What You Need to Know About Collagen
Have you noticed how many collagen-related products have flooded the market in recent years? Shampoos and conditioners, skin creams, supplements…it seems like everything contains collagen these days.
You may be wondering…what’s the big deal? Is collagen really that special?
The short answer is yes…and it just becomes more important as we age.
What is collagen and what does it do?
Collagen gets its name from the Greek word “kola”…which means “glue”. And that pretty much describes what collagen is.
It’s literally the “glue” that holds your body together, providing the structure and elasticity for everything from bones and skin to blood vessels and internal organs.
In fact, collagen is the most common protein in your body.
There are actually 16 different types of collagen…but almost all of the collagen in the human body will fall into one of four categories:
- Type I provides structure to teeth, bones, skin, tendons, fibrous cartilage, and connective tissue. It also makes up 90% of the collagen in your body.
- Type II is less dense than Type I, and is found in the springier cartilage that cushions your joints.
- Type III gives structure to internal organs, muscles, and arteries.
- Type IV provides filtration in your skin.
How does your body produce collagen?
Collagen is a protein…and proteins are made from amino acids.
Specifically, your body uses the amino acids proline and glycine to create collagen. To produce proline and glycine, your body breaks down dietary protein (like meat, dairy, seafood, beans, and tofu). Vitamin C, zinc, and copper are also necessary for collagen production.
What can cause problems for your collagen?
Your body has to produce new collagen on a regular basis, because over time existing collagen will become damaged or worn out. There are several things that can get in the way of that process:
- Not getting enough protein in your diet.
- Not getting enough vitamin C, zinc, and copper in your diet.
- Eating too much sugar and too many refined carbohydrates can interfere with your collagen’s ability to repair itself.
- UV radiation from sun exposure can reduce collagen production in your skin.
- Smoking can inhibit collagen production.
- In some cases, autoimmune disorders can result in the immune system attacking healthy collagen.
- Aging may be the most pervasive risk to healthy collagen. As people age, collagen production naturally declines. The result is wrinkles, sagging skin, joint issues, muscle loss, and more.
How can you protect your collagen?
Collagen wears out over time…which is why your body continually produces more.
Having said that, there are several things you can do to preserve adequate collagen production, while at the same time minimizing the loss of healthy collagen:
- Make sure you get enough quality protein in your diet. Also, consume adequate amounts of vitamin C, zinc, and copper, since these are also needed for collagen production.
- Don’t smoke.
- Limit sun exposure to minimize collagen damage from UV radiation. When you go outside, wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and reapply regularly. You can also wear UV resistant hats and clothing.
- Add collagen and/or amino acid supplements into your daily regimen. This can be particularly helpful as people age.
In short…take care of your collagen and it will go a long way toward helping to keep your body in tiptop shape as you age.
At Renew Youth, we understand the importance of collagen to your overall health. Want to learn more? Call us at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.