What is collagen? And how does it strengthen our skin, bones, and joints
These days, collagen supplements have become increasingly popular as the key to their smooth skin. But collagen isn't just used to achieve a luxurious glow, it's also equally important for your bones and joints.
Here's what you need to know about what collagen actually is, how it may benefit you, and the risks involved in using it.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the main protein in the connective tissues in our body, including bones, skin, joints, muscles, and tendons. Its fibrous structure gives these parts of the body their shape and strength.
There are four main types of collagen:
- Type 1: the most common. It's found in skin, bone, teeth, tendons, and ligaments.
- Type 2: found in cartilage.
- Type 3: found in the skin, muscle, and blood vessels.
- Type 4: found in layers of cells that surround all body tissues.
Food sources with the highest levels of collagen include garlic, cashews, yellow and red bell peppers, and citrus fruits. The body can also build collagen itself from other protein sources, therefore a deficiency in collagen is not common in most healthy adults.
Benefits of collagen
- Collage improves skin's appearance. It plays a role in strengthening skin, plus may benefit elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkle
- Collagen helps maintain the strength of your cartilage, which is the tissue that protects our joints. The amount of collagen decreases as we get older, and our risk of developing degenerative joint issues such as osteoarthritis increases
- Collagen provides structure to our arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of the body. Without enough collagen, our arteries could become weak.
Collagen is the most useful protein in the body. It provides structure for our teeth, bones, skin, joints, and cartilage.
Some research suggests collagen supplements may promote firm, smooth skin, and protect tendons and ligaments, but more studies are needed to determine how effective collagen supplements are. Additionally, once we digest collagen, our bodies doesn't control where it goes afterwards.
Side effects from collagen supplements can include allergic reactions and stomach upset.