You’ve probably been hearing a lot of buzz around the subject of collagen lately. And for good reason--collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen makes up:
30% of your body's PROTEIN
70% of the protein in SKIN
80% of the protein in BONE
90% of the protein in EYE
It also makes up the lining of your ARTERIES, ORGANS & INTESTINES It forms a natural framework to allow the body’s tissues to remain supple when subjected to mechanical and chemical tension. It actually supports and protects the body on multiple levels, in association with other proteins like elastin and keratin.
Gram for gram it's STRONGER than STEEL
- up to 90% of the body’s collagen. Found in skin, bones, blood vessel walls, connective tissues and cartilage. Helps wound healing, normal blood clotting, reduces cellulite, minimizes wrinkles, improves skin quality.
- found in more elastic cartilage than Type 1, promotes joint health
- found in some layers of the skin, hair and placenta during pregnancy. Benefits eye health.
- lines endothelial cells and is important for the health of the vascular system, cornea, and eyes
Type X collagen is a reliable marker for new bone formation & articular cartilage.
- helps promote type 2 collagen, it’s found between the discs of the bone and spine and inside the eye.
- increases skin density and follicle stimulation - helpful with skin anti aging and hair health.
- facilitates the repair of acute liver injury & has been shown to prevent the spread of cancer cells
A lack of adequate collagen will negatively impact the body as a whole, and may have a specific cause or can be the inevitable result of aging. Natural and new collagen production starts to decline as early as your mid 20s, then approximately 1% less each year after that. After menopause, your ability to produce new collagen plummets even more quickly.
This decline in our body’s collagen production continuously declines as we get older and the effects of this are seen plainly in the skin. How? The lack of collagen shows up in dull, sagging skin, thinning hair, brittle nails, wrinkles, and crepey skin along the front and back of our arms and legs…but it’s not just skin deep … its effects include achy joints and a cranky gut, which add insult to injury.
That’s why it makes sense to try and stimulate the body’s collagen production, especially as there’s precious little of it available in the diet (sources include egg yolk, bone broth, gelatin, fish skin ...). Collagen production starts with the amino acids glycine and proline from your diet and then by using vitamin C, zinc, and copper to connect the amino acids together. There are certain foods, such as salmon, garlic and avocado that are reported to support collagen production. Good hydration may also help to maintain healthy levels of this protein in the body.
Vitamin C assists in the synthesis of collagen to such an extent that the body can't make collagen without it. Know that our bodies can't produce vitamin C--the only way we can get the vitamin is through the food we eat. Now, since vitamin C is water-soluble, and your body is on average 57-60% water, vitamin C is passed through and out of our system each day and therefore we need to replenish our bodies daily with vitamin C, which is found in berries, citrus, apples and cherries. The clinical lack of adequate vitamin C causes scurvy, a condition where the body is unable to make new collagen.
There are other ways of activating collagen production such as using ice-cold water immersion or massaging your face (for the collagen in facial skin) and ensuring you get a good night’s sleep.
It’s not only aging that causes the body’s collagen production to decline. Dietary and environmental factors can reduce collagen formation by generating large numbers of damaging free radicals. Oxidative stress is a major threat to collagen. You can take the following simple steps to reduce your oxidative stress:
Obviously don’t smoke…those free radicals from cigarette smoke annihilate collagen faster than anything …avoid prolonged direct sun exposure (especially to your face) …lower your emotional stress levels…and DEFINITELY eliminate sugar, the arch-enemy of collagen.
It’s important to supplement with a clean, high-quality, and bioavailable source of more than just one or two types of collagen (we have 28 types–so supplementing with a wide variety makes sense) along with plant-based activators of collagen producing enzymes and botanicals that decrease the activity of enzymes that degrade collagen.
Shaun W. McKee, MD The Vitality MD
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