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Health and Fitness News

A Call for Collagen

You’re aging, and your body is changing. Wrinkles deepen on your skin, hair thins, bones weaken, and joints ache. Is there anything you can do to slow it down? It may be time to call on collagen.

You’re aging, and your body is changing. Wrinkles deepen on your skin, hair thins, bones weaken, and joints ache. There’s no stopping it. Or is there? Here enters the importance of collagen.

You’ve probably heard of collagen in regards to the skin’s appearance, but you may have wondered what it is and how to reap its benefits. Wonder no longer. Here’s all you need to know about collagen.

What Is It?

Protein is a macronutrient essential to the body for countless chemical reactions. It’s found throughout the body and is made of amino acids that come from the food you eat. While there are thousands of different proteins, the most plentiful protein in the body is collagen.

Found in skin, muscles, bones, and blood, a third of all the protein in your body is made of collagen. The name “collagen” comes from the Greek word “kolla,” which means “glue.” Because collagen in essence holds things together by providing structure.

Where Does It Come From?

The primary source of collagen is food. Your body takes this food and works to combine specific amino acids into collagen. To do this, it needs the following:

Copper (found in cashews, sesame seeds, organ meat, and cocoa powder)
Glycine (found in chicken skin, pork skin, bone broth, gelatin, and other high-protein foods)
Proline (found in dairy, egg whites, mushrooms, and cabbage)
Vitamin C (found in fruits and vegetables)
Zinc (found in beef, pork, shellfish, beans, dairy, and nuts)

Not sure if you’re getting enough collagen? You may want to consider a collagen supplement. They’re available in powder, liquid, or capsule form. Collagen is also found in various skin and hair cosmetic products.

Why Do You Need It?

Eating a healthy diet that includes the nutrients listed above should provide enough collagen. However, some people take a supplement to make sure they reap the many health benefits collagen offers. While more research is needed, here are a few reasons to consider a supplement.

Collagen gives skin its structure to keep it from sagging. Products containing collagen claim they help reduce lines and wrinkles, improve skin’s hydration and elasticity, and boost blood flow to the skin. Could a collagen supplement keep you looking youthful?

Aging leads to the loss of bone density. When this happens, your bones become more brittle. A collagen supplement may increase bone density by building new bone and slowing the aging process.

Many people take a collagen supplement to help treat osteoarthritis. Cartilage is made of collagen. Since osteoarthritis leads to the breakdown of cartilage, it makes sense that a collagen supplement could help rebuild cartilage. Once you do that, you reduce pain and increase mobility caused by osteoarthritis. However, there is little evidence that shows this is the case.

It’s become increasingly popular to take a collagen supplement to help thicken the hair and strengthen nails. Could it work for you? Do some research and find out.

Looking to increase muscle mass and strength? A collagen peptide supplement could help. Add it to your routine on top of your strength-training routine to find out.

What Damages It?

As you age, collagen breaks down more easily in your body. At the same time, your body naturally produces less collagen over time. Fortunately, there are ways to limit collagen loss no matter how old you are.

Start by getting indoors. Spending too much time in the sun exposes you to ultraviolet radiation. While it may give you glowing skin, it also slows collagen production. A diet high in refined carbs and added sugars is also dangerous. Such a diet lessens the strength of collagen in your body. Have an autoimmune disorder? Get it under control. Certain autoimmune disorders can damage collagen. And if you smoke, give it up. Cigarette smoking hinders the body’s production of collagen.