You’ve seen and heard many different things about the term “collagen” before. But with so many people and sources talking about it, sometimes it’s confusing to understand. What exactly is collagen and why does our body need it? How important is collagen to my health and how can I benefit from collagen supplements or procedures? Here’s why collagen matters.
What is Collagen?
Ultimately, collagen is a protein that’s naturally produced by your body. Found in bones, skin and muscles, collagen is essentially the protein that keeps your body’s structure and acts as connective tissue. It’s known as the most abundant protein in your body, comprising around one-third of the protein your body produces. There are two main different types of collagen that you’ll want to be aware of, including endogenous collagen and exogenous collagen.
Endogenous collagen is the one that’s naturally produced by your body, while exogenous collagen is not natural but is used for many medical and cosmetic functions. Both are important and can have many benefits, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
The endogenous collagen in your body has many functions, including forming a network of cells in your skin to promote new cell growth. Even more, endogenous collagen helps to restore the skin cells that have died.
The exogenous collagen that’s used by many medical professionals is synthetic and has many uses as well. Collagen is ultimately used in medical and cosmetic instances as a restorable function, so it can basically replace the collagen that your body lost due to age or some other event. Exogenous collagen comes from humans or animals and it has a range of uses, including skin fillers, fixing wounds, regenerating tissue, treating arthritis and other issues. It can be used to help rebuild collagen that your body has lost through injury or age.
Benefits of Collagen
Improves the Health of Skin
Seeing as collagen is the most abundant protein in your skin, it’s responsible for improving the strength of your skin as well as its elasticity. Furthermore, it’s capable of further hydrating your skin and preventing the appearance of wrinkles or fine lines.
Collagen may also have the ability to prevent acne from occurring and also cure other skin ailments over time. By stimulating your body’s production of collagen, your skin will improve in appearance and health.
Prevents Bone Degradation
Much of your bones are made up of collagen since protein is what provides your bones with their strength. Since the collagen production in your body decreases as you grow older, your bones may weaken. When you have collagen in supplemental or other forms, you can help to prevent bone loss and degradation from occurring altogether.
As you grow older, the likelihood of you developing osteoarthritis increases. That being said, implementing collagen into your diet can help to also decrease the possibility of you developing osteoarthritis as well. It’s also known that collagen can improve the strength of your muscles as well, further helping your body regain strength and prevent stress on your bones.
Relieves Joint Pain
One of the main causes of joint pain is the wear and tear of the cartilage around your bones. As you grow older and the cartilage around your joints decreases, your bones may start to rub together causing you great pain. But the production of collagen can reduce the occurrence of this, as collagen is known for protecting the cartilage around your joints. Given this, collagen is known for reducing the symptoms often associated with arthritis and joint pain.
Promotes Heart Health
Acting as a structural protein, collagen is known for providing strength to the connective tissues throughout your body. This can especially benefit your heart health, as collagen can immediately improve the strength of your arteries. Additionally, collagen can improve the strength of your body’s blood vessels, allowing them to more easily carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
By increasing blood circulation, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get blood to all of your body parts. With age, the arteries and blood vessels around your heart weaken and lose strength, causing them to become flexible and work less. When you’re in this state, your risk of heart problems increases, which can be dangerous. By having an excess of collagen, you can improve the health of your heart and ultimately prevent a heart attack or stroke from occurring later down the road.
How Can I Prevent Collagen Loss?
There are many reasons why your body may lose collagen or stop making it altogether. It’s natural for your body to stop producing collagen after a certain age, but there are some practices that you can engage in to prevent this from occurring sooner than normal.
For instance, practicing laser therapy can prevent the loss of collagen because it helps to encourage your body to produce more collagen as well as melanin and elastin. Also, having a healthy diet can prevent your body from losing collagen, so consuming a nutrient-rich diet may be beneficial for you. You should incorporate more proline, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and copper into your diet.
You can also prevent the loss of collagen by refraining from engaging in practices that damage the collagen in your body. You should avoid smoking, and the chemicals in tobacco are responsible for damaging the collagen in your skin. Avoid harsh sunlight since ultraviolet rays are known as the number one culprit of damaged collagen in your skin.
Furthermore, avoid consuming things that have a high sugar content, as this damages the proteins responsible for making collagen. And keep up with a healthy exercise regime, as this increases blood circulation and ensures overall health.
Overall, there are many benefits to having healthy amounts of collagen in your body. Your body will overall look and feel healthier when you implement the right practices to increase your body’s production of collagen. Simply becoming familiar with the right practices and methods of increasing your collagen production will allow you to reap its benefits.