Collagen is becoming more and more popular and you are surely interested in whether it is an exaggerated hype or a breakthrough in skin and body care. Did you know that it is also important for muscles, bones, and heart activity? The level of collagen decreases naturally with age and it is advisable to start using it before you are surprised by the first wrinkles. The market for products enriched with collagen is expanding, so we have prepared an article for you about collagen, its types, benefits, and methods of supplementation. Learn how to find a suitable source of collagen and thus at least partially avert the aging process.
What is collagen?
Few people have probably never heard of collagen and its importance to joints or skin. However, starting from the very beginning, collagen is an insoluble protein that is one of the most abundant proteins among animals. You may be surprised to learn that collagen accounts for about 30% of the body’s protein and is found in various tissues, such as tendons or bones. Like other proteins, collagen is made up of amino acids, namely glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine. There are more than 16 types of collagen, but the vast majority, more precisely 80 – 90% of collagen in the body is type I, II and III.  
Not all collagens are the same, so we present you the types of major collagen molecules with the tissues in which they are present   :
|Type of collagen||Representation in tissues|
|I||skin, bones, tendons, dentin, ligaments, interstitial tissues (connective tissue between cellular elements)|
|II||cartilage, vitreous humor (“gelatinous” mass in the eye)|
|III||skin, muscles, blood vessels|
|V||cell culture, fetal tissues|
|VI||most interstitial tissues|
|IX||cartilage, glassy humor|
|IV||all basement membranes|
How to support collagen production?
As we have already mentioned, collagen is a protein, so amino acids are needed for its formation. The body makes collagen from procollagen, which is created from glycine and proline. Sufficient amino acid intake is therefore required to promote collagen production. Their ideal source is high-quality protein from the diet or in form of a nutritional supplement. When it comes to diet, the best sources are meat, dairy products, and legumes. Whether you choose a diet or a protein shake, you will not only support muscle building, but you will also supplement the “building material” for collagen. 
Are you considering taking high quality protein, but don’t have enough information about the best sources of protein? You will find everything you need in our article – High-quality protein – how to find out which source of protein is the best?
There are 2 amino acids which are important for the production of procollagen – proline and glycine. You can perfectly supplement proline by consuming egg yolks, soy, dairy products, asparagus, or cabbage. Glycine can be found in pork and chicken skin, but of course also in foods containing protein. In addition, the following are also useful for collagen formation    :
Aloe vera-is a well-known, popular, and effective way to treat wounds. Whether locally in form of a gel or orally, aloe vera helps with skin injuries precisely by supporting the production of collagen. It is used to relieve rashes or on sunburned skin.
Antioxidants-are components of other active substances for the care of the right level of collagen, but they also deserve a separate mention. Not all support the production of collagen, but they contribute to the function of collagen in the human body.Exceptional sources of antioxidants include green tea, coffee, blueberries, and cinnamon.
Anthocyanins- you can find them in cherries, raspberries, or blueberries.
Coriander- contains two components, thanks to which it deserves to be in this category – vitamin C and linolenic acid. Linolenic acid is a fatty acid containing antioxidants. These are effective in fighting free radicals that break down healthy skin cells.
Hyaluronic acid– is one of the most common supplements for the support of healthy skin, because increasing its level affects the amount of collagen. In addition to nutritional supplements, you can also take it from your diet and find it in root vegetables or beans.
Copper- higheramounts of this mineral are found in offal, lentils, cashews,or sesame.
Seaweed- is effective in protecting the skin and its elasticity from oxidation, which causes much of the skin damage.
Vitamin C– is present in the production of procollagen and its excellent sources are citrus, strawberries, peppers, and broccoli.
Vitamin A– in plant foods can be found in the form of beta-carotene, but it is also found in animal foods.
Ginseng– is known in traditional medicine but is also the subject of modern research. It showed that ginseng can increase the level of collagen in the blood. At the same time, it is effective in protecting against ultraviolet radiation from the sun, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and, according to scientists, can slow down the aging of skin cells.
Do you hear about hyaluronic acid from all sides, but don’t have enough information about its effectiveness? Everything you need to know can be found in the articleHyaluronic acid – is it really effective for your joints and skin?
Negative factors affecting collagen
Collagen levels change during life due to several factors. These factors impair collagen synthesis or accelerate its degradation. These include   :
Age – collagen levels naturally decrease with age.
Smoking – leads to wrinkles and also reduces wound healing.
Vitamin deficiency – such as vitamin C.
Excessive sugar intake – excess sugar in the diet affects the ability of collagen to repair.
Excessive exposure to the sun – ultraviolet radiation can lead to a reduction in collagen production.
Autoimmune diseases – such as lupus – can cause collagen damage.
How did collagen get to us?
We introduced collagen, its natural sources and the factors that negatively affect it. The market offers a wide range of supplements containing collagen in various forms. In this chapter, you will learn when to start taking it and what to look out for when choosing collagen.
It is interesting to follow the development of the collagen supplement market, because despite the fact that women in China have known it for centuries, Western civilization is lagging behind. More precisely, it has lagged behind, but the interest in collagen is currentlyrising astronomically. The boom occurred in the 1980s in the USA, when collagen was part of expensive injections designed to fill lips and soften facial contours. Almost 40 years have passed, and the forms of collagen and its availability have also changed. Today it is part of various drinks, shots, mixtures, supplements for women, but also as a separate powder. The demand for collagen is growing, so is it good to know the best sources of this protein, or rather the source of youth? 
Benefits of collagen
Collagen is part of several tissues, you can find it not only in the skin and cartilage but also in blood vessels, bones, or ligaments. There are therefore several reasons to consider collagen supplementation  .
Collagen slows down skin aging – collagen improves the overall appearance and health of the skin due to its moisturization and reduction of wrinkles. The slowing of collagen-induced skin aging has been demonstrated in several studies. Collagen has also been linked to the prevention of acne and other skin problems, although it has not yet been scientifically proven.
Supports the functioning of joints – human joints are protected thanks to healthy cartilage, which is supported by collagen. Nutritional supplements can be a source of collagen to supplement its levels declining with age.
Protects bone health – collagen is one of the important components of bones and helps maintain their strength. Bones weaken and get thinner with age, leading to the development of problems including osteoporosis.
It supports muscle growth – muscles are also tissue, part of which is collagen, more precisely it is 1 – 10% and muscles need it to function properly. There is even scientific evidence of an increase in muscle mass due to collagen supplementation.
Significance for the heart and cardiovascular system – according to a certain study, collagen is important for promoting heart health. It has contributed to a significant reduction in arterial stiffness and a reduction in LDL cholesterol.
Support for the functioning of muscles, bones, cartilage, or the heart thanks to collagen supplementation has been the subject of scientific studies. Despite the promising results, further research is needed to fully validate some of the benefits of collagen. Although some of the benefits mentioned are not supported by research, the effect of collagen on firm nails, hair, good digestion or mood and anxiety are also mentioned. Collagen is very popular today and we may soon see other and better-founded benefits of its use. 
How to choose the best collagen?
It would be most ideal if we could get enough collagen from our diet. However, the truth is that a fast lifestyle often does not allow us to pay more attention to the components of the diet for targeted collagen intake. Nutritional supplements are therefore a practical and affordable source, and they often contain other useful substances. Here are some important tips to help you choose the right collagen supplement.
Collagen and vitamin C
As we have already mentioned in the article, vitamin C is important for collagen production. In the process of collagen production, vitamin C is in the position of antioxidant, which can support the formation of fibroblasts and regulate collagen synthesis. It is important in the process of collagen and elastin synthesis, thanks to which the skin has a youthful appearance. The key moment during collagen formation occurs after the formation of procollagen. It must go through a process of hydroxylation, which will then allow the next step – glycosylation, in which collagen gets a functional structure. Yes, you get it right. Without the presence of vitamin C, there will be no hydroxylation and thus no collagen will be formed. Therefore, when choosing a collagen supplement, try to check whether it also contains vitamin C.  
What source of collagen in supplements is best?
Collagen-containing nutritional supplements are made from animal sources, such as marine animals or cattle. For this reason, organic farming is the best choice. Heavy metals or pesticides are less likely to occur with organic sources. It is therefore certainly better to take collagen obtained from cattle that have been fed with grass and had suitable living conditions. Is collagen from cattle or marine animals better? This is a common question, so it would be good to know in what they differ. The bovine one contains type I. and III. of collagen, this is one of the differences. Type III. is found in the intestines and is needed to repair their lining. In addition, it is cheaper than the “marine” one. Bovine collagen is therefore more useful for people with intestinal problems. Marine collagen contains only type I. and also smaller particles, which is advantageous for digestion and better absorption. This type is therefore suitable for people who have no problem paying some extra money and are also looking for faster results.  
What type of collagen to choose?
In addition to the source, form, price and other parameters, the choice of collagen also relates to the purpose. Depending on whether you are interested in supporting joints and cartilage or improving skin condition. There are 3 types of collagen that are dominant in the human body – type I, II and III. The first type is suitable for improving skin health. The second type represents 50% of the protein in the cartilage and is therefore ideal for supporting joints and cartilage. The third type of collagen is abundant in children’s skin, so it is no coincidence that children have such delicate skin. This type of collagen is naturally replaced by the first type during life. It is important for human skin, nails, and hair. 
So if you are looking for a joint supplement – focus on II. type of collagen if you want to support the quality of your skin – typeI. of collagen. For ideal skin health, the product should contain 90% type I. and some part type III. We have mentioned it several times, but the market offers a wide range of products of various quality, form, contentand, last but not least, other components. When choosing, keep in mind that many supplements are complex. You will often find minerals and vitamins in them, which is also not to be ignored. Therefore, be sure to check the composition, which will best tell you how much collagen you will take in the product dose. The rest is up to you, a shot, a drink or an RTD drink. Alternatively, try different variants and find your favorite. 
Why hydrolyzed collagen?
Simply put, hydrolyzed collagen has undergone hydrolysis. It is a process in which collagen fibers have been cleaved into small chains of amino acids – collagen peptides. Enzymes and high-pressure steam were used for this purpose. Native collagen molecules are too big for absorption in the human body, so they hydrolyze. This form is unique because collagen peptides are smaller, allowing usable doses to be delivered to the body. It is scientifically based that it is the form of the peptides that is absorbed into the blood. Most importantly, however, they pass into a layer of skin called the dermis under the skin (epidermis). It is dermis that is responsible for the elasticity and strength of the skin. Collagen peptides enter this layer, where they trigger the formation of collagen in the skin. Not all collagen supplements contain a hydrolyzed form of collagen and may not even contain collagen. Instead, you will find proline, hydroxyproline and glycine. The mentioned amino acids are only 50% of the amino acid content for the structure of collagen, you need 18 amino acids per collagen molecule, and in the right amount and ratio. Hydrolyzed collagen directly contains the complete amino acid sequence. It is therefore logical to prefer a source of collagen in which the necessary components will not be missing.  
When to start taking collagen supplements?
In the end, we came to a question that seems to interest many people. There is no universal answer to this because collagen loss is influenced not only by age but also by lifestyle or genetics. Its loss can be accelerated by smoking, poor diet, lack of sleep or excessive sugar consumption. The decline in collagen begins in the “twenties” and decreases by about 1% each year. Collagen supplementation is preventive, so it is better to start before unwanted wrinkles appear on your face. It is never too early to promote your health. 
Collagen is a protein important not only for healthy skin and joints. Its production decreases with age, so collagen supplementation is useful for maintaining healthy and supple skin. Today, it is available in a wide range of products, so it is useful to know its importance, the best sources and the negative factors that affect it. We believe that you learned everything you need to know about collagen in the article, because in this case, the sooner the better. Do you want your friends to know about collagen and its importance? Feel free to support the article by sharing.
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 interstitial tissue – https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/interstitial+tissue
 vitreous humor – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vitreous%20humor
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