Collagen is a major fibrous protein in the skin. It is produced and organised by cells called fibroblasts (connective tissue cells). Its dense network provides structural integrity to the skin (dermis). It has a role to play in giving structure, elasticity and firmness to the skin.
As we age the collagen fibres begin to shorten and thicken. Type 1 (80%) collagen is lost and we make less fibroblasts which results in loss of structure making the skin thinner and more rigid. Resulting in…. you guessed it…. Wrinkles and saggy jowls.
This marvellous protein is important for bone health too. A staggering 35% of bone mass is a protein matrix of which 90% is made up of Type 1 Collagen fibres twisted around each other providing a scaffolding onto which minerals are deposited.
Research shows that taking collagen orally has been shown to increase the strength or the collagen fibres, resulting in a reduction of wrinkles and increased elasticity. It has also been shown to increase Hyaluronic Acid, now found in many anti-aging skin creams, and for good reason, as it is also a major component of skin, where it is involved in tissue repair. Unfortunately, the molecular structure of Hyaluronic Acid is too large to be absorbed through the skin, so it is best to taken orally.
It is also important to know that it is also a major component of synovial fluid found between the joints and is an important component of articular cartilage, having a lubricating role between joints and adjacent muscular connective tissues. Research shows that collagen hydrolysate provided an improvement in some measures of pain and function of some men and women with Osteoarthritis and other arthritic conditions.
Caffeine inhibits collagen production and depletes levels of Hyaluronic Acid. Amino Acids found in protein, are a vital constituent part of collagen as is Vitamin C, which is responsible for collagen stability.
For a healthier option choose a protein packed snack from the restaurant instead of a tea cake.
Remember the restaurant sells Whey Protein for post exercise joint health, keep sugar levels low as glucose competes with Vitamin C – glucose always wins and keep caffeine low – choose decaffeinated!
If you would like to supplement collagen I recommend the following:
Higher Nature: Aeterna Gold, Collagen Drink with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C