Beautiful and elastic skin, healthy joints and tendons – all this is a sign of health and youth, and the well-known collagen unites them. However, it begins to be depleted in the body at a relatively early age, and its deficiency causes the appearance of the first wrinkles, joint and mobility problems, and many other signs of aging. It is known that around the age of 25, collagen production gradually begins to decline, and by the age of 40, the level of collagen in the body drops by about 30%, so by the age of 60 more than half of our collagen is already depleted.
Why collagen is so important for health and youth, what types of collagen are and how to make up for its deficiency, and most importantly, how to make our body produce collagen on its own – read in the following lines.
Why is collagen so important for our health and youth?
Collagen is a structural protein that plays a key role in the formation of connective tissue in the human body. Collagen molecules form a network of fibers that help build tissue. Curiously, collagen is the most abundant substance in our body after water, which is why its importance is so great.
There are many different types of collagen, with at least 16 different types in the human body. Among them are collagen types 1, 2, and 3, as well as types 5 and 10. The largest amount (from 80 to 90%) of collagen in the human body falls on types 1, 2, and 3. According to some scientific sources, type 1 collagen is up to 90% of what our body needs.
What types of collagen exist and where are they found?
As we have already explained, the most common types of collagen in the human body are 1, 2, and 3. Let’s look at each of them separately:
Type 1 Collagen – This type of collagen is made up of eosinophilic fibers and helps build tendons, ligaments, skin, etc. Type 1 collagen is also involved in the formation of the skeletal system and is also found in the human digestive tract. It is important for preventing skin aging and wrinkling, as well as for hair growth and strengthening of nails. Foods rich in type 1 collagen include beef, bone broth, eggs, fish, and seafood.
Type 2 Collagen – This type of collagen is key to good digestive health as it helps repair intestinal epithelium. It reduces intestinal permeability and is an important immunomodulator. Type 2 collagen is a major component of cartilage and plays an important role in joint health. Among the foods richest in type 2 collagen is the well-known chicken meat. There are many collagen supplements on the market that are based on it and are rich in type 2 collagen.
Collagen type 3 – most often and in the greatest quantity is found in the large intestine, muscles, and also in blood vessels. This type of collagen is important for cardiovascular health, muscle building, and colon repair. Type 3 collagen supports bone structure and greatly promotes fat burning. In the human body, it is most commonly found in combination with type 1 collagen, and the functions of both types are similar. Like collagen types 1 and 3, it is found in foods such as beef, eggs, and bone broth.
How to stimulate the body to produce collagen itself?
For many, taking collagen supplements with the main diet is the best way to get the required amount of collagen in addition to your diet. However, how can we be sure that the collagen we take is well-absorbed? It is important to keep in mind that due to its size, the collagen molecule is difficult to absorb completely.
Many of the supplements on the market contain what is called hydrolyzed collagen (collagen has undergone a hydrolysis process in which the protein chains are “broken” into shorter protein chains for better absorption). However, scientists are adamant that the best collagen is the one that the body produces on its own.
Clinical studies, for example, show that the intake of certain nutrients has a beneficial effect on the formation of collagen and connective tissue in the human body. Among them is the natural form of silicon found in bamboo. Silicon is the main building block of connective tissue and plays an important role in the formation of essential macromolecules such as elastin and collagen, promoting their regeneration.