We often hear people talk about collagen for smooth and youthful skin, whether for professional treatments or skincare products. It’s also a common topic when discussing healthy joints in the world of supplements, but what exactly is collagen? How does it work and what are its benefits? Gaining a more detailed understanding of what collagen is can help you take better care of your health, especially as you age.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein present in your bones, muscles, skin, tendons, and bones. It accounts for a third of the protein in the body, where it is produced naturally by combining amino acids, including glycine, proline, vitamin C, copper, and zinc.
Some autoimmune disorders can impact how your body creates collagen. Collagen levels naturally deplete over time, especially after 60 and/or after menopause. While you can’t prevent this, some factors can accelerate the decrease in natural collagen production.
Avoiding the following can help maintain natural collagen longer:
- Excessive sugar consumption
- Unprotected exposure to sunlight
You can also support your body by including certain healthy foods in your diet that promote natural collagen production:
- For glycine and proline: chicken, beef, fish, dairy, eggs, and beans
- For vitamin C, copper, and zinc: citrus fruits, leafy greens, shellfish, nuts, tomatoes, and whole grains
What Does Collagen Do?
Collagen helps to hold the body together and plays a key role in providing strength and supporting proper function in your organs. It also is a major component in hair and nails. It acts as a structural “building block” for the various body components. When you naturally produce less collagen, wrinkles appear, and cartilage weakens.
Collagen can also be used for dermal fillers, such as JUVÉDERM®, to remove facial wrinkles and creases. In certain cases, it can also improve how scars look. Cosmetic professionals generally use collagen-based fillers for superficial gaps. To fill more extensive ones, other materials such as silicone are better options to achieve a youthful appearance.
Skin revitalization in the form of collagen creams is also a common way to use collagen in skincare and cosmetic products. Their moisturizing effect plays a large role in their effectiveness, as the skin can’t absorb collagen molecules due to their size.
Should You Consider Collagen Supplements?
Finding ways to increase your collagen as your body produces less of it with age is important for your overall health. The good news is the body can absorb collagen when getting it from specific sources such as foods and supplements.
You may choose to eat foods that are good sources of collagen, take collagen supplements, or a combination of both. Collagen supplements are available as powders, capsules, and liquids. Many people choose the powder type because it is easy to add to their meals. Powder collagen supplements dissolve easily in soups and smoothies. You can even add them to your baked goods.
Collagen supplements can help to:
- Strengthen your bones and nails
- Reduce osteoarthritis pain
- Thicken your hair
- Hydrate your skin and improve its elasticity
- Increase your muscle mass (if combined with strength training)
Talking to your primary care provider about your options for increasing collagen is good practice. With their understanding of your medical history, your doctor can recommend specific collagen supplements and/or certain foods to add to your diet.
If you are looking for treatments to achieve a more youthful appearance, call our Novopelle Med Spa team today at (888) 429-7055 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.