What is collagen?
Collagen is a vital protein that makes up body tissues and supports the entire body. The body has the capacity to produce this collagen, but at the age of 25, its production decreases. It is with age that the consequences of this decrease appears. The articular cartilage thins, the muscle tone decreases, the skin loses its tonicity and becomes flaccid, the nails become more brittle and the cells and organs more fragile.
Collagen is composed of a chain of amino acids that plays a fundamental role in joint health and the flexibility of tendons and ligaments. The body relies on diet to get enough amino acids to produce collagen. Amino acids essential for the production of new proteins necessary for the regeneration, elasticity and cohesion of connective tissues, all composed of collagen fibers.
What is the role of collagen?
Collagen is necessary for the cohesion of tissues and organs; it holds the structures of our body together. It provides tone, strength, elasticity and flexibility to the connective tissues that support and protect our body.
In which part of the body is collagen found?
Collagen is present in bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, cartilage, eyes, liver, lungs, arteries, kidneys, cells, hair, nails and placenta. It makes up more than 80% of the connective tissues of the body and a third of the body’s proteins.
What factors affect the production of collagen?
Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, stress, pollution, excessive or long-term use of prescription medication, tobacco, alcohol and the natural aging process can all affect collagen production. These factors directly affect the way and the production capacity of new proteins or amino acids used to form collagen. When our body is affected by these factors, a greater amount of amino acids is required for it to normally perform its vital functions and maintain good health.
What happens when the body produces less collagen?
A lack of collagen leads to the weakening of connective tissues. Cartilages, tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles, skin, eyes, cells and organs of the body are all affected by this deficiency.
Bone cells form collagen lamellae that allow minerals to settle in bones. When these cells produce less collagen, the bones become less resistant and, over time, they become more porous and fragile and can easily fracture.
Cartilage is composed of more than 70% of collagen. Cartilage is part of joints, which serve as shock absorber and facilitate movement. Without adequate collagen production, the integrity of the cartilage and the protection of the joints are impossible. The health of the cells that make up the cartilage is ensured by a sufficient production of collagen. When the cells that compose it are destroyed, the cartilage deteriorates, the bones of the joint can rub against each other. The result: pain, stiffness and difficulty of movement of the affected joint.
It is collagen in the connective tissue of muscles that allows muscle cells to adapt to mechanical changes. A decrease in collagen production favors muscle microtrauma and this causes injury healing delays. The intramuscular nerve fibers are affected, which results in a decrease in the threshold of tolerance to pain. Muscle mass helps the body to better metabolize fats and sugars. The lack of collagen production leads to a decrease in lean muscle mass and increases the fat mass.
Ligaments ensure good mobility of the joints. When the collagenous tissues that connect the bones to each other become brittle by a lack of collagen production, tissue damage and injury can occur.
Tendons serve as support and stabilize the joints. When collagen production is insufficient, the structure and strength of the tendons become fragile. This causes a malfunction of the joint and increases the possibility of injury.
Our skin has the ability to renew itself permanently, but when there is a decrease in collagen production, the collagen fibers that make up the different areas of the skin lose their strength, tone and elasticity. The skin becomes drier, rougher, weaker; and wrinkles, fine lines and stretch marks appear. We also observe that the outline of the eyes sags and the appearance of youth fades.
The collagen fibers that make up the sclera (80% of the eye) and the cornea of the eye keep the eye in its orbit.