What is it?
Collagen. We hear the word all the time, including our own product descriptions. We know it’s good for you and good for your skin. But what exactly is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It’s found in your skin, teeth, hair, nails, muscles, and even in your digestive system. The word itself derives from the Greek term “kolla” which literally means glue. Collagen holds things together including your skin.
A concern as we age is that our bodies begin to produce less collagen. As a result, our skin loses its elasticity and moisture. If you’ve noticed more wrinkles or fine lines on your skin this is a result of diminished collagen production.
Women are especially susceptible to producing less collagen as they age. After menopause, collagen reserves are drastically reduced. In addition, there are lifestyle factors that affect collagen production. For example, spending too much time under the sun reduces production due to the ultraviolet rays. We also know that sun exposure can lead to other problems like spots, wrinkles, and other skin issues.
Other lifestyle factors that affect collagen production are smoking and eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
So why is collagen good for you?
We know that the skincare industry likes to throw the word around a lot so it’s obviously very important for the skin. There are 4 types of collagen but Type I Collagen makes up 80-90% of all collagen in our bodies. Type I Collagen is what holds our skin together and keeps it looking young and firm. The other types of collagen can be found in the organs as well as hair and nails. But what all types of collagen have in common is that they hold things in place.
Another concern as we age is that joint health begins to deteriorate. Collagen helps to maintain cartilage. Less collagen means less cartilage. This means we see issues like joint pain and arthritis. Increasing collagen levels in your body can help prevent, or at the very least, delay a lot of age related issues. By stimulating collagen production, whether it’s by the foods you eat or through nutritional supplements, like our very own Collagen + supplements, is a great way to ensure you’re giving your skin, joints, and other parts of your body the best chance at “holding things in place.”
How to Get more of it
Collagen-rich foods usually come from animal sources, with one of the popular remedies being bone broth. However, there are many non-animal food sources that help to increase collagen. Foods high in Vitamin C like lemons and oranges contain amino acids, lysine, and proline, that convert to collagen. Red vegetables like peppers contain lycopene which works like a natural sunblock that protects the skin against sun damage. At the same time, it helps with increasing the body’s collagen reserves. On top of being a good source of protein, egg whites help your body to produce collagen. Like citrus foods, egg whites are high in lysine, proline, and collagen itself. However, if you choose not to eat animal products you can opt for nuts which are also high lysine. Other sources that help support collagen production are green leafy vegetables, berries, and soy. If you’re not sure whether you’re getting enough collagen in your diet then supplements are a great way to make sure you’re getting enough of it.