Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies and one of the major compounds for building bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and our skin. There are at least at least 16 types of collagen (although research suggests there could be more than 28) but the most prevalent are types I, II, III and IV - they account for over 90% of the collagen in our bodies!
Type I is the most common and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to our skin, tendons and connective tissue.
Type II is made of of loosely packed fibres and provides the elasticity in cartilage - the protective tissue that covers the end of our bones.
Type III provides structural support for our organs, muscles and arteries.
Type IV is what is found layers of cells that make up our skin.
Unfortunately the older that we get the less collagen we produce. The most obvious sign of this is the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A diet rich in vitamin C, copper and high quality proteins can provide the body with the nutrients it needs to make collagen. There are also other factors that we can avoid doing such as eating too much sugar, smoking, drinking and spending too much time in the sun.
Regardless of whether you’re sourcing collagen from your diet or via supplemental collagen, studies show that it helps to improve skin texture and elasticity as well as reduce osteoarthritis rated pain. If you choose to source supplement based collagen there are two common types - marine collagen or bovine collagen. Marine collagen is the most popular form of supplement and is rich in type I collagen which helps to minimise fine line and wrinkles. Type I collagen also helps to build muscles and eyes as well as providing nutritional support to help our nails stay strong and hair grow thicker. Bovine collagen is sourced from cows - this is often the preferred source for fitness enthusiasts as it helps to repair muscles.
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