What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It is the superglue that provides structure and support in the body. Collagen provides structure for connective tissue, blood vessels, the spinal column and discs, eyes, intestinal lining and gut health, bones, muscle, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Collagen also assists in skin, teeth, hair and nails growth and repair and supports skin elasticity[i].
So as you can see, Collagen is required for the body to stay healthy, strong and youthful.
There are many forms of collagen in the body. However, three (3) are critical but lessen as we age – usually starting in your early 20s and but then really begins to reduce in your 40s[ii].
Type 1 – this is the most abundant collagen found in the body. It is responsible for skin hydration, elasticity, and smooth wrinkle-free skin. Type 1 also strengthens bones, teeth, and nails while aiding in thick, full hair.
Type 2 – this type of collagen is found in cartilage which is the connective tissue that links bones to one another and provides structure for the body. Type 2 also supports spinal discs and eyes[iii]
Type 3 – is essential for gut and intestinal health, blood vessels, and muscles. Type 3 also forms the cartilage that covers the ends of your bones and protects your joints.
**Collagen does not only make bones strong, but it also allows joints to move easily.
You may find Collagen supplements that also include two more types. Types 5 and 10.
Type 5 – helps to promote the growth of the placenta in pregnant women[iv] (Leeming, 2016).
Type 10 – helps promote growth in long bones[v].
What Reduces Collagen in the Body?[vi]
Age. After the age of 20, a person loses approximately 1% of collagen a year. The reduction of collagen accelerates in percentage after the age of 40. During and after menopause, collagen continues to decrease for women due to low estrogen levels.
Lifestyle. Stress can lead to an increase in cortisol levels which eventually breaks down elastin (keeps skin firm) and collagen, smoking and nicotine breaks down collagen due to the decrease in blood flow. Skin needs oxygen and nutrients to maintain elasticity, firmness and glow; and ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can cause a reduction in collagen and thereby damages the skin.
Diet. Most diets do not consist of collagen enriched foods such as bone broth and organ meats. In addition, the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar diminishes bones of minerals and reduces skin elasticity.
What Can We Do Increase Collagen? [vii]
- If you smoke, stop!
- Do not eat sugar in excess.
- Limit UV sun exposure.
- Choose collagen enriched foods such as bone broth, leafy vegetables, blueberries, beef, salmon and nuts; avocado oil, eggs, and mangos.
- Add a collagen peptide supplement (unflavored) to your daily routine.
I’ve tried a few but personally recommend the BYBA Collagen brand. This is created by a pharmacist who takes pride in health and beauty. She has carefully chosen where she harvests the collagen and it is manufactured in the United States. For more information on purchasing this brand of collagen, please visit. https://bybasupplements.com/
What Role Does Occupational Therapy Play in Staying Active?
According to the World Health Organization (2006), health is a state of emotional, mental and physical health. Not just the absence of disease and sickness. The role of Occupational Therapy is to promote life participation in these three (3) areas of a person’s life where health is lacking and causing a reduction in life satisfaction and wellbeing[viii].
With pain, various areas are affected including roles, routines, habits, social participation, leisure, self-care, and home management[ix]. An occupational therapy practitioner will assess the person’s abilities, assess pain levels, the environment and activities (occupations) that are important to them and come up with a plan to promote health and wellness to maintain or increase participation in activities that are meaningful.
For more information, please contact Christa Spence, Occupational Therapy Practitioner at Life Wellness Occupational Therapy.
[i] Myers, A. (2019). How collagen benefits your joint and bone health. Amy Myers, M.D. Retrieved on November 16, 2019.
[ii] Myers, A. (2019). How collagen benefits your joint and bone health. Amy Myers, M.D. Retrieved on November 16, 2019.
[iii] Addison, S, Deberg, M., Henrotin, Y. & Kraus, V. (2007). Type II collagen markers in osteoarthritis: what do they indicate? US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 19(5)
[iv] Leeming, D.J. (2016). Type v collagen. Retrieved from Weedon’s Skin Pathology (3rd Ed.), 2010. Science Direct on November 16, 2010.
[v] Gudmann, N.S. (2016). Type x collagen. Pediatric Bone 2003. Retrieved from Science Direct on November 16, 2010.
[vi] Myers, A. (2019). How collagen benefits your joint and bone health. Amy Myers, M.D. Retrieved on November 16, 2019.
[vii] Myers, A. (2019). How collagen benefits your joint and bone health. Amy Myers, M.D. Retrieved on November 16, 2019.
[viii] American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, S1–S48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006
[ix] American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, S1–S48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006