Collagen is a structural protein found in many organs in the human body, especially in bones, muscles, skin, tendons, ligaments and skin, and it constitutes one third of body proteins. The word collagen comes from the Greek word “kólla” which means glue. Accordingly, it holds the tissues together like glue. Collagen can be synthesized by the body or taken from external sources synthetically.
Collagen, which forms connection and connective tissues, protects our skin from toxins and harmful effects, like a protective barrier. Its basic building block is connective tissue cells called fibroblasts. As the main component of our hair and nails, it has a direct effect on our nail and hair health.
What are the Types of Collagen?
There are many different types of collagen molecules in the body. According to scientific research, 19 different types of collagen have been identified in the body. However, the most common types of collagen are type 1, type 2 and type 3, type 4 and type 10, and these collagen types are found in different densities in different tissues. Their main task is to support the structure of the connective tissue. In addition, each of them has its own specific tasks.
Basic types of collagen
Type 1 Collagen
It constitutes 90% of the collagen in the body. Type 1 collagen; It is found in bones, organs, ligaments, tendons, fibrous cartilage, teeth and skin, and is responsible for keeping the tissues together and protecting the skin.
Type 2 Collagen
Type 2 collagen is produced by the non-cellular cartilage matrix. Cartilage matrix is a fluid-like structure found in cartilage and is effective in cartilage formation in connective tissues. Therefore, Type 2 collagen is very beneficial for joint health. It supports the joints and digestive health and also plays a role in the functioning of the immune system.
Type 3 Collagen
It is available with type 1 collagen. It supports skin and bone health. It is also very important for heart health because it is located in the artery wall. It gives elasticity to the vessels and strengthens the muscles. It consists of the main component of the extracellular matrix that makes up the organs and skin.
Type 4 Collagen
This type helps filtration in the kidneys and is found in the layers of our skin (basal membranes). Type 4 collagen, which is effective in the entry and exit of liquid into the skin, forms the digestive and respiratory surfaces.
Type 10 Collagen
Type 10 collagen, which is effective in the development of joint cartilages and new bones, has a restorative effect on joint pain and fractures in the joint areas. Due to aging, the skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles may occur.
Which Foods Containing Collagen?
There are 3 amino acids important for collagen synthesis. These are proline, lysine and glycine. There are certain foods where these amino acids are found naturally. These ;
Meat and Bone Broth
Since it contains bone broth, bone and connective tissue, it contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, amino acids and many other nutrients.
Greens get their color from chlorophyll known for its antioxidant properties. Green leafy vegetables contain plenty of chlorophyll, which increases the amount of procollagen in the body. Studies have shown that chlorophyll consumption increases collagen in the skin.
Garlic contains high amounts of sulfur. Sulfur, in addition to triggering collagen production, is a trace mineral that helps prevent collagen breakdown.
The orange color of sweet potato comes in an antioxidant called beta-carotene that is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A can contribute to skin elasticity, cell regeneration and ultimately the youthful appearance of the skin.
Soy products contain a compound called genistein. Being a powerful antioxidant, soy products protect and tighten the skin against free radicals that can damage skin cells.
Red Fruits and Vegetables
Red fruits and vegetables are beneficial in preventing the damage caused by UV light to the skin. Red fruits and vegetables reduce the effect of UV light by inhibiting the breakdown of collagen. Fruits such as apples, blackberries, raspberries, cherries and strawberries increase collagen production.
Nuts such as sunflower, pumpkin seeds, cashews and walnuts contain zinc and copper, which increase the body’s ability to create collagen. You may also want to add nuts to your list of collagen-boosting foods.
What should you do to protect your own collagen?
- Regular exercise is the most effective way to support collagen production.
- Foods with high collagen content such as bone broth, eggs, fish and beans are intended to increase the amount of collagen in the body.
- The most effective way to increase collagen production and increase its bioavailability in the body is to use retinol, a vitamin A derivative.
- Reduces collagen breakdown in serums containing vitamin C along with retinol.
- Reducing smoking, benefiting from sunlight, getting regular and adequate sleep, reducing sugar and refined products protect your skin from collagen breakdown.
What Are The Factors That Cause Collagen Loss?
- Environmental pollution
- Alcohol consumption
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Unhealthy eating
- Irregular sleep and sleep disorders
- Excessive sugar consumption
- Sudden rise in blood sugar
- Packaged, refined foods
Are there any side effects of collagen supplements?
Collagen products enable many tissues in the human body to work actively. It consists of tissues affected by collagen in metabolism. Although rare, taking collagen supplements can cause conditions such as diarrhea in some people. Diarrhea that passes by itself within a few days is seen due to the activation of the metabolism.
Collagen products that enable the digestive system to work in people with metabolic problems also help to lose weight by breaking down fat tissue.
A feeling of heaviness in the stomach
If collagen supplements are consumed, the feeling of heaviness in the stomach may occur in people. Additional minerals and vitamins contained in some supplemental collagen can cause a feeling of heaviness in the stomach.
What are the recommended collagen doses according to research?
For skin wrinkles: According to research, 2.5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen, a mixture of Types I, II and III, showed benefit after 8 to 12 weeks.
For joint pain: 40 mg of type II collagen daily for 6 months or 2 grams of type II collagen daily for 10 weeks can be helpful in reducing joint pain.
For bone health: Research is limited. 5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen from cows helped increase bone density after 1 year in a single study.
For muscle building: Hydrolyzed collagen taken within 1 hour of resistance training can help increase muscle mass. Other protein sources are likely to have similar effects.
Are collagen supplements suitable for vegans and vegetarians?
Most of the collagen supplements on the market are of animal origin. This means that people who adopt a vegan-friendly lifestyle won’t have access to these products. But science has discovered a way to make vegan collagen. According to research, it is now possible to make collagen using genetically modified yeast and bacteria. With the addition of the human gene encoding collagen to the structure of bacteria, yeast or bacteria have begun to produce the building blocks of human collagen.
Hydrolyzed collagen (collagen hydrolyzate)
It is obtained from red meat, seafood, poultry and other animal sources. It breaks down into smaller and easier to absorb peptide particles. The peptide form is not like a gel. Therefore, it can be added to hot and cold drinks, soups and bakery products. It is sold in capsule and powder form. A study conducted in 2019 found that taking 25-15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptide every day can be safe and effective. A daily dose of 2.5 grams can benefit joint pain, skin health, and hydration. Increasing this dose to 5 grams per day has shown the potential to improve bone density.
According to studies, larger daily doses of 15 grams of these peptides are mostly used to positively affect muscle mass and body composition.