What is collagen?
Collagen is the most plentiful protein found in the human body. It makes up the structure of your bones, cartilage, muscles, skin and tendons.
What is the role of collagen?
Collagen gives the skin strength and elasticity. It also helps to keep your joints healthy.
The human body creates collagen naturally. But like all good things, it does come to an end, as people grow older - from the mid-20's onwards - the collagen production in the body starts declining.
As a result, a person’s skin begins to lose and wrinkles begin to form.
It also slows down due to exposure to factors such as-
- Ultraviolet (UV) light
- High sugar consumption
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Lack of sleep and exercise
How to prevent collagen loss?
Laser therapy- It can stimulate the growth of collagen, elastin, and melanin.
Topical products- There are many topical products available in the market that claim to increase collagen levels. However, they are unlikely to do so, as collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed directly through the skin.
Healthy diet- A healthy diet rich in nutrients can help the body support collagen formation. These foods are rich in collagen-
- Bones, skin and ligaments of animals
- Fish skin and jellyfish
- Bone broth
Including the following foods in your diet will help stimulate collagen production in the body-
- Egg whites
- Berries- Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Supplements- Collagen supplements contain amino acids and additional nutrients related to healthy skin and hair like vitamin C, biotin and zinc. Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements provides structural support to connective tissues, muscles and supports skin health and appearance.
However, most collagen supplements are not vegan. Manufacturers use the bones and protein of animals. The vegan or plant-based collagen options are actually collagen boosters i.e. they stimulate collagen production in the body.
Are collagen supplements or collagen boosters worth taking?
Short answer- Yes!
We cannot prevent the loss of collagen from the body, but we can slow it down. The collagen depletion is greater as we get older, which explains why these supplements are worth taking.