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Home » Supplements » Collagen » What Is Collagen? 7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Collagen Protein

What Is Collagen? 7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Collagen Protein

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If you’re still relatively young, then we assume you still have a full set of hair, supple skin, and full range of body motion. You have collagen to thank for all this. What is collagen, anyways? Maybe you seen it as a supplement, but do you really know what this is? We’ll explain all there is to know about collagen and why it does your body wonders.

Collagen at a Glance

Collagen is the most abundant protein, comprising about 30% of all proteins in the body. More specifically, collagen structure is made up of the amino acids arginine, proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. This specific amino acid profile makes it different than other proteins, such as casein or the whey found in your typical protein supplement.

Next to water, your skin, hair, nails, cartilage, and tendons make up of mostly collagen protein. Factors like old age and poor dietary habits lead to collagen decline. This accounts for wrinkly skin, joint health issues, and hair whitening as you near your golden years. On top of that, a depletion of collagen also leads to muscle atrophy and brittle bones. In short, you’ll age prematurely.

If you’re still unsure about what collagen protein is, just think of it this way. Collagen makes up:

  • 70% to 80% of your skin
  • 10% of your muscle
  • 30% of your bones
  • 80% of your tendons
  • 60% of your cartilage

Where Does Collagen Come From?

Your body acquires amino acids from protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, and fish. Animal bones are especially high in the amino acids that make up collagen, as are the scales in fish. As the body breaks down the dietary amino acids, nutrients like vitamin C aid in the process of collagen synthesis.

In short, the different amino acids are bound together like different strands of rope to form collagen fibrils. In turn, the fibrils bind to form collagen protein. The full collagen structure is a bit more complex than what we just described, but this is a good layman’s explanation.

What Is Collagen (in Food)?

As mentioned, meat and fish sources contain the highest source of collagen. However, not all collagen is created equal. Different collagen types entail different bodily functions and benefits. We will go through the specifics of each type in a different post. For now, here is a brief overview:

  • Type I collagen – is the most common collagen type and aids in gastrointestinal health, restful sleep, white blood cell production, and memory. Bovine bone broth is an excellent source of type I collagen.
  • Type II collagen – This is the second-most common and is the primary collagen source that makes up cartilage. Chicken broth is a high source of this type of collagen and is recommended for joint pain sufferers.
  • Type III collagen – aids in the production of type I collagen and shares many of the same functions as type I.

There are more types beyond the first three, including type IV, V, VI, and going all the way up to XVI. However, types I, II, and III make up over 90% of all the collagen. There is no need for information overload and go into every single one of these in detail. If you want to know what collagen protein is, the first three types are all you need to know.

Collagen Is Good for You

Why do you need water? Because the body is 70% water. Collagen is the second-most abundant molecule in the body, hence why you also need sufficient collagen from dietary sources. If you’re still curious about what collagen is, we recommend checking out our articles on bone broth.

If you’re not a big meat eater or broth drinker, you can always get collagen in supplement form. This is why we included this all-important protein in our new Total Collagen supplement.

We’ll outline the benefits of collagen with the hard science to back it up…

1. Collagen Promotes Healthy Skin and Hair

Collagen production naturally declines with age. The lack of collagen is what accounts for wrinkly and saggy skin. In men, it also accounts for hair loss. Instead of buying cosmetic creams or Rogaine, we recommend supplementing with collagen.

Collagen improves skin health and elasticity, making the skin firmer and suppler. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, female subjects that took collagen hydrolysate supplements over an eight-week period saw a remarkable improvement in skin moisture, dermal elasticity, and less skin roughness. The subjects reported very little side effects or none at all.

For women planning on showing skin on their next beach trip, they should know that collagen also reduces cellulite. Cellulite is what gives you the dreaded “cottage cheese thighs.” Those little bumps and stretch marks become more visible because surface skin layer becomes thinner as collagen decreases.

2. Collagen Lowers Joint Pain

Do you feel the onset of arthritis? Do you feel a pounding sensation on your knees when you run or even walk? Are your elbows, wrists, or fingers throbbing when you type or use a writing instrument? The joint areas are likely lacking in collagen, which acts as a glue or cushion of sorts that prevents friction between the connecting bones. Think of collagen as lubricant oil that prevents friction and heat buildup between metal moving parts in a car engine.

One 24-week study verified that collagen is effective for reducing joint pain in athletes who otherwise show no signs of joint health disease. Another study also found that the health benefits of collagen extend to patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis. That’s not all; yet another research found that the protein is also effective for treating rheumatoid arthritis and similar inflammatory diseases.

3. Collagen Is Good for the Gut

Your gut is the epicenter of your overall health. This area of your body has a direct and indirect effect on your brain, hormonal, and immune health. Do you frequently experience bloating? More seriously, have you been diagnosed with a gut-related disease, such as leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s, acid reflux, or irritable bowel syndrome?

One study found an inverse correlation between collagen levels and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In other words, as collagen levels decrease, IBD instances increase. This occurs because collagen-based amino acids make up the internal tissue that lines the gastrointestinal tracts. As the inner connective tissue lining thins out, the tracts become vulnerable to irritation. This is also what accounts for much of the aforementioned gut-related disorders.

To really ramp up gut health and improve digestion, get more collagen in your diet while also consuming probiotic-rich foods.

4. Collagen Increases Lean Muscle Mass

Collagen benefits extend to the gym. For all the gym rats and muscle heads out there, take notice. The protein helps through a number of pathways. This is not to say, though, that collagen has steroid-like effects; don’t go injecting yourself with collagen-filled syringes as a pre-workout ritual.

Collagen helps convert glucose into energy, which your muscles require for recovery. If you’re active in the gym, you may also be familiar with the amino acid arginine. This is the main ingredient found in most nitric oxide (NO) supplements due to its ability to increase blood vessel dilation. In turn, this increases nutrient transportation after a heavy workout. A 12-week study showed that arginine promotes lean gains in muscle mass and strength increase.

Collagen, as it turns out, is rich in arginine.

For maximum muscle gains, we recommend collagen supplement or food in conjunction with a natural testosterone booster like Testro-X.

Even if you’re not trying to pack on muscle, collagen still improves overall health by strengthening your immune system and increasing your body’s ability to use antioxidants.

5. Collagen Increases Strength of Hair, Nails, and Teeth

Do you have brittle nails that frequently split? Is your dentist seeing signs of periodontal disease even though you brush and floss daily? One study found that collagen could have therapeutic effects for treating hair loss and dermal diseases. Here is another study that found that collagen may play a vital role in teeth enamel formation. Enamel is the outer coating that protects the teeth. Once enamel is stripped away from factors like consuming acidic foods, its gone forever and cannot regenerate.

6. Collagen Is Good for the Liver

Glycine is one of the key amino acids used to form collagen. Glycine is also known to protect the liver by absorbing harmful endocrine disruptors, such as toxins and allergens from food and the air you breathe. In a 1998 study, glycine was found to have a healing effect on liver damage from long-term alcohol intake.

For optimal results, we recommend combining collagen intake with regular intermittent fasting. During your fasting period, consume a serving of collagen-rich bone broth. Both the broth and the fasting helps detoxify the liver and cleanses it from years of toxin accumulation. In addition, the broth also quells hunger.

7. Collagen Improves Blood Flow

Last but not least: collagen boosts blood flow. Aside from glycine, proline is another amino acid that makes up the collagen protein. Proline keeps blood pressure in check and improves blood flow by removing fat buildup from arterial walls. A study at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed that collagen reduces arterial stiffening, which is a big risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

We also mentioned earlier that collagen is rich in arginine. Dilated blood vessels also mean better blood flow to the heart.

If poor circulation and associated conditions like varicose veins is a problem, then we recommend a supplement stack of collagen and a product like Redwood.

Collagen Benefits Speak for Themselves

As you can now see with the more-than-handful of independent studies, collagen benefits are the real deal. Whether you get them through food or supplementation (including hydrolyzed collagen powder), make a commitment to make this vital protein a mainstay in your diet. You’ll notice drastic improvements both in the gym and from a general health standpoint.

Here at UMZU, we have an incredible, comprehensive collagen supplement available called Total Collagen Protein.

How Many Collagen Types are There?

Collagen types are numerous. There is actually a total of about 16 known collagen varieties, but about 90% of the collagen in the body consist of Type I, II, and III. Humans only have Types I, II, III, V, and X. Type I makes up around 80%, so we’re naturally going to give it the most attention. All the others are found in different species throughout the animal kingdom and are not relevant to this post.

Type I Collagen

Most collagen types you find in stores in supplement form are Type I collagen. This is the protein that makes up our skin, bones, teeth, joints, ligaments, tendons, and scar tissue. Collagen Type I is typical in anti-aging and wrinkle-prevention creams. This is because the protein promotes the elasticity of the skin and minimizes skin lines and other features associated with old age. Aesthetics aside, this collagen also makes up the lining of your gastrointestinal tracts, so it’s a crucial protein from a gut health standpoint.

Type II Collagen

This is the second-most common and is the primary collagen source that makes up cartilage. Chicken broth is a high source of this type of collagen and is recommended for joint pain sufferers.

Type III Collagen

Type III collagen aids in the production of type I collagen and shares many of the same functions as type I.

There are more types beyond the first three, including type IV, V, VI, and going all the way up to XVI. However, types I, II, and III make up over 90% of all the collagen. There is no need for information overload and go into every single one of these in detail. If you want to know what collagen protein is, the first three types are all you need to know.

If you’re not a big meat eater or broth drinker, you can always get collagen in supplement form. This is why we included this all-important protein in our Total Collagen supplement. Go check it out here at UMZU!

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Take Total Collagen Protein To Improve Skin, Hair, Joints, and Muscle

It’s time for you to finally get back to a high-performance state of health quickly and naturally by using Total Collagen as a daily supplement.

Ryan Tronier

As managing editor for UMZU, Ryan Tronier leads a talented team of writers, producers and fitness experts to create content that connects with passionate audiences.
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