The building blocks, collagen as a supplement

Collagen is the most common protein in our body and makes up most of our body’s structures such as fascia, bone tissue, cartilage, blood vessels, lymph vessels, eyes, skin, nails, and more. There are several different types of collagen, with types I, II, and III being the most common in our body. Type I collagen is the most common and is found in the skeleton, tendons, ligaments, and all types of fascia. Proteins, such as collagen or muscle proteins, are made up of various amino acids. Some of these can be produced by our bodies, while others must be obtained through our daily diet, called essential amino acids. If any of these essential amino acids are missing, the protein cannot be formed. Therefore, it is important to consume the right amino acids to create a specific protein. Different proteins have different amino acid qualities. For example, milk proteins contain different amino acids than collagen. Collagen, compared to muscle proteins, also has a completely different amino acid composition. The different types of collagen, types I, II, and III, have a similar amino acid composition, with type III differing slightly. It is actually the fiber structure and formation that sets them apart.

So, what does this mean? Well, it doesn’t work to eat dairy or meat to produce good collagen, as important amino acids needed to build collagen will be missing! To build collagen, we must eat collagen or gelatin (which is made from collagen). Gelatin is used in many food products, especially candy and baked goods, as a “glue” and texture enhancer. So, we probably consume a lot of gelatin without even realizing it. However, if one wants to eat completely vegetarian, it can become a problem. Possibly, the protein in chickpeas, beans, soybeans, etc. can provide some of the amino acids needed for collagen formation, but if one is a hard trainer or has injuries, it may not be enough. Collagen is an animal protein and the protein collagen is not found in the plant kingdom! However, some amino acids found in collagen may exist in certain plants so that the body can build its collagen from those amino acids.

In the past, when people used to use the whole animal and make their own broth from bones and tendons, they would consume collagen that way. Nowadays, most people eat only the tender cuts of meat without the fascia and tendons. Most people do not make their own bone broth. Unfortunately, our modern diet is often depleted of many essential nutrients! Therefore, it may be a good idea to take collagen supplements daily, especially if you exercise, play sports, or have injuries that need to heal!

New research shows that 15g per day of hydrolyzed gelatin or hydrolyzed collagen has a positive effect. You can get the important amino acids by taking hydrolyzed type I collagen. Cells then produce the type of collagen needed depending on the stress they are exposed to. If you compress a joint with its cartilage, type II collagen is produced. If you stretch a tendon, type I collagen is produced. The important thing is that you have the amino acids, the building blocks, and then the body does the job.

Remember to always add vitamin C along with collagen, but vitamin C should be taken several times a day while collagen is enough to take once or twice a day, preferably before exercise, 30-60 minutes before. Vitamin C is needed to build a strong collagen, see the article on vitamin C.