If you’re thinking that collagen is something that helps your aging, sagging skin to appear more healthy, plump, and youthful, you wouldn’t be wrong. But collagen is much more than just an ingredient in skin care products that promise to enhance the skin, improve its elasticity, reduce wrinkles, and contribute to a healthy, youthful appearance over time. . It is also an essential protein that the human body requires in order to maintain overall health.
Collagen comprises roughly 30% of our total protein content, which makes it the body’s most plentiful protein.. It is produced by the body and it is the main structural protein found in the skin, tendons, bones, blood vessels, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and connective tissues, which help to hold cells together. It has also been associated with healthy hair and nails, and may even promote an increase in muscle mass (when combined with resistance training).
Most scientists believe there are 28 different collagen structures, though some believe the number is lower, at 16.The majority agree, however, that the potential for the discovery of many more collagen structures is very strong, as it is a fairly new science.
There is no lab measure of collagen levels, but research suggests that collagen production drops at the rate of 1% per year beginning at or about the age of 25. This decrease may cause skin to become thinner, dryer, and significantly less elastic, which often leads to deep lines and wrinkles, along with dry, flat-looking, thinning hair, brittle nails, and crepey skin. Internal signs of low collagen levels may include joint discomfort, weak muscles, slow muscle recovery, slow recovery, and digestive issues. When noticing new health concerns or changes, always talk to your doctor as these symptoms are not exclusive to low collagen levels.
The normal passage of time, however, isn’t the only factor in declining collagen levels. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption, sugar intake, long-term sun exposure, poor sleep habits, oxidative stress, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet all may impact your body’s collagen levels.
This study of the synthesis rates of type I and type III collagens in smokers and nonsmokers found that the synthesis rates of type I and III collagens were lower by 18% and 22%, respectively, in smokers compared with non-smokers.
This analysis of ultraviolet radiation wavelengths causing hardening and reduced elasticity of collagen gels in vitro confirmed that UV exposure can disrupt skin elasticity.
If you walk down the cosmetics aisle in most drug stores across the United States, you’ll find a variety of products that contain some exogenous form of the most abundant protein in the human body: collagen. In fact, the global collagen market in 2022 was valued at USD 9.1 billion and is expected to grow an estimated 10.2% between now and 2030. Consumer demand is one of the driving factors in new collagen research.
Collagen is what gives skin the elasticity that enables it to be stretched, then snapped back into its original form. It is also credited with the plump, smooth, wrinkle-free look of youth and the ability for the skin to maintain hydration. Due to age and lifestyle factors, the collagen levels decrease and bring about sagging skin, wrinkles, crepey skin, dull flat hair, and brittle nails naturally as humans age.
People are buying collagen products for support with these issues and a number of other health related challenges. Studies about its efficacy are fairly new and largely favorable.
In this study of the impact of collagen peptides on eye wrinkle appearance, researchers found that women who ingested 2.5g of collagen peptides over 8 weeks had a 20% reduction in eye wrinkle volume when compared to a placebo. A significant reduction of 7.2% was found in as little as 4 weeks. The maximum reduction in eye wrinkle volume over the 8 week study was nearly 50%.
This comprehensive review of human clinical studies of nutraceuticals for skin care reported that while skin nutraceuticals are expected to become a very profitable market, more and better human trials are required in order to improve their scientific basis and overall credibility.
This review of the dermatological applications of oral collagen supplementation found promising preliminary results for both short and long-term use of the collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging. They also concluded that oral collagen supplements increase skin elasticity, hydration and dermal collagen density.
Collagen supplementation is also believed to promote overall bone and joint health. In this review of the role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disorders, researchers found that it is a therapeutic agent with great long-term potential use in bone health and bodily well-being.
A study of collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training in elderly subjects found that post-exercise supplementation resulted in an increase of muscle strength and muscle mass in the control group versus the placebo.
In addition to a broad profile of vitamins and supplements, a healthy, varied diet can help us meet our daily and monthly nutritional needs. with a healthy, varied diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. If you’re looking to include the best food sources to increase your production of collagen, a diet that includes beef (especially tough cuts), chicken skin, pork skin, fish with skin, and bone broth are among the top options. It is important to remember, especially when boostting collagen intake, that vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, so your diet should also include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, strawberries, avocados, broccoli, bell peppers, and white potatoes.
You can also help to maintain your collagen levels by limiting smoking and alcohol consumption, reducing sun exposure and applying regular sunscreen, and improving your sleep and exercise habits. All of these habits will benefit you regardless of your collagen levels.
Collagen supplements have been proven to be safe and there are no major side effects, though some people experience minor digestive distress. If you have food allergies, it is important to read the ingredient list as some contain shellfish, fish, or egg membranes. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your physician or healthcare provider before taking any new supplements.
The decision to take collagen is an individual choice that should be made in conjunction with your physician or a registered dietician. Before you make that decision, get all the facts. Remember that it is a USD 9.1 billion industry so make sure you are getting reputable facts and using premium brand products.
If you do decide to look at collagen supplements, Care/of’s collagen: The Skin Hero is an easily digested and absorbed product that comes from grass-fed cows. It is convenient, easy to incorporate into beverages, and is Non-GMO, C.L.E.A.N. certified and third-party tested.