Dr Journal: skin

The Importance of Collagen

By Hampton Pharmaceuticals

The Importance of Collagen

I am sure that many of us have heard about collagen, but what exactly is it and what does it do for our bodies?

As defined by the medical dictionary, collagen is “any family of extracellular, closely related proteins occurring as a major component of connective tissue, giving it strength and flexibility.” (TheFreeDictionary.com,2017).

There are various different types of collagen fibres that are found in the body. Collagen is a type of protein that is found in both humans and animals (bovine collagen).

Collagen fibres in the human body are found specifically in the bones, cartilage, the teeth, the skin – which contains about 30% of collagen, and it forms a protective lining around the organs, these linings are defined as basement membranes.

The main, overall function of collagen is to provide elasticity, support and strengthening agents for the skin; although each different type of collagen has its own specific function for the body.

Collagen clearly plays a significant role in our bodies but what are the most beneficial aspects of collagen fibres?

Collagen has an important role in the health of both skin and hair. Naturally as we age our collagen stores begin to deplete, this leads to the appearance of wrinkles, loose skin and a loss of hair. This decline in collagen causes the skin to lose its elasticity, leading to more visible and increased chances of getting stretch marks and cellulite.

Collagen is essential for the joints in the body. A study conducted at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deconness Medical Centre, revealed that increased collagen relieves the pain that is experienced by individuals who suffer from arthritis, specifically, rheumatoid arthritis. Decreased collagen leads to joint degeneration and increased pain that is experienced through the various joint disorders.

Collagen has fitness and weight loss benefits as well. Collagen has been found to speed up your metabolism, which allows for better absorption of vital nutrients that are ingested and it contributes to gaining lean muscle instead of fat.

Collagen is depleted via the aging process, smoking, consuming too much sugar and ultra-violet rays.

The process of aging is inevitable and unfortunately with that process our collagen stores slowly start to deplete. Smoking is a major contributor to the reduction and damage of collagen, as the many toxins found in a cigarette destroy the collagen fibres.

Consuming large amounts of sugar is dangerous in many aspects, but it is detrimental to our collagen fibres as the sugar molecules bind to the protein strands and produce new molecules that destroy the collagen in the body.

The ultra-violet rays from the sun destroy and break down collagen; these rays decrease the elasticity in the skin, leading to more wrinkles and skin that looks tired and aged.

Collagen is an essential protein that is needed by the body, its various health and wellness benefits are evident, we need to ensure that we take care of ourselves and that we protect our bodies as best as we can.

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