Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It has important functions, including providing skin structure and helping blood clot. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a dietary supplement and as an ingredient in shampoos and body lotions. But what is collagen? And what is it good for? This article gives you a thorough overview of this important protein.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, making up about a third of its protein composition. It is one of the main building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Collagen is also found in many other parts of the body, including blood vessels, corneas and teeth. You can think of it as the "glue" that holds all these things together. In fact, the word comes from the Greek word "kólla," which means glue.
There are at least 16 types of collagen. The four main types are type I, II, III, and IV (1Trusted Source).
Here are the four main types of collagen and their role in your body:
As we age, the body produces less and less of the lower quality collagen. One visible sign of this is skin that becomes less firm and elastic. Cartilage also weakens with age.
Nutrients to increase collagen production. All collagen begins as procollagen. Your body makes procollagen by combining two amino acids, glycine and proline. This process uses vitamin C.
You may be able to help your body produce this important protein by making sure you get plenty of the following nutrients:
Perhaps even more important is avoiding the following collagen-destroying behaviors:
Two types of supplements are becoming increasingly popular: hydrolyzed collagen (collagen hydrolysate) and gelatin. Gelatin is made when collagen is cooked. They have already broken down the large protein into smaller peptides that are more easily absorbed in the body.
There are not many studies on collagen supplements, but those that do exist show promising benefits in the following areas: