When it comes to anti-aging there is a word that takes stage every time, “collagen”.
So why is collagen so closely related to aging skin?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It is a polypeptide containing different types of amino acids and forms part of all connective tissues in the body such as: skin, cartilage and bone. It makes the skin look smooth and supple and maintains its elasticity. As we get older the production of collagen decreases causing volume loss in the skin contributing to the formation of lines and wrinkles and thinning of the skin. By the time a woman reaches menopause, she would have lost approximately 30% of the collagen. However, not only age affects collagen production, other unhealthy lifestyle and environmental habits such as: UV light, smoking, stress, pollution and poor nutrition contribute to the declining of collagen levels too.
Because it is such an important factor in the aging process, collagen supplementation has gained high popularity in the beauty market promising to improve the overall condition of the skin and to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
To what extent is this true? Let’s get a little deeper.
Firstly, it is important to understand that the body does not absorb the collagen directly. It must break it down into smaller particles which then, it must convert them into biodegradable amino acids that can be used as a natural source to reinforce the body’s own collagen production. These amino acids can also be found in healthy foods. One crucial vitamin in the production of collagen is vitamin C, which is a co-factor of collagen. The body uses vitamin C to produce collagen. Therefore, foods like fruits and vegetables containing high amounts of vitamin C are essential to maintain healthy collagen synthesis. Sugar, on the other hand, is detrimental for the skin because it triggers a process called “glycation” in which glucose molecules adhere to proteins such as collagen in your body forming new molecules called AGEs. These AGEs molecules degrade collagen and elastin, causing them to get rigid and lose elasticity.
Opinions among experts are diverse as if collagen supplements indeed help to make the skin look younger. There are no many studies that confirm their benefits and most studies are provided by the manufactures. However, there is some evidence that suggests that taking a collagen supplement can aim your body to produce more collagen by providing essential amino acids. Some people report seeing an improvement in the appearance of lines and wrinkles, skin elasticity and hydration. Results don’t occur overnight though, it can take some time of regular use to see a noticeable difference and it is necessary to continue with the supplementation to maintain the results. Some experts debate the benefits of these supplements arguing that because collagen is a protein which needs to be broken down during digestive processes, there is very little evidence that there will be enough quantities readily available to reach the skin making a remarkable difference.
But for the little evidence that is out there, I believe that is worth at least a try if it doesn’t hurt you. Many people for lack of time or lifestyle habits don’t follow a diet with appropiate nutrition to provide the body with what it needs to increase the production of this protein considered an essential in the search of rejuvenation, so supplementation has its place in these cases. I am a person that has a very healthy lifestyle and yet I have noticed a difference in my skin when I have taken certain collagen supplements. Not all of them though. Because collagen is a protein, it can be hard to digest for some people, myself included. So it is a matter of trying different ones to see which one agrees with you the most. Prices in supplements also vary extensively among the different brands and manufactures. Some products can be very costly. As far as we understand that these supplements are not replacing the benefits of a healthy diet; seemingly, they can add health benefits not only for the skin, but for also for hair and joints and other connective tissues. They can be used to boost the supply of essential amino acids to prompt your body to produce more collagen.
Nevertheless, that can also be achieved with a healthy diet rich in protein and nutrients which continues to be the most reliable source to give the body what it needs to maintain adequate collagen production.
Look for foods like:
Healthy fats, nuts, bone broth, fish, chicken, eggs, protein-rich grains, red and orange vegetables, dark greens, citrus and berries and avocados.
Practice good lifestyle habits like:
Adequate sleep, exercise, good hydration and relaxation and avoid stress, smoking and alcohol, simple sugars and carbohydrates.
The great news is that we have control of how we age.
Like Janey Lee Grace said:
“Getting older is inevitable but ageing is optional!”
Thank you very much for being here.
Until next time,
Founder of Zkin Fix Skincare
Other interesting readings:
Aging is a work of Art Series by Dora Salazar
Collagen Supplements For Better Skin? By Holistic guru Dr. Weil
The Truth on What Collagen Really Does for Your Skin, Hair, and Bone Health
BY ALEXA ERICKSON / Reader’s Digest
24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.
Products that I have tried