What is Collagen? Benefits and Food Sources of Collagen

Collagen is a material that holds your body together. It is like a scaffold. There are two types of collagen: endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous collagen is natural, made by the body. Exogenous collagen comes from outside the body and can be in supplements or used for medical purposes like fixing your body tissues.

skin collagen

You probably think about collagen because doctors talk about it when they are talking about skin aging. Collagen is a protein and is one of the main building blocks of our skin. It is also found in our bones, tendons, and ligaments. Doctors say that if you don’t have enough collagen, your skin will look old.

Collagen is made of three amino acids. The collagen molecule looks like a triple helix, and it combines with other molecules in the skin to form a mesh-like network called the dermis, which is below the epidermis and above the fat.

Cause of Loss of Collagen in The Skin

As you get older, your skin starts to break down. This happens because of your age and genetics. Free radicals can also damage the collagen in your skin. These free radicals are a problem because they speed up the breaking down of collagen in your skin. Some things that make free radicals are UV rays, pollution, smoking, and having a poor diet where you eat lots of sugar.

Let’s talk about smoking. If you do not smoke or try to stop smoking, it is good for your skin. However, the research shows that when smokers have free radicals, they attack collagen fibrils and make them weak and of poor quality. That means that the smoker’s skin will look damaged or wrinkled, especially around the mouth.

Benefits of Collagen

Protein has a big job in the body. Collagen gives body tissues structure, toughness, rigidity, and texture. It is like a layer of leather when it is in the skin. And it can give strength and resilience to the skin when it mixes with elastic fibers.

When collagen starts to break down in your body, you will start to see wrinkles. Your body also needs collagen for joints and muscles. If you don’t get enough, then things like stiff ligaments or weak muscles may happen.

The Cleveland Clinic says that it is important to take up to 10 grams of collagen peptides every day so that your skin can be elastic and hydrated.

Collagen can be used to help heal wounds. It attracts new skin cells to the wound site and promotes healing. Collagen dressings can also be used on several different types of wounds, including chronic wounds that do not respond to other treatment, such as urine or sweat; granulating wounds where different tissue grows; necrotic or rotting wounds, like second-degree burns; partial and full-thickness wounds, like those for skin donation or skin grafts; and third-degree burns. However, collagen dressings are not recommended for third-degree burns.

Foods That Help to Increase Collagen Production

Foods rich in collagen or do things to help your body make more collagen may also help you get better skin. Three amino acids are important for making collagen: proline, lysine, and glycine. Katey Davidson says that these three amino acids are important for making the building blocks of your skin.

Bone Broth

bone broth

Recent research says that bone broth may not be a reliable source of collagen. But people still like it the most. Bone broth is made by simmering animal bones in water. Some people think it makes collagen, but this has not been proven yet. When making this at home, season the broth with spices for flavor.

Chicken

chicken

There is a reason why some collagen supplements are made from chicken. Chicken has lots of it, and if you have ever cut up a whole chicken, you could see how much connective tissue there is. These tissues make chicken a rich source of dietary collagen.

Fish

fish dish

Fish and shellfish have bones and ligaments made of collagen. Some people say that these foods are easy to absorb, but the meat in fish contains less collagen than other parts. Fish skin can also be used to get collagen peptides.

Egg whites

eggs white

Eggs don’t have connective tissues as other animal products do. But egg whites have a lot of proline, which is necessary for collagen production.

Citrus Fruits

citrus fruits

Vitamin C is important for the production of pro-collagen. Pro-collagen is a precursor to collagen. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are full of vitamin C. You can eat a broiled grapefruit in the morning or add orange segments to your salad.

Berries

berries

Vitamin C is important for people. Citrus gets a lot of attention, but berries are also good. Strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges. Raspberries and blueberries have some, too. Berries are healthy because they help keep your skin safe from damage.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens

Leafy greens are perfect for your health and might also be good for your skin. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard have something called chlorophyll in them. Chlorophyll is good for the body because it has antioxidants. In addition, one study showed that eating leafy greens could make more collagen in the skin.

Still, some research does look promising. For example, a study published in a journal found that women who consume more collagen had higher levels of elasticity in their skin after four weeks than those who drank a placebo.

Another study says that taking collagen powders or liquids can help make your skin smoother and less wrinkled. But it can also help with other things like joint pain, muscles, or digestion. So if you are looking for something easier to do and less expensive, try a collagen supplement.

 

 

About Mikael Gomez

Mikael is a health nutrition expert and loves mountain biking. Mikael started his health product research journey about 6 years ago and still loves doing it. Apart from spending time on his study, research & literature, he plays basketball regularly and is a fitness freak. Follow me on Linkedin

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