Collagen and Its Wonderful Health Benefits: Collagen is the highest protein found in the body. It is basically found in bones, muscles, skin and tendons. It is important for the texture and strength of the body.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a solid, insoluble (non-dissolved) and fibrous protein. The protein in the body is one-third of it. Most of its molecules are placed together with each other and form a long and thin fibers, which are not used for each other. It is called as Fibril. These fibrils are tied together, so that it strengthens each other and they give strength and elasticity to the skin.
Although there are about 16 different types of collagen. Out of which only three types of collagen are found in the human body. These are collagen type 1, type 2 and type 3.
These have different textures and functions. It is strong and flexible. Type 1 collagen fibers are particularly flexible and strong. If compared with the same amount of steel and type 1 collagen fibers, these fibers are stronger than steel.
It is a natural collagen, which is formed automatically in the body and has many important functions. It is related to a variety of health problems.
It is made up of external factors and taken through external sources and complementary medicines. Generally used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes. It is also used to keep the tissues healthy.
What Are The Functions?
It is originates from many cells, but it is mainly secreted from the cells of connective tissue. In the middle layer inside the skin (Dermis), it creates a fibrous mesh of cells with the help of fibers, which is known as “Fibroblast“. It mainly removes dead cells of the skin and create new cells.
In addition, some collagen acts like a protective shield to protect other delicate organs such as kidneys. With age, there is a shortage of collagen in the body, which leads to skin problems. As a quotation, wrinkles occur on the face. In women a sharp collagen deficiency found in especially after menopause. And after the age of 60, it is a very common thing regarding shortage of collagen.
It is useful to make the skin shiny and healthy. This essential protein provides elasticity to the skin, and you stay look young and healthy. However, with your growing age the levels of collagen decrease, which also causing roughness, looseness and wrinkles in your skin.
A study was conducted in the year 2014 which covered 69 women aged about 35 to 55. Out of these, 46 women were given a supplement, while the rest of the women were given a boost Placebo. After four weeks, a major improvement was found in the skin elasticity of women.(1) Other similar studies also found that wrinkles in women were reduced within eight weeks with the help of collagen.(2), (3), (4)
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It also helps a lot to grow and regain hair. It has antioxidant properties that prevent Free Radicals in the body. Free radicals formed in the body due to various metabolic processes, which damage hair follicles. It also causes hair loss.
But having a sufficient amount of collagen in the hair, the hair follicles became strong and assist in hair growth. Apart from these it also dense your hair and make them stronger and healthier.
With the growing age, the cartilage on the joints of the bones starts to decrease, which causes pain and stiffness in the joints. It helps to reduce joint pain and also prevent arthritis.
According to the study a supplement of type 2 collagen which was made from the neck of the hen were given to the patients for 90 days. After a few days, 40 per cent symptoms were reduced among the patients suffering from osteoarthritis disease, while the severity of other symptoms also decreased by about 33 per cent.(5) Another study in 1993 with the same supplement of collagen found a decrease in inflammation and joint pain of people with rheumatoid arthritis.(6)
Collagen is a major part of muscle tissue, thus it is effective to build muscle mass. At the same time, it gives you energy at the time of exercise. However, more research are required to find out the relation between collagen and exercise.
A study on the men was conducted in 2015 regarding it and was found effective for prevention of loss of muscle mass due to aging. In 12 weeks, these people saw a lower fat and increased muscle strength than others.(7)
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It helps to strengthens the lining that protects the connective tissue and the digestive system. This is very important, because the disruption of the intestinal process can cause a variety of elements in your bloodstream and can also cause inflammation.
In a study conducted in the year 2003 on 170 people, those are suffering from inflammatory bowel disease and found that the level of collagen in most of the people are very low.(8) This proved that increasing the amount of collagen helps to form the lining of the tissues of the Gastrointestinal Tract and makes your intestine healthier. However, there has been very little research on the effects of collagen supplements on the digestive system.
Collagen Dense Food.
You can increase the levels by incorporating certain food in your diet. Here are the list of some effective food;
Vitamin C is beneficial for overall of your health. It plays an vital role to increase collagen and helps to reduce free radicals. It is an antioxidant that increases the synthesis of collagen.(9)
You must include fruits which contains vitamin C in your diet such as lemon, orange and citrus fruits.
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Fish contains a large amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for healthy cells.
A healthy cells are very important for the texture of your skin.
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Vegetables like broccoli and spinach effectively increase collagen levels.
It also helps in preventing collagen damage due to smoke, dust, cigarette smoke and excessive sun exposure.
Research has shown that some red vegetables contain antioxidants called lycopene, which helps to increase collagen.
You can get this antioxidant from beetroot, chilli and tomato. Lycopene not only increase collagen, but also protects the skin from sun rays.
Orange vegetables like sweet potato and carrots can fulfill the need of collagen. Such vegetables contain vitamin A, which plays a vital role in the formation of cells and keep the skin healthy.
Mango and apricot beta like orange fruits are also the main sources of carotene, which is converted into vitamin A.
Berries (small-sized juice-filled fruits) make the skin healthier. Black mulberry, cherries and berries are helpful in the formation of collagen.
It is rich in antioxidants, which is essential for a healthy skin.
Garlic and Olives.
Sulfur has been used from the centuries for skin diseases and dandruff.
In addition to garlic, green and black olives also contain a large amount of sulfur, which is considered important to increasing collagen in the joints and skin.
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Healthy proteins are essential for the body and egg is considered to be the main source.
It supplies amino acids called lysine and proline, which is essential in collagen production.
Pineapple and its juice help to synthesize collagen in the body. It makes the skin shiny.
Collagen is one of the highest protein matrix of the body. It has several health benefits like improve digestion and essential for the skin etc. Above mentioned food are the main source of it, you must add these in your regular diet. However, regular exercise also improve the overall health and keep you fit.
- Experienced in the field of nutrition, health, fitness, and more. She earned Master Degree from National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad and currently serving in the Eastern branch of ICMR.