What is Collagen all about?

Sunday, April 25, 2021
Khadijah S Abdullah
What is Collagen all about?

Is it really the anti-aging elixir of life, or the fountain of youth as it is touted out to be, or is it a scam, a hoax?

Collagen is natural protein that forms the main component, substance or structure of the tissues of our body; it is the most abundant protein making up about 30% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen is the most talked about subject currently, it has gained a lot of interest in the world especially in the US and Europe.

All parts of our body are made of collagen, blood vessels, all organs; heart, lungs, kidneys, bones intervertebral discs, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, skin, subcutaneous tissues and gastro intestinal tract, it is also found in cornea and dentin of our teeth.

Collagen contains most or all of the over 20 esssential human Amino Acids that our body need, namely; glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, glutamic acid, alanine, arginine and aspartic acid. We need these amino acids to build our body tissues, produce new cells and repair damaged ones.

Different types of collagen exists in the different areas of the body depending upon the degree of mineralization, (conversion organic compounds into inorganic compounds) collagen tissues may be rigid as found in bones, compliant as in the tendons, or have a gradient from rigid to compliant as in the cartilage and skin. Different types of tissues have different amounts of collagen content. Out of the 30% collagen body content, about 70% is found in the skin, and a substantial amount about 90% is found in the bones.

Collagen is made up of the three amino acids: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline that cannot be found in sufficient amounts in many other foods. The collagen molecule is shaped like a triple helix (triple spiral) and forms a mesh like network to provide strength, support and flexibility to tissues. Collagen molecules in the skin form a mesh-like network in the dermis layer right below the epidermis to support and maintain the skin’s firmness, suppleness and softness. 

Now companies have come up with appealing ways to sell collagen (including coffee mix drinks, powder mix in tubs, capsules, injections, sweets and jells) 

People all over the world have been looking for ways and means to keep young and agile, and to push back the trials of time and age. For centuries, Chinese women believed collagen to be the fountain of youth, and makes it a point to consume food containing collagen. Some make meat or bone broth, cartilage or skin of animals and shark’s fins for the purpose of keeping them young looking, with firm and healthy skin and joints. 

Collagen is often called the body’s scaffolding or glue.

“It’s the glue that holds the body together,” says New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out. “As we get older, we break it down faster than we can replace it,” 


Vital Proteins CEO Kurt Seidensticker, has sparked off much attention to collagen since 2013, he was the original category creator for the collagen protein market. Vital Proteins maintains the number one seller in the US market share. Kurt Seidensticker first learned of collagen’s health benefits after he experienced knee discomfort from running, the setback started his search for a product that would help support his joint health and repair the damage to his knee. Incorporating collagen into his diet, he found, that nutrient-rich foods don’t provide enough of the amino acids needed for the body to naturally produce collagen.                               

Collagen also maintains and repair tendons, bones, and joints keeping it strong yet flexible. Muscular growth, joint health and an overall skin glowing appearance can be partially attributed to the amino acid blends in collagen. 

Celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Jennifer Aniston are open endorsers of collagen, and starts their day with collagen drinks or incorporated into their food. 

When we age, our body’s natural collagen production begins to slow down, after the age of 25, our body will stop producing collagen. 


With age the skin will lose its thickness, it will be less supple and dry and will start to sag. Collagen keeps the skin firm and prevents it from forming lines and wrinkles.


The Low collagen level may reduce hair growth and contribute to hair thinning and hair will lose its color. 


Reduction in collagen levels may cause joints to be stiff and less flexible and movements will be restricted and painful. There will be osteoporosis where the bones at the joints knock upon each other, where the meniscus is damaged or worn out. 

Lack of collagen effects joints:

  • Causes pain and inflammation  
  • Difficult and restricted movements
  • Joint deformities


Bones may lose its density and fractures can easily happen if there is a fall. Weakness of the bones will cause osteoporosis. can cause restricted movements and a lot of pain.


Muscles can become loose and starts to sag. Muscles will lose its density and shrink and become weak. Muscles can also be inflammed and causes pain.


Gastrointestinal tract problems may appear at this time such as bloating, wind and indigestion, intolerance to certain food, stomach cramps and leaky guts.



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