All About Collagen
Collagen, I think most have heard of its importance for skin, hair and nails.
However, every connective tissue is made of collagen. Not only joints need collagen to function properly, but it is also needed by our entire body. In this article I will describe, one by one, the types of collagen and where we can get it. 😊 This is quite a long, fact-heavy article, but stick with it, because there is so much to learn!
The presence of collagen can be seen in: skin, tendons, cartilage, teeth, bones 🦴, muscles 💪, walls of blood vessels, nucleus pulposus (located in the intervertebral disc), and even in the cornea of the eye, because collagen makes up about 33% of the proteins of the human body.
Until the age of 25, collagen is produced in normal amounts (that is, we produce as much as we lose). Later on, however, we produce less and less of this substance (about 1% per year we lose collagen, both in terms of quantity and quality, collagen bonds become weaker). From the age of 30 we lose more collagen than we produce. Then joints and tendons may start to degrade, which is often accompanied by unpleasant pain symptoms. Collagen contained in the skin ensures its proper elasticity. As the years go by it becomes less and less, visible in the form of wrinkles and reduced skin elasticity. In addition, after the menopause, when significant hormonal changes occur in the female body, the collagen content in the skin decreases by an average of 30%.
A reduction in collagen is influenced by our lifestyle, diet (rich in sugar), low physical activity (we are busy, overtired and don't feel like exercising, p.s. exercising gives us extra energy 💪). In addition, some of you work hard physically, which has an impact on greater "wear and tear" of the joints. Not to mention such factors as stimulants or STRESS, with chronic stress producing an excess of cortisol which promotes the breakdown of collagen, (perhaps that's why people who have a lot of stress in their lives have it "visible" on the face), and excessive exposure to the sun.
Considering the aesthetic appearance of our skin, nails 💅 and hair 💇♀️can have a significant impact on our mental well-being; collagen deficiency can result in damage to the connective tissue, i.e. wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite, dryness, loss of elasticity and firmness. Dilated blood vessels 🩸, excessive blushing 😊, redness, spots, all kinds of pigment changes (freckles, hyperpigmentation) may also appear. The condition of hair, nails and neck skin is also worse. Weakening and brittleness of hair and even its loss or premature baldness are observed.
Another effect of lack of collagen is the deterioration of the efficiency of our locomotor system. This can manifest as a feeling of stiff legs, joints, muscles 💪, causing pain when moving, and this can be related to collagen loss. When we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments begin to move with less ease, leading to stiffness, swollen joints, and reduced mobility throughout the body. With a gel-like, smooth structure that coats and holds our bones 🦴 together, collagen allows us to move without pain. Recent studies have shown that collagen is an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal ailments. Researchers at Harvard's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston found that supplementation with type II collagen helped patients suffering from RA (rheumatoid arthritis). With it, they found relief from painful symptoms by reducing swelling and tenderness.
Another study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that people suffering from joint pain due to osteoarthritis treated with type II collagen showed significant improvements in daily activities such as climbing stairs 🚶♀️, restful sleep 😴, and an overall improved quality of life.
The amino acids contained in collagen.
Proline- makes up almost 15% of collagen. Proline and glycine play an important role in keeping the body running smoothly. Proline helps protect the integrity of blood vessels, improve joint health, and provides various cardiovascular benefits.
Glycine- makes up about ⅓ of the protein found in collagen. Although it is the smallest amino acid in terms of size, glycine has important functions in the body. Glycine helps to build healthy DNA strands. It is also one of the three amino acids that make up creatine, which promotes healthy muscle growth and increases energy production during workouts.
Glutamine- Considered one of the most important and abundant amino acids in the body, it is created in our muscles and also obtained from food sources. Studies show that glutamine has shown benefits in preventing anxiety, tension, sleep disorders, lack of concentration, poor digestion, weakened immune system and low energy. According to a report printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it has been shown to have a positive effect on growth hormone production, which can improve aspects of mental health, increases feelings of inner peace. The nitrogen produced in large amounts by glutamine also helps in wound healing and prevents muscle wasting and joint pain.
Arginine - also known as L-arginine, breaks down in the body into nitric oxide, which is an important compound for maintaining artery and heart health. Arginine has also been shown to improve circulation, help strengthen the immune system, and have a positive effect on male libido. It is a very common supplement in athletes.
WHAT ELSE COLLAGEN DOES.
It helps in the treatment of leaky gut.
The biggest benefit of consuming more collagen in this regard is that it helps to form connective tissue and therefore "seals and heals" the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Today, it is already known that many diseases can result from inflammation or irritation of an unhealthy gut known as a leaky gut. Poor gut health, including changes in the microbial culture and permeability of its lining, causes toxins to enter the bloodstream where they can set off a cascade of inflammation. Studies have shown that in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, serum collagen levels are significantly reduced. Because the amino acids in collagen build the tissue that lines the colon and digestive tract, collagen supplementation can help treat gastrointestinal ailments and disorders, including leaky gut syndrome, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), gastric reflux, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. In addition to helping to treat leaky gut, collagen also helps with water absorption from digestive contents.
Increases metabolism, muscle mass and energy production.
Increasing collagen can help boost metabolism by building lean muscle mass faster and helping to convert essential nutrients. One of the most important jobs of the amino acid glycine is to help build muscle tissue by converting glucose into energy, which directly powers muscle cells. This has the effect of restoring proper energy and vitality.
Improves liver health.
The glycine in collagen helps minimize the damage of the liver when it absorbs foreign substances, toxins or alcohol. Studies have shown that glycine can be used to reduce alcohol-induced liver damage and other forms of acute or chronic liver damage. It may be an ideal adjunct to other liver therapies such as those using silymarin derived from milk thistle.
Protects cardiovascular health.
Proline is another amino acid in collagen that helps artery walls release fat build-up in the bloodstream, significantly reducing the amount of fat, which can prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, because it helps avoid dangerous plaque build-up. Arginine helps in the production of nitric oxide, which allows for better vasodilation. This results in widening of the arteries and relaxation of the muscle cells and blood vessels, resulting in better blood circulation. 🩸
Additionally, research shows that arginine increases the body's ability to make protein from other amino acids, which is important for repairing muscle tissue, healing wounds, increasing metabolism, and supporting proper growth and development. Glutamine also helps maintain adequate energy by facilitating the synthesis of many compounds in the body. This unique amino acid is the real "fuel" for our cells. Glycine, which is sequentially present in collagen, also plays an important role in key functions of the digestive system and central nervous system, both of which are important in maintaining a healthy and youthful body. Glycine appears to help slow the effects of aging by improving the body's utilization of antioxidants, and is also used in the process of constructing healthy cells from DNA 🧬 and RNA. Proline is also needed for tissue repair in the joints and arteries and helps control normal blood pressure. As a component of the collagen found in joints, it buffers our bodies from vibration or shock and helps maintain the precious cartilage that deteriorates with age.
Symptoms of collagen deficiency and impaired collagen regeneration include:
- stiffness and periarticular pain
- degenerative changes in the joints
- bleeding 🩸
- muscular pains 💪
- fractures with pathological basis
- depressive states 😔
- anaemia of the haemolytic type
- systemic weakness
- gum problems, periodontitis, and tooth loss 🦷
Types of collagen and their main properties:
There are 29 types of collagen. The structure of collagen is characterized by the arrangement of protein chains in a triple helix. Water is an inherent structural element of this protein. It is responsible for stabilizing the structure and determines the biological activity of the protein.
Type 1 - This is by far the most abundant and considered the strongest type of collagen found in the human body, which form the various parts of the body including tendons, ligaments, organs and dermis. Type 1 collagen also helps with bone formation and can be found in the digestive tract. It is very important for proper wound healing, giving the skin elasticity and flexibility, and maintaining the structural integrity of tissues.
Type 2 - It primarily helps build cartilage, which is found in connective tissue. The health of our joints relies on cartilage created from type 2 collagen, so it is beneficial for preventing joint pain and inflammation.
Type 3 - This collagen is made up of reticular fibres and the main component of the extracellular matrix that makes up our organs and skin. It is usually found when type 1 collagen is present and helps to give elasticity and firmness. It also forms blood vessels and heart tissue. For these reasons, type 3 collagen deficiency is associated with a higher risk of broken blood vessels and even premature death.
Type 4 - Type 4 collagen is responsible for the important task of forming the basal lamina, which is found in endothelial cells. These form the tissues that surround organs, muscles, and fat. The basal lamina is needed for various functions of nerves and blood vessels. It determines the structure of most of our digestive organs and respiratory surfaces. The basal lamina can be found in the spaces between the top layer of skin or tissue and its deepest layer. They are a thin layer of gel-like fluid that provides a cushion - a padding for the tissue above it.
Type 5 - This type of collagen is needed to coat the surface of cells, as well as hair strands and tissues found in a woman's placenta - an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy, delivers oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby, and removes various metabolic wastes.
Type 10 - Helps with the formation of new bone and joint cartilage. It participates in the endochondral ossification process by which bone tissue is formed in mammals. It has been found to be beneficial in healing bone fractures and repairing synovial joints.
Since we already know that collagen is important in our body, where to get it from?
The kitchen used to be more "conducive" to getting collagen into the body. Today's rush has eliminated many beneficial things for us. "Old and unfashionable" cuisine was richer in collagen. Perhaps you remember when your grandmothers or parents cooked soups using bones, pork knuckles, chicken feet, etc. The longer we cook such a broth, the more collagen it contains. Collagen can also be found in gelatine found in jellies and brawn, for example.
⚠ Just taking collagen may not be enough, because it is also important to use products and ingredients involved in the production of collagen, including, among others, vitamin A, C and E, iron, copper, silicon, manganese, proline, products rich in anthocyanidins, such as berries🍓, cherries 🍒and blackberries. Of which the most important is vitamin C and .... physical activity. 😃 Vitamin C not only contributes to collagen biosynthesis, but also takes an active part in collagen metabolism.
💡 I'll add that our body needs more than 80 minerals to function properly. Deficiencies or excesses cause various ailments or even disease states. To check the appropriate amount of our minerals in the body, elemental hair analysis can be used.
Types of collagen by source of origin.
There are various dietary sources of collagen, which are essentially animal products. Listed below are their properties.
Bovine Collagen - Comes from cows, specifically from their skin, bones and muscles. It mainly constitutes types 1 and 3, which is very beneficial because these are the most numerous types also present in the human body. It provides a rich supply of glycine and proline and is therefore very useful for creatine production, muscle building, and also helps the body rebuild its own collagen.
🐔Chicken Collagen The most abundant collagen in chicken tissue is type 2, which is best for cartilage. It is very beneficial for maintaining joint health, especially since this source also provides chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine sulphate, which have anti-aging effects. Most supplements containing collagen typically use chicken protein.
🐟Fish collagen Collagen derived from fish is relatively easily absorbed and provides mainly type 1, with the amino acids: glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Consuming more fish collagen provides benefits for the joints, skin, vital organs, blood vessels, digestive system and bones. Hydroxyproline is an important component of the triple helix of collagen, and lower levels are associated with joint degradation and thus signs and symptoms of aging. Hydroxyproline is needed to maintain collagen stability and is formed by modifying the normal amino acid proline after the collagen chain is built. This reaction also requires the presence of vitamin C, so vitamin C deficiency can cause difficulty in maintaining normal collagen levels.
🥚Collagen from egg membranes. Egg collagen, found in eggshells and egg whites, contains mainly type 1 collagen, although types 3, 4, and 10 are also present. It also provides glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid, and various amino acids that are involved in building connective tissue, healing wounds, building muscle mass, reducing pain, and eliminating joint stiffness.
Collagen vs gelatine. When collagen breaks down, it becomes gelatine. This process can be seen when cooking bone broth, during which gelatine is released. Gelatine was one of the first medicinal foods commonly used in medicine in ancient China. At the time, it was considered to work great for people with food allergies and or sensitivities. It also helps the body cope better with meals that are difficult to digest and has shown regenerative properties. As a rich source of gelatine, bone broth can facilitate mucosal healing, which means improved nutrient absorption and a lower risk of leaky gut syndrome. In other words, gelatine contains ingredients like collagen, just in a different form.
💉Injections. One of the recognized therapeutic methods used in the treatment of osteoarthritis is collagen injections. This procedure is used in patients whose joint cartilage is not completely degraded but only partially damaged. Collagen is injected into the joint space, located between the surfaces of the bones forming the joint, covered with articular cartilage. Such conditions make it possible for the administered substance to reach the target place, i.e. the articular cartilage. In order to improve the comfort of movement and the condition of the joint cartilage, it is advisable to use preparations containing collagen or products that increase collagen synthesis in the body.
Top ways to ensure you get more collagen: One of the best ways to increase your collagen intake is to cook homemade bone broth. This is a healthy, tasty and economical way to use parts of animals that you cannot eat directly. Bone broth is very beneficial to the body, in many different ways. Collagen supplements, such as collagen protein powder, are another easy way to increase your intake of this protein component. However, it's worth making sure that you're using powder from grass-fed, pasture-grazed cows, without the use of antibiotics or chemicals. Collagen supplements can be mixed into smoothies, soups, or even baked goods for more nutritional benefits from your favourite foods.
Collagen as a protein is digested in the gastrointestinal tract and approximately 10-20% of it is absorbed after digestion and breakdown into smaller molecules. Therefore, the substance does not enter the body from the digestive tract in the form of complete collagen, but only in the form of simple "subunits". It is assumed that oral use of products containing collagen can cause its increased synthesis. Regular intake of collagen agents may improve the quality of joint cartilage and skin condition, but only as a result of increased synthesis in the body, not as a result of the orally taken supplements being built into these tissues. In order to see improvement, you must take the product for an extended period of time.
💡 However, remember that excessive use of gelatine derivatives in the diet and a lot of meat can acidify the body (acidification of the body leads to other types of diseases). It is worth starting to supplement with collagen, as it will lead to nicer skin, nails, hair and above all better physical fitness. Less pain caused by the wear and tear of our body. Of course, do not expect the WOW effect after a week of supplementation. We spend years working on our collagen "losses". I have read that it is worth using fish collagen (of course from reliable sources) as it is the most assimilable for our body.
Finally, there are many skin care products with collagen, such as creams. However, the molecules in them are usually too large for the skin to absorb. By consuming bone broth and using supplements, you can more effectively deliver collagen from within and save a lot of money in the process. Remember that what we eat becomes visible on the outside.
There are many studies that have proven that regular collagen supplementation reduces pain in the joints, reduces the feeling of stiffness in the joints. In addition, it has been proven in athletes who regularly take collagen that the pain associated with micro-injuries is reduced.
⬇ You can buy Collagen here:
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