collagen

Collagen’s Anti-Aging Power: Ageless Vitality Unleashed

Collagen’s Anti-Aging Power: Ageless Vitality Unleashed

In this article, collagen and its functions will be thoroughly examined.

The skin is the largest body organ exposed to the external environment. Skin aging (due to intrinsic and extrinsic factors) is characterized by loss of skin elasticity, dehydration, and wrinkles. It harms the skin’s connective tissues and leads to a decline in elastin and collagen fibers.

When the skin tissue weakens, they lose integrity, and the skin becomes dry, unable to retain moisture. Also, the dermal thickness is reduced due to decreased collagen.

While the fountain of youth has yet to be found, scientists have formulated several creams and pills with age-defying benefits. Collagen supplements have become a craze in the town due to the presence of peptides containing amino acids. They’re purported to improve one’s hair, skin, and nails.

But are these claims backed by scientific evidence? Can collagen make you look younger? What about the safety profile and biocompatibility? Let’s find out!

Understanding Collagen

Collagen is a fibrous, supportive protein found in bone, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and skin. It constitutes 80% of the dry weight of human skin. It’s a prevalent extracellular matrix component and offers mechanical support for tissue development.

Our body produces collagen naturally by processing amino acids proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. They group and create protein fibrils in a triple helical structure. Vitamin C, copper, zinc, and manganese are also needed for helix formation.

Collagen helps the skin to adhere to each other and provide elasticity. It helps replace dead skin cells and allow fibroblasts to form new skin cells. 

There are different types of collagen, based on their molecular assembly and location:

  • Type I. It’s most abundant (90%) and provides structure to bone, ligaments, tendons, and skin.
  • Type II. Found in elastic cartilage, it offers bone and joint support.
  • Type III. It’s abundant in arteries, muscles, and intestines and essential component of skin.
  • Type IV. It’s common in skin layers.
  • Type V. It’s found in the cornea of the eyes, placenta tissue, hair, and some skin layers.

With age, collagen production decreases, leading to skin sagging and wrinkling. You may experience hallowing around the eyes and weakened muscles. Some lifestyle habits like smoking, UV exposure, and consuming too much refined carbs also damage collagen.

The molecular weight of collagen is expressed in Daltons. A typical collagen molecule has a size of 300,000 Da. This size can impact the bioavailability and the potential to be absorbed by the body. The smaller the molecules, the easier the absorption into the bloodstream. 

Therefore, choose collagen supplements with a Dalton size of 3,000 Da or less. The smaller collagen peptides can promote skin health, reduce joint pain, and improve bone density.

The Signs of Aging and Collagen’s Impact

Collagen offers structural support to skin tissues and plays a role in immune response. With time, collagen becomes fragmented, and its production slows down due to impaired fibroblast function. It leads to a reduction in elastin, and skin changes like dryness, wrinkles, and loss of firmness.

Due to structural properties, collagen is essential to maintain youthfulness. Using supplements containing hydrolyzed collagen peptides can improve skin hydration and elasticity. A study with 1125 participants indicated better skin firmness and hydration.

Also, collagen can contribute to the organization, mechanical properties, and shape of tissues. Their cell interaction via surface receptors can regulate cell migration, proliferation, and differentiation.

There are some anecdotal claims that collagen can prevent acne and other conditions, but they are not backed by scientific evidence.

  • Collagen can help with joint pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis. Research indicated reduced joint stiffness and inflammation. Also, collagen may accumulate in cartilage and inhibit bone breakdown, preventing joint diseases.

Boosting Collagen for Ageless Vitality

You can boost collagen production in natural ways or utilize supplements for optimized efficacy and absorption. Several lifestyle changes can promote collagen synthesis. For example, eat a nutrient-dense diet and antioxidant-rich foods. Also, limit sugar consumption, alcohol use, and smoking.

  • To enhance the strength and stability of dermal layers, you can try collagen supplements. They can attach to fibroblast receptors in the dermis to produce elastin and hyaluronic acid. Also, it can increase the diameter and density of collagen fibrils for improved elasticity and texture. There is an increase in extracellular matrix proteins to deal with skin roughness and wrinkles.

While selecting a collagen supplement, consider factors like:

  • Collagen Type: For anti-aging benefits, look for collagen type I, type III, or a combo of both, as they support skin firmness, texture, and hydration.
  • Molecular Size for Absorption: Choose collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen, as they have small molecular sizes for easy absorption in the bloodstream. They are tiny pieces of animal collagen soaked up through the gastrointestinal tract and are convenient to take.
  • Additional Ingredients: The helical structure of collagen within the skin can’t be formed without ingredients like Vitamin C. They facilitate the conversion of proline and lysine into hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, essential amino acids for collagen formation. Collagen can’t be absorbed in whole form, so a blend of these ingredients is vital for synergistic support.
  • Quality and Purity: Get supplements from reputable brands that test for purity, safety, and potency.

Incorporating Collagen into Your Lifestyle

Add collagen to your daily routine through food and supplements to reach your health and beauty goals. Some dietary sources of collagen include:

  • Bone Broth: Make it by simmering animal bones and connective tissues as they’re rich in collagen and other nutrients.
  • Fish: Fish such as salmon and tuna provide valuable amino acids for collagen synthesis.
  • Egg Whites: Egg whites are also high in proteins and collagen-supporting amino acids.
  • Beef, gelatin, pork, and chicken skin also contain collagen.

Along with these foods, utilize supplements effectively. Some tips include:

  • Mix Supplements in Beverages: Try flavorless powdered collagen supplements that can be mixed in coffee, smoothies, or soups.
  • Consistent Use: Establish a consistent routine for optimal results. For example, use collagen supplements for three months, followed by a break, and then use them for another three months.
  • Side Effects: The side effects of collagen powder, capsules, or gummies are rare. For pregnant and breastfeeding women, it’s better to avoid supplements due to insufficient research. Also, follow the manufacturer’s label for dosage. 

Conclusion

Collagen can help you with skin elasticity, hydration, and healthy joints. Your body makes it naturally, and you can make some dietary changes to enjoy youthful skin. Supplements are also a great choice to delay the signs of aging and promote overall health.

Integrate it into your daily routine along with a healthy lifestyle to yield favorable effects for skin and joint health!

Disclaimer: The FDA does not regulate collagen powder or supplements. Consult a healthcare provider for personalized guidance before starting any new supplement or dietary changes.

References

  • de Miranda, R. B., Weimer, P., & Rossi, R. C. (2021). Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of dermatology60(12), 1449–1461. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.15518
  • Martínez-Puig, D., Costa-Larrión, E., Rubio-Rodríguez, N., & Gálvez-Martín, P. (2023). Collagen Supplementation for Joint Health: The Link between Composition and Scientific Knowledge. Nutrients15(6), 1332. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15061332
  • Al-Atif H. (2022). Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Dermatology practical & conceptual12(1), e2022018. https://doi.org/10.5826/dpc.1201a18
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