Can Collagen Keep you Youthful?
Collagen is a helical protein found in our connective tissues. It is also the most abundant protein in the body making up at least 25% of the total protein, and plays an important structural role for our muscles, skin, tendons, bones, teeth, and gut lining. The human body continues to produce collagen into our 20’s but begins to slow down. Loss of collagen is exacerbated by smoking, sun exposure and poor diet.
Collagen Skin Creams
You’ve probably seen many adds on TV claiming that the topical application of collagen cream will make your skin more elastic and remove wrinkles. Despite what some companies would have you believe, there are currently no rigorous studies that support the claim that you can absorb collagen from topical creams. Collagen is a very large protein molecule which is too large to go through the pores on your skin. At best these creams will leave your skin hydrated and shiny, but cannot pass through or stimulate collagen production.
There are procedures available at Whitby Medspa that can trigger your skin to start producing collagen again. These procedures are Fraxel laser skin resurfacing, Microneedling and PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatments which all stimulate natural collagen formation.
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Oral Collagen Supplements
There are a number of different collagen supplements available at your local health food store which come in both a pill, powder or liquid form. These products have been clinically shown in
randomized controlled trials to reduce the appearance of eye wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. It is important to keep in mind that all of these studies were short-term and participants were following a balanced diet.
Also, orally taken collagen supplements are not absorbed whole but broken down into component amino acids. These amino acids can be used to promote collagen synthesis if the rest of your diet is adequate, however, there is no guarantee.
Finally, these oral collagen supplements are ty
pically made from animal products so this may be an issue for vegans. Instead, there are vegan collagen-boosting supplements on the market but as with any natural health product, they are not as strictly regulated so it is important to look for the NSF mark indicating the product has met strict quality and safety requirements.
Taking care of your body’s collagen
Eat the right foods
You can promote natural collagen product in your body by consuming Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which plays a critical role in the synthesis of collagen. Vitamin C can be naturally obtained from a diet rich in kale, peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, citrus, blueberries, mango and pineapple.
A diet rich in protein from beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs and dairy products will break down into amino acids, some of which can be used for collagen production.
Other vitamins and minerals that keep skin looking youthful and healthy are Vitamin E, Vitamin B, beta-carotene, zinc and magnesium. Avocado oil which is rich in health fats has also been shown to promote collagen production.
Minimize sun exposure
Sun damages collagen fibers and causes it to break down at a higher rate than normal aging and it triggers the creation of free radicals which can interfere with your body’s natural DNA repair mechanisms. Always wear sunblock (at least SPF 33) and try to avoid burning your skin.
Quit or cut back on smoking
Smoking has been shown to affect the synthesis of collagen in your body which results in
premature facial wrinkling. If you want healthy looking skin, try quitting smoking. Doing so will also have numerous other health benefits.