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Collagen; Functions in the Body and Nutritional Advice

Collagen is an important protein found in the body and can be produced by the body. It is the most common protein found in humans and other mammals, accounting for 25-35% of our body’s total protein content.

There are 28 known types and type I collagen makes up 90% of the total. Fibroblasts are the most common collagen-producing cells. Collagen is mainly composed of amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. These amino acids form three strands that form the characteristic triple helix structure.

However, as we age, collagen production naturally decreases and the quality of the collagen produced also decreases. Collagen loss in the body begins between the ages of 18-29. After the age of 40, about 1% of them can be lost per year. By the age of 80, loss generally reaches 75%.

It is an essential component of the extracellular matrix that supports cells. Collagen and keratin give the skin its strength, waterproofness and elasticity. The molecular structure can be damaged by smoking, sunlight, consumption of high-sugar foods and other oxidative stress factors.

Collagen deficiency mostly affects the skin; the skin starts to sag by losing its firmness and wrinkles become inevitable. In addition, damage can develop in many organs and tissues, from joint cartilage to tendons, from teeth to nails. With a clear expression, it can be said that “aging accelerates collagen deficiency”.

Sufficient and quality collagen production in the body

First, it should be known that it is impossible to prevent all age-related loss, but it is possible to slow down the process.

Including adequate amounts of vitamin C, copper minerals and quality proteins in the daily diet is extremely important for collagen production. However, foods such as green leafy vegetables and garlic that contain chlorophyll also stimulate collagen production in the body.

In addition to the production in the body, the consumption of collagen-rich foods may also be recommended.

In light of all these data, the following nutritional advice can be given;

1. Foods containing quality protein should be consumed. After all, since collagen is a protein, quality protein-source foods containing the building blocks are indispensable for collagen production. Foods containing quality protein; eggs, milk and dairy products, meat, offal and legumes.

2. Foods containing high amounts of vitamin C should be consumed; rosehip juice, green pepper, capia pepper, parsley and citrus fruits. A glass of rosehip juice contains about 60 mg of vitamin C.

3. Foods rich in copper can be consumed; offal, seafood, sesame, hazelnut, peanut, legumes and meat, especially liver.

4. Green leafy vegetables should be consumed.

5. Garlic consumption should not be neglected.

6. Foods rich in collagen may be consumed; head trotter and tripe soup, marrow bone broth, meat with bones, fish eaten with bones, chicken bones and skin are foods rich in collagen. It should not be forgotten that there is no such thing as “we need to eat collagen-containing food or take collagen supplements” to support your body’s collagen levels or bone health.

7. It may be advisable to reduce or cut back the consumption of foods containing high sugar. This will prevent damage to the body.

8. However, collagen products are on the market as food supplements. Of course, it is useful to take such food supplements on the advice of a doctor and dietitian. On the other hand, the benefit of such supplements is a controversial issue in the scientific community. Collagen products used as food supplements can be produced from cattle, sheep and pigs. Regarding religion, it is important to know whether the collagen product is derived from pigs.


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