Collagen, constituting approximately 70% of the body's total protein, is incredibly abundant within us. It is present in various areas, such as tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, bones, and skin, serving as a unifying force that binds and supports our bodily structures. Particularly, in terms of our skin, collagen forms the fundamental foundation that ensures its strength and resilience. As we enter adulthood, typically around the ages of 20 to 25, we gradually experience an annual decline of approximately 1% in collagen levels. This ongoing reduction eventually contributes to the development of concerns such as sagging skin and joint-related issues.
Causes of Collagen Breakdown: Prevention Strategies
Several factors contribute to collagen breakdown over time. By understanding these causes, we can take proactive steps like taking the best vitamins for our skin to minimize collagen degradation and preserve healthy, vibrant skin.
- As we grow old, collagen production naturally declines, leading to reduced elasticity and firmness in the skin.
- To slow down collagen breakdown, following a comprehensive skincare routine that includes collagen-boosting ingredients like retinol, peptides, and vitamin C serum for the face is essential.
- Sun Exposure:
- Prolonged sun exposure accelerates collagen breakdown due to the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
- Wear a non-nano Zinc mineral sunscreen daily, including when indoors and in winter months. UVA gets through windows and can contribute to premature aging due to collagen degradation.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits:
- Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor eating habits, rich in processed foods, can contribute to collagen breakdown.
- Adopting a healthy and rich lifestyle with a balanced diet ideal in antioxidants, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful habits can help maintain collagen integrity.
- Environmental Factors:
- Environmental pollutants and toxins can cause oxidative stress, leading to collagen degradation.
- Minimizing exposure to pollutants, such as cigarette smoke and air pollution, and incorporating antioxidant-rich skincare products can protect collagen from damage.
- Chronic Inflammation:
- Conditions like acne, eczema, and autoimmune disorders can trigger chronic inflammation, which can break down collagen.
- Seeking medical treatment for inflammatory conditions and adopting a skincare routine that includes anti-inflammatory ingredients can help reduce collagen breakdown.
- Sugar Consumption:
- A diet high in sugar can contribute to glycation, where sugar molecules bind to collagen fibers, resulting in weakened and less elastic skin.
- Reducing sugar intake and eating a balanced diet low in processed sugars can help prevent glycation and collagen degradation.
What happens when we lose collagen?
Collagen isn't just essential to preventing wrinkles, but loss of collagen can lead to leaky gut, hormonal imbalance, and joint issues. This means that we should stop pursuing collagen creams, and rather focus on intake. When you boost your collagen levels you may experience the following benefits:
1- Your joints are properly lubricated. Therefore, maintaining healthier bones and better mobility.
2- Collagen aids in repairing and sealing cellular walls of the GI tract helping heal leaky gut which can be a big trigger to inflammation in the body.
3- Healthier hair and nails, and more supple, tighter skin.
Types of dietary collagen and how can we adequately generate it through diet?
I am sure if you are reading this, you've caught on to the trend of collagen powders and drinks promising to rebuild and firm up your skin. I'd hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our skin being the least important to our body, having many more essential organs like the liver, heart and brain, our skin is always last to receive water, vitamins, minerals, and you guessed it - collagen! In fact, upon consumption, collagen is broken down into Amino Acids which are the essential elements in boosting the body's (and skin's) own production of collagen.
Types of dietary collagen:
1- Gelatin: this is essentially cooked collagen, generally sourced from pig or bovine hooves and bones.
2- Hydrolysed Collagen: This can be sourced form fish bones and is generally more bio-available, providing better receptivity and absorption by the body.
There is a large variety of amino acids in foods, but the main ones that convert to collagen are glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Here is where you can find them:
Glycine: beans, nuts, seeds, fish and meat.
Proline: abundant in asparagus, cabbage and mushrooms.
Hydrxyproline: found in Salmon, meat and bone meal proteins.
There are also a number of foods that are essential to boosting the body's ability to generate more collagen. The top foods that stimulate collagen production are:
- Berries: Rich in ellagin which reduces inflammatory response and maintains healthy collagen, preventing its breakdown.
- Garlic: Caffeic acid is rich in sulfur and taurine. Both help rebuild damaged collagen.
- Citrus fruits and kiwis: Rich in vitamin-c promote collagen synthesis.
- Egg whites: High in Lysine - another amino acid that helps build collagen.
- Fatty fish like Salmon, and sardines are not only rich in glysine, but in Omega 3 & Vitamin A, improving skin elasticity and aiding in tissue generation and wound healing.
- Dark green leafy vegetables: Abundant in folic acid which promotes cellular proliferation and regeneration.
- Red fruits and veggies like beets and tomatoes are rich in Lycopene which plays a major role in inhibiting 'Collagenases', the enzymatic breakdown of collagen, helping keep the skin firm and supple.
- Orange veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin-A, which is best taken from foods rather than supplements which can have a drying effect on the skin. This vitamin is essential to cell repair and synthesis.
- Soy products have genistein, a plant hormone that works as an antioxidant protecting collagen and blocking enzymes responsible for its breakdown.
- Mushrooms: Loaded with Vitamin D, they promote collagen production and boost elasticity. Also rich in protective antioxidants that help prevent collagen breakdown.
Do Collagen supplements work?
Diet should be the main source of nutrient intake. However, often times, most of us find it hard to consume a balanced diet. Supplements are just that! They are great to supplement your diet, but shouldn't be used as a source of your nutrients as the industry remains loosely regulated, and it is unclear wether the supplements you take will deliver exactly what's on the label. You want to do your homework and be very selective of the brands that you trust. It is also advisable that you get your blood work every so often to check your levels, and get your doctor involved in your supplementation plan.
Aging is a natural factor that reduces collagen production, but through a comprehensive skincare routine that includes collagen-boosting ingredients like retinol, peptides, and vitamin C serum, we can slow down collagen breakdown. Additionally, protecting our skin from environmental pollutants and harmful
contaminants can help preserve collagen integrity. By understanding the causes of collagen breakdown and incorporating collagen-boosting products into your skincare routine, you can nurture your skin's health and maintain its youthful glow.
At The Beauty Doctrine, we understand the importance of collagen in maintaining youthful and vibrant skin. Collagen, the foundation of our skin's structure, naturally declines with age, leading to sagging skin and joint issues. However, by understanding the causes of collagen breakdown, we can take some necessary steps to minimize its degradation and preserve healthy skin.
We also offer marine collagen with vitamin C, providing the required building blocks for collagen production. Our range also includes fat-soluble vitamin C serum, allowing for better absorption and efficacy.
Trust us to provide you with the essential marine collagen and vitamin C products for healthy and vibrant skin!
What's the best Collagen on the market?
I've tried dozens of formulas, and dissected every ingredient list. The top choice for the Beauty Doctrine so far is Mukti Bioactive Collagen Booster. I have always trusted supplements that come from countries with better oversight, and ingredient regulation than the US. In this case, this product is manufactured in Australia. Moreover, It has the most bioavailable form of Collagen, which is derived from fish. It also has an impressive list of 100% natural ingredients that are free of GMO's, additives, preservatives and synthetics (which are what most supplements are made of). I often talk about how Resveratrol and Astasanthin are some of the most potent and beneficial antioxidants for the health of the skin and body. Well - they're in the formula, in addition to Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Acai, Goji, and a number of super foods. Click here to find out more!
Another Collagen powerhouse is the Agent Nateur Holi (Mane). It is more simplistic, ideal for those looking for a tasteless option that's focused on collagen only, not containing other supplements and antioxidants. The only added ingredient to the Marine Collagen is Pearl, which is the richest source of calcium on the planet. When ingested, this oceanic adaptogen may help stimulate collagen production and promoting youthful, clear skin and stronger hair and nails. Its high magnesium content may increase GABA levels, lessenning the burden of oxidative stress, the leading cause of premature aging.
Ancient Nutrition believes in formulating supplements by using fermentation, powerful superfoods, ancient herb-combining techniques and clinically backed ingredients. These Multi Collagen Protein supplements are ideal for those looking to receive the benefits of collagen in combination with other powerful ingredients. Get 10 types and 20g of collagen, plus clinically studied ingredients like SBO probiotics and Vitamin C all in one!
For a vegan alternative that does not contain animal based collagen, Anima Mundi Collagen Booster is the perfect choice. This plant-based blend is the ultimate beauty boost containing a potent formula of adaptogens, ancient herbs, and flowers. This plant based vegan collagen is practical and an easy way to incorporate collagen into your diet as it comes in a bio-available extract powder.
How about skin? Do collagen skin creams work? and what's the best skincare to boost collagen?
Generally speaking, with a few exceptions, what works for the body benefits the skin as well. You'd want to look for antioxidant-rich formulations that protect collagen, use a good physical / mineral sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to protect you from the sun, and use serums containing amino acids and peptides (building blocks of collagen). Also, ensure your products include vitamins; A, C, D, E and fatty acids to protect, boost collagen and maintain suppleness in your skin.
Be well. Be safe. Be beautiful!