Collagen is a type of protein found in human tissues and formed by fibroblasts and cells. Its main task is to strengthen the connective tissue and maintain the integrity of our body. Providing elasticity and firmness to the skin, keeping our joints, tendons, and organs together are other tasks. Collagen loss, which increases with aging, causes joint disorders, cellulite concentrated in the legs and hips, and skin wrinkles. Excessive collagen loss of the skin can be prevented by the consumption of collagen-containing foods and collagen supplements, quitting smoking, and the use of collagen-containing moisturizers.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that is abundant in our body. This protein fiber makes up about a third of all protein in our body. It is found in bone, muscle, cartilage, skin, tendons, blood vessels, and the digestive system. It renews the dead skin cells, increases the elasticity of our skin, and keeps it tight. It binds joints and tendons together like an adhesive that helps the body stay together. ( 1 )
Collagen, which forms connective and connective tissues, acts as a protective barrier, protecting our skin from toxins and other harmful factors. Its basic building block is connective tissue cells called fibroblasts. As the main component of our hair and nails, it also directly affects our nail and hair health.
What is collagen for?
The main task of collagen, which constitutes a large part of the body’s connective tissue, such as 80%, is to create a network that forms the skin structure by giving the skin strength, flexibility, and strength with elastin. In other words, our body parts cannot stay together without collagen in our body. Collagen; As a building block, it holds bones and muscles together, protects organs in our body, and increases skin elasticity. ( 2 )
However, after the age of 25, collagen production slows down in our body. After the age of 35, this slowdown accelerates and begins to feel its effects more. When the amount of collagen in our skin starts to decrease, the skin begins to lose its elasticity and firmness. As a result, as our age progresses, it becomes inevitable that we will encounter sagging, wrinkles, and even joint pain in our skin.
There are at least 16 known types of collagen in the human body. However, 80-90% of the total collagen in our body consists of types 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10. We can classify collagen types as follows:
- Type 1: It is the most abundant in the human body among all types of collagen. It gives tightness and elasticity to the skin, supports bones, and keeps tissues together.
- Type 2: It takes care of our joint health by contributing to cartilage production in connective tissues.
- Type 3: It has many functions such as forming the heart blood vessels and blood tissue, providing elasticity and firmness to the skin.
- Type 4: Digestive and type 4 collagen that form the surface of our respiratory organs, muscle, fat, and plays an important role in the formation of basal lamina surrounding organs.
- Type5: Responsible for the formation of tissue and cell surface in the placenta. It makes the surface of the developing organ provide oxygen and nutrients to the baby in the uterus during pregnancy. It also cleans waste.
- Type10: In addition to joint cartilages, it also takes part in the formation of new bones. It heals bone fractures and repairs synovial joints. ( 3 )
Benefits of collagen
Considering hair health as well as skin health, collagen has many contributions to our eye and joint health. The most important benefits can be listed as follows:
1. It reduces cellulite
It also prevents the formation of cellulite, which is another inevitable consequence of aging and provides an improvement in the skin tissue. By tightening the connective tissue, it relieves cellulite that causes a bad appearance in the hips and legs, especially in women.
2. Maintains the health of the digestive system
As the connective tissue of our intestines, it supports and strengthens the protective layer of the digestive system. With the use of collagen supplements, intestinal health can be monitored and gastrointestinal diseases can be fought.
3. Strengthens nails, hair, and teeth
It is the building block of nails, hair, and teeth. It prevents hair loss and strengthens nails. By directly related to dental health, it reduces the risk of problems such as gingival recession and gum bleeding.
4. Protects liver health
It improves blood flow and cleanses the body from harmful toxins, while also taking care of heart health. Boiled bone broth, a rich source of collagen, is one of the easiest ways to clean the liver. Thanks to a 3-day bone broth detox, positive improvements in liver health can be achieved.
5. Treats leaky gout and bowel disease
It helps the breakdown of proteins and regenerates the damaged cell wall in the intestines. It also has a relaxing effect on the intestinal lining. With the collagen serum concentration used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, the symptoms of many stomach problems such as acid reflux, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease can be alleviated.
6. Protects heart health
The amino acid proline in collagen minimizes fat accumulation in the arteries. It contributes to the control of blood pressure by repairing the tissue in the joints and arteries. It prevents the formation of dangerous plaque in the arteries and allows the arteries to expand and the circulation in blood vessels to accelerate.
Collagen benefits the skin
It helps the person look younger by alleviating the signs of aging. When it is present in the skin insufficiently amount, it enables the person to have brighter and more vibrant skin. Wrinkles, skin loosening, and skin dryness was seen on the skin with aging can be seriously prevented with collagen supplements. ( 5 )
1. Collagen benefits for muscles
It leads to muscle building and fat burning. There is some glycine in the components of collagen, which is responsible for creatine synthesis. It is a very important component of muscle mass, it accelerates fat burning as well as muscle building. Collagen supplementation given to patients in the treatment of sarcopenia, known as muscle mass loss, strengthens the muscles.
2. Collagen benefits for the eyes
It directly affects the health of the cornea and protects the health of the eyes. It reduces the possibility of the person getting many eye problems originating from the cornea.
3. Collagen benefits for hair
First of all, it helps you to have lush and voluminous hair by providing more solid and stronger hair follicles. It also treats your hair loss and thinning problems.
4. Collagen benefits for joints
Due to the advancement of age, the weakening of the cartilage in our body leads to stiffness and inflammation in the joints. With collagen supplements and collagen-rich food consumption, the pain and inflammation in the joints can be reduced. It helps relieve arthritis symptoms as well as joint pain.
For the treatment of swollen joints and joint injuries, doctors prescribe type 2 collagen supplements, mostly made from chicken necks, to patients.
5. Collagen benefits for bones
Contributes to bone health by strengthening bones. Consuming collagen supplements and foods containing collagen increases bone density and strength in our body. It also prevents bone resorption. ( 6 )
Although the main cause of collagen loss is ‘aging’, this process can be accelerated depending on different factors. The most important factors leading to collagen loss are:
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Increase in the amount of cortisol secreted by the body due to stress
- Wrong and poor eating habits
- Exposure to toxins (environmental pollution, etc.)
- Chronic inflammation of the LAN
- Sleep disorder and not getting enough sleep
- The increase in the number of free radicals in our body
- Glycation (consumption of sugar and refined products)
- Some treatments make it difficult to absorb vitamins and minerals in the body.
Who should take collagen supplements?
Supplements, which differ in the form of nutritional supplements, drinks, and skincare products, can be used by men and women over 25 years old. Especially if you have started to identify fine wrinkles or lines on your skin, if you frequently encounter hair loss, breakage in your nails, if you want to have younger and more vibrant skin, if you complain of joint pain; You can start using supplements.
Collagen syrup, supplement
Collagens syrup, lycopene, vitamin C, quercetin, etc. is an effective supplement. It is rich in ingredients. It is mostly used by athletes interested in sports that require intense skeletal movement. This syrup taken orally starts to show its effects in a short time. This food supplement should be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers, and diabetics under the supervision of a doctor. ( 7 )
Collagens powder, which can be added to hot drinks and bakery products, and collagen-containing moisturizers used in skincare are the other most preferred supplements.
It is found in high amounts in C and A vitamins. The consumption of foods containing plenty of vitamin A and vitamin C can increase the amount of collagen in the skin and body.
Collagen supplement for the skin
You can protect your skin against the effects of aging with a natural skin mask prepared from materials containing collagen. If you wish, you can fight wrinkles and fine lines on your skin by using collagen-containing moisturizing creams.
How is collagen obtained?
There is more than one method for us to gain collagen in our body. Use of collagen-containing skincare materials, regular consumption of collagen-rich food and nutrients, nutritional supplements in the form of syrup and powder; are the easiest methods you can apply. High levels of collagen are also present in bone broth and gelatin.
How should collagen be used?
You can use powdered gelatine, which is a cooked form of collagens, by adding it to your soups and meat dishes. By frequently including fish, chicken, cow, and beef in your diet, you can significantly eliminate the collagen loss of your body and skin. Before using supplements in capsule or tablet form, you should always remember to consult a doctor. Otherwise, you may experience some unwanted side effects. ( 8 )
How to prepare collagen at home?
You can prepare an effective skin mask by using some of the ingredients in your home to make your skin look younger and more beautiful. You can strengthen your skin by periodically applying one of the skin masks rich in collagens, such as egg and cucumber, avocado, and carrot.
To prepare the highly effective egg mask, firstly beat the white part of the egg with a mixer until it foams. Then apply the mask all over your skin, except your eyes and lips. Wait 30 minutes and rinse your skin with plenty of lukewarm water. When you apply this mask to your skin once or twice a week, you can get a more radiant look.
Side effects and harms of collagen supplements
- Skin rash
- Nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing
- Muscle pains
- Heart rhythm disorder
- Hypercalcemia (high calcium in the blood)
- Bad smell in the mouth
- Hypersensitivity reactions
- Feeling tired
These side effects are mostly seen in people who are sensitive to the active ingredients in supplements or who overdose. Especially if you have an autoimmune disorder, you should avoid the use of supplements. If you experience one or more of the above side effects, you should see your doctor immediately.
What foods is collagen in?
Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, foods containing plenty of sulfur, foods containing vitamins C and A, soy and soy products, and meat are essential foods containing plenty of collagen. We can list the foods rich in collagen as follows:
- Beef and cow meat, chicken, deer, goat, and ox meat; There is a lot of collagen, especially in the animal’s bones, skin, and offal area.
- Gelatin, known as the powder form of collagen, is a low-calorie type.
- Fruits containing vitamin C, such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, kiwi, and pineapple.
- Sulfur-containing foods such as green and black olives, celery, onions, garlic
- Red fruits and lycopene-containing fruits such as red peppers, apples, strawberries, cherries
- Omega 3 fatty acids, especially in fish scales, salmon, and tuna
- Carrots, orange vegetables such as pumpkin, tomatoes, kale, beets, spinach, and eggplant
- Bone broth and trotters are literally a source of collagens.
Bone broth soup contains lots of Collagens
Trotter Soup is the best source of collagens
How is a bone broth made?
Put the bone marrow bones you bought in a large pot. Add two fingers of water and boil. If you wish, you can add onions and any spices you want to the water to add flavor. When the buttonholes begin to protrude through the bone, cover, and strain. If you want to use bone broth as a bouillon, you can fill it in ice molds, put it in the freezer and store it by freezing it in small jars.
Trotter Soup Recipe
- 4 pieces of lamb’s legs
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 glass of yogurt
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Chili peppers and oil
Preparation: Clean the legs thoroughly. Wash thoroughly before cooking. Put it in the pan and add enough water to it. (3 lt.) Boil for 2.5 hours. If the meat is separated from the bone at the end of this period, it is cooked. Then drain the water into another pot. If the remaining water is not enough, you can add water to it. Meanwhile, separate the meat from the bone.
To season the soup; crush the garlic. Add the yogurt, flour, egg, and salt and whisk. Mix this mixture well with the soup water and put the pan on the fire again. Boil it a little while stirring over medium heat and add the leg meat that you have separated from the bones. Heat a little more and serve with peppered oil if you wish.