Collagen is the building block of many structures in your body. It plays a vital role in maintaining the optimum structure and function of your hair, bones, and skin. Further, it is the richest protein in your body and the largest component of all connective tissues that link different body parts, including ligaments, tendons, skin, and muscles.
The present article details everything you need to know about this miracle protein and whether supplements are beneficial for your needs.
Functions of Collagen: The Glue that Holds Your Body Parts Together!
The term collagen comes from the Greek word kolla, which means glue. Collagen is an insoluble fibrous protein that looks like threads. It is a crucial component of the matrix that supports your body cells. Some of its functions are as follows.
● It supports your body's connective tissues, such as blood, bone, skin, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
● It forms the extracellular matrix that supports cells and maintains their shape.
● Aside from keratin, another protein, collagen gives your skin, hair, and nails strength and waterproof and elastic properties.
● A loss or deficiency of collagen leads to several bone, skin & hair care issues.
Types of Collagen Protein
There are over 30 different types across four main groups of collagen.
● Type I is the most common type (over 90%) of collagen, and it contains densely packed protein fibers. They provide structural support for bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and skin.
● Type II contains loosely packed fibers. It is present in specific tissues, such as elastic cartilages, that cushion your bone joints.
● Type III is found in muscles, internal organs, and blood arteries and supports their structures.
● Type IV is present in your skin and helps in filtering foreign particles.
Different Sources of Collagen
There are two primary sources of natural collagen: animal- and marine-based. But nowadays, vegan collagen or plant-based collagen is also very popular. Different supplement groups use varying courses.
● Animal collagen comes from the skin, bone, cartilage, and other connective tissues of animals. It provides Type I, II, and III collagen.
● Marine collagen comes from fish scales, skin, and bones. It is a rich source of Type I collagen and is easier to digest because it occurs in the hydrolyzed form.
● Plant collagen comes from genetically modified bacteria and yeast. According to a study, a bacteria named P. pastoris can produce top-quality collagen.
Is a Collagen Supplement Worth the Buzz?
Research shows that using a collagen supplement and other collagen-boosting food items solves many skin and joint care problems. Depending on your goals, you should choose between powder- and capsule-based supplements.
● Supplements replenish the body’s natural collagen lost due to aging.
● Supplemental collagen is easy to absorb since it is present as smaller peptides, the building blocks of all proteins.
● Supplemental collagen prevents and reduces wrinkles and makes the skin tighter.
● It relieves joint pains and inflammation by cushioning joints.
● It makes hair and nails stronger and is an integral part of modern skin & hair care regimes.
● Supplements can improve heart health by strengthening connective tissues in arteries and veins.
● It improves bone density and prevents skin problems such s wrinkles and sagging skin in older women.
Types of Collagen Supplements
Three types of collagen supplements are available that come from animals such as pigs, fish, and cows. The composition of these supplements changes depending on the type of collagen present in them.
● Gelatin: The collagen present here breaks down partially to produce amino acids.
● Hydrolyzed collagen: These supplements completely break down and produce amino acids.
● Raw collagen supplements: Here, the collagen stays the same when used.
While several food items naturally enhance collagen production, they take longer to act. Therefore, more and more people are opting for hydrolyzed collagen supplements for better results.
If you want lustrous hair, strong nails, and healthy bones, consider taking a good quality collagen supplement after consulting your dermatologist.