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What is Collagen?

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Collagen supplements are everywhere right now, and with big promises of making vast improvements to skin, hair, nail and joint health, it’s not hard to see why. But from animal-sourced collagen to genetically modified alternatives available, it’s tricky to know what’s safe, what’s effective and what’s backed by clinical studies and real science.

Collagen is a protein found in the human body consisting of amino acid chains. Specifically, it provides structure and can be found in skin, bones, muscles and tendons. It plays a vital role as a connective tissue that also gives vitality and elasticity to the skin¹. There are 28 different types of collagen found in the body, but Types I, II, III, IV, and V are the most abundant. Type I collagen accounts for 90% of collagen within the body¹, and provides structure and strength to skin, tendons, bones, and other connective tissues. Type I collagen fibres make up 70% of both the upper and lower dermal layers of the skin², and therefore play an important role in maintaining smooth, plump, and youthful skin. Collagen also promotes the production of other proteins which contribute to skin structure, including elastin and fibrillin, along with supporting the production of hyaluronic acid.

Diagram of the molecular composition of Collagen

Can our diet help with collagen production?

Collagen is naturally produced in the body from amino acids sourced from protein-rich foods, including beef, chicken, fish, pulses, eggs, and dairy products. Vitamin C-rich foods, including citrus, berries, leafy greens and exotic fruits, can also help to support your body’s natural collagen production, whilst antioxidant foods such as green tea, pomegranate, and dark chocolate can help to protect against the breakdown of collagen triggered by oxidative stress. But with stressful lifestyles, busy schedules and poor digestion all playing a part, it can become tricky for the body to absorb nutrients effectively.

And that’s not all: from the age of 25, the natural collagen and elastin production within your body starts to decline³. During menopause, collagen production plummets by a further 30%⁴. Decreased collagen production can cause disruption to the biomatrix of the skin, causing a loss of strength, stability, and elasticity, and triggering the formation of wrinkles⁵. Decreased Type I collagen production also contributes to a number of age-related characteristics, including sagging skin, fine lines, brittle nails, and thinning hair⁶.

The good news is that research suggests collagen supplements can help. A meta-analysis looking at 1,123 participants in total found that supplemental collagen peptides can improve skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles within 90 days⁷.

A vegan alternative backed by real science

Animal sourced collagens such as bovine, porcine and marine collagen are frequently used due to some similarities to human collagen. However, human collagen has fundamental differences to animal collagen due to the unique amino acid profile. In particular, animal sources of collagen do not contain the essential amino acid tryptophan, making them an incomplete source of protein. In fact, there is no animal collagen that is a perfect match to humans.

Further to this, animal sources of collagen are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians, and the production of these has a negative impact on the ecosystem and environment. For these reasons alone, opting for vegan collagen seems like a move in the right direction. However, many vegan collagen products on the market today are ineffective because they are mostly made up of plant-based ingredients and vitamins, which although beneficial, are not effective in replicating Type I human collagen.

Feel Pro Collagen contains VeCollal® - a biomimetic of human Type I collagen - which means it provides an identical amino acid profile to human collagen and supplies the perfect ratios of amino acids for building collagen naturally in the body. No other animal collagen source has this characteristic: only VeCollal® perfectly mimics human Type I collagen thanks to a patented formula. It increases skin elasticity, hydration and suppleness, and has been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles in just 28 days⁸. Feel Pro Collagen is designed to be super absorbable with no loss in digestion, no unpleasant taste or odour and no heavy metal contamination. It’s 100% vegan, wheat and gluten-free, kind to the planet, cruelty-free, and, as always with Feel, it is backed by real science.

Expertly Reviewed by Fiona Lawson,
Registered Nutritional Therapist, BA (Hons) MSc DipCNM mBANT

 Fiona Lawson, Registered Nutritional Therapist, BA (Hons) DipCNM mBANT AFMCP.

Fiona is a former national magazine editor turned registered nutritionist. She holds an MSc in Nutritional Medicine and a BANT-registered post-graduate qualification in Nutritional Therapy. Fiona specialises in skin health, working with brands and individuals in her private nutrition consultancy. She is also the author of the acclaimed book, The Happy Skin Solution.

 

References:

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8399689/
² https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/dermis
³ https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8484/e700f8e84dd0ad0ccdd08f633cdbed8e4efb.pdf
⁴ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21261751/
⁵ https://parjournal.net/article/view/3863
⁶ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270898387_Collagen_in_Health_and_Disease
⁷ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33742704/
⁸ Results obtained from a research study carried out by VeCollal in collaboration with the Integrated Bioscience Design division of TCI Biotech

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WeAreFeel Nutrition Team - All content provided on our blog is created exclusively for our readers by our research and nutrition team. We try to provide as much scientific backing as possible with references to support any claims made.
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