Author Taylor Knox / Category: Health & Wellness / Published: Jan, 31 2022
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
By now, you've probably noticed that collagen seems to be having its moment in the wellness spotlight - in fact, you can find collagen as an ingredient in supplement powders, flavored water, granola bars, and a myriad of other products.
But exactly what is collagen, and what does collagen do?
As the most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen plays an important role in our overall health. With a distinctly fiber-like structure, collagen is used to make connective tissue, which connects various tissues within the body and is also a key component of bone, muscles, skin, cartilage, and tendons. Essentially, collagen helps support strong, resilient tissue.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen, but production declines with age. Also, factors such as sun exposure, lack of sleep, an inactive lifestyle, and drinking or smoking can have a dramatic impact on collagen production. As a result, the collagen that used to be a dense network of fibers within the deep layers of your skin ends up becoming an easily damaged and unorganized mess.
Even though this happens beneath the surface of your skin, you'll expect to see and feel the signs: wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, slower-growing hair and nails, and troublesome joints.
So, how do you supplement with collagen to support optimal health? With the right collagen supplements and a solid understanding of how collagen works to support your body, you'll be on the right track in no time.
TYPES OF COLLAGEN
There are upwards of 28 different collagen types, each one fulfilling a specific purpose in the body. The five most common kinds of collagen and their functions are:
- Type 1 Collagen: Collagen Type I (1) is the dominant collagen found in the human body, present in your skin, bones, teeth, tendons, and ligaments. It is crucial for the process of tissue regeneration.
- Type 2 Collagen: Collagen Type II (2) is the main component of cartilage, making it very important for cartilage repair. In some cases, it may be used for the treatment of arthritis.
- Type 3 Collagen: Collagen Type III (3) is an important building block of your muscles and blood vessels.
- Type 4 Collagen: Collagen Type IV (4) is the backbone of the "basement membrane," playing a part in kidney health and many other conditions.
- Type 5 Collagen: Collagen Type V (5) is found in hair, the surfaces of your cells, and the placenta, generally working alongside Collagen Type I for skin and tendon health.
COLLAGEN TYPE 1
Collagen Type I makes up more than 90% of the collagen in your body, largely because it is prevalent in nearly all connective tissues. It is also the primary component of the calcified tissue of bone and teeth (covering the roots of teeth and securing them to the jawbone), and is present in your skin, lungs, heart, tendons, ligaments, and vasculature.
COLLAGEN TYPE 3
Collagen Type III belongs to a specific category of collagens, known as the "fibrillar collagen group." It has a unique molecular structure and is a crucial component of muscle and blood vessels. Scientists believe that Collagen Type III and Collagen Type I work in tandem to support the health and function of skin, ligaments, tendons, vascular walls, and more.
As you consider different collagen supplements, most formulations will contain Type I or III collagen or both. Ideally, the supplement you select will be made using both Type I and Type III.
COLLAGEN AMINO ACID PROFILE
There are many characteristics that make collagen such a distinctive protein, one of which is its diverse amino acid profile.
There are 19 different amino acids in collagen, no matter what type of collagen it is or where it originates from. One of the most important amino acids contained in collagen is hydroxyproline, an amino acid you won't find in other proteins.
What does this mean in terms of supplementation? In simplest terms, the only protein source that you can use to obtain hydroxyproline is collagen.
BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTATION
Understandably, most people that are thinking about trying collagen want to know: do collagen supplements really work? And what are the benefits of using collagen?
There are many research studies dedicated to exploring the benefits of using collagen as a part of a regular supplement regimen. And so far, the findings highlight collagen's promising potential collagen to be a useful addition to your daily routine.
Let's take a closer look at collagen benefits, as demonstrated by scientific research.
IMPROVES SKIN ELASTICITY
Collagen is the primary component of skin, with about 85-90% being Collagen Type I and the remaining 10-15% being Collagen Type III. Over time, your existing collagen becomes damaged and far less dense, and the rate at which your body replenishes collagen slows down considerably. These factors are tied to the visible signs of aging, including wrinkles and skin that appears to be "sagging."
But when you begin supplementing with collagen, research has found that there are noticeable improvements in the elasticity, or firmness of your skin. Additionally, it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and skin dryness, helping you achieve an overall fresher, more youthful look.
PROMOTES HAIR HEALTH
Can collagen help your hair? According to a 2020 study, collagen peptides may make a measurable difference in hair thickness and the production of new hair follicle cells. This information is especially interesting for men and women with thinning hair, as well as anyone that is searching for simple and effective ways to boost their hair health.
PROMOTES NAIL GrOWTH
Brittle, easily-broken nails can be extremely frustrating to deal with, and can actually become more than just an aesthetic issue. In fact, there is an actual condition known as "brittle nail syndrome" that is highly common among women, causing nails to peel and become rough and ragged.
Studies looking into whether collagen helps nail growth have found that, with consistent collagen supplementation, nails grew about 12% faster and broken nails happened more than 40% less often. Within a few weeks, nearly 90% of people saw improvements in their nails after using collagen.
JOINT CELL INTEGRITY
It's not unusual for people to rarely think about the integrity of their joints - that is, until they begin to have problems with their joint health. The good news is that recent studies have found that collagen may be helpful for joint health, both as a proactive supplement and even a future treatment option.
The breakdown of joint cartilage can contribute to a variety of medical conditions, including osteoarthritis. However, because Type III Collagen is the primary component of cartilage tissue, researchers are studying its potential to be used for treating osteoarthritis. Other studies have found that collagen peptides, which are used in certain high-quality collagen supplements, may also help reduce chronic pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
SUPPORT YOUR WELLNESS GOALS WITH HIGH-QUALITY COLLAGEN
When you're searching for the best collagen supplements, make it a priority to choose a product made by a brand that is completely transparent about its formulations and ingredients. Like any other supplement, collagen is most effective when it comes from the highest-quality sources and is included as a part of a scientifically-based formulation.
Core Culture has crafted a Collagen Peptides supplement made with 100% grass-fed collagen, delivering 20 grams of collagen per serving. Incorporating both Type I and Type III Collagens, our collagen powder contains no added sugar, GMOs, hormones, or antibiotics. Plus, our formulation includes an array of CFU probiotics to support digestion, and the easy-dissolve powder makes it simple to enjoy collagen however you'd like.