Collagen: 5 facts about the protein behind skin, joint, gut health

Collagen is a protein naturally produced in our body and found in various connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones. It is a major component of the extracellular matrix, the network of proteins and other molecules that provides structure and support to our tissues. In recent years, collagen has gained popularity as a supplement for its potential benefits for skin, hair, joint, and gut health. Here are five facts about collagen.

1. There are 28 types of collagen in our bodies

According to Cleveland Clinic, around 28 types of collagen are found in our body. The most common ones are types I, II, and III. Type I collagen is the most abundant and is found in skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Type II collagen is mainly found in cartilage, which is the tissue that cushions our joints. Type III collagen can be found in skin, blood vessels, and internal organs. Each type of collagen has a different structure and function. Different amino acid sequences make up the various type of collagen.

2. Collagen production declines with age

Our body produces collagen naturally, but its production decreases as we age. This decline in collagen production can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pain, and other signs of aging. Environmental factors such as UV radiation, pollution, and smoking can damage collagen fibers and accelerate their breakdown.

3. Collagen supplements may have benefits for skin and joint health

Collagen supplements are marketed as a way to improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, and promote joint health. Some studies have suggested that collagen supplements may increase skin hydration, reduce skin roughness, and improve skin elasticity and thickness. They may also help reduce joint pain and improve mobility in people with osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits and determine the optimal dosage and duration of collagen supplementation.

4. Collagen is not vegan

Collagen is mainly derived from animal sources such as cows and fish. It is extracted from their connective tissues and bones through hydrolysis, which breaks down collagen fibers into smaller peptides that are easier for the body to absorb. As a result, collagen supplements are not suitable for vegans and vegetarians. However, some plant-based alternatives to collagen supplements contain ingredients such as vitamin C, amino acids, and plant extracts believed to support collagen production in the body.

5. Collagen supplements may interact with other medications

Collagen supplements are generally considered safe but may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and immunosuppressants. They may also cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to the source of collagen used in the supplement. As with any supplement, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before consumption, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medications.

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