The human body thrives on macro and micronutrients. Most of the essential micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, and macronutrients are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. The most common protein in the body is collagen. This is found in skin, nails, arteries, joints, bones, and muscles. Production of collagen occurs daily, but slow down with age. Vitamin C and enzymes facilitate production.
Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) is a free radical that degrade collagen. Factors such as; alcohol, smoking, sun exposure, inflammation, excessive caffeine intake, etc. Increase ROS production. Vitamin C contributes to the synthesis, facilitates hydroxylation of proline to hydroxyproline (improve the structural integrity of collagen), and enhances expression of the procollagen gene in the body.
Shortage of collagen leads to wrinkles, joint problems, skin dryness, and loss of bone mass, commonly seen in aging. Aging usually becomes prominent after 30 years of age. After 30 years, the loss of collagen is usually higher than production. There is a need for a balance between the production and loss to reduce the aging process. A nutritional diet plan and supplementation helps to achieve the goal. Supplements are faster in the supply of collagen for the body. When we take collagen supplements, we tend to have better skin health, improved joint health, increased muscle mass, reduced bone loss, and improved heart health.
How does collagen work?
Collagen and Skin
The collagen roles in human, as highlighted above, is diverse. The most important is the role of collagen on the skin. Collagen helps to strengthen the skin. This improves the elasticity and hydration of the skin. The role implies that when there is a loss of collagen, you tend to have dry skin, and wrinkles start forming. Collagen is found in the extracellular matrix, which is a network made up of macromolecules. This network determines the physical properties of the body tissues. The presence of collagen in the matrix formed the fibroblast that provides the strength to make the skin looks younger. A loss results in wrinkles. Collagens also help replace or restore dead skin cells.
Collagen and our joints
In our joints, collagen plays an essential role in helping to maintain the integrity of the cartilage. It is an important matrix component of the articular cartilage. It helps in the formation of the collagen fibrils, which provides the mechanical integrity essential for a joint. The collagen molecules are made up of three polypeptide chains, which are a helical structured that contains glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. It automatically stimulates cartilage growth to help prevent the wear and tear that might be caused by repeated movements. Collagen also offers some anti-inflammatory role in the joint which helps reduce joint pain. It can be considered as the active ingredient needed to support joint comfort, flexibility, and mobility.
Collagen and bone health
Collagen plays a crucial role in bone structure and integrity. It helps keep bone strong. Collagen degradation increases with age hence affect the structural integrity of the bone. This may lead to osteoporosis, with a higher risk of bone fracture. The maturation process of collagen in the bone helps build the structure and resist mechanical forces. The non-enzymatic process involving collagen formation in bones also helps reduce the sugars in the bone tissue. In situations where there are problems with collagen production and maturation in bone, there is increased bone fragility, which leads to either osteoporosis or osteogenesis imperfecta.
Collagen and muscle mass
Collagen forms about 1-10% of muscle tissue. It is essential to keep the muscle strong and to function accordingly. It is both present in smooth and skeletal muscles. We understand that collagen creates a sheath around muscle fibers. This helps provide support and protection for the muscle. It helps create interlink between the muscular cells to achieve the needed prevention against mechanical distortion, which occurs during contraction. Problems with collagen thereby lead to deterioration and weakening of muscles hence less capacity to carry out the essential muscle function.
Collagen and Heart Health
Collagen contributes to the structural integrity of the arteries, which carries blood to the heart muscles. Collagen degradation in the body may affect the structure of arteries leading to weakness and fragility. In situations where the arteries supplying heart muscles are affected, it may lead to heart attack and stroke.
Collagen is essential to our body. The most crucial roles of collagen in the body include prevention of the rate of aging, improve joint, muscle, and heart health. Other important functions relate to the increased strength of hair and nails and promote weight loss and faster metabolism. It is essential to ensure we have an adequate supply of collagen-producing factors such as food rich in vitamin C. In cases of degradation, there is a rich collagen supplement that could help provide a rich supply of collagen to balance the need.