Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body. As much as 75% of organs contain collagen, and collagen is the main component of connective tissue.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a ubiquitous element and one of the most useful proteins in the human body, accounting for almost 30% of the total protein, and is a major component of skin, bone and connective tissue. Connective tissue is one of the basic tissues and together with cartilage and bone makes the supporting tissue spread throughout the body.
Collagen - a complex protein
Collagen contains 19 different amino acids, which is why it is often called a complex protein. Collagen amino acids are a mixture of non-essential and essential types of amino acids. It is made up of three twisted polypeptide chains, each of which contains a repeating triplet of amino acids, each numbering as many as 1,400 amino acids.
Of the 19 types of collagen discovered, the four most important collagen are denoted by Roman numerals. So there are: type I which is most present in the bones, type II which makes up the majority of cartilage, and type III permeates the embryonic tissues (blood vessels and digestive system). Type IV is located in the basement membranes and forms a kind of network, while types I, II and III make up 90% of the total collagen content in the body.
The role of collagen in the body
When we talk about the role of collagen, we are actually talking about the role of connective tissue itself - it connects bones to joints and builds sheaths around organs, wraps muscles and muscle groups, protects blood vessels and nerves. In addition, collagen is best known for helping maintain skin elasticity and connect tendons and joints. The human body has the ability to synthesize collagen, but with age it gradually loses this ability, which is manifested in a decrease in the elasticity and suppleness of the skin, that is, results in wrinkles and joint pain. Collagen deficiency, among other things, can cause a number of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, such as arthritis.
In addition to aging, there are other factors that cause collagen deficiency, such as diet, smoking, poor physical activity and dehydration. Excessive alcohol and caffeine intake can also promote collagen loss.
What if you run out of collagen?
Lifestyle and diet can partially slow down collagen loss, and people are increasingly relying on collagen-containing substances available as a dietary supplement. Increasingly popular are dietary supplements that come in the form of tablets, powders or capsules, as well as collagen-based cosmetics used to rejuvenate the skin and collagen injections that remove wrinkles, and the most common consumers are women. In addition to collagen as a supplement, skin care products have recently been releasing vitamin C as a key factor in the generation of outdated and insufficiently elastic skin. Antioxidants found in vitamin C can boost collagen production.
Natural ways to increase and renew collagen
In addition to vitamin C, there are factors that stimulate collagen production, and they are easiest to get into the body through food. Foods rich in collagen are certainly foods rich in protein - eggs, poultry, fish, mushrooms, nuts, green vegetables and citrus.