Collagen. What is it and why is it so important?
You’ve probably heard of collagen and how important it is to the appearance of your skin, hair and nails. But did you know that collagen is found in our muscles, tendons, bones, membranes, cartilage and arteries? In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Aside from water it is the most plentiful substance in our bodies and forms the building blocks of skin, bones, membranes, tendons and even plays a part in gut health. Understanding a little bit more about collagen, what it does and we how we can slow down the loss of it could help us to improve our skin, joint strength and overall health as we get older.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein that helps keep our connective tissues strong, provides cushioning for various part of the body and keeps our skin smoother and hair and nails stronger. There are many different types of collagen, but over 90% of collagen is known as Type I, II and III. Type I collagen makes up 70% of our skin and is key to helping to keep our skin smooth and free of wrinkles. Type II collagen is found in the cartilage, the connective tissue that protects your joints and forms cushioning between the spinal disks. Type III collagen is the second most abundant type of collagen and can be found in our intestines, muscles and blood vessels.
So now we know what collagen is, where it is found and that there are different types, here is the bad news. From the age of 20, the body produces 1% less collagen every year which accounts for why our skin becomes more lined and wrinkled as we get older and why we experience more joint pain, weaker bones and tendon damage. After menopause, this dramatically increases and by 60 there is a considerable decline in collagen production. But there is plenty that you can do to slow this process and aid collagen production through healthier lifestyle choices, making better nutritional choices and choosing the right skin treatments and products for your specific skin instant.
How can our lifestyle affect collagen production?
Aside from the usual suspects, smoking and UV exposure, there are other lifestyle choices we make that can greatly affect the amount of collagen our bodies can produce. Our drinking habits can have a detrimental effect on collagen production, especially tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks as they tend to dehydrate the skin which causes inflammation and collagen loss. We all know we should drink more water to keep our bodies hydrated but water also promotes collagen fibre formation. Drinking 8-10 glasses a day will help to keep your collagen production ticking over and create a smoother appearance to your skin. An Exercise regime that includes some resistance training will help to build muscle which can stimulate collagen growth and muscles also help to prevent our skin from sagging.
Will collagen production give me a healthier gut?
Simple answer, yes! As collagen is in the connective tissue of the gut and supports and strengthens the protective lining of your digestive tract, improving your collagen production can help to prevent a leaky gut which allows particles to enter into your bloodstream. Not only can collagen help to keep the lining of your gut healthy, it can also help to stimulate the production of stomach acids and improve the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients. Maintaining a healthy gut is becoming more important. Not only has a poorer diet played a part in leaky gut syndrome, but the introduction of painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin that are well known irritants of the bowel lining, have possibly contributed to higher instances of gut lining damage that leads to some substances being passed through gaps into the bloodstream. Maintaining a healthy gut is essential as increased intestinal permeability can lead to conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease as well as IBS.
How can diet affect collagen production and what foods can help improve collagen production?
Your body makes collagen from amino acids known as proline, glycine and hydroxyproline which all come from food. Eating foods that contain these amino acids will help you to make new collagen and avoiding a high sugar diet will prevent collagen damage.
Proline – This is often referred to as the ‘non-essential amino acid’ as our bodies produce it naturally, but eating a diet that is rich in proline can help regenerate cartilage, for connective tissues, heal gut lining and repair joints. Food sources rich in proline are egg whites, meat, cheese, cabbage and soy.
Glycine – This is an amino acid that is essential for muscle and metabolic functions and is key to collagen production. The main source of glycine is bone broth, but other sources of proteins such as meat, dairy, poultry, eggs and fish are good sources too. Plant-based foods such as beans, spinach, kale, cauliflower, bananas and kiwi also contain glycine as well as other essential vitamins that too can have a positive impact on collagen production
Hydroxyproline – Although our bodies will naturally produce the hydroxyproline our bodies need, it needs vitamin C to be able to produce the collagen our bodies need. High levels of vitamin C can be found in oranges, strawberries, broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes and cauliflower, to name a few.
What products are there that can help boost collagen production?
Rejuvenated collagen shots are a great way to boost your body’s collagen. Research studies have demonstrated that the collagen contained within these shots significantly improve the skin’s appearance. These clinically formulated drinks naturally supplement your skin’s collagen levels which in turn will help to improve hydration, firmness and texture which can reduce the appearance of the fine lines and wrinkles we experience with age. These collagen shots are easily absorbed and the peptides are attracted to the fibroblasts in our connective tissue which increase the number and size of collagen fibrils in the skin. The results are improved suppleness, elasticity and firmness as well as hydration which will improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles giving the skin a smoother appearance with a more even tone.
Rejuvenated Skin Perfecting Complex capsules are a vegan formula, combining skin calming botanicals and good bacteria with Botani-col and are a fusion of the exact amino acids our bodies require to promote collagen synthesis.
Collagen depletion is biology; part of the ageing process and we cannot stop it from occurring. But, with the right diet, good lifestyle choices and supplementing your regime with effective collagen shots, we can help slow this process. It is not just about the appearance of our skin though. This collagen is a fundamental part of our body’s complex structure. Ageing takes on all different guises in our bodies and retaining collagen levels will lead to not only an improved appearance but better joint health, mobility and a reduction in digestive system disorders as we get older.