Collagen is one of the structural proteins that make up the framework of cells and tissue. Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the human body. Collagen is an essential protein that helps to build our skin, bones, and hair.
With age, collagen naturally declines, causing our skin to wrinkle and sag. Those who seek better skin, bone, and hair health typically take collagen supplements to boost their body’s supply.
In recent times, collagen demands have skyrocketed. We can attribute its newly found fame in recent times to the increase in information, clinical research studies, adoption and consumption of the supplement, along with the social media skincare trends that swear by it.
In this article, we’ve outlined five ways to boost your body’s natural collagen supply. We’ve also added safe treatments and supplementary methods to help you achieve your goal.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the body’s most prevalent protein. It comprises around 30% of its total protein. Collagen is the principal structural component of the skin, muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues in the body. It is also present in the organs, blood vessels, and intestinal lining of the body.
Proteins are made from amino acids. Proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline are the three essential amino acids for collagen synthesis. Together, these amino acids form protein fibrils with a triple helix shape. Vitamin C, zinc, copper, and manganese are also required for the formation of the triple helix in the body.
How to determine if your body’s collagen levels are decreasing?
Collagen cannot be detected in a blood test, for example, but there are indications that your collagen level is diminishing however paying attention to these indicators can help you to know if you’re running low on Collagen:
- Skin that’s wrinkled, lines or sagging
- Hallowing in and around your eyes and face
- Shrinking, weakening muscles and muscle aches
- Stiffer, less flexible tendons and ligaments
- Joint pain or osteoarthritis due to worn cartilage
- Loss of mobility due to joint damage or stiffness
- Gastrointestinal problems due to thinning of the lining of your digestive tract
- Problems with blood flow
What can I do to improve collagen loss in my skin and slow the aging process?
To slow the aging process, sunscreen should be worn daily. Exposure to UV light destroys collagen. Utilize items with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Outside, wear a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses with UV protection, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts and slacks. For further protection, look for clothing with a UV protection factor label. Avoid tanning beds.
Consume a diet rich in vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and fruits, as well as a modest amount of seafood, meats, poultry, dairy, and eggs, similar to the Mediterranean diet.
Top Five Ways To Increase Collagen
1: Improve Your Diet
Typically underrated, the food we consume is vital, and can make or break our health. We derive nourishment and nutrients for optimal health from food. Consuming certain foods depletes the body’s collagen reserve while others supplement it.
Some collagen-depleting foods are:
- Refined Carbs
- Fried food
- Processed meats
Smoking cigarettes is another habit you must avoid when looking to improve skin elasticity, as it reduces collagen. Smoking causes free radicals to attack the collagen fibrils, resulting in the production of low-quality collagen. So, when you embark on your collagen-restoration journey, these foods and substances should be kept at arm’s length.
In addition to identifying the foods to avoid, we’ve outlined some collagen-producing food to add to our diets for positive results. Protein-rich foods supply us with the needed amino acids for collagen production.
Here are some foods you’ll need while working to increase collagen:
- Chicken and fish skin
- Egg whites
- Leafy greens and other vegetables
These foods contain a bioavailable reserve of collagen, meaning that it is readily available for the body to utilize right away. Before committing to supplements, we advise you to experiment and tweak your diet to include these foods.
2: Get Adequate Sleep Every Night
We spend so much time and money on anti-aging measures for our skin that may or may not be effective. Sleep is one preventative anti-aging solution with lasting results. We need at least 8 hours of sleep each day to rejuvenate our bodies and stay refreshed. This is most important, based on the fact that our skin produces new collagen when we sleep.
Busy schedules can make us slack on our beauty sleep, resulting in:
- Swollen eyes
- Droopy eyelids
- Dark under-eyes
- Pale skin
Sleep is an all-around solution that offers multiple health benefits. While asleep, the body repairs sun damage, improves your mood, and increases blood flow.
The perks of a better sleep schedule can look like this:
- A glowy complexion
- Brighter, firmer eyes
- Smoother skin
- Healthy hair
3: High-Intensity Exercise
High-intensity interval training is a form of exercise that alternates between short bursts of activity and short recovery periods. HIIT workouts can improve blood circulation, increase strength, and aid metabolism. Since exercise stimulates collagen production, HIIT exercises take it to another level by inducing the human growth hormone. These workouts are most ideal due to how easy they are to complete.
Some HIIT exercises that you can try at home include:
- Mountain climbers
- Burpees, etc
Is Heavy Lifting Good For Your Skin?
For collagen, heavy lifting can also mean a facelift. When you lift, you make strong facial expressions. These expressions serve as facial exercises and help to break down collagen in that area. As a result, weight lifting and strength training enhances your skin’s youthfulness and influences the fibroblasts to produce more collagen.
4: Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary restriction used to achieve a set goal. Unlike water fasting, where you can only drink water, intermittent fasting allows any consumption of food or drink.
Often, people who have trouble eating may use both methods to drive an appetite.
Taking collagen on an empty stomach seemingly increases its effectiveness. Collagen comes in handy when fasting, as it helps to keep you full for a good while.
5: Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements are concentrated powders, liquid and serums packed with collagen and designed for maximum absorption. These supplements have already been broken down or hydrolyzed, meaning they are easier to process than food. Hydrolysis is the reaction of a substance with water to form new substances. Manufacturers of collagen supplements design them to be easily absorbed by the human body to get the most collagen benefits that can be achieved.
Supplemented collagen positively affects:
- Your skin: Studies have revealed that collagen supplements help to slow the aging process of our skin by renewing tissue and supporting elasticity.
- Your bones: Collagen is the primary building block of our bones. As we age, our bone mass deteriorates, leaving us more susceptible to bone fractures.
- Your joints: Collagen helps to strengthen and maintain cartilage. Cartilage is the protective tissue that works to prevent joint injury. With age and collagen loss, we risk degenerative joint disorders.
- Your heart: Collagen provides structure to the blood vessels that transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body. These blood vessels are also known as arteries. With collagen’s support, these arteries can become weak and elastic. These symptoms can indicate a heart condition known as atherosclerosis.
Collagen supplements are essential to skin, bone, muscle, and heart health. Encapsulated and powdered collagen is especially effective due to its level of concentration. However, even as collagen is proven to aid our organ health, there isn’t enough extensive research on it and its possible allergens. Before applying or ingesting collagen supplements, it is advised that you see a dermatologist or dietician.