Why is Collagen so Important Today?
Collagen has become a major topic in the beauty industry these days, with supplements, powders, and laser treatments promising to improve your appearance from the inside out. However, there’s so much more to this fibrous protein than what is talked about on social media.
Collagen actually holds our body together like glue and makes up 30% of your body’s proteins. These fibrils provide you with firmness and strength that has actually been compared to the durability of steel when you measure the two gram for gram.
The Different Types of Collagen
There are four main types of collagen found in the body:
- Type I: These densely packed fibers make up about 90% of the collagen in your body. Type I is responsible for holding together your skin, tendons, connective tissue, teeth, bones, and fibrous cartilage.
- Type II: You can find type II collagen in elastic cartilage and it’s not as dense as type I.
- Type III: This type of collagen holds together your muscles, organs, and arteries.
- Type IV: This type is found in your skin’s layers and aids infiltration.
The older you get, the more your collagen production starts to slow and the strands lose their strength. One of the most commonly known side effects of this natural decrease in collagen is the formation of fine lines and wrinkles on your skin’s surface. However, your appearance isn’t the only thing that dwindles. Your joints also become a victim of low collagen production as they lose flexibility, resulting in pain and muscle weakness.
After menopause, women lose a significant amount of collagen, but it’s also common for men to suffer the same consequence by the age of 60.
Collagen Loss Prevention
By eating a healthy diet with plenty of vitamins and nutrients, you can slow down the natural aging process. Here are some foods you can eat to protect your collagen production:
- Salmon: Zinc helps to activate collagen synthesis and this delicious fish has plenty of it. It also contains omega 3 essential fatty acids, which has proven to promote healthy skin cells.
- Leafy greens: Lettuce, kale, broccoli, and other leafy greens contain chlorophyll, which increases your skin’s procollagen.
- Eggs: You can improve your joint health with eggshell membrane supplements because of their high collagen content. Eggs also contain sulfur, which helps with collagen production.
- Fruits: If you’re frequently outdoors, eating berries that are high in ellagic acid can help prevent collagen breakdown due to sun exposure. Additionally, citrus provides your body with a healthy dose of vitamin C for an increase in collagen production.
When you’re tweaking your diet to aid in collagen production, make sure to also include foods high in vitamin A, copper, proline, and anthocyanidins.
Bad Habits to Avoid for Healthy Collagen
While you’re working on your new diet, you might as well throw out the bad habits that are damaging your collagen even further. Smoking is one of the first things you should kick to the curb, as cigarette chemicals attack your collagen and elastin. Nicotine also deprives your skin of oxygen because it narrows your blood vessels and cuts off your supply of vital nutrients that give you a glowing complexion.
Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and you’ll notice a major difference in your overall health. When you eat large amounts of sugar, your body forms molecules known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These molecules attack your collagen, making it weak, dry, and brittle.
Try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. When your skin is exposed to UV rays, it speeds up the rate at which your collagen breaks down and produces abnormal elastin. This results in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
How Collagen is used in the Medical Field
As a resorbable substance, collagen can be extracted and then absorbed back into the body. Researchers have found many uses for collagen in the medical field because of its versatility and abundance.
In cosmetic procedures, collagen is taken from donor animals, such as cattle or pigs, and used as dermal fillers or wound healing aids. Dermal fillers that contain collagen are meant to fill in wrinkles and plump up the skin. They can also help diminish the appearance of scars in some cases.
Collagen dressings are especially beneficial for burn patients. These sheets of collagen cover the affected area and help speed up the healing process while encouraging new tissue growth. Collagen dressings are typically used on second-degree burns, chronic wounds, skin graft sites, and much more.
Oral surgeons have also been able to reap the benefits of collagen for procedures such as periodontal and implant therapy. Collagen-based membranes create a barrier so that rapid cell growth doesn’t interfere with the regeneration of tooth cells.
The Many Benefits of Collagen ?
You may have heard celebrities rave about collagen peptides, but haven’t really understood the point of these supplements. Although there haven’t been many studies on this particular subject, many men and women have seen positive results in their physical health and appearance after taking these supplements.
In 2015, a study showed that elderly men were able to build more muscle mass with a combination of collagen peptides and strength training, compared to those who took a placebo.
Additional research has proven that supplements can also relieve osteoarthritis pain and improve your skin’s elasticity. A leaky gut syndrome is another medical concern that could possibly be treated with collagen peptides.
What are Collagen Supplements?
Whether you buy a night cream infused with collagen or decide to smooth out fine lines with a few cosmetic injections, this molecule has proven to be a major part of many women’s beauty regimens. It has also made its mark on the medical community with its amazing would-healing abilities.
Although your collagen production decreases with age, you can protect your skin and joint health with a variety of different supplements and procedures. After improving your diet and investing in collagen peptides, you’ll start to notice a boost in your overall wellness and appearance.