Collagen Health: How Collagen Helps The Body
Frequently it seems any discussions on human health these days seem to mention collagen. What is collagen and how does it benefit the body?
Collagen is very durable and is a fibrous material with a glue-like consistency. It comprises about one-third of the proteins found in the body and includes significant quantities of the two amino acids proline and hydroxyproline. The areas particularly reliant on collagen include skin, bones and all the connective tissues found in cartilage and tendons.
Collagen health is depleted by such causes as trauma, pollution, menopause and ultra violet light from the sun.
Collagen Benefits The Skin
Collagen benefits the skin by providing strength and elasticity. The molecules in collagen look like microscopic ropes and it is these that give the strength to the parts of the body that require it. The skin is also hydrated by collagen hydrolysate.
Some 90% of the skin’s proteins are collagen. These deplete in women as they age as a consequence of the decrease in oestrogen during the menopause process. The effects are clearly seen with a reduction in skin elasticity, dry skin, the thinning of the dermis layer of skin, increased bruising and even in some cases a loss of hearing. Excess exposure to the ultra violet rays from the sun results in the emergence of wrinkles, lines and a sagging skin. This is the result of damaged or reduced collagen and is the same in ladies over a certain age.
Equally a reduction in levels of collagen leads to deteriorating quality in the hair and nails.
Collagen Benefits Connective Tissues
Collagen benefits active sportsmen and women by maintaining the strength of connective tissues in their joints. The ends of the bones are covered by a layer of cartilage, which acts as a durable lubricated pad to protect the bones as they move against each other with the movement of the muscles. Cartilage is in fact a mixture of water and collagen.
The weight-bearing function of cartilage and ligaments is improved by healthy levels of collagen; this is especially significant in young athletes who need to keep their collagen topped up to ensure the combination of extra activity and the growing process straining the joints does not affect their health.
Recent research in Germany has shown that a course of collagen capsules significantly helps athletes who have suffered damage to their connective tissues.
Collagen Benefits Our Bones
Collagen is also found in the structure of our skeleton and, as we age, our joints suffer wear and tear to the articular cartilage (bone cartilage): this results in osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis affects around nine million people in Great Britain alone and is the most common disease of the joints experienced by older and middle-aged people. The condition is the deterioration of the cartilage between the bones, which causes swelling and considerable pain.
Another significant disorder created by the aging process is brittle bone disease or osteoporosis. Sadly this causes disability and sometimes death through the breaking of weakened bones. The condition results from not only a reduced level of calcium in the skeleton but also lower levels of collagen.
Osteoporosis affects both men and women but once again the menopause makes women particularly vulnerable.
Collagen production within the body can be improved by ingesting particular foods such as dark, leafy vegetables, prunes, fruit rich in vitamin C (including oranges) and flax seed but a course of a good quality collagen capsule would also help.
Collagen benefits so many essential areas of the body and it would seem intelligent to ensure we each do what we can to ensure the maintenance of the levels of this important protein.
Keith Braithwaite has had twenty years in and keenly observing direct selling. He is an accredited Proto-col affiliate. Other passions include personal development, painting, drawing, photography cycling, walking and the outdoors generally.
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