Collagen is not thought of when referring to beauty. Few people know what collagen is, where it comes from, or what benefit it brings. This amazing source of nutrients offers amazing benefits to our body, improving the health of our skin, hair, nails, teeth, joints, and digestive system.
Collagen in your body decreases as we age. A few signs of collagen loss are sagging skin, dry skin, wrinkles, hair loss, and weak nails. Other things also play a role such as toxins, genetics and a poor digestive system. A standard diet lacking in collagen rich foods is a major factor for our body’s ability to produce collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein found in the body. It is a complex protein rich in essential and nonessential amino acids. These amino acids are necessary building blocks for our organs and tissues. Without them, we wouldn’t be alive! Collagen comes in many forms and each type supports different processes within the body. Each source of collagen (i.e. beef, chicken, etc.) can contain specific types of collagen (type 1, 2, 3, etc.) so it’s best to consume a variety of foods and a quality supplement to fill in the gaps.
Types of Collagen:
- Type 1: This is the most abundant type of collagen found in the human body. It keeps the skin youthful, stretchy, and elastic, and keeps hair and nails strong.
- Type 2: Builds cartilage and prevents age-related joint pain.
- Type 3: Builds our organs and skin. It works with type 1 to support the firmness of skin.
- Type 4: Forms the basal lamina which is the tissue surrounding our organs, muscles and fat. The basal lamina is between layers of skin and provides a cushion for any tissues above it.
- Type 5: Builds strands of hair and tissues like those found in a placenta.
- Type 10: Builds new bone and forms cartilage. This helps repair synovial joints and bone fractures.
Key Beautifying Amino Acids:
- Glycine: Promotes healing and prevents wrinkles.
- Glutamine: Balances skin pH and restores skin after UV exposure.1
- Arginine: Prevents tissue loss and aids in collagen production.
- Lysine: Hydrates the skin and prevents bone loss.
- Methionine: Fights off skin damage and prevents aging.
- Threonine: Supports production of collagen and elastin.
Protein-rich foods are a must for collagen production. The best sources of collagen are in beef, chicken, fish, and eggs but, meat-free items also support collagen formation. Foods containing amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and minerals are vital. For any gaps in the diet, I suggest adding a quality collagen supplement.
Protein Rich Sources:
- Beef (bovine) collagen: Type 1 and type 3 collagen. These are the most abundant types of collagen found in our body and supply necessary proline and glycine.
- Chicken collagen: Type 2 collagen offers anti-aging benefits and supports joint health.
- Fish collagen: Type 1 collagen that supports digestion, joint health, and skin health.
- Egg collagen: Type 1 collagen that provides hyaluronic acid to speed up healing, moisturize skin and prevent drying and redness.2
Vegan options that support collagen production:
- Source of Lysine and Arginine (amino acids): Tofu, kidney beans, black beans, tempeh, quinoa
- Source of Vitamin C: Broccoli, papaya, kiwi, kale, red peppers
- Source of Vitamin A: Cooked carrots, kale, butternut squash, sweet potatoes
- Source of Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, cashews, cocoa powder, cooked chickpeas
A Youthful Appearance: How Collagen Retains Your Beauty
Aging plays a big role in the health of your hair, skin, and nails. But collagen can help provide anti-aging benefits with proper nutrition and supplementation. Prevention is also key. Keeping ahead of the game with collagen loss will prevent the saddening changes. And I am not only talking to the ladies here guys!
Studies show that collagen can be one of the best natural beauty supports for anti-aging with zero side effects.3 While keeping skin plump and keeping hair and nails strong, collagen reduces cellulite and stretch marks!4 Stretch marks become visible as skin loses elasticity and becomes thinner. Thus preventing dimpling or pitting of the skin. Experiencing weak or brittle nails? Collagen loss could be to blame.5 These proteins are vital to the health of your nails and hair.
Preventing Collagen Loss
Aging isn’t something we can stop, although, I wish I had the secret to the fountain of youth. Instead, we can use preventative techniques for saving your youthful beauty. Some of the most important things to avoid include excess sun exposure, consumption of sugar, and smoking. Excess sun exposure can cause a reaction that breaks down collagen, so opt for a healthy level of sunshine. Sugar can bind to proteins, making them damaging and causing collagen to become brittle and fragile. I don’t HAVE to go there, but I am going to. Smoking doesn’t need an explanation, however, the chemicals in tobacco products wreak havoc on collagen and elastin that keep our skin full and lively. You may not notice the wrinkles now, but you can guarantee that you’ll notice them later!
A healthy diet and lifestyle can make a significant difference in the anti-aging process short-term and long-term. Changing your diet can make HUGE changes in your body pretty quickly! I’ve seen it happen myself and I’ve had others report miraculous changes for themselves. Food is an amazing tool we have for our health and its benefits of beauty are just an extra piece of the puzzle.
- "Glutamine and Glutamic Acid." Methionine | Aminoacid-studies.com - Your Information Portal on Amino Acids. Accessed December 07, 2018. https://www.aminoacid-studies.com/amino-acids/glutamine-and-glutamic-acid.html.
- Wong, Mitchell, Mary J.c. Hendrix, Klaus Von Der Mark, Charles Little, and Robert Stern. "Collagen in the Egg Shell Membranes of the Hen." Developmental Biology104, no. 1 (July 1984): 28-36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6203793.
- Proksch, E., D. Segger, J. Degwert, M. Schunck, V. Zague, and S. Oesser. "Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study." Skin Pharmacology and Physiology27, no. 1 (August 2014): 47-55. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208.
- Schunck, Michael, Vivian Zague, Steffen Oesser, and Ehrhardt Proksch. "Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology." Journal of Medicinal Food18, no. 12 (December 2015): 1340-348. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685482/.
- Chen, Peiwen, Matilde Cescon, and Paolo Bonaldo. "Lack of Collagen VI Promotes Wound-Induced Hair Growth." Journal of Investigative Dermatology135, no. 10 (October 2015): 2358-367. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25989472.