Beauty gurus, health experts, and even Beth’s friends have been raving about collagen. It’s found in many products and comes in many forms. Beth is now wondering – what is collagen made of?
It is an important protein that keeps your tissues and bones together. It helps give your skin structure and elasticity.
Let’s look at what it is made of.
It is the substance that holds the body together, by forming a scaffold to provide strength and structure.
Endogenous collagen is natural, synthesized by the body. Exogenous is synthetic; it comes from an outside source, such as supplements. It is used for medical and cosmetic purposes, including the repair of body tissues.
Natural Body Collagen
Amino-acids make up the protein of collagen. It makes up approximately 30 percent of the proteins within the body. These are tough and strong structures found all over the body in bones, tendons and ligaments.
Where Does Collagen Come From?
In nature, animals exclusively possess it.
The health and diet of the animal is extremely important. Animals fed a natural diet and allowed to graze on pastures or swim freely in the ocean are healthier than confined animals. In turn, their collagen is stronger and produces a cleaner and more effective supplement.
Beth has found that her favorite form of collagen powder comes from NutriXen. The multi-collagen peptides contain the highest quality blend of grass-fed pasture raised beef. In addition, it features cage free chicken, wild caught fish and eggshell proteins.
What is Collagen Made Of?
It is a hard, insoluble, and fibrous protein that makes up one-third of the protein in the human body. In most collagens, the molecules are packed together to form long, thin fibrils.
These act as supporting structures and anchor cells to each other. They give the skin strength and elasticity.
There are at least 16 different types, but 80 to 90 percent of them belong to types 1, 2, and 3. These different types have different structures and functions.
Type 1 fibrils are particularly capable of being stretched. Gram-for-gram, they are stronger than steel.
Purpose of Collagen
Type 1 consists of most of your skin, hair, and nails – as well as, organs, bones, and ligaments – making it the best type for skin health.
2 is associated with cartilage and tendons, making it optimal for joint health.
3 helps keep bone, cartilage, tendon, and connective tissues healthy.
Factors That Damage Collagen
Some factors can deplete the levels within the body. Avoiding them could keep the skin healthy for longer.
A high-sugar diet increases the rate of glycation.
Many chemicals present in tobacco smoke damage both collagen and elastin in the skin. Nicotine also narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin.
Sunlight causes it to break down more rapidly. It damages the fibers and causes abnormal elastin to build up.
Some autoimmune disorders cause antibodies to target it. In addition, the aging process causes its levels to deplete naturally over time.
Scientific Support of Collagen
Whether or not taking additional supplements will help you is up to your individual condition and lifestyle.
Research appears to support the supplements more for older people and people with conditions like arthritis. However, like the fountain of youth, the science behind this has led to very different conclusions.
There are actually 28 different types of collagen, and not all of them help your skin!
A manufacturer-sponsored trial, run in conjunction with a university, had volunteers take either a daily supplement containing 2.5 grams of cpeptide or a placebo for eight weeks.
There were improvements in eye wrinkles, as well as the content of the skin. The same supplement also improved skin elasticity after eight weeks in a separate trial.
Another trial run by the manufacturer found that 10 grams of a daily supplement improved skin hydration after eight weeks.
It also increased density and decreased fragmentation in the skin after four weeks.
Choosing the Best Collagen Peptides
Always check the label for the top three amino acids that make up collagen.
Always choose a product produced from certified grass-fed cows or sustainably sourced non-GMO, wild caught fish.
Don’t accept any added flavors, dyes, or preservatives.
With all the hype about collagen floating around the internet, Beth was becoming overwhelmed with a question overload.
She now knows what it is made of and the overall history of its production.
It is made primarily of three amino acids but the triple helix itself is made up of more than 1,000 amino acids.
Simply, it’s the glue that holds our bodies together.