Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is found in our muscles, bones, skin and tendons and is referred to as the ‘glue’ that helps hold the body together. It also gives our skin strength and elasticity, and helps replace dead skin cells.
Collagen is also full of conditional amino acids like arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline. These are amino acids that, under normal circumstances, are produced by your body. However, when you’re sick, under stress or otherwise unhealthy, your body may not be able to produce enough of these amino acids on its own. It needs help from outside sources (your diet or supplements) to get its fill. And these ‘nonessential’ amino acids are actually quite important. Proline and glycine, in particular, play a major role in ensuring your body’s running smoothly.
Proline makes up almost 15 percent of collagen. It also helps your artery walls release fat buildup in the bloodstream, shrinking the fat in the arteries and minimizing fat accumulation. Healthy arteries equal a healthy heart! Glycine also makes up a major portion of collagen. And while size-wise it’s the smallest amino acid, big things come in small packages, and glycine is no exception. To ensure our cells function properly, it helps build healthy DNA strands. It’s also one of three amino acids that form creatine, which promotes healthy muscle growth and boosts energy production during work outs.
As we age, our body’s collagen production naturally slows down. It is easy to tell as it can be seen through the sagging skin, wrinkles and weaker cartilage in our joints. Our body’s collagen production can further be slowed down when we smoke, expose ourselves to sun and eat food that are high in sugar.
Collagen supplements and skincare products are from: bovine (mostly from the face of cows, which explains the bitter taste), porcine (pigs), chicken and fish (marine) collagen.
Fish collagen, also known as ‘marine collagen’, is extracted from either the meat or scales of cold sea fish and is primarily Type I and Type III collagen, and some Type II. Fish collagen is also up to 1.5 times more bio-available than bovine, porcine or chicken collagen, because of its optimum (low) molecular weight. It is also free from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease), Hoofand- mouth Disease and Bird viruses.