Collagen is the most common protein in humans and the main component of our connective tissue. Found in our skin, bones, tendons, and muscles, collagen is essentially responsible for holding the body together.

Because it forms the network within the dermis to which new cells attach, it is essential for re-growth and regeneration of skin cells. Collagen protects our entire body including some very important and delicate organs.

A breakdown in connective tissue could leave organs unprotected and skin, sagging.

The Three Types of Collagen

Type I is found mostly in skin, tendons, ligaments, bones, teeth and between organs. Type II is predominantly located in our eyes and cartilage. Type III is abundant in skin, muscles, and blood vessels.

Together, these three types of collagen make up 80 to 90% of the total collagen found in our bodies. Each of these main types of collagen is similar in structure and the processes for producing them are the same.

Clinical studies have even shown that undenatured type II collagen supports joint health better than glucosamine and chondroitin together. This type of collagen can be found in the joint health supplement MoveMD® by 1MD Nutrition.

Protect the Collagen You Have

As we age, collagen production begins to decline. Women, in particular, experience a significant drop in collagen production after menopause.

The good news is that there are some stressors in life that you can avoid, which will delay the collagen decline.

Avoid a high sugar diet: Too much sugar in your diet causes a process known as glycation to occur. Compounds called AGEs are formed. These compounds have a damaging effect on all nearby proteins and can damage collagen.

No smoking: Nicotine and the chemicals in cigarette smoke are very bad for your skin. They not only interfere with the delivery of oxygen to your skin cells but they damage collagen proteins.

Minimize sun exposure: Sun damage can accelerate the breakdown of collagen and over time, an enzyme develops that can continue to break down collagen even further.

Renew Lost Collagen

Additionally, there are steps you should take to renew any lost collagen. To look and feel younger, you need to rejuvenate collagen levels.  

Nutritional support: Vitamins A and C, as well as copper, are great nutrients that naturally support collagen. Either increase your intake of the necessary foods or add a joint supplement to your diet.

Collagen serum: Applying a serum daily hydrates and repairs your skin and stimulates the production of new collagen.

Anti-aging creams: These creams deliver the two most essential hormones vital to the production of collagen: estriol and progesterone.

The Health Benefits of Collagen

Better-looking skin: When we age, we start to notice wrinkles and sagging skin, which appear as our skin begins to lose elasticity, the ultimate symptom of declining collagen levels.

While wrinkles and sagging skin are a natural part of getting older, there is something you can do to keep them under control.

Collagen supplements or creams can help to restore your skin, creating a smooth and supple look while replenishing your much-needed collagen stores.

Beautiful hair: Collagen is a primary factor in the fight against the free radicals that interfere with the thickness, texture, and growth of hair. Increasing collagen levels will thicken the diameter of individual hairs, giving the fuller appearance you desire.

Reduce cellulite: The dimpled appearance under the skin is caused when fatty tissues are pushed upwards toward the skin. Collagen is able to rebuild the fibers that cause cellulite, making the dimpled appearance disappear.

You can choose to apply collagen creams or include a supplemental intake to your diet.

Strong teeth and nails: Low collagen levels contribute to weakened teeth and brittle nails. Because collagen supports the strong growth of teeth and nails, a daily supplement will ensure both are kept in top shape.

Detoxification of your body: Glycine, one of the three amino acids in collagen, is essential in supporting the liver. Collagen ensures that the liver does not suffer extensive damage when ridding the body of chemicals and toxins and allows your body to reset.

Metabolism support: Collagen contains glycine, which helps pump blood sugar through to the body's tissues, leading to a faster metabolism and higher energy levels.

Collagen and Your Joints

It is pretty clear that almost every part of your body benefits from the presence of collagen. Most people are surprised that its support extends far beyond the skin's surface.

There is one area that people do not often associate with collagen support, which is alarming because it is a problem area for a number of people in the United States: our joints.  

Osteoarthritis is the number-one cause of disability in this country and people tend to focus on anti-inflammatory medications as a priority. While these can be useful, new directions indicate that collagen is actually a very beneficial alternative.

The cause of osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage between the joints. As the bones come into contact, they rub against each other, causing inflammation and pain. As we get older our body's ability to regenerate cartilage is much slower so the additional help of a fast-acting joint and collagen supplement could be a big benefit.

Since cartilage is made up largely of collagen, an increase in collagen levels is believed to boost the regeneration of cartilage. Collagen may also help with rheumatoid arthritis.

The Bottom Line

Studies to support collagen therapy as osteoarthritis are still in progress so collagen therapy is not yet a standard treatment. However, patients report requiring fewer pain medications to address joint pain when they use a collagen supplement.

In addition to the potential for joint support, supporting collagen provides numerous health benefits, making collagen maintenance an important part of an anti-aging regimen.