are constantly exposed to them, either due to toxic environments or environmental pollution, as well as ultraviolet rays from the sun, even though it can also be caused by artificial lightning.
- A decrease of the natural production of both collagen and elastin. These are unequivocal symptoms that our body has lost the ability to produce collagen that it once had.
At this advanced stage, the production of collagen is lower than its breakdown. Consequently, we will experience a progressive drop of its concentration. On top of that, women also have to deal with a drop on their estrogen levels, which affects the production of collagen too.
- Deficiencies: a diet that lacks essential vitamins and minerals will also affect the collagen production. That is why taking vitamin C is crucial during this process.
- Diseases: a loss of collagen can be caused by a pathology or disorder that hinders the absorption of essential nutrients for the proper formation of the proteins.
Symptoms of a lack of Collagen
We should pay attention to what our body is trying to tell us, so this is a list with…
The most common symptoms of a collagen deficiency
- Hair loss
- Fragility of the nails
- The aspect of the skin worsens: wrinkles, loss of firmness and elasticity, flaccidity, more time to heal wounds, bruises
- Muscles: stiffness, cramps, worse muscle recovery after physical exercise
- Joint pain: caused by the degeneration of the cartilages
- Teeth: pain and loss of strength to keep them anchored to the gums
- Blood vessels: loss of elasticity, worse blood flow, pain in the chest, dry eyes, headaches, difficulty to breathe…
How to stimulate its production?
Do you want to deal with a collagen deficiency? The good news is that there are many wonderful strategies in order to improve its natural production.
Some of them will focus increasing the intake of sources of collagen, or those that provide the necessary micronutrients to strengthen our system and stimulate the synthesis of collagen.
However, the highest concentrations tend to be available in those parts that we do not tend to eat: the skin, tongue, guts, pig trotters…
On the other hand, there are some vitamins and minerals that can stimulate the natural production of collagen:
- Vitamin A: carrots, peaches…
- Vitamin C: mainly citrus fruits or dark green leaf vegetables, like spinach or kale
- Lycopene: tomatos, peppers (red vegetables in general)
- Trace elements: copper and sulfur from nuts or legumes
- Anthocyanins: raspberries, strawberries, berries or cranberries
In addition, lysine and proline are involved in the synthesis of collagen. Both are available in sources of complete protein, or animal products, such as meat, dairy products or eggs.
Who can benefit from taking Collagen?
Are you 25 years old? Then, you can already start taking Collagen. Those who are older than 25-30 should take collagen because the production of collagen starts to drop around 1% every year.
In fact, more than half of the collagen deposits will be empty at the age of 60 (its production is lower than its synthesis).
Why should I take it? Because, apart from slowing down the evident consequences of the passing of time, collagen can do so much more for you. For example, preventing the osteoporosis, strengthening your hair and nails, avoiding constipation and stomach discomfort, improving the aspect of cellulite and stretch marks, strengthening the teeth and gums, etc.
Specially for women
Women lose more collagen due to specific physiological factors. We are going to mention two of them:
- Pregnancy: The formation of the fetus, particularly its bones and cartilages, requires an important amount of collagen that the baby absorbs from the mother.
- Menopause: Another vital event that specially affects the collagen production.
Do you like doing exercise? Then, you are subject to physical deterioration, including damage to the joints and ligaments. Collagen will become the extra help you need to:
- Improve the recovery from injuries
- Preserve the bone density
- Relieve the joint pain and inflammation
- Improve the resistance and strength of the joints, tendons and ligaments
- Increase the muscle strength
What about the elderly?
If you are thinking about taking Collagen Supplementation because you have experienced some of the symptoms of a deficiency, we have good news for you!
Collagen is ideal for adults who are already 50 years old, specially when combined with vitamins C, B2, B6, hyaluronic acid or magnesium.