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What is collagen? Benefits and uses _ Life 76

What is collagen?

Collagen is most abundant in animal tissues, from microfibrillar structure forming to coiled structures at different levels. It acts as a kind of glue that holds cells together, so it helps define and maintain the shape of tissues in the body.
Containing about 1/3 of the protein content, collagen is considered to be the most protein containing compound in the body with the function of building skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments, bones, teeth, blood vessels, the cornea. …

Types of collagen

In the human body, there are at least 16 different types of collagen but in very different proportions, specifically below are some important types:

Type 1 collagen

Makes up 90% of the collagen in the body. With a dense fiber structure, type 1 collagen contributes to the structure of the skin (i.e. the dermis), giving the skin its elastic and firm quality. The type 1 also helps form bones, teeth, muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as other types of connective tissue. It is important for tissue stabilization as well as wound healing.

Type 2 collagen

Which is made up of looser fibers than type 1 collagen. The type 2 works primarily to help build cartilage and is commonly found in connective tissues. The health of our joints relies on cartilage made up of the type 2, which is why collagen is beneficial in preventing age-related joint pain or various symptoms of arthritis.

Type 3 collagen

Made up of reticular fibers, is a major component of the extracellular matrix that makes up our organs and our skin. It is commonly found with type 1 collagen and helps give skin elasticity and firmness. Type 3 collagen also forms the blood vessels and tissues inside the heart.
According to the results of several animal studies, a deficiency in the type 3 is directly linked to a higher risk of ruptured blood vessels and even premature death.

Type 4 collagen

Important for the formation of the basal lamina – is a thin layer of gel-like fluid that cushions the lateral tissue above. Type 4 collagen is found in endothelial cells that form the tissue that surrounds organs, muscles, and fats, located on most digestive organs and respiratory surfaces of the body.

Type 5 collagen

This one has the effect to create the cell surface, as well as the tissue structure and cilia of the placenta, which attaches to the uterine wall, provides metabolism and nourishes the fetus well in the pregnant women.

Type 10 collagen

Which helps form new bone and forms joint cartilage, is involved in endothelial chemistry, the way bone tissue is made in mammals as well as us humans. Type 10 collagen has been shown to be beneficial for fracture healing and synovial joint repair.

Benefits of collagen for the body

Collagen promotes healthy skin and hair

The first important benefit of collagen is its ability to improve skin and hair health.
As mentioned above, as people age, collagen decreases in quantity and quality. At this time, our skin will become looser, more wrinkled and less elastic, in which, the phenomenon called “cellulite” is also easy to appear. Increasing collagen consumption in various ways (such as consuming the hydrolyzate) can help make our skin firmer, smoother and more supple, while also improving our ability to heal and heal wounds Improved and of course even the aforementioned cellulite can be significantly improved. .
It’s also no coincidence that collagen has become one of the best natural ingredients for skin care.

Collagen keeps bones healthy

With age, bone density also decreases or in other words osteoporosis increases and especially in postmenopausal women.
According to research results, collagen has not only been effectively involved in inhibiting the process of osteoporosis, but it also stimulates the process of bone formation.

Collagen helps reduce pain and osteoarthritis

One of the very uncomfortable signs or symptoms that appear in the legs when our body has a decrease in collagen is that the legs become inflexible, stiff and painful, especially when moving. At this time, our tendon and ligament system due to the loss of collagen becomes difficult to move, our joints become stiff, swollen and painful, etc.
Consuming more collagen in this case will be equivalent to strengthening the joints to lubricate the joints, making movement easier and smoother. In fact, the use it, especially the type 2, has become a very effective treatment for osteoarthritis as well as other joint disorders. Specifically, people with rheumatoid arthritis, people with osteoarthritis pain who were treated with the type 2 had very significant reductions in swelling and pain in the joints as well as very significant improvements in daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, improving sleep due to pain relief, etc.

Collagen protects the digestive system

One of the main effects of collagen in protecting the digestive system is that it can help reduce leaky gut syndrome.

Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which harmful toxins are not expelled quickly but can leak through the intestines into the bloodstream causing damage to the body . Here, the collagen will help soothe the intestinal mucosa, form connective tissue and thus heal damage to the protective membrane of the digestive system.
We now know that many diseases can actually be attributed to inflammation or irritation from an unhealthy gut. Poor gut health – including changes in the gut microbiome and the permeability of the gut lining – allows toxic particles to enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation.
In fact, studies have shown that in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, serum collagen levels are markedly reduced. However, the amino acids in collagen have the role of building the tissues that line the digestive tract in general and the colon in particular (the colon is the longest part of the large intestine and the lowest part of the large intestine). Therefore, collagen supplementation can help treat symptoms of digestive disorders including leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc. .
Additionally, collagen is also known to help absorb water in the intestines, making it easier to excrete substances.

Collagen boosts metabolism and energy, increases muscle growth

Collagen helps the body increase muscle mass as well as improve metabolism and metabolic processes. Specifically, an important component of collagen is an amino acid called glycine, which helps build muscle tissue by converting glucose into energy for muscle cells. However, maintaining muscle mass is very important and especially important in older people. Because the musculoskeletal system works to support bone health, as well as the skeletal system to maintain posture. Additionally, the muscular system also burns more calories than fat. It’s probably also easy to see, muscular and active people will consume calories at a much higher rate than obese and overweight people.

In addition to the important role for the digestive system, glycine also shows an important role for the central nervous system, helping to maintain a healthy and youthful body. It also has the ability to reduce the effects of aging by improving the body’s use of antioxidants and is also used in the process of building healthy cells from DNA and RNA.
In addition, many studies have also shown that collagen helps the body improve its ability to create necessary proteins, which repair muscle tissue and heal wounds.

Collagen strengthens teeth, hair and nails

If you find yourself with nails that tend to peel and break, you may have a collagen deficiency! Because the proteins found in collagen are also the building blocks of our teeth, hair and nails. Therefore, eating and consuming enough collagen is necessary to support healthy teeth, hair, and nails. According to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, there is a close relationship between the extracellular matrix (ECM) and hair follicle regeneration. And, collagen has also become a potential solution to hair loss and other skin conditions.

Collagen has the effect of improving liver health

Collagen can help us detoxify our body, improve blood circulation and keep our heart young. In fact, studies have shown that the glycine in it can be used to help reduce alcoholic liver damage and other forms of acute or chronic liver injury.

Collagen protects heart health

Another very important component of collagen is the amino acid proline, which is essential for the repair of tissues in the joints, it participates in the formation of cartilage cushions against sudden and strong movements, vibrations or shocks.
Moreover, this amino acid is also involved in tissue repair processes in the arteries, preventing atherosclerosis by helping the walls of the arteries to reduce and release fatty deposits into the blood.
In addition, a proline precursor, the amino acid arginine also contributes to vasodilatory processes, i.e. enlargement arteries and blood vessels. vessels, allowing better blood circulation.

Source of collagen

Natural collagen supplement through foods

Before talking about its supplementation in another way, we must not forget that one of the most important ways to replenish oneself on a daily basis and throughout life is through food.

In food, collagen is stored as procollagen precursors. It is made by combining 2 amino acids, glycine and proline, and with the participation of vitamin C.

Therefore, to increase collagen production for the body, some healthy foods below are important suggestions.

Bovine Collagen

When using foods from cows, collagen is abundant in the skin and bones. Here I encourage you to use the products of their bones and muscles. The foods mentioned above are rich in type 1 and 3 with a good source of glycine and proline, which is useful for creatine production, muscle building and also helps the body produce its own collagen.
Beef bone broth is one of the easiest ways to make it, detoxifies, cleanses the liver, helps heal leaky gut, and improves overall immune function.

Chicken Collagen

While cow feed is high in type 1 and 3 collagen, chicken is high in type 2 – an important component for building cartilage. This means that if we want to improve our joint health, we need to be careful about consuming more chicken foods.
It should also be noted that chicken foods are also high in chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate, both of which have anti-aging effects. In fact, most the type 2 supplements on the market are made from chicken.

Fish Collagen

Unlike the two sources of collagen from cows and chickens mentioned above, fish-derived collagen has been shown to be easily absorbed and provides primarily the type 1, with the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline.
Since the type 1 is distributed over almost the entire body, consuming more fish collagen will make it easier to meet the body’s needs, including the collagen needs of joints, skin and muscles as important as the system. skeletal, digestive system, and circulatory system.

Egg Collagen

Egg collagen is found in the shell and white of eggs with the main composition of type 1 and a small percentage of types 3, 4 and 10.
Egg collagen provides glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and various amino acids which are beneficial for building connective tissue, building muscle mass and healing wounds, reducing stiffness muscular.


In addition to the above sources of collagen such as beef, chicken, fish, and eggs, we can also pay attention to supplementing collagen with other food sources that also contain high-quality protein such as cattle. , poultry, seafood as well as beans and tofu.

I would also like to reiterate that the process of building collagen requires the presence of vitamin C, so vitamin C deficiency will easily lead to collagen deficiency in the body.

Supplementing collagen through functional foods

Currently, collagen is sold in the market in many different forms, usually collagen tablets for oral consumption and powders. Powdered supplements can be mixed into smoothies, soups, or even baked goods without adding flavor, while maintaining the taste and digestion and absorption quality of the product.

And, in addition to learning how to eat collagen-rich foods, you also need to know how to avoid foods and agents that are harmful to collagen.

Foods and agents harmful to collagen


Foods derived from the following nutrients have a damaging effect on collagen, which limits collagen’s ability to repair itself:

  • Refined sugars such as table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or agave syrup, etc.
  • Refined grains, that is to say grains from which a large part of the fibers and nutrients have been eliminated. The most common is white flour made from refined wheat.

Excessive exposure to the sun

It is necessary to limit direct exposure to strong sunlight because ultraviolet rays reduce the production of collagen.


Smoking reduces the production of collagen, at the same time it also reduces wound healing and leads to the formation of wrinkles.

Autoimmune diseases

In addition, certain autoimmune diseases such as lupus can also cause collagen destruction.

What is collagen? Benefits and uses _ Life 76:

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Docteur en Physiopathologie
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