Collagen: What is It and What Does It Do?

Collagen: What is It and What Does It Do?

Collagen seems to be everywhere nowadays and has turned into a phenomenon that many people are embracing. From lotions to supplements, and now even bath salts - it seems as though collagen is on everything and is everywhere. But, what is collagen, exactly? How does collagen work and what does it actually do?

What is Collagen?

Whether you’ve heard about collagen or not, collagen is inside your body and everyone’s bodies and will continue to stay there. Collagen is a major structural protein that our bodies naturally produce - it is the most abundant source of protein in our bodies. This means that collagen is essential to the functioning of our connective tissue and gives structure to our skin, hair, nails, joints, muscles, and bones. In fact, collagen makes up 30% of the total protein in our bodies, 80% of our skin, hair, muscles, joints, and 90% of our bone mass. In other words, it’s pretty important. 

Think of collagen as the glue that holds your body together. Our bodies depend on collagen to keep our skin hydrated and plump, hair healthy, joints robust, muscles strong, and digestive system working properly. 

Up until recently, mainstream usage of collagen has been predominantly known as lotions, topicals, and injections - this has misguidedly led people to perceive collagen as something to apply on the skin instead of something to consume. Because collagen is produced inside the body, products containing collagen such as lotions and topicals don’t have the same effects as consuming it - more below.

Why is Collagen Important?

Collagen is vital to the health and appearance of our skin, hair, nails, joints, muscles, and bones. However, our bodies produce less and less collagen starting in our 20’s, at a decreasing rate of 1.5% per year. By our mid-late 40’s, our bodies lose up to 30% of collagen. With this decline in collagen, our cells lose their structure and become weaker, thinner, and looser, leading to signs of aging. So, the aging skin, brittle hair, creaking joints, and digestive issues aren’t necessarily only a factor of age. They’re actually symptoms of diminished collagen levels.

Nonetheless, science shows that by consuming collagen, we can regenerate, restore, and strengthen our connective tissue, resulting in benefits for the entire body - inside and outside. Before we jump into the benefits of taking collagen, let’s start by explaining how collagen actually works. 

How Does Collagen Work?

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