Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It’s a major building block of your bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This substance is also found in other body parts, ranging from your corneas to your teeth.

Think of collagen as the “glue” that holds your body together. If you keep that definition in mind, it’s not a surprise to learn that the word collagen comes from the Greek word królla, which means glue. Here’s what you need to know about collagen.

What collagen does

Your body produces collagen on a regular basis. That production does slow down as we age. Lifestyle habits that can drastically reduce collagen production include smoking and a diet of over processed foods. Whether it’s age or unhealthy living, you see the external results of reduced collagen production in the form of wrinkles and sagging skin.

Internally, collagen helps to hold bones and muscles together, and it provides structure to joints and tendons. It’s one reason why, as we age, we may begin to experience joint pain.

Collagen types

Science has found at least 16 different types of collagen in the human body. They blog mainly to four types. About 90% of the collagen in our bodies is known as “Type I.” It’s densely packed and provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.

The other three main types – Type II through IV – help to maintain both internal and external structure in our bodies. For example, Type II collagen is less dense than Type I and is mostly found in the elastic cartilage that cushions our joints.

How do we maintain collagen levels?

Age or unhealthy lifestyles contribute to the production of less naturally produced collagen. The collagen that is produced is also lower in quality. While there are collagen supplements available, helping the body to produce it is a better choice.

All 16 types of collagen in the body starts as a substance called procollagen. Our bodies make procollagen by combining glycine and proline – which are two amino acids. This process requires vitamin C.

You can help with the creation by making sure your diet is rich in vitamin C as well as these two amino acids. Add a few extra helpings of citrus fruits for the vitamin C. Did you know that bell peppers are extremely rich sources of vitamin C?

You can increase your intake of proline by making including egg whites, dairy products, and wheat germ. Vegetables high in proline include asparagus, cabbage, and mushrooms.

Glycine is mainly found in protein. Make sure to include meat, poultry, and seafood in moderation for this amino acid.

Chiropractic health and proper nutrition go hand-in-hand. We’re a firm believer in the benefit of daily vitamins. Here’s our recommendation.