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What is Collagen ?

Collagen is a type of protein. Rubbery, tough and often likened to glue, it is used in the body to attach and support tendons, bones, muscles, cartilage and even internal organs. It is also found in the teeth and skin. Within the human body it is the most abundant protein with more than twenty-eight differing kinds, making up approximately twenty-five per cent of the entire number of proteins in the human body.

Out of the twenty-eight kinds of collagen in our bodies, there are four named types I, II, III, and IV that make up over ninety per cent of them. Type I is found in skin, tendons, scar tissue and bones and is the most plentiful of all types of collagen in the body. Type II is found in cartilage and within the eye, Type III in blood vessels, intestines and the uterus. Type IV is found in basement membranes and in the kidneys.

The structure of collagen had puzzled scientists for many years. Leading scientists such as Watson and Crick were known to have toiled with the structure of collagen and it was not until 1954 that G.N. Ramachandran and Gopinath Kartha announced its correct and accurate structure, known now as the ‘Madras helix’.

Collagen performs alongside elastin in supporting the body. It gives tissues structure and shape and supplies strength to them. Major working organs such as the skeleton, the lungs and even blood vessels use the mixture of collagen and elastin, and unlike many other proteins, it can be used both within and outside cells. Thus, Collagen is important for the shape and appearance of a cell along with the internal workings of it.

One example of this is skin cells. Collagen, in conjunction with keratin, imparts the strength, flexibility and firmness into the cell. Within the skin, collagen is produced by cells named fibroblasts, which are found spread all through the dermis and makes up almost three-fourths of the dry weight of skin. The ageing process, however, breaks down and slows this process and results in a changing appearance. Proteins within the skin clasp together and their contours change. This prevents them from performing correctly and results in a drop in collagen levels. Wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin are visually obvious effects of a degradation of collagen within skin cells.

On average, the body loses collagen at a rate of around 1.5 per cent a year from the age of twenty-five onwards.

However, it is not just aging that is collagen’s only attacker; environmental dangers such as sunlight, pollution, weather and smoking all cause concern for skin’s health. These factors produce free radicals that develop in the skin, which in turn damage the collagen stratum. This progression is more commonly known as premature ageing, which produces side effects associated with the expected aging process.

Consequently, one essential objective when attempting to prevent or decelerate the ageing process of skin is to maintain collagen levels and prevent its collapse.

In early 2008 Researchers at the University of Michigan embarked upon a study into anti-aging treatments that focus on replacement and renewal of collagen. Published in the Archives of Dermatology, their study confirms that some collagen-enhancing treatments helped to reduce signs of wrinkling due to stimulating new collagen production within skin cells. The report confirms that this collagen-enhancing care both helped to decrease visible signs of wrinkling thanks to its encouragement of new collagen manufacture.

Products such as Col-Pure Collagen capsules offer this collagen-enhancing experience. After 5 to 10 minutes after taking a capsule the collagen will enter the blood stream. Most users report an improvement regarding skin texture and wrinkles within a two month period, but the capsules work on a day to day basis so the longer you use the capsules, the longer and better the results will be.

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