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What's with the craze about collagen?

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Nowadays the health community talks about all sorts of minerals, vitamins and supplements that will help you stay strong and healthy while maintaining your body's optimum function. Collagen is one of the trending topics, but apart from knowing that we need it to keep our skin looking bouncy and younger, what are the true benefits of this genius protein?

Let’s break it down. Collagen is a structural protein that is made up of amino acids, which are in turn built of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. It contains specific amino acids, glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine. The process of collagen production in our bodies requires vitamin c, zinc and copper.

There are four main types of collagen which are the most popular:

  • Type I Collagen accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
  • Type II Collagen is made of more loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
  • Type III Collagen supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
  • Type IV Collagen helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin

Collagen makes up 30% of the body's proteins and is considered one of the most abundant proteins we have in our body which supports numerous functions. When there is sufficient collagen in the body it supports our skin and its elasticity, keeping it smooth and fuller - while it makes up the majority of our skin. It keeps the joints hydrated and flexible and keeps our bones strong.

Sounds ideal right? Sadly the production of collagen reduces significantly when we pass through our twenties and diminishes further for women experiencing menopause. The little collagen we have left diminishes in quality. The signs of low collagen production are darker and hollowed looking eyes, flat dull hair and aching muscles, just to name a few.

Not to worry though, there are numerous supplements that can help you reach peak collagen production as well as things you can implement in your daily lifestyle to give your body that extra boost!

According to research, taking collagen supplements has few risks and in actual fact is highly recommended. When taking collagen supplements it is recommended to go for hydrolysed collagen, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for your body to absorb. Hydrolysed collagen is also known as collagen peptides, which is normally sold in powder or pill form. Using these supplements has been shown to improve skin's youthfulness, promotes plumpness and elasticity, but more importantly, evidence shows that it improves joint pain, prevents bone loss and increases muscle mass.⁣

While supplements are known to improve the natural production of collagen, sticking to a healthy lifestyle and clean eating can help boost collagen levels. Berries are known to be rich in amino acids and protect the skin from radical damage while they support the production of collagen. Green tea is also known to help boost collagen production, while vitamin c rich foods aid in building up the body’s collagen reserve.

It has been recommended that large amounts of sugar should be avoided as it damages collagen and increases wrinkles.  

Like anything, it is crucial to stay committed to your collagen journey as you will begin to see the benefits over time. 

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