Collagen is the hottest item in the world of beauty, and with good reason.
“Collagen forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure to our bones, muscles, skin and tendons,” says George Gavrila, MD, of ProMD Health in Baltimore. “Collagen supports the major structures of the body and provides the overall shape.”
The most abundant protein in the body, accounting for about30% of its total protein content, collagen is strong, about as strong as steel. What’s more, it fills all sorts of roles in the body, a versatility that stems from the fact that there are many types of collagen.
The world “collagen” covers a family of closely related proteins; Gavrila says that 28 types have been identified in the human body.
“All types of collagen have different functions, whether you’re talking about collagen in the eyelids, in the face, in the lips, in the tendons, in the nerves,” says Craig A. Vander Kolk, MD, ofMercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
Most of the body’s collagen, up to 90%, consists of types I, II and III. Of those, I and III are the kinds most commonly found in the skin as well as the hair and nails (type II is a major component of joint cartilage).
As with the rest of the body’s tissues, collagen is subject to degradation over time.
“As we age, our body’s natural ability to produce collagen declines. This reduces the structural integrity of the skin and causes the sagging, fine lines and wrinkles we see with aging,” says Gavrila. “Reduced collagen is also a key contributor to the weakening of the cartilage found in our joints.”
Gavrila explains that throughout our lives, our bodies are constantly breaking down and recycling collagen every day. We reach peak collagen in our mid-twenties.
What happens with age, however, is the body breaks collagen down faster and produces it more slowly. This is what causes the overall decrease in amounts of this vital protein, a process that destabilizes contact among the different skin layers.
Keeping collagen firm and healthy as the years pass requires the same basic lifestyle approach as that required to maintain overall health.
“Exercise, eating a healthy diet, taking multivitamins—these things have been shown to be helpful in the aging process,” says Vander Kolk. Also eliminate sugar, whichdamages collagen molecules, from your diet as much as possible while maintaining adequate hydration to help skin stay soft, supple and smooth.
In addition, covering your skin with a good sunscreen can help reduce light-induced damage; look for products formulated with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide for protection against both UVA and UVB. (Don’t forget to wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.)
Of all the vitamins, vitamin C has a special affinity for the skin. In addition to fighting damage from free radicals generated by excessive sun exposure, toxins, stress and other sources, it also helps support collagen production.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
In its natural state, collagen’s large molecular structure means that it can’t be effectively absorbed by the body. However, supplements are often formulated withhydrolyzed collagen, in which the protein molecules are broken down into smaller units calledpeptides for better absorption.
Some peptide products provide not only collagen types I, II and III but other types as well, such as IV, V and X. Look for products that come from sustainably managed sources, such as grass-fed beef, and that contain enzymes which maximize collagen absorption.
No one wants to look, or feel, older than they are. Take care of your collagen and it will take care of you.
The information in this blog is provided for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with a doctor or qualified healthcare professional. Consultation with a doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner is strongly advised, before starting any regimen of supplementation, a change in diet or any exercise routine. Individuals who engage in supplementation to promote health, address conditions or support any structure or function of the body assume all risks. Women who are pregnant, especially, should seek the advice of a medical doctor before taking any dietary supplement and before starting any change in diet or lifestyle. Descriptions of herbs, vitamins, nutrients or any ingredients are not recommendations to take our products or those of any other company. We are not doctors or primary-source science researchers. Instead, we defer to the findings of scientific experts who conduct studies, as well as those who compile and publish scientific literature on the potential health benefits of nutrients, herbs, spices, vitamins or minerals. We cannot guarantee that any individual will experience any of the health benefits associated with the nutrients described. Natural Organics will not be held liable for any injuries, damages, hindrances, or negative effects resulting from any reliance on the information presented, nor will Natural Organics be held accountable for any inaccuracy, miscalculation or error in the scientific literature upon which the information provided is based.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.