WHAT CAUSES COLLAGEN PRODUCTION & WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
Never heard of collagen? It’s the most abundant protein in the body and is found in all our connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and bones, with its purpose being to provide these body parts with their strength, structure, and elasticity.
Collagen can be thought of as the “glue” that holds the cells and organs of the body together.
As we age, the body’s natural collagen production begins to slow down and the signs of ageing—like joint pain, weaker cartilage, thinning hair, sagging skin and wrinkles - become more apparent.
We begin to lose about 1% of our collagen per year in our mid-20s. And by the time we get to 40, we will have lost around a third of our natural collagen. Even though this process is natural it can get speeded up by lifestyle and environmental factors, such as smoking, poor diet and sun exposure.
WHAT CAUSES COLLAGEN LOSS?
Factors which can influence collagen production over a lifetime include puberty, pregnancy, menopause and andropause, as well as intrinsic factors (e.g., genetics, age, ethnicity) and extrinsic factors (e.g., UV-radiation, pollution, stress, smoking, alcohol, excessive sugar and diet). For example:
Sun damage can lead to wrinkles, age spots and even skin cancer. UV radiation can cause collagen to break down at a higher rate than normal aging. It does this by penetrating the middle layer of skin (dermis), causing the abnormal build-up of elastin. When these elastins accumulate, enzymes are produced which inadvertently break down collagen and create "solar scars." Continued sun exposure only speeds the process, leading to further wrinkling and sagging. So, it’s important to protect your skin from those harmful rays.
Smoking can cause the skin around the lips to lose collagen when in contact with the smoke or due to puckering of the lips around the cigarette, over time. It may also cause the vessels of blood to constrict and reduce blood flow. Due to this, perioral collagen (connective tissue around the mouth below the skin) may show signs of damage. When collagen is lost in large amounts, it may cause wrinkles to emerge.
Excessive sugar intake can lead to negative impacts to the body which include the damage of collagen. The excess consumption of sugar results to glycation that produces AGEs (Advanced glycation end products). This occurs naturally and when too much sugar is consumed the AGE molecules stick to the collagen molecules turning them stiff, thus damaging them. The process of glycation not only damages the collagen existing in the body but also makes some alterations to its stability. When an individual intakes large amounts of sugar the process of glycation makes collagen more unstable and therefore more vulnerable. It can therefore be easily broken down and lead to premature aging.
HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
In addition to eating foods rich in antioxidants and amino acids, limiting your alcohol intake, not smoking, managing your stress, and protecting your skin from harmful rays, clinical studies show that supplementing our diets with ingestible collagen protein can help:
Improve skin elasticity & hydration
A meta-analysis published in 2023, comprising 14 randomized controlled trials involving 967 participants, found compelling results in the effectiveness of a 12-week regimen of hydrolysed collagen supplementation in improving skin hydration, elasticity, wrinkles, firmness and radiance.
Provide relief from joint
A review of five studies in more than 500 people with osteoarthritis found that taking collagen daily for an average of 24 weeks led to significant improvements in joint stiffness and joint pain.
Boost muscle mass and promote faster muscle recovery
In a controlled 12-week study following men with an average age of 72, those that took collagen supplements gained significantly more muscle mass and strength.
Prevent bone loss
A year-long randomized controlled study of 131 participants (with a mean age of 63 years), found that 5 grams of collagen peptides a day significantly improved bone mineral density. In addition, collagen supplementation was associated with a favourable shift in bone markers, indicating increased bone formation and reduced bone degradation.
Increase hair thickness
Hair strands are 90% composed of the protein keratin. Keratin consists of amino acids. Collagen is an excellent source of amino acids and some of these amino acids are vital for the production of keratin, so a collagen supplement may be key to helping keep a healthy head of hair and preventing hair loss.
Improve nail strength
A study demonstrated that the daily ingestion of collagen peptides increased nail growth and improved brittle nails in conjunction with a notable decrease in the frequency of broken nails.
In fact, Collagen is an excellent protein source, packing in more protein per calorie than other sources while containing less sodium and sugar!
Which is why, collagen supplements are considered a pre & post work-out essential. This is because protein loss occurs in muscles during and after long periods of exercise. During workouts, muscles devour amino acids at a faster rate and don’t leave enough for other parts of our body.
Collagen is a protein made up of 19 different amino acids, including proline and glycine, which we need to maintain and repair our tendons, bones, and joints.
Glycine is specifically responsible for building muscle tissue and improving its mass. It can prevent muscles from breaking down by boosting the level of creatine in the body.
Without collagen, our joints, tendons, and ligaments become stiff and don’t function properly. So, taking Collagen protein supplements can help to build and repair the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage that are stressed during exercise.
The combination of marine collagen’s high bioavailability with its high amino acid content makes it an optimal pre and post workout supplement that rapidly absorbs and can quickly work to help repair and replenish proteins broken down during exercise.
Himmense SHIFT daily marine collagen drink also contains key vitamins and minerals that help men look and feel their best.
It’s also the only marine collagen drink on the market that contains Ashwagandha - a stress-busting adaptogen that supports mental wellbeing. Clinical studies have shown Ashwagandha may help relieve stress and anxiety, improve athletic performance, promote better sleep and brain function, plus boost testosterone and fertility in men.
What’s more clinical studies show that liquid supplements are better absorbed and more effective than pills or powders.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Consult a doctor or healthcare professional if you have any questions or are taking any other medications before you try any remedies or supplements.
Published 14 July 2022
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