Just like a computer, the body is constituted of several systems, networks and substances that work in sync to ensure the proper functioning of the human body. In many circles, the body has been referred to as the most complex machine on earth, and rightly so. A quick read on human anatomy would provide you overwhelming and compelling evidence.
One of those quintessential substances found in the human body is what is known as Collagen.
What is Collagen?
The name has its etymology in the Greek language and is taken from two Greek words, specifically. The first is kólla which means “glue” while the other word is “gen” which can be translated as “producing”. Loosely translated, it would mean the glue that binds things together. This seems befitting considering the purpose of collagen in the body.
Collagen is a structural protein that performs very important functions in the body. Collagen like other kinds of protein is made up of thousands of smaller units called amino acids. The body makes use of these amino acids to build and strengthen muscles, cartilage, bone, skin, connective tissues, among several others.
You can refer to collagen as the building blocks for ligaments, muscles, tendons and can be found in the corneas, hair, blood vessels, and the teeth. Even more, collagen is present in the digestive tract, discs between the vertebrae, and is the major component in the body’s largest organ, the skin.
Because of the strength and fibrous nature of collagen, it serves as a protective covering or casing for the kidneys and some other related internal organs.
It wouldn’t be difficult to accept that 30% of the proteins present in your body are one type of collagen or another, making collagen an all too important protein in the body.
Types of Collagen
About 28 varieties of collagen have been identified presently, with each variety performing specific roles and functions in the body. However, there are three major types of collagen that you would find relevant. They are identifiable as Type I, Type II and Type III. Each of these types has distinct roles that they perform in the body system.
Type I – This is the most prominent of the collagen in the human body. It accounts for about 90% of the body’s collagen is responsible for providing structure to the skin, connective tissue, tendons, bones, fibrous cartilage and teeth.
Type II – This type of collagen is found mainly in the cartilage where it functions as the main component of the tissue. This collagen functions mainly to cushion the joints.
Type III – This variety of collagen is found in reticular fibers such as bone marrow, spleen, kidney, lymph nodes, liver, among others. It is usually found alongside Type I collagen in the body. Collagen and Age‘
Considering the role that collagen plays in the body, you would expect that the body produces this protein in perpetuity. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Although the human body indeed produces collagen naturally, the natural production of this protein however begins to wane or reduce with time. To put it simply, as you begin to grow old, your body produces less collagen.
The phase begins in our 20s and that downward spiral would continue till death. By the time a person reaches his 60s, the natural collagen produced in the body would have reduced by half compared to the amount present in the body when you were in your 20s. This has several implications.
One is that the skin would begin to sag and wrinkle. You might also experience joint stiffness and weaker bones, as well as thinning hair. Your muscles may also begin to weaken. If you’ve ever wondered why your hairline is bailing on you, your best bet is that your body’s production of collagen is beginning to wane.
Because of the reduction in the collagen in the body, you might have to depend on external sources to increase collagen production. Certain foods such as beef, egg, chicken, fish, berries, citrus fruits, garlic, tropical fruits, among others, are rich in collagen. However, it might be impossible to consume these foods in the quantity required to give the body the required amount of collagen.
This is where collagen supplements come in. These supplements contain a rich amount of collagen which, when ingested not boost the level of collagen in the body but also ease the symptoms occasioned by low collagen in the body such as papery skin, stiff joints, thinning hair as previously highlighted.
These supplements could come in different forms such as tablets, capsules and even powder. The collagen supplements such as those produced by Pure Food Supplements are hydrolyzed, which means that the collagen becomes broken down so that it becomes easy to absorb and make use of the protein.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Skincare- By taking a collagen supplement, you would increase the production of collagen that is required to build and fortify the dermal layer of your skin. The result is that your skin would improve considering that the collagen would support the structure of the skin from the inside out.
Bone and Joint Health- As the body grows old, the joints would begin to break down. The spongy cartilage that provides the cushioning effect would particularly begin to wear. There is all increased risk of bone loss as the bones become weaker and feeble leading to osteoporosis.
Collagen supplements however provide the needed collagen to strengthen the bones and also restore the cartilage in the joints.
Improved Muscle Mass – Collagen supplements help to stimulate the production of the proteins responsible for muscle growth. This ultimately improves the body’s muscle mass.
Cardiovascular Health – By taking collagen supplements, you can improve the health of your heart and generally improve your cardiovascular system. The collagen supplied from the supplements helps not only in reducing artery stiffness but also decreasing lipoprotein or unhealthy cholesterol levels that negatively impact on the health of the heart.
In summary, collagen has important health benefits that cannot be overlooked. Taking collagen supplements may be an inexpensive way of ensuring that the body has enough supply of collagen.
Source: Ghana Web