Collagen is one of those biological components that people often misunderstand. You hear about how collagen supplements and food sources are good for various things. One such thing is fighting joint pain/deterioration. Another is skin health, and yet another digestive and reproductive health.
Exactly what kind of sorcery is this? What is collagen, where does it come from, and precisely what does it do in the body? Today, we’re going to talk about that. You will find that there’s a lot more to this than you might have initially suspected.
Collagen is a vital compound used for critical processes in the body. It’s both simple and complex at the same time, because there are actually three types of collagen, and they do three very different things.
Many general collagen supplements will provide blends of two or three of them, depending on the demographic for which it’s targeted. Specific-application healing and health compounds usually use one collagen, the one beneficial to what they’re trying to help.
We’re going to look at all three of these collagen types, their benefits, and how they work.
First, remember that supplements are great, but you should always get as many natural sources as possible for everything your body needs. This helps supplements work, as they’re intended to augment your natural intake, not to replace them. Getting your body’s full natural scope of things, and then a supplement is using safe, natural science to step past what the fruits of the earth can provide. We won’t be talking about supplements in any depth today, however. There’s another piece to follow, in which we’ll tell you all about them.
Type I collagen is utilized as an elasticity and hydration-trapping agent by the body. Our skin, hair, nails, and eyes all make use of this substance to retain luster, firmness, combat brittleness (or fine lines and wrinkles), and to stop our eyes from yellowing.
Type I collagen also aids in keeping the body hydrated, as well as being theoretically linked to the absorption of liquids and electrolytes more readily. Alongside Type III, this collagen is known for aiding in general digestion, helping the gut to stay healthy and functional. It’s also known to help combat the symptoms of stomach and intestine irritation to some degree, and to accelerate the healing time. Though truth be told, Type III is the real Rockstar when it comes to digestive concerns.
You can get Type I from seafood, bone broth, and gelatin. An organic bone broth powder supplement can help get faster, higher net gains from your collagen intake. Gelatin is a favorite for this and is cheap and easily-eaten, though the sweetened variety means you’re eating more sugar than you probably ought to be.
Type II Collagen
Type II collagen is an agent used in the building and maintenance of cartilage, which is a crucial material in the body. Cartilage forms the buffer material in all of your joints, preventing bone from grinding against bone. It also forms tendons, which are essential, high-tensile structures in the body that hold bones together in some cases, and connect muscles to bones and to one another.
The decay of cartilage is one of the symptoms and/or causes of many joint issues, including rheumatoid arthritis. It can also lead to weakness, your muscles getting injured more easily, poor spinal health, and much more.
As people advance in age, replenishing Type II collagen becomes a greater and greater concern. Past the age of 45, many adults begin to lose joint cartilage, and their tendons become too fibrous as well.
Athletes and other people with active lifestyles should put a lot of thought into keeping this collagen coming in as well. If you’re working your body hard, you’re working your joints and tendons. Moving parts wear down, and just as you need protein to build muscle, you need collagen to grow cartilage.
The best source of Type II collagen is going to be bone broth, or any type of bovine bone extract, which will be very rich in collagen. Gelatin has a decent amount of this collagen, but you can also get it from organic broths and supplements as well. A little beef broth is also good for you.
Type III Collagen
This type is the one that most people don’t often realize is even there. Type III collagen is present in your muscles, blood vessels, intestines, and in women, the uterus. It is an important partner to Type I collagen, and they work together for safe elasticity and hydration retention.
Type III is vital for reproductive health in women, in cardiovascular support for both genders, as well as improved digestion and less intestinal woes all around.
If you’re trying to build your body up, your muscles need this collagen as well. It adds to their tensile strength and structural support, as well as a bonding agent to connect muscles to Type II collagen compounds in tendons.
Type III collagen comes mainly from bovine collagen, but organic broth supplements do exist which can help a lot with this.
If you’re a vegan or strict vegetarian, you’re not getting processed collagen in its ready form, like you can from animal products. This is where vegan supplements are essential, and knowing vegan and vegetarian sources of the base three amino acids which make collagen – glycine, lysine, and proline. Beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, and soy bases all provide these in substantial amounts.
The body does have to work a little harder to assemble the collagen this way, but you’re not going to feel that on a macroscopic level, so don’t worry too much about it.
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