Those of us deep in beauty culture are familiar with collagen. It is a potent structural protein that helps to maintain our skin’s general shape and keeps it in good repair. Losing it causes many of the overt signs of aging that we all strive to minimize. Naturally, this makes collagen a big concern for anyone trying to look their best. The catch is that collagen is actually used in your body for far more than just your skin. Our skin is simply the obvious area that collagen gets used in and regularly requires more. As a result, most of us don’t realize that collagen is everywhere in our body and takes a variety of forms. There are five relatively common forms of collagen that the body uses regularly. We’re going to look into collagen’s place in the body and skip skin for once. That way you have a clear understanding of what all it does for you.
What most people don’t know is that collagen is actually important to all of your joints. This is because your body actually uses forms of collagen within the tendons that operate your joints and as part of the organic cushioning that makes joint movement easy on the body. Collagen is actually best viewed as a sort of fundamental “glue” for the human body given the various forms it takes all involve helping to hold parts of the body together properly. Collagen is worn down by continual movement and pinching though. This is why we frequently find the our joints have issues as we age. Some fad-based medicine suggest taking collagen supplements to help maintain joint health, but this has little science to support it. Instead you should simply strive to eat a balanced diet to provide your body with the appropriate materials to create and replace collagen where it can. Notably, it can’t do this everywhere in your body.
Bone and Cartilage
Forms of collagen are also key components of what gives your entire body structure. To understand this we need to let go of our view of bones as simply being the white and hard exterior our minds instantly reach for when thinking of bone. In truth, bone has a softer, more flexible interior of marrow and other components that act to help grow and repair the bones. They aren’t simple structural support for the body. Bones are as alive as the rest of you and a form of collagen makes up a fair amount of the interior of your bones. Similarly, cartilage actually utilizes a form of collagen to help give it a lot of its structure. Cartilage is offers both cushioning and structure all around your body that gives you your looks and your ability to move easily. You’re probably beginning to see just why collagen is so important to the body and that means it is time to give you a few defenses against less than scrupulous companies.
Your Body Knows Itself
There is no getting around the fact that your body needs many types of collagen to keep itself repaired and healthy. It is proven fact. The problem is that many people try to use this fact to support their ideas without any real understanding of how varied collagen is. Alternative medicine companies and some beauty gurus suggest taking things like collagen supplements that, at most, would have an almost undetectable effect on your body. It could support collagen production, yes, but which one? Furthermore, how much of the collagen’s basic compounds even reach your body instead of simply passing through? Collagen is good for your body, but it needs to be the collagen your body makes as it needs it. It needs to be the collagen your body knows what to do with too. Throwing randomly sourced collagen into your body will not give you health benefits.
Collagen’s role in your body is varied, but can be summed up in one word: support. It helps your body hold itself together and have the shape you know. Without collagen, your body would be an utter mess. So try to respect this hard-working family of proteins. You owe it a lot.