Collagen is a protein found in our teeth, bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and makes up about 75% of our skin. It is the most plentiful protein in our bodies and is the main building block or “glue” for these parts of your body. Starting in our twenties, we begin to lose about 1% of our collagen each year, with women experiencing a rapid decrease after menopause. Unfortunately, exposure to UV light, eating too much sugar or refined carbs and smoking also wreak havoc on this important structure. Many people have turned to supplementing with collagen to slow the loss of this important body structure.
Research supports the taking of oral collagen for providing anti-aging benefits to the skin (minimizing fine lines and wrinkles) and aiding in wound healing.
Collagen has also been found to lessen the stiffness and pain in joints associated with osteoarthritis and can help protect cartilage from the wear and tear of overuse.
Other studies have shown an increase in muscle mass from a combination of weight training and collagen peptides. This increase mass was greater than that found in the subjects taking a placebo.
You can also help your body make its own collagen by ensuring you are getting all your amino acids by eating plenty of high-quality protein. Vitamin C (found in strawberries and citrus), proline (found in egg whites, peanut butter and asparagus), copper (found in cocoa, cashews and sesame seeds) and glycine (found in cheese, tuna and turkey) are all important vitamins and minerals for collagen production.
Collagen is generally considered a safe supplement to add to your diet. However, as with all supplements, consult your health care professional to determine if it is right for you.
Photo from flickr.