For those of you who are into trivia, if we asked you: What’s the most abundant protein in your body? How many of you would know the correct answer?
For those of you who said, ‘Collagen!’ Congratulations because you are correct! For everyone who didn’t know the answer, the good news is that you’ll always know that collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body from now on, and you’ll never get that trivia question wrong ever again.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a hard, insoluble, and fibrous protein that makes up one-third of the protein in our bodies, and comprises three quarters of our skin. It includes the amino acids proline, glycine, and lysine.
There are at least 16 types of collagen, but at least 80% to 90% of the collagen in our bodies consists of type I, type II, and type III collagen. The collagens found in our bodies are both strong and flexible, and some types of collagen fibrils, gram-for-gram, are even stronger than steel.
However, as we age, the existing collagen in our bodies breaks down and we start to produce less collagen, as well. This process starts as early as our mid-twenties, with our collagen levels dropping one percent each year from there. There are some additional factors that can deplete the levels of collagen within our bodies such as consuming a high-sugar diet, smoking, and having too much exposure to sunlight.
Ways We Can Get More Collagen
We can up our collagen intake either through collagen supplements (collagen powder, liquid collagen, collagen pills), or by producing collagen naturally in our bodies from the amino acids and vitamins and minerals that we eat.
Producing Collagen Naturally In Our Bodies
Collagen is naturally produced in our bodies by combining amino acids, the building blocks of proteins found in food. To produce collagen, our bodies need proline, glycine, vitamin C, zinc, and copper. Egg whites, dairy, and mushrooms are sources of proline; glycine is found in pork skin, chicken skin, and gelatin; citrus fruits and bell peppers are good sources of vitamin C; zinc can be found in beef, milk, cheese, nuts, seeds, and shellfish; and cashews, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, and lentils all provide copper.
The best way for us to support collagen absorption is by eating a variety of plant-based foods, including vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans. Plants also provide a variety of phytonutrients, which can help our bodies make collagen. Therefore, a healthful diet can help our bodies both produce and absorb collagen.
The three main forms of collagen supplements are hydrolyzed collagen (also known as collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptides), gelatin, and raw.
Hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides, are made of the same amino acids as collagen, but they’re more easily absorbed by our bodies because they are shorter chains of amino acids than collagen. When it comes to absorbing collagen, smaller peptides can more easily pass through our intestinal barrier and into our bloodstream, allowing our bodies to utilize absorbed collagen peptides efficiently
in However, it’s important to note that all forms of collagen are broken down into amino acids during digestion and then absorbed and used to build collagen or other proteins that our bodies need.
And while collagen supplements are available in pill, powder, or liquid form, powders tend to be the most popular supplemental collagen form because they’re easy to add to smoothies, coffee, or water.
Should I Take Collagen?
As for whether or not you should take collagen, that’s a personal decision, which only you can decide for yourself. Collagen supplements are a source of protein, and can be a convenient way to add extra protein in your diet. This is especially important if you’re leading an active lifestyle, as research suggests that athletic people can stand to use more protein in their diets than sedentary individuals.
We can protect our collagen by eating healthy and exercising, and by avoiding tobacco and excess sun exposure. By doing this, we’ll be able to keep our skin, bones, muscles, and joints healthy for longer.
Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine and does not contain recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This unique formula provides 18g of protein, plus a B-vitamin complex to support metabolic energy.