Collagen protein is the most abundant protein in the body–it is found in the skin, connective tissue, blood vessels, arteries, and organs. It makes up about ⅓ of the protein in our bodies and 70 percent of the protein in our skin. However, as our bodies age, the collagen levels decrease, possibly leading to health issues and side effects.
Collagen protein replaces dead skin cells, giving your skin elasticity and strength. It also strengthens the bones and joints, serving as a “glue” that holds the body together. When collagen production declines, it can lead to wrinkles, saggy skin, and the overall appearance of aging. On top of that, joints and bones can ache as cartilage weakens.
While aging can lead to a decrease in collagen production, other lifestyle factors can affect collagen levels in your body, too. Habits such as smoking, poor diet, and sun exposure can deplete collagen levels prematurely. Fortunately, collagen protein is best absorbed through digestion, and there are several collagen-rich foods you can add to your diet that may keep your levels up.
Collagen Rich Foods
Collagen uses a structural protein called elastin to maintain tissue elasticity, and it requires an abundance of amino acids to grow in the body. You can keep your collagen production up by eating a healthy diet filled with collagen-rich foods and other nutrients that promote collagen production. Here are some examples:
- Amino acids. Your body needs amino acids in order to promote collagen production. There are nine types of amino acids that can’t be made by your body, and so they must be obtained through diet. Generally, these essential amino acids that aren’t produced by your body can be found in animal food sources, such as poultry, fish, cheese, milk, and eggs.
- Lysine and proline. Foods rich in these amino acids may increase collagen protein synthesis. Eat meat and legumes to increase your lysine intake and add wheat germ and egg whites to your diet to help with proline production.
- Supporting nutrients. Vitamin C could help with collagen production as well. Add foods rich in vitamin C to your diet, such as broccoli, oranges, peppers, and cantaloupe.
There are a few ways to promote collagen production. For starters, you’ve probably seen plenty of skin creams and moisturizers that tout the use of collagen as a revitalizing ingredient. These products can support healthy-looking skin over time. You can also promote collagen protein production by adding foods and drinks rich in amino acids and supporting nutrients to your diet. Collagen powders and supplements are both a convenient way to get an added dose of collagen in your system, too.
Potential Health Benefits of Collagen Protein
Supports Healthy Looking Skin
You may have noticed changes in your skin as you age. For most people, growing older leads to looser skin, more wrinkles, roughness, and dryness. This happens, in part, because collagen production declines as you age. This causes your skin to become thinner, which causes cellulite and stretch marks to become more evident. Increasing your collagen levels through diet and other methods may support healthy-looking skin and promote healthy aging.
Supports Joint Health
Most people notice stiffness, cracking, and popping in their joints as they age. This can be caused by a loss of collagen—the smooth structure that holds our joints and bones together. As collagen production decreases, tendons and ligaments have a harder time moving, causing stiffness, swelling, and pain. Ingesting more collagen may help support joint health by “greasing the hinges” so to speak. Think of increasing your collagen levels like adding grease to a squeaky door—joints may move more easily with less pain and swelling.
Speeds Up Metabolism
When you consume more collagen, your body converts it into a usable protein that can help create more lean muscle mass. This is important, as lean muscle mass can promote bone health and burn fat.
Promotes Gut Health
Because collagen is found in connective tissue, increasing your levels may promote healthy digestion by supporting the protective lining in the intestines. Studies have found that patients with inflammatory bowel disease have decreased levels of serum concentrations of collagen. Because the amino acids in collagen are found in the tissue that lines the colon and gastrointestinal tract, supplementing collagen could offer temporary relief for the side effects of digestion issues.
How to Get Started
In addition to eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can support collagen production by using supplements or collagen protein powder.
Shop the wide array collagen powders and supplements in the Natural Healthy Concepts store to receive potential health benefits and find out what works best for you.
Have you tried collagen supplements or powders? Share your experiences in the comments below!