What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant structural fibrous protein in the body.
with elastin, hyaluronic acid and other glycosaminoglycans, collagen forms the extracellular matrix, a three-dimensional structure that gives skin its elasticity, tone and turgidity.
Collagen is a fundamental element to ensure the elasticity, resistance and regeneration of the various internal structures of the body.
Due to its peculiarities, collagen can be compared to a scaffold whose purpose is to support the organs and tissues of the body. However, the strength and stability of this scaffolding tends to gradually decrease with age.
- Where is it found in the body?
Collagen is an essential structural element, ubiquitous in the organs and tissues of the body. Collagen alone makes up about 33% of the protein composition of the whole body.
Collagen is a structural and compositional element:
- blood vessels;
- What does the word collagen mean?
The term “collagen” has its origins in the Greek, etymologically, it means glue.
Indeed, collagen is able to create a strong bond – a glue, ultimately – within the tissue structures that contain it.
- What is the role of collagen for the skin?
The most important function of collagen is to provide strength, resistance and structure to the various tissues of the body, while contributing to the formation of tendons, ligaments and skin
On the other hand, collagen:
- visibly improves the appearance of nails and hair;
- offers the skin effective protection against UV rays.
The benefits of collagen don’t stop at the skin level.
In fact, collagen seems to offer other benefits and benefits for the whole body:
- it protects and maintains healthy joints, promoting their mobility and reducing inflammation and pain associated with aging
- contributes to the maintenance of healthy bones healthy bones
- helps stabilize blood glucose, thanks to the presence of glycine, an amino acid
- exerts an antibacterial effect, thanks to the presence of the amino acid collagencine
- contributes to the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood, thus reducing the risk of atherosclerosis
- How does collagen change with age?
With age, the support structure provided by collagen becomes increasingly weak.
In fact, over the years:
- collagen fibers are synthesized in smaller quantities;
- Existing collagen fibers undergo progressive degradation.
With age, the level of collagen decreases by 1% per year (per unit surface of the skin). This decrease can be seen in the form of wrinkles, sagging, and sagging skin.
- What causes the loss of collagen with age?
Due to aging, the reduction in collagen synthesis, combined with the breakdown of existing collagen fibers, has a number of negative effects on the skin:
- the skin is less hydrated; increasingly dry; thinner and less elastic;
- What are the different types of collagen found in the body?
Over 16 types of collagen have been identified in the body.
The best known are classified into 4 types
- type I collagen fibers: these represent the majority of collagen in the body (approximately 90%) and in the skin. Their main function is to give structure to the skin, bones, tendons, connective tissue and teeth;
- type II collagen fibers: they are mainly located in the cartilage, and their function is to cushion the joints;
- type III collagen fibers: they are mainly found in the dermis, to support the structure of muscles, organs and arteries;
- type IV collagen fibers: characteristic of the skin, they promote the filtration of the basement membrane and provide tissue support.
- Where is collagen found?
In nature, collagen is exclusively of animal origin: it can be obtained by slaughtering collagen-rich animal waste (e.g. bones, skin, bones, connective tissue).
Depending on the origin, we can distinguish several types of collagen:
- marine collagen (or fish collagen), which has a piscicultural origin;
- bovine collagen;
- pork collagen;
- chicken collagen.
At the time, bovine collagen was preferred for the formulation of dietary supplements. Currently, marine collagen is the most popular for dietary supplements because it is safer and offers more benefits.
- How does marine collagen work?
Marine collagen works by mimicking type I and II collagen fibers.
Taken in the form of food supplements, marine collagen brings significant benefits to the skin
- it protects the skin against UV rays;
- It is ecological and sustainable: to obtain marine collagen, parts of the fish are used, which are generally discarded;
- it is rapidly absorbed and accumulates in the skin;
- it promotes the regeneration of bone tissue.
- How does bovine collagen work?
Intake of bovine collagen appears to be helpful in stimulating the synthesis of type I and type III collagen fibers.
- increase skin hydration;
- reduce fine lines and wrinkles;
- maintain the elasticity of the skin.
- Why is marine collagen the most recommended?
Compared to dietary supplements based on bovine collagen, it seems to be more beneficial to take marine collagen for several reasons 13, 14:
- Marine collagen is absorbed faster and more immediately by the intestine than its bovine equivalent;
- marine collagen has a very low risk of generating inflammatory reactions after intake;
- What is Plant Collagen?
Vegetable collagen does not exist: the origin of collagen is exclusively animal.
In dietary supplements, “vegetable gelatin” – sold inappropriately as vegetable collagen – does not provide any benefit to the skin or the body.
“Vegetable collagen” is nothing more than a gelatin composed of polysaccharides with a gelling/thickening action, but which has no benefits for the skin.
Some plant-based collagen supplements contain amino acids that are collagen precursors, such as glycine and hydroxyproline. However, this solution does not seem particularly effective. In fact, after ingesting food supplements orally, a large part of the proline is degraded by the enterocytes (the cells of the small intestine) before being absorbed
- In what form is collagen found in dietary supplements?
In food supplements, collagen is found in hydrolyzed form, that is to say predigested.
In fact, collagen appears as a protein chain, long, heavy and difficult to digest, formed by many intertwined peptides.
To be able to be used in hydrolysed form, the collagen is brought into contact with specific enzymes capable of fragmenting the long chains of peptides into smaller pieces.
By cutting it into smaller portions (peptides), the hydrolyzed collagen will be more bioavailable and easier for the body to digest.
- What are the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen?
Taking hydrolyzed collagen food supplements is beneficial for several reasons:
- collagen fragments stimulate the production of other substances involved in maintaining the well-being of the skin, such as hyaluronic acid, elastin and fibrillin
- small fragments of collagen can be absorbed by the intestine and filter into the blood;
- the energizing action of fibroblasts (cells of the dermis) is strengthened and stimulated;
- collagen fragments containing the amino acid hydroxyproline accumulate in the skin for up to 96 hours 16 after ingestion.
- How does collagen work against aging?
Collagen is used for the formulation of anti-aging food supplements.
its anti-aging properties are supported by several scientific studies:
- when taken orally, collagen seems to be useful in stimulating the production of new collagen
- Collagen taken through dietary supplements is effective in stimulating cell turnover, and producing benefits in the appearance of skin, nails and hair.
fibroblasts in the synthesis of Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Elastin
- What does the skin look like after taking collagen?
After taking oral collagen supplements, some studies confirm the positive effects on the skin
- the skin appears more hydrated, elastic and taut;
- the skin is better protected from UV rays;
- The number of wrinkles and their depth tend to decrease.
How does collagen affect wound healing?
The benefits of collagen can also be used to speed healing and reduce scarring.
To this end, by mimicking extracellular matrix collagen, collagen taken through dietary supplements could regenerate skin after injuries such as scars, burns, and rashes.
In order to provide real benefits to the skin, collagen should be taken in doses ranging from 2.5 to 5-10 g daily taken continuously for at least two months.
What is the duration of a collagen cure?
In general, the average duration of each collagen dietary supplement treatment varies from 1 to 3 months, but it always depends on the type of product chosen, the type of skin and the age of the consumer.
- What active substances should collagen be combined with in anti-aging supplements?
If the collagen in cosmetics by itself seems to have no long-term effect, the most obvious solution is to choose cosmetics formulated with both collagen and other functional molecules, capable of acting on several fronts. against the signs of aging.
This is why, in cosmetics, we often find molecules that have a collagen-supporting action, for example:
- beauty vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E): act with antioxidant and anti-wrinkle properties, stimulating cell renewal and protecting the skin;
- hyaluronic acid is a well-known moisturizing molecule, effective in exerting an excellent anti-aging and anti-wrinkle effect by stimulating the synthesis of collagen 22 and connective tissue;
- amino acids such as glycine, proline, alanine is useful for promoting the synthesis of endogenous collagen, especially in the presence of vitamin C.
- How does collagen work with hyaluronic acid?
Like antioxidant vitamins, hyaluronic acid is often associated with collagen to optimize its action.
Indeed, in cosmetics, hyaluronic acid:
- hydrates the skin;
- has an effective anti-aging and anti-wrinkle effect by stimulating the synthesis of collagen 22 and connective tissue;
- prevents the appearance of wrinkles, keeping the skin plump, soft and resistant.
Why is collagen often associated with proline and glycine?
It is not uncommon to read on the INCI labels of cosmetic products formulated with collagen also the presence of certain amino acids.
Indeed, it has been observed that the production of endogenous collagen can also be supported by the integration of amino acids such as arginine, glycine and hydroxyproline (especially in the presence of vitamin C).
Just look at the label to recognize a quality collagen dietary supplement by looking for the presence of:
- hydrolyzed collagen;
- What should a quality collagen supplement not contain?
A quality collagen dietary supplement should not contain simple sugars (sucrose, fructose, maltose, etc.) or preservatives (unless you are buying a ready-to-drink collagen dietary supplement, where preservatives are almost indispensable).
In addition, it is recommended to ensure that the collagen dietary supplement is labeled:
- does not contain contaminants, such as mercury and other heavy metals;
- does not contain GMOs;
- has not been tested on animals;
- does not contain gelatin.
- What to do to increase collagen synthesis in the body?
If it is an excellent strategy to preserve the beauty of the skin, taking food supplements is not enough on its own.
it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.
To this end, to support the action of collagen taken through dietary supplements, it is recommended to practice certain “beauty” strategies, which may include:
- drink plenty of water to ensure optimal hydration of the body;
consume foods naturally rich in collagen (for example, octopus, beef or chicken bone broth, fish glue dessert, etc.);
Food rich in collagen. Healthy products for beautiful skin
- eat foods rich in vitamin C (for example, peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, blueberries, parsley, etc.);
- eat foods rich in proline to promote collagen synthesis (for example, egg white, wheat germ, cabbage, dairy products, asparagus and mushrooms);
- eat foods rich in glycine to stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen (eg, pork skin, chicken skin, gelatin);
- combine a course of collagen-based food supplements with the regular application of anti-aging cosmetics, preferably enriched with vitamin C;
- limit the intake of sugars, which can interfere with the auto-regeneration capacity of collagen 28;
- limit sun exposure (and if exposed, always apply sunscreen);
- avoid smoking to preserve the collagen synthesized by the body.
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