Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. As an essential structural protein, collagen is produced naturally in your body, but it can also be supplemented with specific products to boost production and to help your body naturally create more itself. Collagen powder and capsules help support your skin, hair, nails, joints, blood vessels and tendons. Collagen products have become increasingly popular, with most being hydrolysed, meaning the collagen has already been broken down, to ease absorption.

Sportsfuel have a great range of the best collagen supplements (including marine collagen) in New Zealand. Check them out today!

What is collagen?

Collagen is one of the most common proteins found in the body and is the main structural protein that forms the connective tissue throughout our bodies, from skin to muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. Collagen makes up a huge 80% of skin, and works with another protein called elastin to keep our skin elastic. As we age, our natural collagen production declines causing skin to sag and wrinkle. Collagen products have become increasingly popular, now being made by companies specialising in health care products, supplements and more.

There are certain parts of our lifestyles that can quicken the rate of collagen reduction. Eating sugar and refined carbohydrates can interfere with collagen's ability to repair itself. Too much sun and ultraviolet radiation on the skin, as well as smoking cigarettes, can reduce collagen production and lead to more wrinkles. While some of these behaviours are impossible to avoid, you can reduce them and use a collagen supplement to replenish collagen loss.

Taking collagen can also be great for improving heart health. Collagen provides structure to your arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough of this protein, arteries and other blood vessels may become more fragile.

What are the 5 types of collagen?

There are around 30 different types of collagen that have been identified and described. They are divided into groups depending on what structure they form. There are, however, 5 main and most common types;

Type 1: This is the most abundant protein found in the human body. It is made up of densely packed fibres, providing structure to skin, tendons, teeth and connective tissue.

Type 2: This is the collagen that is mostly found in cartilage, which is connective tissue that protects the ends of bones at the joints. It is also an important structural component in the ribcage, nose, and ears.

Type 3: This type of collagen supports muscle, arteries and organ structure and is found in tissues like blood vessels.

Type 5: Type 5 functions to help create the cells of a woman's placenta. It also helps with filtration.

Type 10: Cell surfaces and hair are formed by the help of Type 10. It is also present in normal joint cartilage.

Does collagen really work?

Many studies of collagen supplements have shown that they can positively affect a range of areas of the body. Skin elasticity including wrinkles and roughness can all be improved by taking it.

Collagen supplements are broken down into amino acids by the body, then absorbed and used to build collagen and other proteins your body may need such as elastin and fibrillin.

Collagen supplements can come in different forms, depending mainly on their source. Some of these variants are marine collagen and collagen peptides. Marine collagen is sourced from wild-caught fish scales, making most marine collagen pescatarian friendly. Collagen peptides are usually sourced from grass-fed cows, using the hides and connective tissues. Hydrolysed collagen is when either of these sources are broken down before consumption, to make them easier to digest.

The results of using collagen supplements may vary between every person, depending on how long and how regularly they are using them. Typically, after about 4 weeks of daily supplementation, you can see some results. After a couple of months, you should be able to see a great improvement of skin and hair quality, among other health benefits.

Which is the best collagen supplement in New Zealand?

There is an amazing range of products available at Sportsfuel, from marine collagen, to collagen protein powders and protein bars! The best one to take is all dependant on your own needs. Some people may need a pure collagen product to help with skin elasticity and firmness, however, some people may be able to get enough from having it as part of their protein powder.

There are also a range of fresh teas that have added collagen, so you really can enjoy the benefits in whichever way suits you.

Is it safe to take collagen supplements?

Supplementing with collagen is widely seen as a very safe way to improve skin and joint health. Most people can use these supplements regularly without any discomfort or side-effects. Some side-effects, although very mild, can be diarrhoea or feelings of fullness and a heavy stomach.

Most collagen supplements are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians because they are commonly manufactured by using the bones or proteins of animals.

As with any supplements, always source the opinion of a health care professional before using any new products.

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