THE SCIENCE BEHIND COLLAGEN
Types of collagen
At least 28 different types of collagen exist, but types I, II and III form the bulk of the collagen found in our bodies.
Types I and III provide structure to the skin, muscles and ligaments, while type II is found predominantly in cartilage.
KIMMEL bars are made of mainly type I collagen and a small amount of type III collagen that comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows without added hormones.
Nutrients that increase collagen production
All collagen starts off as pro collagen.
Your body makes pro collagen by combining two amino acids — glycine and proline. This process uses vitamin C.
You may be able to help your body produce this important protein by making sure you get plenty of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C. Large amounts are found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries.
- Proline. Large amounts are found in egg whites, dairy products, cabbage, asparagus, and mushrooms.
- Glycine. Large amounts are found in gelatine, but glycine is also found in various protein-containing foods.
- Copper. Large amounts are found in organ meats, cocoa powder and cashews.
In addition, your body needs high quality protein that contains the amino acids needed to make new proteins. Grass fed bovine is an excellent sources of amino acids.
You need vitamin C to support collagen synthesis, the process in which the human body makes collagen protein.
There’s an easy way to get more vitamin C in your diet to help produce collagen: Eat lightly cooked vegetables like brussel sprouts, spinach and broccoli, as well as fresh berries.
Four of the nutrients that help produce collagen are vitamin C, proline, glycine, and copper. Also, eating high quality protein gives your body the amino acids it needs.
Things that damage collagen
Perhaps it’s even more important to avoid the following 5 collagen-destroying behaviours:
- Sugars: Eating too much sugar and refined carbs. Sugar interferes with collagen’s ability to repair itself. Minimise your consumption of added sugar and refined carbs.
- Smoking: Smoking reduces collagen production. Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to tissues. Therefore, tissue cannot regenerate and is more likely to become damaged and die. Plus the oxidative stress of chemicals in tobacco smoke can lead to premature wrinkles.
- UV exposure: There's a proven link between UV exposure (sunshine over time) and loss of collagen. UV rays negatively impact collagen through "various mechanisms including DNA changes to the cells that make collagen as well as the production of free radicals that can affect collagen directly via oxidative stress.
- Age: Collagen production starts to dip in most people's bodies from the time they're in their late teens or early 20s. When we are young, our bodies produce more collagen than we break down. That balance tips the wrong way with age since tissue regeneration decreases.
- Inflammation triggering diets: Inflammation is one of the main enemies of any tissue. Inflammatory diets, which often include eating plans that are high in sugar, simple carbohydrates, and processed meats, activate the immune system and promote inflammation throughout the body. High sugar levels can lead to hardening and fragmentation of collagen, weakening the skin foundation, and promoting premature skin ageing.
There's only so much you can do to slow the natural decline of collagen in your skin. But knowing the factors you can control, like avoiding UV damage and doing your best to support your collagen production—by taking a hydrolysed collagen supplement like our KIMMEL collagen protein bars —can go a long way toward giving you healthy-looking, firm skin in the future.
Natural food sources
Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animal foods. For example, it’s found in large amounts in beef skin.
Good dietary sources of collagen include:
- Bone broth
- Pork, salmon and chicken skins
- Non-muscle meats like tendon, tripe, oxtail and knuckle
- Egg yolk and eggshell membranes
Unless you eat these foods regularly, you’re probably not getting enough collagen molecules in your diet—which means you’re missing out on those health benefits. That’s where collagen dietary supplements come in handy.
Animal products such as bone broth, gelatine, animal skin are very high in collagen.
Benefits of collagen supplements
Hydrolysed collagen (collagen hydrolysate) is a good supplement source.
These have already broken the large protein down into smaller peptides, which are more easily absorbed in the body.
- Muscle mass. Recreationally active men showed that a combination of collagen peptide supplements and strength training increased muscle mass and strength.
- Skin elasticity. Women who took a supplement showed improvements in skin appearance and elasticity.
Collagen protein strengthens your joints, making them more resilient. Research shows that taking hydrolysed collagen reduces joint pain after exercise and boosts the density of your cartilage, making joints more flexible.
According to studies avoiding tobacco and excess sun exposure and following a healthful dietary and exercise regime can help reduce visible ageing and protect collagen, keeping the skin, bones, muscles, and joints healthy for longer