Collagen : Everything you need to know By Evangelia Zefkili, nutritionist

It is a fact that we often hear the word collagen and it is lately a common topic of discussion. However few are those who know exactly what it is. We will therefore take things from the beginning.

Collagen is the most concentrated protein in our body. Proteins (molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen) comprise 75% of a person’s weight if we take out the water that one’s body contains. They are the most essential component of the body’s connective tissue, which supports all the other tissues i.e. skin, bones, tendons and muscles. There are 28 different types of collagen in our body.

The basic types of collagen found in humans are type I, type II and type V. Type I collagen affects the skin, nails, hair, muscles, tendons and bones. Type II affects the joint cartilages and type V affects the cell membrane, the hair and the placenta.

The quantity of collagen in the body depends on both endogenous factors such as genes and hormones and external ones such as solar exposure, pollution, smoking, stress and bad diet. Moreover, collagen production is affected by age, as after the age of twenty five its production pace drops and as a result the skin becomes more fragile and with less elasticity, making it easier for wrinkles and lines to appear.

In nature, collagen is found exclusively in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissue of mammals. Collagen sources can derive from bovine, fish and swine. Studies have proven that fish collagen is better absorbed by the human body, because of its tighter molecular weight compared to animal collagen. Additionally, according to scientific research, liquid drinking collagen deriving from fish acts beneficially against the damaging of joint cartilages, while it increases bone strength in humans who suffer from osteoarthritis. Finally it contributes considerably to anti-ageing.

As it comes out, collagen is an interesting case of supplement especially when the body receives a sufficient quantity and of course quality of it, as this can lead to longevity and a better living inside and out.