In the context of physical health and staying young, collagen is touted as an essential source. Collagen is a protein that gives tissues elasticity, tear strength and resistance to pressure.
Collagen, along with hyaluronic acid, is also an anti-aging agent. It gives the skin moisture and a wrinkle-free, soft and smooth appearance. If a collagen deficiency develops, there are possible consequences that you should under no circumstances underestimate.
This article aims to provide you with the essential functions of this protein, as well as tips and tricks for a healthy body and youthful appearance. In the following you will receive valuable information about the various ways of taking this protein.
the essentials in brief
- Collagen has many beneficial properties for our body. It supports anti-aging, muscle regeneration and joint, bone and connective tissue problems.
- Collagen is found in many foods. These primarily include animal products such as bone broth, gelatin, pork and chicken skin and many more. Foods rich in vitamin C, E and zinc particularly stimulate collagen formation.
- Collagen as a dietary supplement comes in the form of powder, tablets, capsules and drinks. You can find these online or in drugstores.
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Definition: what is collagen?
Collagen is the body's most important structural protein. This protein is mainly found in connective tissue and acts like a flexible scaffold.
It gives tissues such as skin, lungs, blood vessels, cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments their elasticity, tear strength and pressure resistance.
Collagen is essential for beautiful, smooth and young-looking skin. (Image source: Park Street / unsplash)
Proteins are assembled from amino acids. The protein collagen consists mainly of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline.
The proportion of each amino acid in collagen is broken down as follows:
- Glycine: 33%
- Proline: 12%
- Hydroxyproline: 10%.
Depending on the composition of the collagen, different types of collagen are distinguished. The properties of each type determine what role collagen plays in the body.
|collagen type I||important for skin, tendons, bones, dentin, fascia, vessels, internal organs|
|Type II collagen||important for cartilage, vitreous body of the eye|
|collagen type III||important for skin, uterus, blood vessels|
|Type IV collagen||important for kidney glomeruli, eye lens, basal lamina of epithelial and endothelial cells|
|Collagen Type V||important for basal lamina of smooth and striated muscle cells|
Background: What you should know about the effects of collagen
Before we share collagen intake tips with you, it's important to get some background information on this protein. We want to answer these frequently asked questions for you in the following paragraphs.
What is the effect of collagen as an anti-aging agent and on the skin and hair?
Collagen as a cosmetic product is suitable against the aging process. Wrinkle-free skin is characterized by a high water content and lots of collagen. Type I collagen is suitable as an anti-aging agent.
The older you get, the more natural collagen production decreases and the drier your skin becomes.
Wrinkles and facial lines appear the less elastic and dry the skin is.
Studies show that the skin aging process begins at the age of 25. The collagen content of the skin decreases by about one percent annually with age. In order to keep the tension, early anti-aging care is particularly advisable. (2)
Over the years, hair also becomes less voluminous and begins to grow back more slowly. Since collagen is composed of amino acids, and since amino acids promote hair growth and keratin formation, it can counteract many hair problems. (3)
You should start taking collagen early enough so that you have beautiful and voluminous hair and smooth, full and youthful skin.
What effect does collagen have on bones and cartilage?
In addition to the skin, bones and cartilage become pressure-resistant and elastic through collagen. The protein collagen is used to build the body. It improves tissue nutrition and regeneration.
Cartilage consists of 70% collagen. A daily intake of collagen type II strengthens the cartilage, promotes blood circulation and reduces pain. Thus, collagen also alleviates the symptoms of arthrosis and rheumatism.
For healthy bones, make sure you have a sufficient supply of calcium and vitamins K1 and K2 and D in your diet.
In childhood and adolescence, the so-called osteoblasts ensure that bone substance is built up. From the age of 30, the ratio of osteoblasts and osteoclasts (bone-degrading cells) is balanced. From the age of 40, the bone resorption process begins.
Collagen is involved in bone building and breaking down processes. The most important thing for healthy bones is daily exercise and a healthy lifestyle. However, you can build bone density with a daily intake of Type II collagen.
Collagen strengthens ligaments and tendons, which minimizes the risk of injury and accelerates muscle regeneration (collagen type III) after heavy exertion.
What is the effect of collagen in the intestine?
Collagen helps break down proteins and soothe your gut lining by repairing damaged cell walls and replenishing them with healing amino acids.
The biggest advantage of collagen for the intestine is its ability to build connective tissue. Collagen helps seal the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
Collagen is a great resource if you have leaky gut, irritable bowel, reflux, or inflammatory bowel disease.(5)
This is why a good bone broth is so beneficial for diarrhea and abdominal pain: it provides a lot of collagen, relieves pain and cramps through heat and replenishes the fluid reserves in the event of diarrhea.(1)
What effect does collagen have on cellulite?
Many women get cellulite on their stomach, buttocks or legs. Strong weight fluctuations, rapid growth and weight gain during puberty or pregnancy leave their marks on the skin as stretch marks.
Stretch marks and cellulite are generally considered to be untreatable. As part of a clinical study, the effectiveness of specific bioactive collagen peptides (BCP) in the treatment of cellulite in normal and overweight women was examined.
Collagen is beneficial to skin health, improving skin texture and cellulite. (Image source: cottonbro/pexels)
The results of the study showed that regular use of BCP over a period of 6 months led to a significant improvement in the appearance of the skin in women suffering from moderate cellulite. Based on the current data, it can be concluded that long-term therapy with orally administered BCP leads to an improvement in cellulite and has a positive effect on skin health. (6)
How can I take collagen and how is collagen absorbed?
You can find collagen in many foods, especially animal products. In addition, numerous plants such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. also contain a lot of collagen. Foods rich in vitamin C and E are particularly important for collagen formation.
In cosmetics, many creams contain collagen and also hyaluronic acid, which provides the skin with elasticity and moisture and has an anti-aging effect. In addition, you will find collagen in different forms for ingestion:
- Collagen Capsules / Tablets
- collagen powder
- collagen for drinking.
Collagen is broken down in the intestine and the building blocks and smaller fragments are absorbed. Collagen hydrolyzate is already "pre-digested"; the fragments are available to the body after just four hours.
There is no storage of collagen in the narrower sense. The building blocks are consumed immediately after ingestion or built into the skin and joints. In order for the body to produce collagen properly, the body needs vitamin C. (7)
What is the right dosage of collagen?
Basically, the body makes the protein collagen itself. It is difficult to recommend an exact dosage for this reason, as it depends on the individual.
This study proved that taking the collagen is safe.
According to a study (2010) in which the side effects and overdose of collagen were examined using animal experiments, there were no toxic effects even at a dosage of 5000 milligrams / kilogram of body weight. (8th)
Although no toxic effects have been identified, you should still be aware of the possible side effects.
As already mentioned, collagen works immediately after ingestion. For noticeable and observable improvements you should take collagen for at least 6 months. You will be able to identify the first improvements in the first few weeks.
What side effects does collagen cause?
Proteins, like collagen, rarely cause allergies. Allergic reactions are more likely to occur with cosmetic or surgical treatments involving collagen.
Side effects only occur in very rare cases. Basically, you should always stick to the recommended consumption amounts so that you can use collagen capsules/tablets/powder safely. The following side effects can occur:
- stomach pain
What promotes the formation of collagen?
In order for the body to form collagen, it needs amino acids and vitamin C. You should combine amino acid-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and bone broth with foods rich in vitamin C. In this way, you enable your body to optimally produce collagen.
Stress, strong sunlight, smoking and chronic diseases lead to the breakdown of collagen!
Foods rich in zinc, silicon and antioxidants - such as rosehip, sea buckthorn, pumpkin seeds or millet - also promote the formation of collagen and delay its breakdown.
Effects of collagen: The best tips & tricks for a healthy body and a young appearance
In order to identify your preference regarding the different ways of taking collagen, we present them in detail.
All possible types of collagen supplements that will help you maintain a healthy body and youthful appearance are presented in this section.
Types of oral collagen
Collagen as a dietary supplement comes in several forms. It is important to note which additives such as hyaluronic acid, vitamins, etc. are present and which types of callogen are contained in the preparation. That depends on what you need the callogen for.
Information on each form of oral collagen and its advantages and disadvantages can be found in this section.
Collagen Capsules / Tablets
Collagen capsules or tablets are ideal for you if you travel a lot. These protein tablets or capsules are taken with water. You don't need to chew these up. Simply swallow and your collagen supply is secured.
You can decide on the dosage when shopping or when ordering. You can also find collagen capsules and tablets with numerous additional vitamins, such as zinc, vitamin C, etc.Advantages
- Well transportable
- Different dosages
- Plant-based collagen cheap
- Additives (vitamins) often included
In addition, capsules and tablets made from plant-based collagen are generally cheaper than, for example, plant-based collagen powder.
Collagen powder, just like collagen, comes in different forms, each with different properties and abilities.
Basically you will find collagen powder for:
- collagen type I
- Type II collagen
- collagen type III
- Collagen hydrolyzate (combination of the three types).
A big advantage of the powder is that it is tasteless and liquid-soluble. Should you choose a flavored powder, you will also find this option to purchase.Advantages
- liquid soluble
- environmentally friendly
- Cheaper in bulk
In contrast to the capsules, collagen in powder form uses less packaging and is therefore environmentally friendly. In addition, you save a lot of money if you decide to buy a bulk pack of collagen powder.
The so-called collagen drinking ampoules do not require any liquid. They can be taken right out of the package and come in different flavors.
Normally, the collagen drinking ampoules contain additional active ingredients such as vitamins, hyaluronic acid, etc. They are also very suitable for transport, but are a bit more expensive.Advantages
- Good for transport
- Different dosages
- Easy to take
- Does not require liquid
- Other active ingredients often included
Other collagen sources
You can also get collagen through a good diet. Many foods contain collagen. In addition, foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc accelerate the natural formation of collagen.
Animal products in particular contain a high amount of collagen. The bone broth from beef , chicken and fish , as well as pork skin , chicken skin and salmon skin have a high collagen content.
Fish, especially salmon, is considered an excellent choice to provide your body with numerous amino acids. Don't forget that skin contains the highest percentage of collagen. (Image Source: Caroline Attwood / unsplash)
In general, the highest percentage of collagen is found in the bones, cartilage, tendons and skin of animals.
The problem is that these are also the parts that people don't normally eat. Come up with new delicious recipes that include these parts of animal products.
Eggs are also considered an anti-aging food as they contain proline and glycine. Collagen consists mainly of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline.
Plant-based (vegan/vegetarian) collagen
In addition to animal products, numerous plant foods contain collagen. Other fruits and vegetables contain important vitamins, such as vitamins C, E, D, etc., which fuel collagen formation.
Berries , such as raspberries, blueberries, etc., have a high content of vitamin C. Vitamin C is involved in binding amino acids and thus promotes collagen formation. In addition, they also have antioxidants.
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Citrus fruits are also rich in vitamin C and thus stimulate collagen formation.
Combine products rich in vitamin C with products rich in amino acids to boost collagen formation. Vitamin C is also considered a highly effective antioxidant. (Image source: Alex Block / unsplash)
Avocados are rich in vitamin E. This vitamin is also needed by your body to form collagen.
Peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, yeast flakes are also rich in glycine and proline. Combine them, preferably in a smoothie, porridge, etc., with foods that are particularly rich in vitamin C, such as:
- acerola powder
- rosehip powder
- sea buckthorn juice
- nettle seeds
Medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake, chaga and porcupine are particularly rich in antioxidants. These also boost collagen production. (1)
Everyone needs collagen for a beautiful body, glowing skin, strong muscles and healthy joints. Collagen is a good anti-aging agent because of the high content of amino acids. Many cosmetic products, such as creams, contain collagen, hyaluronic acid and other active ingredients that are particularly beneficial for your skin.
Collagen is formed by your body, so it needs foods with amino acids and vitamins such as C and E. Animal products in particular, but also plant products, have a high collagen content. Daily collagen intake is necessary for anti-aging purposes.
You will find numerous collagen powders, capsules, tablets and drinks that contain different types of collagen. The collagen types determine the functions and properties of this protein, as well as how it affects the body.
- Konrad Kaspar Knops, Jin-Woo, BaeBone Brox GmbH.
- Daisy Sinds, 2020, Funke Digital GmbH.
- Tatjana Befuss, 2019, FOCUS online.
- Christina Liersch, 2020, Vital.
- Julia Tulipan (nutritionist), Gruber Gesundheit GmbH.
- Michael Schunck, Vivian Zague, Steffen Oesser, Ehrhardt Proksch, 2015, PubMed.
- Oliver-Kai Link (Managing Director of Publishing), 2019, A & O Gesundheit Medien- und Verlagsgesellschaft mbH.
- Palma Ann Marone, Francis C Lau, Ramesh C Gupta, Manashi Bagchi, Debasis Bagchi, 2010, PubMed.