What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in humans and animals and makes up around 30% of our total protein. It is naturally present in joints, connective tissue, skin, hair, nails, ligaments and tendons. It is made up of the amino acids Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine. Supplemental collagen is sourced from animals or marine creatures and when boiled, yields gelatine.
What does collagen do in the body?
In the body Collagen forms the structural element of tissues, and as such provides the main building blocks. It is required for elasticity of the skin, which is our largest organ, where it keeps skin flexible and strong. Strong and flexible skin is our first line of defence against pathogens. In the body, Collagen is what gives ligaments and tendons the strength and elasticity. It is ligaments and tendons which keep our bones and muscles in place.
Why do I need collagen?
Body collagen content is lost at about 1% per year, and woman produce less than men. So by the age of 50, our body only produces half the amounts previously made. Collagen production is affected by environmental stressors such as poor nutrition, sun light, environmental chemicals and ingested chemicals such as cigarettes and recreational drugs, hence why sun exposure and smoking have a bad name with regards to skin. Our bodies are constantly creating new cells to replace the old cells. It is the nutrition we put in our bodies that these cells will be made out of. Providing your body with a direct source of collagen maybe beneficial in providing the nutrition your body requires.
How do I take collagen supplements?
Collagen is available in a capsule, tablet, powder, or as part of a blend, most often in skin blends, as well as skin creams and sprays. Topically collagen cream and treatments can be used at any time of day, however most commonly at night. If you want to use collagen as a therapeutic agent orally, it is best to take it on an empty stomach with a carbohydrate snack such as a piece of fruit. Proteins which are broken down into amino acids compete for absorption with each other, so taking it away from protein allows your body to utilise more Collagen.