Collagen protein powder can now be found in matcha lattes to brownies cakes – but what is collagen?
How is collagen produced in the body? What are the nutrients involved in collagen production and what causes collagen to break down?
Let’s take a look at collagen biology and dive into collagen-related products so you can better navigate the growing collagen products market and find out what works best for you.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a fibrous protein found in bones, teeth, skin, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, hair, and nails. Collagen is a structural protein that mainly plays a major role in body composition and cohesion. Interestingly, there are some types of collagen fibers, gram-for-gram, that are stronger than steel.
Think of collagen protein as the glue that holds our bodies together and accounts for about a third of our total body protein.
Collagen is made up of three polypeptide chains linked together for strength and made of glycine, proline, hydroxylycin and hydroxyproline – all of which are amino acids and the last two are not found in any other proteins.
Collagen polypeptides also bind to carbohydrate chains, making them also glycoproteins. Glycoproteins help support the immune, digestive and reproductive systems. (1)
How does the body make collagen?
Your body produces collagen from key vitamins and minerals and through multiple processes. All proteins contain amino acids and the most abundant amino acid found in collagen is glycine, which is an essential amino acid.
As you age, it is normal and natural for collagen to decrease, which may contribute to decreased elasticity of ligaments, weak muscles, joint pain and wrinkles and may lead to thinning of the lining of the digestive system, which may cause digestive problems. (2) (3)
Besides aging, the most common reason an individual does not produce enough collagen is malnutrition, poor nutrition or eating too much sugar, and a lack of essential nutrients that your body needs to produce collagen.. (4)
Just as the body can make collagen, it can also break down from harmful actions such as spending too much time in the sun and smoking.
The main nutrients involved in collagen production
Vitamin C is the key to collagen production. In addition to vitamin C, iron also plays an important role.
You can see, although this sounds simple for our body to maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, connective tissue, tendons, cartilage, bones, and teeth – it also depends heavily on our body’s supply of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C deficiency is rare in the modern era, but in order to support your body in producing collagen, be sure to eat foods rich in vitamin C, iron, and other collagen-producing nutrients.
Also, if you are a meat eater, you will likely be consuming a lot of the amino acids and nutrients required for collagen production. Your body will break down collagen in your intestine and reuse it to build more proteins.
Zinc, which is an abundant nutrient in diets rich in meat, is a key nutrient in this process and the function of collagenase that digests collagen in the intestine. Although vegetarian diets may not contain the same amount of amino acids as diets rich in meat, they still provide the nutrients needed for collagen production.
Other plant-based foods are a collagen booster that tastes delicious and is easy to add to your daily smoothies, in baked goods, shakes, coffee, almond milk to milk chocolate, or even with hot water to make hot cocoa to support your beauty routine from within. Get 15% discount on your first order of Food Food Vegan Beauty Collagen Poster using the code: Nutrition is divided.
Foods rich in collagen-producing nutrients
Foods containing vitamin C, iron, silicon, proline, lysine, threonine, and zinc are important in the collagen production process.
Foods rich in Vitamin C are found in a variety of foods that may actually be in the kitchen. These foods include citrus fruits, peppers, cherries, chives, parsley, rose hips, currants, guava, kale, tomatoes, leeks, and many more.
Foods rich in silicon are found in abundance in plant foods such as oats, whole wheat, nuts, root vegetables, seafood, and organic meats. (5)
Proline, an amino acid, is found in gelatin, cheese, beef, soy protein, cabbage, yogurt, asparagus, bamboo shoots, seaweed, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and more.
Foods rich in lysine are found abundantly in animal proteins and dairy products. Lysine is also found in plant sources such as avocados, apricots, mangoes, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, peppers, leeks, beets, legumes, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, and grains like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
Iron-rich foods include animal proteins, organic meats such as liver, kidneys, red meats, and shellfish. There are plant sources of iron that include spinach, legumes, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, molasses, broccoli, tahini, and tofu.
Threonine is another amino acid that is essential for collagen production, and it is essential in the sense that your body cannot make it, so you need to get it from your diet. Foods rich in threonine include lentils, peanuts, eggs, animal proteins, chickpeas, beans, and asparagus.
In addition to food sources, supplements can be taken to make sure you are getting enough of these nutrients for collagen production, but if you eat a diet rich in whole foods, you are more likely to get enough of these essential nutrients. If not, then just chat with your dietitian for a plan that fits your supplement needs
Should I take collagen supplements or use collagen powder?
If you enjoy it, go for it!
There are some studies that show that taking glycine-rich collagen peptide powders may improve joint health, reduce joint pain, improve skin elasticity, reduce intestinal inflammation, and may improve quality asleepAnd it may improve wound healing. (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
Just like anything with our nutritional options, you can try it and see if it suits you uniquely.
There are some great plant-based collagen boosters to add to your daily smoothie to get the boost of the nutrients your body needs to produce collagen in the first place.
We love to use More plant-based beauty-boosting collagen foodIt is rich in Vitamin C and E and Aloe Vera.
Made with real premium vegan food ingredients and contains Tremella mushrooms, an antioxidant rich mushroom known for its ability to hydrate and brighten skin In addition to its delicious taste, it has a rich dark chocolate flavor. We also admire another food company’s commitment to quality. Each product is independently tested and verified for quality, purity and potency.
Get 15% discount on your first order of Food Food Vegan Beauty Collagen Poster using the code: Nutrition is divided.
In addition to The Phytonutrients to support your body in collagen production, Collagen Booster tastes delicious vegan and is very easy to add to your daily smoothie, in baked goods, shakes, coffee, to almond milk for chocolate milks, or even hot water prepare hot cocoa to support your beauty routine from within.
If you increase protein in your diet, such as collagen protein powder, you will increase the intake of amino acids in your diet.
By consuming more amino acids in your diet, especially glycine, which are the building blocks of protein, you will reap the benefits of a protein-rich diet. Protein is heavily involved in collagen production within the body – often times protein sources also contain the nutrients needed for collagen production. Protein is also a major nutrient for maintaining the general health of hair, skin, nails, etc.
Protein is also largely responsible for improving gut function and supporting cell turnover that occurs – glutamine for example, is an amino acid that plays a major role in gut health and gut function and is found abundantly in protein-rich foods.
Glutamine is also found in collagen powders, but also in plant protein powders, animal protein powders, and even cabbage.