What is Collagen?
Collagen is secreted mainly by our connective tissue cells. Collagen is the chief structural protein in the human body. It provides resilient elasticity to skin, hair, ligaments and tendons, and strength and structure to bones and cartilage.
Collagen is made up of amino acids, primarily glycine, proline, alanine, hydroxyproline, and glutamic acid. Hydrolyzed collagen and collagen peptides are smaller pieces of collagen which are easier to digest.
Collagen, like other proteins, is broken down into amino acids by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine. These amino acids then enter the blood stream via the hepatic portal to the liver. Whatever amino acids the liver does not use get released into the bloodstream for the rest of the body. With the help of Vitamin C, cells construct collagen from available amino acids.
There are at least 16 different types of collagen, but 80-90 percent of them belong to types 1, 2 and 3.
Endogenous collagen is natural collagen, synthesised by the body. Exogenous collagen is synthetic, coming from an outside source, such as supplements.
Collagen production declines with age and exposure to factors such as smoking, high sugar consumption and UV light.
Collagen for medical use can originate from humans, cows, pigs or sheep.
Supplementation sources can be bovine, marine or avian.
Double-blind placebo-controlled studies indicate Consensus: Yes and Maybe (however the evidence is in NO way conclusive)
Nutritional Solution – by conveniently adding protein in a diet
Consuming digestible collagen provides the body with the necessary amino acids to build and restore collagen-based tissues.
It also improves the elasticity and moisture of skin.
It helps reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Collagen is effective in reducing joint pain, stiffness and degeneration – improving joint function accumulating in the cartilage and helping to rebuild the extracellular matrix.
It helps build muscle and burn fat.
Collagen is a major component of muscle tissue and contains a concentrated amount of glycine, an amino acid involved in the synthesis of creatine (thought to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass, and help the muscles recover more quickly during exercise).
Being a protein, collagen contributes to total protein intake, and has been shown to be helpful for maintaining muscle mass, particularly in the elderly.
The only drawback is that collagen is not particularly high in leucine, the primary amino acid responsible for initiating muscle protein synthesis (or muscle growth).
Conclusion: don’t rely on collagen for all of your daily protein needs—choose a variety of quality protein sources.
To see the benefits of collagen peptides, you need at least 5 grams daily.
Do we need to use caution so as not to fall prey to trends?
Collagen is cited as one of the biggest current wellness trends for 2018 and 2019.
The newest super-ingredient had a forerunner – bone broth – which lacked mass marketing appeal compared to straight collagen in peptide form, a tasteless, easy-to-dissolve powder, which can deliver a dose of protein to our morning coffee. Even more convenient than whey protein.
Remember to keep coming back to the basic building blocks of clean healthy eating focusing on whole foods, plus regular exercise, sufficient sleep, moderating stress…
Suggestion: Practice wariness about widespread anecdotal evidence and marketing claims versus evidence- based practice which requires extensive research, objectivity and considerable time to analyse.
To conclude begs the question: Collagen Health Hoax or Superfood?
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