Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is the main structural protein that is required for healthy skin, nails, hair, bones, tendons, muscles, and more. It accounts for around 75% of our skin.
Unfortunately, collagen synthesis declines with age. Microtrauma, ultraviolet light exposure, and soft tissue injury can also degrade collagen. Over time, this causes skin to become thin, saggy, dry, and weak, contributing to visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. Starting in our 20s, we begin losing about 1% of our collagen each year, according to “Skin anti-aging strategies” in the journal Dermatoendocrinology.
Hydrolyzed collagen also helps reduce joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and stimulates collagen formation to maintain healthy bones, cartilage, teeth, and gums. It works with hyaluronic acid, a key component of connective tissue that helps to cushion and lubricate joints, and to provide structure, strength, and resilience in the body tissue.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR COLLAGEN LEVELS HEALTHY
Although aging is inevitable, there are still some lifestyle changes that can help to preserve your body’s collagen:
Avoid too much sun exposure: Collagen experiences rapid deterioration with repeated sun exposure.
Stop smoking: Smoking reduces collagen production.
Limit sugar: Too much sugar can increase the rate of glycation (sugars attaching to a protein or fat), forming molecules known as AGEs (advanced glycation end products) that can cause a weakening and depletion of collagen.
Collagen peptides in supplement form are easily absorbed by the body. Also known as hydrolyzed collagen, they have been shown to stimulate the creation of new, healthy collagen and improve elastin production.
This can help to delay the signs of aging by smoothing the formation of wrinkles and improving the elasticity and firmness of the skin. It may also decrease the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Hydrolyzed collagen helps promote the production of healthy collagen and elastin. In a placebo-controlled trial, women aged 35–55 received daily collagen supplements. Within four weeks, their skin elasticity and moisture content had improved significantly. A second study of women aged 45–65 found that supplementation with collagen significantly reduced wrinkles and led to a higher concentration of skin procollagen.
Collagen also accumulates in cartilage and stimulates the production of
joint and bone tissue. A six-month placebo-controlled study found that a daily dose of hydrolyzed collagen significantly improved joint pain in 51% of participants.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Collagen is an important protein for many different parts of the body. Preliminary research confirms its safety as a supplement and that it may improve skin quality and reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
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Author: Dr. Joyce Johnson is a well respected licensed Naturopathic doctor who practices in Southwestern, Ontario and has a general naturopathic practice with a focus on sports nutrition, women’s health, weight loss, and pediatrics. She occasionally contributes to Optimyz Magazine.
Disclaimer This article was provided by Webber Naturals.