Collagen: what is it for and how to take it

This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

Collagen is an essential substance for the skin as it prevents wrinkles by presenting a natural anti-aging activity .

In addition, it is also essential for healthy bones, joints, muscles and veins. Therefore, its absence affects the most different areas of the body.

“The symptoms are numerous, ranging from sagging skin undergoing changes bone and joint, vascular disorders, bleeding, and degenerative diseases, since collagen is a protein responsible for the connective structure of the organism,” explained Marcella nutróloga Garcez.

Also according to the professional, it is the most abundant protein in the body of animals, representing 25% to 30% of all body protein. However, over the years, people tend to lose it, needing to make its replacement through food or supplement.

Benefits of Collagen

Duarte points out that there are at least 27 types of collagen and they can be found in all connective tissue throughout the body. Bones, tendons, cartilage, veins, skin, teeth and muscles are the structures composed of the fibers of this protein, which provide support for these tissues.

“It is composed of 3 amino acids, glycine, proline and others, therefore, it is a supplementary protein of low biological value, because it does not offer all the essential amino acids, that is, it does not replace other proteins such as meat and eggs , for example”, completes the doctor.

Keeps the skin young

Keeping yourself free of wrinkles or expression lines is a common desire among people. For this reason, there is an increasing demand for natural methods or aesthetic techniques to achieve these goals.

According to the nutritionist Marcella Garcez, this protein is responsible for delaying the appearance of signs of aging. That’s because it offers all the support the skin needs to stay youthful.

“The dermis is supported by the type 1 collagen fibers present in it, hence the importance of these fibers for the healthy and youthful appearance of the skin”, he says.

The substance improves the skin’s elasticity and hydration. This is not counting the wound healing activity . ( 1 )

Strengthens bones and muscles

As protein is one of the main compounds in bone and muscle tissue, it also helps in the maintenance and reconstitution of these structures.

It is important to emphasize that with the lack of the substance in the body, the muscles end up being flaccid and the bones lose density. In addition, the nutrient deficiency impairs the elasticity and motor strength of ligaments and joints.

Therefore, both the natural presence of this protein and its supplementation are effective in fighting diseases that affect bones. Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are some of the examples of treatable problems in these conditions. ( 1 , 2 )

Contributes to pressure control

As stated by Marcella Garcez Duarte, degenerative diseases can be consequences of lack of collagen. An example of this is cardiovascular problems.

However, a satisfactory level of this protein confers a preventive effect against hypertension . This is because it acts as a hypotensive vasodilator, being also an ally for the treatment of high blood pressure . ( 3 )

How to take protein?

The doctor explains that animals, from invertebrates to humans, naturally have this protein in the body. However, its production is affected over time.

Thus, it is necessary to replace this substance through food and, in more extreme cases, supplementation. In the latter case, powdered hydrolyzed collagen is the most used.

Foods with collagen

As a component present in the body of animals, their bones, skin and cartilage are sources of protein, and this includes red and white meat .

But, according to Duarte, to have excellence in the absorption of this nutrient, it is important that the body has good levels of other components. “The synthesis of collagen fibers to maintain the structure of all the body’s connective tissues depends on the adequate supply of proteins (amino acids) and good levels of circulating vitamin C ”.

For this reason, it is necessary to invest in a diet rich in fruit sources of this vitamin such as acerola , papaya , guava , lemon , orange , cashew etc.

Hydrolyzed collagen powder

“ Hydrolyzed collagen is a dietary supplement made from animal collagen fibers that have undergone a process of breaking down by water (hydrolysis) to facilitate absorption, ” explains the Abran nutrologist.

In this formula it can be used in two ways: mixed with water and natural juices or through foods that are fortified with this substance.

In the first case, the consumption of 10 grams daily is indicated, which can be ingested at any time of the day. In the second, you can enjoy the benefits through the consumption of cereal bars, jellies, ice cream, yogurt, etc.

In addition to contributing to health, the collagen in these foods helps to reduce the sugar and fat content. At the same time, they enrich them all with protein. ( 4 )

Frequently Asked Questions

We separated five of the main doubts of Internet users about this substance and its potential in the body, and we asked the doctor Marcella Garcez Duarte to clarify them all!

1- Collagen loses weight?

“At first, the collagen supplement does not lend itself to this purpose, but it can be indicated in a slimming treatment with the objective of preventing the sagging of the skin that results from the weight loss processes”, explains the professional.

But of course, it alone does not work miracles and it takes user awareness. Thus, in order to lose weight in a healthy manner and taking care of body esthetics, a change in habits that encompasses diet and the practice of physical activities is recommended.

2- What is the best age to start taking collagen?

According to the nutrologist, the human body has the ability to synthesize collagen from the first to the last day of life. However, the metabolic failures of the aging process itself lead to a lower renewal and replacement of this protein’s fibers.

Therefore, the more adult a person is, the more collagen he or she will need in the body. Despite this, the lack of vitamin C can also be a factor that interferes with the quality and quantity of protein, regardless of age. For all that, the best way out is to seek professional advice .

3- What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 protein?

“Type 1 collagen mainly makes up the skin/leather and bones, while type 2 collagen makes up the cartilage”, he differentiates.

4- How can vegetarians and vegans replace this substance in the body?

When it comes to supplementing this component, vegetarians and vegans face an obstacle: the supplemental collagen is always of animal origin.

This causes these groups not to use the product, as it goes against the philosophy of life they believe in. Despite this, the nutritionologist explains that there is no need to worry.

“Today there are several supplements that bring amino acids present in collagen fibers, isolated and associated with vitamin C, which guarantee their contribution so that there is no reduction in synthesis, even if the person does not consume foods of animal origin”, he reassures .

5- Is it bad to take this product?

Duarte informs that the supplement is safe and effective , but that it should be used in the doses recommended by a specialist. Thus, taking into account all these precautions, the protein “is practically free of side effects and contraindications and this safety is proven by numerous scientific studies”, he concludes.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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