Considered the “fountain of youth”, collagen is a hot topic in the beauty world. As the most abundant fibrous protein found in the bones, muscles, tendons, and skin of the human body, it is the main component of connective tissue that provides the structure to hold our bodies together and resist stretching of tissues.
“There are four main types of collagen, type 1 being the most common, but in reality there are at least sixteen different types, ”explains Laura DeCesaris, consultant in functional medicine and clinical nutritionist. “Simply put, think of it as a ‘glue’ that helps form strong structures in our tissues, and is also important in the structure and health of blood vessels.”
Most often, collagen manifests positive connotations for its role in maintaining the firmness of our skin. “Comprising up to about 25% of our total protein content, collagen has great tensile strength and, along with soft keratin (another protein), is responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin.” “, Explain Maggie Luther, ND, care ofmedical director and formulator of. This explains, in part, the role of collagen in decreasing the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin.
Whether your mission is to boost your skin’s elasticity or maintain lustrous hair, keep reading for top-notch expert advice for increasing your body’s collagen production.
Meet the expert
Does More Collagen Mean Better Health?
We know that collagen plays a vital role in building and supporting important tissues in our body, but do we need more of it? “Given the beneficial components of collagen for the skin, hair, nails and joint structures, it is important to maintain an adequate amount, and nutrition supporting collagen will help maintain healthy structure,” explains DeCesaris. “For women, in particular, collagen supplementation has been linked to the appearance of healthier skin, hair and nails, and may also have benefits for the gut, such as helping to to heal an inflamed intestine. “
Luther also emphasizes the effects of collagen in combating visible and physiological aging. “Consuming collagen can help fight the effect of collagen breakdown in our skin, as clinical studies have found that consuming it can lead to fewer wrinkles and shallower lines, smoother hydrated skin, and improved elasticity. skin. “
A recent blind study on collagen supplements on 72 women aged 35 who consumed a drinkable mixture of collagen peptides confirmed that skin aging could, in fact, be fought with nutrients that restore hydration, elasticity, density and the roughness of the skin, after three months of consumption. The study also highlighted the safety of the drink during the fate of the experiment.
Other than that, a lesser known benefit of collagen is its use for burns. “It can be injected into the skin to help correct scars and / or depressions caused by these types of accidents,” says Luther.
What Impacts Our Collagen Levels?
As we age after 30 years, our collagen production naturally decreases, resulting in a higher likelihood of thinning of the skin and loss of elasticity, leading to the formation of wrinkles. “Over time, the quality of the collagen we produce decreases and results in reduced flexibility in the structure of our skin, as well as an impact on our joints as the cartilage weakens,” explains DeCesaris.
Other reasons for collagen loss include smoking, “which has been linked to decreased collagen production” as well as excess sugar and refined carbohydrates, since sugar interferes with collagen’s ability to repair itself, according to DeCesaris.
Many changes also occur during pregnancy in a woman’s structure, given the major construction phase of the body. “During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones alter collagen metabolism to make the skin more elastic to develop with the growing fetus,” says Luther. It is therefore essential to support the health and elasticity of the skin during these months.
“Doing so can help with stretch marks and loose skin after pregnancy, but perhaps more importantly, collagen can help strengthen soft tissues that experience increased tension during pregnancy,” DeCesaris offers. “Many women also experience hair loss or thinning after pregnancy, and collagen supplementation can combat this by encouraging new hair growth and better hair resistance.”
Another key to stimulating the natural production of collagen is vitamin C. “Without it, the body is unable to produce collagen,” says Luther. “It should come as no surprise then that scurvy is a disease associated with the breakdown of collagen, the first signs being visual imperfections of the skin.”
How to boost your collagen
To build collagen, our bodies make procollagen, a precursor for which all collagen begins. “It combines the amino acids glycine and proline, as well as vitamin C,” says DeCesaris. By making sure to consume foods rich in these nutrients, we can help create natural collagen products.
- Proline: egg whites, wheat germ, dairy products, mushrooms, asparagus
- Wisteria: chicken skin, gelatin, pork skin, bone broth
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, peppers, berries
She also points out the benefits of focusing on a high protein diet, as it provides a strong amino acid profile for making new structural proteins.
Consuming supplements is another method to increase your overall collagen. “Most supplements are either hydrolyzed collagen or gelatin, forms that have already broken down collagen into peptides and are smaller and better absorbed.” Aiming for supplements that include bones, tendons, and ligaments will help increase collagen. For those of us who follow specific diets, vegetarian and vegan options are also available. And if you’d rather skip the tablet altogether, Luther’s solution is to go with collagen that can be mixed. “Many consumers add collagen to their morning coffee to easily integrate your skin routine into your caffeine routine. ”
From a holistic point of view, she suggests a facial message to “increase collagen production and stimulate blood circulation to help maintain a youthful appearance.”
Or, from a medical point of view, collagen boosting fillers are an alternative for stimulating your body’s natural collagen production. DeCesaris explains, “It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and smooth the skin. Or, as an alternative, red light therapy (photobiomodulation) has also been linked to improved collagen production in the skin.