What is collagen?
Collagen is a structural protein in our body, made up of amino acids. Our body contains and produces collagen, however, the problem is that its level decreases over time, and its decrease leads to aging of the skin and the appearance of wrinkles.
Collagen found in various structures of the body, such as skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and connective tissues, provides cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of all these tissues, replacing and restoring dead skin cells. Tendons are heavily involved during our movements and are almost entirely composed of collagen.
What causes a decrease in collagen levels?
As we age, collagen production naturally slows down. There are some factors that reduce its production: unhealthy diet, regular alcohol and smoking, free radicals, excessive sun exposure without SPF protection. Many signs of aging, such as wrinkles and sagging, originate in the dermis, the middle layer of our skin that contains collagen.
Unfortunately, you can’t turn back the clock, but you can make dietary and lifestyle changes to lessen the effects:
- Minimize your intake of refined sugar
- reduce stress;
- prevent nutritional deficiencies such as protein, vitamins and minerals;
- no smoking;
- do not stay in the sun for a long time;
- reduce exposure to polluted air.
Restoring collagen levels in the skin can help restore some of the firmness and radiance of the skin as we age, and help our nails and hair grow stronger.
Elasticity and radiance of the skin[/ caption]
Food Sources of Collagen
Some foods stimulate the production of collagen in the body. Thus, collagen and vitamin food supplements will effectively fight skin aging:
- bone broth promotes the extraction of collagen, of which it is composed;
- amino acids contained in dairy products enhance the regeneration of collagen in the body, so it is important to consume milk, yogurt and cheese;
- berries should be consumed without restrictions, they contain a powerful antioxidant lycopene, which increases the body’s ability to produce collagen;
- kiwi is a fruit known for its high content of vitamin C. in addition, it contains vitamins A and E, which are important for maintaining youthfulness and elasticity of the skin;
- avocado is a powerful antioxidant, rich in vitamin E, which effectively prevents the loss of collagen with age;
- salmon: zinc, which is abundant in salmon, does an excellent job with this task, fatty acids nourish the skin and protect it from aging;
- garlic is known for its anti-inflammatory action, the sulfur content promotes the production of collagen;
- eggs are low-calorie and very nutritious, the amino acids contained in eggs are largely converted into collagen in the body;
- germinated seed sprouts contain a lot of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen fibers;
Oilseeds: Hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, soybeans, canola, and flaxseeds contain the fats needed to fight free radicals to keep skin cells intact.
Sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, vitamins A, C, E are involved in skin regeneration, increasing the effective production of collagen. Thus, citrus fruits, vegetables, meats and oils have properties that can reduce the harmful effects of oxidation on the skin and thus maintain the elasticity it needs. A plant-based diet can easily provide the body with these nutrients:
- vitamin A will protect the skin from loss of elasticity;
- vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of collagen in the human body;
- Vitamin E protects cells from the oxidative effects of stress.
In humans and animals, collagen is concentrated in connective tissues such as muscles. Thus, any meat contains a large amount of collagen.
Fish and egg whites are also good sources of collagen. Spirulina (seaweed) is not a source of collagen, but contains nutrients that can support collagen production in the body.
Additional Information! Vitamin C, one of the main ingredients in skin care, stimulates the production of collagen, as our body cannot produce it effectively without an antioxidant. It helps to make the skin firmer and younger.
Vitamin C is an organic element that the body cannot synthesize on its own. Ensuring your daily intake of vitamin C is easy and is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables:
- rose hip;
- black currant;
- yellow and green peppers;
- cruciferous vegetables (all types of cabbage and broccoli);
Sulfur is found in broccoli, onions, and garlic, while zinc is found in foods such as mushrooms, legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Important! Omega-3 fatty acids protect the body’s collagen stores from damage and help reduce free radicals and inflammation. The best sources of omega-3s are hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and oily fish like salmon.
How to stimulate collagen production. Nutritional Supplements to Combat Collagen Deficiency
Collagen supplements can help improve skin elasticity and hydration, promote wound healing and slow skin aging, and may be effective in reducing joint pain. The health of musculoskeletal tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones, depends in part on their collagen content.
Home care can bring the desired results. Nutritional supplements based on collagen and vitamins contribute to the preservation of youthful skin. The amino acids needed for collagen production in the body can come from any protein source such as bone broth, meat, cheese, legumes. Amino acids: proline, glycine and lysine are among the most important. A sufficient amount of these amino acids supports the production of collagen. Gelatin contains these three amino acids. It is obtained from the bones and skin of cattle or pigs.
Used in various health and beauty products, marine collagen, what is it? Like bovine, pork, it is made from by-products of fish processing: scales, skin and bones.
Retinoids are one of the most well-known ingredients that stimulate the production of collagen in our skin. Retinoids are all vitamin A derivatives that reduce sun exposure, balance pigmentation, and smooth lines and wrinkles.
Note! Collagen for skin elasticity. Protein plays an important role in maintaining youthfulness and beauty of the skin. The lack of collagen leads to aging of the skin, which becomes less elastic and wrinkled.
High sugar intake, smoking, and long exposure to the sun can damage collagen in the body. A varied and balanced diet provides the nutrients needed for good health. As such, it’s always better to focus on real foods rather than supplements.