Muscles, bones, skin, and tendons are composed primarily of collagen, the most abundant type of protein in the human body. To be specific, collagen consists of 30-35 percent of all the protein in the human body. Collagen protein is also known as connective tissue and is responsible for stabilizing our skin and maintaining joint movement and flexibility. In addition, collagen provides our skin with elasticity. Studies show that collagen supplementation has many benefits, which include reduced facial wrinkles and helping to get rid of cellulite. I will discuss this further in this article.
As we age, our skin loses its elasticity and becomes more wrinkled. The are many reasons for this- reduced ability to manufacture collagen is partly responsible while life’s stressors and oxidative damage also play a significant role. Those with extra melanin in their skin are more protected from ultraviolet sunlight and ultraviolet damage, which I call “Melan protection”. However, those with less melanin are at higher risk for solar damage and increased risk for premature aging.
Collagen Supplements usually consist of the following amino acids, which scientists separate amino into three categories:
- Essential amino acids – This type of amino acid needs to be consumed in the diet and cannot be manufactured by the body. They include lysine, serine, threonine, leucine, valine, phenylalanine, methionine, isoleucine, histidine and hydroxylysine.
- Conditionally essential amino acids- This type of amino acid the body can usually make, but under physically stressful states, the body may not make enough and supplementation may be helpful. They include glycine, proline, glutamine (glutamic acid), alanine and tyrosine.
- Non-Essential amino acids- This type of amino acid is very important to the body, but they are labeled non-essential as the body is able to make them. Consuming this amino acid in the diet is not required but doing so is NOT harmful. They include hydroxyproline, arginine and aspartic acid.
Various collagen manufacturers use different sources for their product. While some use bovine (cow) sources, others use fish. California Gold Nutrition uses a quality marine sourced collagen which makes it perfect for pescatarians, that is, those who avoid all meat aside from fish.
Collagen supplements contain a wide variety of amino acids necessary for hair growth as well as skin, tendons and bone health. Collagen is a good option for those who may want to ensure they are getting adequate amino acids but want to consume them using a gluten- and dairy-free supplements. Weightlifters frequently use collagen supplementation to ensure they maximize muscle growth. Sometimes they chose whey protein powder.
Types of Collagen in the Body
Scientists have identified at least 28 types of collagen. However, 90 percent of the collagen in the human body is Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, and Type 5.
- Collagen Type 1 – Composes tendons, organ and bone. Type 1 collagen accounts for 80-90 percent of our collagen.
- Collagen Type 2- Cartilage in knees, shoulders and other joints
- Collagen Type 3 – Main type of cartilage of reticular fibers. Commonly present with Type 1.
- Collagen Type 5 – Use to make hair and present on skin surface.