Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It accounts for about 30% of the body’s total protein. It’s the primary building block of your body’s skin, muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. It’s also found in your organs, blood vessels and intestinal lining.
Collagen is also produced naturally in the body by combining amino acids, the building blocks of proteins found in food. Your body uses proline, glycine, vitamin C, zinc and copper to produce collagen.
There are 28 types of collagen; the main five types of collagen are:
- Type I. This type makes up 90% of your body’s collagen. It’s densely packed and used to structure your skin, bones, tendons and ligaments.
- Type II. This type is found in elastic cartilage, which provides joint support.
- Type III. This type is found in muscles, arteries and organs.
- Type IV. This type is found in the layers of your skin.
- Type V. This type is found in the cornea of your eyes, some layers of skin, hair and tissue of the placenta.
Your body produces less collagen as you age, and existing collagen breaks down faster, making it harder for your body to produce more. As a result, many people turn to collagen supplements. These supplements are usually powders, but capsules and liquid supplements are also available. Women experience a significant reduction in collagen production after menopause. It’s normal for everyone to experience a decline in collagen production after age 60.
Because collagen makes up so many critical parts of our bodies, it is beneficial and essential to maintaining good health. Some commonly cited benefits of collagen supplements are stronger bones, skin elasticity and hydration, thicker hair, healthier nails, reduced osteoarthritis pain, increased muscle mass, improved gut health, and promoted weight loss and faster metabolism.
You can add collagen to your diet by eating foods high in collagen. Protein sources such as beef, chicken, and eggshell membranes are primary sources of collagen. Bone broth is an excellent way to get collagen. Collagen can help you achieve greater health.