We all naturally produce collagen within our bodies yet our natural collagen production declines with age. Our modern lifestyle factors like poor diet, stress, and gut health imbalances can all decrease the body's ability to make collagen.
"There's actually very limited data, or rigorous scientific studies, on ingestible or oral collagen at this point in time," says Whitney Bowe, MD, dermatologist. "Consequently, the jury is still out as to whether these supplements actually have any meaningful benefit on the skin in women who are already eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of protein sources, such as chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, and yogurt."
The Collagen Lowdown
There are three types of collagen:
- Type I - collagen comprises 90% of skin, hair, nails, organs, bone, ligaments, making it the best for skin and beauty
- Type II - collagen is associated with cartilage
- Type III - collagen applies to fibrous protein in bone, cartilage, dentin, tendon, and other connective tissues.
Collagen is one of the most plentiful proteins within our body. Collagen is a polypeptide - a mixture of amino acids that are present in all connective tissue. The three most common amino acids involved in the synthesis of collagen are proline, glycine and lysine (Proline can be made from other amino acids, so the two key components for collagen production are vitamin C and lysine). If you have enough Vitamin C and lysine, you can make ample amounts of procollagen that then gets converted to the different types of collagen to help enhance your skin and appearance.
YOUR SKIN - Is made up of three layers:
- Epidermis - Collagen is great for your epidermis, it's also good for hair, joints, treating leaky gut, boosting metabolism, raising energy and strengthening nails and teeth.
- Dermis - Is where the protein collagen is found. Collagen molecules are bundled together throughout the dermis.
- Hypodermis. Composed of abundant blood vessels that supply nutrients and waste disposal for the epidermis and dermis.
Collagen Food Sources
As we can see Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, if we have too little in our body not enough collagen can be produced. A well-balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fat, fruits and vegetables has all of the key collagen-synthesising nutrients your body needs. The following foods can help boost your bodies collagen production:
Sunflower - Try a daily dose 30g of dry roasted sunflower seeds this will provide 37% your daily intake of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps to fend off free radicals, damage from free radicals can cause wrinkles and sagging skin.
WHOLE FREE RANGE EGGS
Egg yolks - are rich in choline. This B vitamin is converted into glycine—one of the amino acids involved in collagen production. Consuming choline-rich foods can help with collagen formation.
Salmon -The heart-healthy fats in Salmon can also protect your skin from fine lines and wrinkles. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which ease inflammation and prevent collagen breakdown caused by environmental damage—similar to lycopene.
Soybeans - The three most common amino acids involved in the synthesis of collagen are proline, glycine and lysine. Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning our body can’t naturally synthesise it, so we need to get it from food products.
Sweet Potato - One baked sweet potato provides six times your daily value of Vitamin A, and can help keep your skin and joints healthy. Vitamin A supports cell growth, and plays a crucial role in the normal formation and preservation of the body’s organs - hello skin! It also targets nuclear messaging to encourage your body to produce collagen.
Tomato - Damage by pollutants and ultraviolet radiation accelerates the breakdown of collagen. High in the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes can help protect your collagen supply from environmental damage.
Other Sources to consider: Watermelon and Pink Grapefruit.
Red Capsicum packed with Vitamin C (crucial for a healthy supply of collage) Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes collagen synthesis, Just ½ cup of raw red capsicum provides 158% your daily dose of vitamin C.
Other Sources to consider: Grapefruit / Kiwifruit / Green Capsicum / Broccoli / Strawberries / Oranges.
When you consume Bone Broth, you are eating cooked collagen. This is a powerful way to restore collagen in your skin. Additionally, the gelatin derived from the collagen you get in bone broth heals your digestive tract which is an excellent way to prevent inflammation and skin ageing.
CONCLUSION - The saying "you are what you eat" rings true, healthy skin is a combination of the topical products you apply and the foods you choose to consume. The good news is you can boost and protect your collagen from environmental damage with smart food choices.
Until next time..
be human | be kind | be you
- Varani J, Dame MK, Rittie L, et al. Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin : Roles of Age-Dependent Alteration in Fibroblast Function and Defective Mechanical Stimulation. The American Journal of Pathology. 2006;168(6):1861-1868. doi:10.2353/ajpath.2006.051302.
- Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal. 2013;4(2):143-146. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.110593.