Collagen is a type of protein. It is fibrous in nature. It connects and supports other bodily tissues such as the skin, bones, tendons, muscles, and cartilage. Collagen is also present in the internal organs and in the teeth. Collagen can be found both inside and outside of the cells.
There are more than 25 types of collagens that naturally occur in the body. Collagen makes up about 25% of the total amount of proteins in the body. Collagen makes up 70 percent of the skin and 20 percent of the entire body.
Some refer to collagen as the glue that holds the body together, that without it the body would literally fall apart.
Elastin is a protein that coils and recoils like a spring within the elastic fibers of the connective tissue.
Collagen works with elastin in supporting the body’s tissues. Collagen gives the body firmness and strength. Woven within the collagen are the elastin fibers that give the body flexibility. This is very important for many parts of the body including the lungs, bones, tendons, and blood vessels.
Collagen is made when vitamin C converts the amino acid prolone into hydroxyproline. No Vitamin C, no Collagen. The flexibility of collagen and elastin fibers reduces in time due to damage caused by free radicals. Supporting the body with antioxidants, Vitamin, A, C, E, selenium, and many others helps limit the damage.
Foods that boost the antioxidant level in the body and supports the building of collagen are as follows:
Soy products such as soymilk and cheese contain an element known as genistein. Any soy product has genistein and therefore has collagen production qualities.
Dark green vegetables – Vitamin C
Red fruits and vegetables
Blueberries and blackberries
Salmon, tuna fish, and avocados – Omega 3 fatty acids
Cashews, pecans, almonds, and Brazil nuts
Green and Black olives, fresh cucumbers, and fresh stalks of celery
Raw carrots, fresh cantaloupe, and baked sweet potatoes – Vitamin A
Remember to eat a balanced diet and you will provide your body everything it needs to produce collagen. Soon you will begin to notice a difference in the quality of your skin tone, as well as your overall health.
Colbin, A, (1998), Food and our bones.
Holford, P, (1999), The Optimum Nutrition Bible.