Recently there has been a lot of buzz around the word collagen in the skincare industry. It seems like the world has finally realised the importance of collagen and its ability to transform the appearance of a person’s skin. Increasingly, people are looking to buy collagen supplements online and offline. But what is all this hype around collagen?
For starters, collagen is a protein that is found in enormous amounts in the body. Approximately 75 to 80 per cent of the skin constitutes this protein. However, this abundant protein‘s production starts decreasing as a person ages. But what is it exactly, and why should people consume it?
What Is Collagen?
Collagen comprises amino acids that are bound to create a structural protein. This protein is in several connective tissues in the human body. The primary function of collagen includes bone strengthening and imparting structure and support to the skin.
Along with that, collagen is also a building block for ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The word collagen is of Greek origin. ‘Kola’ denotes glue, and ‘gen’ denotes producing. So you can consider collagen as a glue that holds all the things together.
Three Types of Collagen
- Type I – It is one of the most abundant ones and constitutes up to 90 per cent of the body’s collagen. It consists of dense fibres which impart structure to bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, teeth, and skin.
- Type II – It is the primary component of cartilage. It provides a cushion to the joint.
- Type III – It is found in reticular fibres like the bone marrow.
Collagen and Skin
A person’s skin constitutes the outermost layer (epidermis), the middle layer (dermis), and the innermost layer (hypodermis). Collagen is mainly in the dermis. It is here that this protein is produced. The dermis contains skin cells that synthesise collagen. It gives skin elasticity and helps it to be supple and soft. It also significantly minimises the appearance of wrinkles.
Why Do People Buy Collagen Supplements?
The primary reason to take collagen or its supplement is that the human body does not make enough of it. Although most of it is found in the skin, as the body ages, it starts to break down more collagen than it produces. Because of this reason, people usually have to buy collagen supplements or consume collagen in any other form.
A noteworthy thing to mention is that a person’s lifestyle habits can also cause them to lose collagen faster. If someone exposes themselves to the sun more often, smokes, or gets exposed to pollution regularly, certain enzymes are produced in the body that degrades collagen fibres. It, in turn, leads to premature aging of the skin. Thus, collagen supplements can assist to a certain degree in increasing the amount of collagen in the skin.
Foods Rich in Collagen
As mentioned before, collagen doesn’t get produced in the body. The only way to get more of it is by eating animal-based foods. Till now, not even a single vegan or vegetarian source of collagen has been found. Some of the best food sources containing collagen are:
- Bone broth
- Salmon skin
Along with eating collagen-rich foods, it makes sense to increase vitamin C intake in your diet. Vitamin C plays a huge role in producing pro-collagen, the human body’s precursor to this protein.
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