The Purpose and Sources of Collagen

Today, we'll tell you about the purpose and sources of collagen, one of the most important proteins in the body.
The Purpose and Sources of Collagen

Last update: 03 April, 2021

In this article, we’ll you about the purpose and sources of collagen, as well as other relevant facts. It’s one of the most abundant proteins in the human body as it’s a component of many of our tissues.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a fundamental component of the human body. It’s a protein and represents approximately a quarter of the total proteins in the body. This is why it’s the most important protein of all.

It’s present in many tissues, some of which are skin, cartilage, bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It forms very resistant and flexible fibers, whose function is to provide elasticity to the tissues, as well as support and resistance.

Since it’s such a relevant substance, and present in so many tissues, maintaining a minimum and stable level of this protein is very important. Without a sufficient amount of this substance, all the tissues it makes up would be unable to carry out their function correctly.

What are the sources of collagen?

The sources of collagen include numerous foods, mainly of animal origin–primarily meats. There are other foods that, while they aren’t sources of collagen,  contain substances that help promote the synthesis of this protein in the human body. Some of them are:

  • Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids: Present, above all, in nuts and fish such as salmon. Fatty acids are involved in the hormonal regulation that allows the body to produce collagen.
  • Vitamin A: Found in vegetables such as carrots and melon. A minimum amount of vitamin A is necessary so that the body can manufacture collagen without problems.
  • Vitamin C: Present in citrus fruits, strawberries, and other vegetables. They destroy the compounds that eliminate this protein.
Plant and animals sources of collagen.
Animal products are rich in collagen and other plant foods have substances that stimulate its production.

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What happens with age?

From about 30 years of age, the body gradually loses its ability to produce collagen. Collagen production continues but in smaller and smaller quantities.

What happens, then, is that all the tissues that it makes up begin to lose functionality. The skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles appear. Hair and nails also become more fragile. What’s more, joint pain with movement and muscle pain may also appear.

Supplements as a source of collagen

As we’ve already mentioned, maintaining a minimum amount of this protein in the body is necessary for proper functioning. However, there are times when this isn’t possible naturally.

With the loss of production by the body, and in some other situations such as elite sports, the amount of collagen isn’t sufficient. In these cases, individuals may need to take collagen supplements.

This is hydrolyzed collagen and anyone can add the hydrolyzed variant to their diet. Even so, it’s always best to consult with a specialist, as taking it often isn’t necessary.

Collagen in powder form.
Collagen can be artificially incorporated in its hydrolyzed form.

You may be interested in: 7 Supplements That Vegans Should Take

In a nutshell

Collagen is an essential substance for the normal functioning of many parts of the body. With age, its production decreases and we’ll have to maintain an adequate diet accompanied by collagen supplements if necessary.

A medical consultation will always be necessary to know if you need to incorporate the hydrolyzed form of this protein into your diet or not. Not all aging is the same, and therefore, it’s not required in all circumstances.

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