What is collagen? Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is the substance that holds the whole body together. It is found in the bones, muscles, skin and tendons, where it forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure.
Your body produces its own collagen in abundance to make your skin, bones, hair, nails, muscles, and all your organs, but you wind up producing less and less as you get older. This is the cause of the signs of aging.
5 Benefits of Collagen
- Collagen is important for healthy hair growth. There are three things needed for healthy hair to grow: keratin, minerals and collagen.
- Collagen helps you grow stronger nails. Just like your hair, your nails are mainly made of keratin, collagen and minerals. You need to make sure your body has the necessary nutrients to grow stronger nails.
- Collagen is important for good oral health. Collagen forms the structure of the teeth as well as the supporting tissue around it (the gums and jaw).
- Collagen helps prevent bone loss. Research has shown that you can prevent and relieve osteoporosis by supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen because of its ability to stimulate bone-creating cells (osteoblasts). Studies show that bone loss is less common in women who use hydrolyzed collagen supplements.
- Collagen helps repair leaky gut syndrome. Intestinal Permeability. A possible cause of leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability or the weakening of our intestinal walls, part of which are the tiny folds called “intestinal villi” which are made of collagen. That could happen when tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the lining of the small intestine, don’t work properly. That could let substances leak into the bloodstream. Collagen supplements can help prevent and reverse this by re-building the collagen in the intestinal walls.
Collagen Boosting Foods
Foods rich in vitamin C: fruits such as oranges, papayas, lemons, kiwis, grapefruits and strawberries. Vegetables are also a good source, including broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, winter squash and turnip greens.
Foods rich in copper: Good food choices include organ meats, such as liver; oysters; shellfish; dark leafy greens; dried legumes; and nuts.
Foods rich in vitamin B-3: To help increase the collagen in your body, you can consume niacin-rich foods such as brewer’s yeast, beets, liver, swordfish, tuna, sunflower seeds, salmon, beef liver and beef kidney.
Foods rich in iron: Iron can be found in as meat, poultry, fish, spinach, kale, whole grains and nuts.
Collagen and Scleroderma
Now, let’s look at collagen and how it can be a problem in Systemic scleroderma (systemic sclerosis). In scleroderma, cells start making collagen as if there were an injury that needs repairing. The cells do not turn off as they should and end up making too much collagen. The extra collagen in the tissues can prevent the body’s organs from functioning normally.
Too much collagen can make the skin stretch, harden and thicken, and can also cause damage to internal organs, such as the heart, lungs and kidneys.
- June is Scleroderma Awareness Month Part 1
- June is Scleroderma Awareness Month Part 2
- Living with Scleroderma