What is Collagen & What Does it Do?
Collagen is protein.
So, why do we care about it so much?
Collagen is the key to smooth, young-looking skin and healthy joints.
How Many Types of Collagen Are There?
You may not have known this, but there are 3 types of collagen: Types 1, 2 and 3. A lot of people ask us, “Which types do you take together? Can you take all 3 at the same time? What does each type do?” Great questions!
Types 1, 2 & 3 Collagen
According to Vital Proteins, “all types of collagen will benefit your hair, skin, nails, bones and joints, primarily because all collagen types are made up of beneficial amino acids.” However, you’ll typically see types 1 + 3 packaged together in one bottle, focusing on your skin, bones, hair and nails. Types 1 and 3 make up 90% of the collagen in your body, can minimize wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, support bones, correct damaged nail beds, thicken fine hair and improve your body’s circulation. Typically, when you see collagen supplements, what you’ll see is types 1+3.
Type 2 collagen, on the other hand supports your joint/cartilage health and function. It helps reduce popping knees, and helps support your jaw, back, and joints. A lot of people don’t realize that joint pain, popping knees, and weakened cartilage is a result of lacking type 2 collagen, and assume it is an unavoidable part of the aging process. Well, it isn’t, and you can fight back with a Type 2 collagen supplement!
What Causes Collagen Production To Slow Down?
Even though collagen is naturally occurring in the human body, it’s essential to supplement it as we age because collagen production slows down significantly as we get older. Actually, after age 30, collagen production begins to significantly decline. By age 45, collagen production decreases 25%, and by age 60 it decreases by more than 50%. As our body’s collagen production slows down, we begin to notice saggy, aging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and weakened joint cartilage.
Aging is the #1 cause of diminished collagen production. Even though you can’t stop the aging process altogether, there ARE things that damage your level of collagen production that you’re totally able to control! Avoiding the following things will keep your collagen production levels higher:
- Eating too much sugar after the age 30
- Overexposure to sunlight
- Poor Diet
Can I Boost My Collagen Production?
Yes, there IS a bright side! You can stimulate your body’s natural collagen production to help keep these aging side effects at bay. There are nutritional, procedural, and supplemental methods to promote collagen production.
As we always say at Get Healthy U: Nutrition before supplements! There are certain nutrients (that you may not know much about yet) found in common, delicious foods that promote collagen production.
Proline (an amino acid found in meat, cheese, soy, cabbage, and eggs)
Copper (found in fish, red meat, nuts)
Vitamin A (found in meat and beta-carotenes like sweet potatoes)
Vitamin C (found in oranges, leafy greens, red and green veggies)
Anthocyanidins (found in berries, cherries)
There are also external things you can do to control your collagen production! There are both procedures and products (typically prescribed by a dermatologist) that can help, too.
Laser Therapy- Laser treatments are a great, non-surgical way to stimulate collagen production and use laser and light energy to reduce the appearance of fine lines and skin elasticity.
Retinoic Acid (Vitamin A)- This member of the retinoid family helps kick cells into gear and promote cell production in the skin and stimulates both collagen and elastin production.
Skin Fillers- Collagen injections are a common cosmetic procedure that helps remove fine lines and wrinkles from the face and can help with scarring from acne.
Collagen Drinks: For a long time, collagen drinks have existed, and promised to make your skin, hair and nails look better than ever, but experts have doubted this claim because they thought it was unlikely that the body would actually absorb the collagen. Recently, however, the results have been considerably more promising. Many studies have cited women who consumed collagen drinks showed significant improvement in the thickness and elasticity of their skin!
Collagen Supplements: Collagen supplements have been around forever. Now you don’t just see them in the aisles of specialty vitamin stores, but in your local drugstores! But do they work? There was a large study in early 2014 conducted by the University of Kiel’s Department of Dermatology that showed 65% of women having significantly elevated levels of collagen and reduction in wrinkles after 8 weeks of taking a collagen supplement.
What’s The Difference Between Collagen & Whey Protein?
It’s a question we get asked often and what is really comes down to is the difference between the amino acid profile. Take a look at the examples below (remembering that 1,000mg is the same as 1 gram).
A chart of the amino acid breakdown of collagen versus whey protein
So, looking at Vital Proteins Collagen, you can see that it contains a high value of glutamic acid (2.2 grams), hydroxyproline (2 grams) and proline (2 grams). These particular amino acids primarily benefit your hair, skin and nails.
On the flip side, BiPro Whey Protein contains a high value of isoleucine (1.1 grams), leucine (2.5 grams) and valine (1.1 grams) which are really good for muscle recovery.
Collagen, also, contains only has 8 out of the 9 essential amino acids whereas whey has all the essential amino acids
Thus, you can see that they both have incredible benefits, they just focus on slightly different objectives. And yes, you can take both in the same day