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The Benefits of Collagen: From Joint Health to Beautifying Your Skin




When supplemental collagen first hit the mass market, it was promoted for its use in helping to support healthy hair, strong nails and a vibrant, youthful glow. To date, nearly half of all collagen consumers continue to use it for its aesthetic and skin benefits. But the evolution of supplemental collagen research and its applications has proven its results are more than just skin-deep. Collagen is now recognized for helping to optimize overall health and wellness.


The Science Behind Collagen


Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and serves as the main signal for tissue and organ remodeling. Currently, there are more than 25 types that have been identified with 90% consisting of Type I and Type II collagen. Type I collagen makes up the majority of the body’s tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, bone, organs, heart valves and blood vessels. Type II collagen comprises 95% of the body’s cartilaginous mass found in areas such as the nose, ears, trachea, joints and the intervertebral discs of the spine.


Collagen is formed by combining the basic building blocks of protein called amino acids and, more specifically, the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Once these amino acids are obtained through the diet or formed by the body itself, they are then shuttled over to specialized cells called fibroblasts, which is where collagen production takes place.

Two essential cofactors, magnesium and vitamin C, are essential for proper collagen formation and maintenance.

Magnesium is required to aid in the process of taking these amino acids and organizing them into chain-link units called polypeptides.

Vitamin C then aids in the process of taking these chains and winding them into the collagen triple helix.


This triple-helical formation gives the collagen fiber its strength and integrity to support connective tissues. Without these key cofactors, the body is unable to properly form healthy collagen even with collagen supplementation.


The Collagen Breakdown


As collagen fibers naturally begin to breakdown with time, there is a process of collagen turnover to help maintain healthy collagen balance in the body. Once collagen is ready for turnover, the body recruits an enzyme that breaks down collagen into fragments to then be removed and digested by cells known as macrophages.


In addition to normal collagen turnover, there are other factors that can accelerate this process, such as age, genetics, unhealthy lifestyle habits, injury, inflammation and bio-mechanical instability, aka misalignment.


Optimize Health and Improve Function


Due to emerging research on its widespread benefits within all connective tissues in the body, collagen is now gaining more traction in other areas, such as musculoskeletal health, gut health, immune health, cardiovascular health, oral health, and women’s and men’s health.


Not All Collagen Is Equal


Because collagen continues to saturate the retail space, it can be overwhelming when searching for a product that contains the right ingredients that will be absorbed and utilized by the body. When it comes to absorption of nutrients, the body prefers smaller particles. We recommend hydrolyzed collagen since this type of collagen has been broken down into smaller molecules to allow for easier absorption. And when it comes to utilization, adequate levels of magnesium and vitamin C in the body will ensure that collagen is formed and maintained properly once it has been absorbed.


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