MORE than helping keep wrinkles at bay and aiding in the growth of lustrous hair, collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for about one-third of its protein composition.
It’s one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth.
You can think of it as the ‘glue’ that holds all these things together. In fact, the word comes from the Greek word ‘kólla’ which means glue.
There are in fact four main types of collagen:
Type I accounts for 90 percent of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibers. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Type II made of more loosely packed fibers and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
Type III supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
Type IV helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.
To help supplement your collagen levels, you can take powders and liquids that can be easily incorporated into foods. These collagen peptide forms don’t form a gel, so you can mix them into smoothies, soups, or baked goods without affecting their texture. Bone broth and gelatin are also excellent sources of collagen.
As we age, our bodies produce less and lower quality collagen. One of the visible signs of this is in your skin, which becomes less firm and supple. Cartilage also weakens with age. Supplementing your collagen deficiencies is one easy way to help maintain overall health.