It’s a term that you’ve probably heard a lot in the past year or so, but have you ever wondered... what is collagen?
Considered to be the most abundant protein in the human body, collagen is one of the key building blocks of our connective tissue, bones, joints, hair, skin, and several other parts of our bodies. Making up more than a third of our total protein content, collagen essentially helps to keep our bodies together, acting as the glue that keeps our bones, skin and joints in working order. It helps to keep our skin smooth and supple, ensures that our joints are flexible, and leaves our hair and nails looking strong and healthy.
There’s a total of 28 different types of collagen, with some of the most common types found in the human body including Type 1 (skin, bones, tendons, organs), Type II (cartilage), Type III (blood vessels, uterus, bowel), Type IV (internal coverings of organs) and Type V (hair). It’s estimated that more than 90% of the collagen found within the human body is Type I, with several of the other types found in much lower concentrations.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY MAKE COLLAGEN?
To put it simply, collagen is produced by the body when amino acids, which are sourced from the protein-rich foods we eat, such as beef, fish, chicken and beans, are combined with vitamins and minerals as diverse as copper, zinc and Vitamin C.
As our bodies age, however, our production of collagen becomes less efficient, resulting in some of the most common signs of ageing, including joint pain, wrinkles and weakened muscles.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT YOUR BODY'S COLLAGEN PRODUCTION?
Without sufficient collagen, we can experience a variety of health problems, from brittle nails and hair to some more serious medical conditions. It’s important to ensure that your body receives the right nutrients to produce enough collagen.
Some key vitamins and minerals worth introducing into your diet to help support collagen production include:
- Chromium - found in sweet potato, peas and whole grains
- Copper and zinc - found in nuts, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and kidney beans
- Omega-3 - found in spinach, flaxseed, pecans and soybeans
- Silica - found in strawberries, celery and asparagus
- Sulfur - found in kale, onions and fermented vegetables
- Vitamin C - found in citrus fruits, leafy greens, tomatoes and pineapple
- Iron - found in red meat, spinach, broccoli and tofu
- Threonine - found in eggs, lentils, peanuts and chickpeas
- Proline - found in cheese, cabbage, yoghurt and mushrooms
- Lysine - found in avocados, mangoes, cashews and quinoa
Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that you receive all the necessary nutrients required to produce collagen, so a collagen supplement can be an option worth considering. Look for a supplement that will help to support the body’s ability to create collagen, such as our COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost. Featuring Vitamin C, zinc and antioxidants, it’s a formulation that helps to support healthy skin and collagen production.
Read on to discover what causes a loss of collagen—and how to prevent it.