COLLAGEN – Holding you together

To some degree, we’re all on a quest for eternal youth. No one wants wrinkles, dry and sagging skin or aching joints. The good news is that the signs of ageing can be slowed down once we understand why it happens and how we can try to improve it.

           Collagen is a fibrous type of protein that largely contributes to ageing.

           There are more than 16 types of collagen that occur naturally in the body and it makes up around 30 percent of the total amount of protein in the body.

           In combination with elastin, it connects and supports bodily tissues, such as skin, bone, tendons, muscles and cartilage. It also supports the internal organs and is even present in the teeth, hair and nails.

           Collagen is a vital element in our bodies but, as we get older, we begin to produce less and less of it. This process begins when we are around the age of 30 and accelerates in our 40s – leading to the inevitable visual and noticeable signs of ageing.

           Collagen loss is a natural process, but other factors such as exposure to UV, pollution and lifestyle choices can lead to early or more intense signs of ageing.

           Collagen loss affects many parts of the body:

Skin – When collagen loss begins to occur, losing it impacts many aspects of our bodies. Collagen provides firmness and structure to our skin. As collagen degradation continues with age, our skin becomes dehydrated and thinner and signs of ageing start to appear.

Hair and nails – Declining levels of collagen are a key contributor to balding, thinning and weakness of hair associated with growing older. Your hair and nails are pretty similar in that they’re both made up primarily of keratin. Keratin creates stronger and more resilient hair and nails. Not only does this improve their appearance, but it protects them from damage and nail conditions such as fungal nail infection.

Bones – As collagen levels and the content of minerals decrease, our bones get weaker. Gradually, this causes them to become more fragile and breakable.

Joints – Ageing creates wear and tear on the joint cartilage, reducing its well-functioning. This results in joint discomfort, making it harder for us to stay active as we age.

Muscles – Ageing and collagen loss are linked to decreased muscle strength and function, which affects our balance, gait and overall mobility.

           Now that we know the uses for collagen in the body, we can list the benefits of collagen.

           Collagen improves skin hydration, firmness and elasticity.

• It keeps bones and the connective tissues strong, flexible and healthy.

• It strengthens the arteries.

• It helps to build lean muscles and promotes muscle recovery.

• It regulates sleep patterns.

Other uses:

Interestingly, collagen has many other uses as well, from food to medicine and even in manufacturing. For thousands of years, collagen was used to create glue. Today, it’s still used to create strings for musical instruments.

           In food, collagen is heated to create gelatin and used to make casings for sausages. In the medical field, it’s used as a filler in plastic surgery and dressing for severe burns.

Summary

Collagen is an important protein for many parts of the body. Most people know collagen for its role in supporting skin health and vitality. However, many are unaware of the other health benefits associated with collagen, such as bone, joint and even heart health.

People who are ageing can consume collagen supplements to increase their collagen intake and potentially slow down the ageing effects and improve bones and joint flexibility. Lastly, ageing is a natural process and is inevitable, so enjoy the journey. https://www.nutrilife.co.za/

Words by Odyssey Staff

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