What is Collagen? We Explain the Basics of This Essential Protein (Part I)
These days, it seems like there is a constant stream of new health trends gaining popularity online. In this first part of our three part series, we’re going to break down one of the most popular medical substances to gain attention online recently: collagen.
If you’re struggling to keep track of all of the information out there, you’re not alone. Lots of people are confused about the health information they find online and might even fall prey to misinformation that’s disguised as medical science. The best way to combat these misleading sources of information is through education.
In essence, collagen is a protein. In fact, collagen is the most plentiful type of proteins in the human body and provides strength to bones, tendons, skin and muscle. It’s essential to the structure and function of the human body. It keeps your skin elastic, protects your internal organs, holds bones and muscles together and keeps your joints and tendons strong.
Collagen is a naturally-occurring protein the body continuously produces; however, collagen levels do fluctuate over time. As you age, your collagen production goes down, which can lead to joint pain and wrinkle development. Because of how important collagen is to the body—and the fact that collagen production can wane over time—synthetic collagen has been developed to keep collagen levels in check even when natural production slows.
The benefits of collagen
If you’re wondering what the buzz is all about when it comes to collagen supplements, here’s a quick primer on some of the benefits people derive from taking them:
- Healthy skin: People naturally develop wrinkles and sagging skin as they age. Collagen can help slow the aging process and keep skin looking healthy by naturally improving elasticity. Some people choose to restore collagen in their skin through the injection of collagen fillers. These fillers can be used to fill in depressions in the face that happen as a result of collagen loss. In addition, collagen supplements have been shown to improve skin elasticity.
- Muscle building: Collagen plays an important role in the development of muscle and it’s been shown to promote muscle strength. The amino acids in collagen can actually fuel your muscles and help you maintain your endurance during workouts and promote a faster recovery. Some studies have demonstrated an increase in muscle mass and weight loss in people who take a collagen supplement while maintaining a regular workout routine.
- Tissue regeneration: After certain injuries, illnesses or procedures, a patient may need help to promote the body’s development of a specific type of cell. Collagen-based tissue has been used to promote the growth of specialized cells during the healing process. In oral surgery, collagen membranes are often used to create a barrier that prevents unwanted cells from growing in a wounded tooth and give the right cells the opportunity to grow back normally, for example.
- Pain alleviation: Degenerative joint and bone diseases are incredibly common among people (especially as they age) and a lack of collagen is often the root cause of these problems. Supplementing your body with collagen can strengthen joints and bones and reduce the intensity of symptoms of arthritis, osteoporosis and other joint diseases.
- Cellulite reduction: Cellulite is incredibly common, especially among women, but many people still feel insecure about this skin issue. Cellulite is caused by fat underneath the skin pressing up through connective tissue, primarily in the legs and arms, which creates the appearance of dimples or lumps in the skin. Some research into cellulite has shown that collagen supplements can help improve the appearance of cellulite in women after several months of continuous use.
With so many fantastic benefits, it’s no wonder collagen is an incredibly popular ingredient in supplements and treatments. Unfortunately, many of the products on the market that claim to promote higher collagen levels actually fail to offer real results. That’s because collagen molecules are naturally long strings of amino acids that are insoluble and impossible for the body to properly digest in their natural state.
A preview of peptides
The good news is that there are some fantastic products out there that really can help boost collagen levels through the use of collagen peptides, which are much shorter strings of the amino acids that make up collagen molecules. We’ll walk through the ins and outs of collagen peptides in our next blog post. Stay tuned to find out more about how you can benefit from the natural benefits that collagen has to offer!