Collagen is a protein that is the major portion of muscles, tendons, joints, and bones. There are mainly four types of collagen, type I through type IV. Type I is the most common of them all. Think of collagen as a glue that holds together all the strong structures in your body and is also an important component for maintaining blood vessel integrity.
Now you must be wondering what beneficial effects collagen imparts to your skin and why you need to increase collagen production in your skin. The answer is that collagen production enhances the overall look of your skin and maintains the firmness of your skin. This explains the role of collagen in reducing the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, an increased amount of collagen is linked to healthy hair, nails, and skin and helps reduce inflammation.
Benefits Of Collagen To Overall Health
- Collagen is a structural protein and is a component of hair, nails, skin, and joints. Maintaining a modest amount of collagen in your body improves the overall health and strength of these body structures.
- Collagen levels in the skin decrease as you age. Consuming collagen through supplementation or applying skincare products to the skin that increase collagen production can improve or even reverse the signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, it improves skin elasticity and results in smoother and hydrated skin. (Liane Bolke, 2019)
- Collagen injections have also proven useful in burn patients since it fills the depressions in the skin created by these type of injuries.
Factors That Decrease Collagen’s Amount
- Collagen levels peak around the age of 25-30 years and then decrease thereafter. This can be visualized in your skin in the form of decreased skin elasticity, decreased suppleness, and the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. The quality of collagen also diminishes over the years as the cartilages weaken, resulting in weak joints.
- Changes in collagen levels also occur during pregnancy. Collagen supplementation and thus improved collagen levels help strengthen the soft tissues, which can better tolerate stress during pregnancy. Moreover, some women experience hair loss and hair thinning during pregnancy which can be counteracted by intake of increased amounts of collagen.
- Cigarette smoking also reduces collagen production in the skin and joint structures.
How To Increase Collagen Production?
Collagen is produced in the body by combining two amino acids, namely Glycine and Proline, along with Vitamin C. This results in the formation of procollagen. Consuming natural products rich in these nutrients can help increase collagen levels in the body.
Here we discuss a few ways by which you can increase collagen in your body.
- Consume collagen-rich food or foods rich in the precursors of collagen.
- Glycine: Gelatin, bone broth, chicken skin
- Proline: Egg white, mushrooms, dairy products, wheat
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits, tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli
- Collagen supplements also help improve collagen levels in the body. Supplements contain hydrolyzed collagen or gelatin, which can be better absorbed. Supplement intake improves overall bone, joint, and skin health. (Roseane B de Miranda, 2021)
- Facial massages also help increase collagen production and blood flow to the skin, ultimately improving skin health.
- Lastly, collagen fillers and red light therapy can also be an option that stimulates the body to produce more collagen naturally. This helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines and improves the quality of your skin. (Pinar Avci, 2014)
- Applying hyaluronic acid to the skin through injections, topical creams, and ointments also helps boost collagen production. Hyaluronic acid can also be consumed in the form of supplements. (Jong Hwan Kim, 2020)
Jong-Hwan Kim, T.-R. K. (2020, March). Comparative Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Novel Hyaluronic Acid-Polynucleotide Complex Dermal Filler. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7083941/
Liane Bolke, G. S. (2019). A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients.
Pinar Avci, M. A. (2014, August 08). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Semin Cutan Med Surg, 41–52.
Roseane B de Miranda, P. W. (2021). Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Dermatol, 1449-1461.
What The Science Says
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Nouha is a passionate journalist and a beauty lover with valuable knowledge in the health and wellness industry. Nouha worked closely with nurses and doctors treating patients with diabetes, sleeping disorder and anxiety. Nouha is currently studying to become a nurse at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.