Collagen Production Is More Than Skin Deep

Imagine a body without skin.

Our guts and vital organs would just be hanging out all over the place.

But beyond holding everything together and keeping us from looking like a gross Halloween costume, our skin also plays a crucial role in guarding the complex systems inside us.

Healthy skin is vital for a strong immune system.

It helps the body regulate temperature.

And beyond giving us our sense of touch, the skin also helps absorb and produce vitamins.

That’s why taking care of it is much more than a skin-deep cosmetic issue.

Skin and Bones

Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the body.

And that’s a good thing since about 80% of our skin is made of it. Collagen also makes up an important part of our bones, but more on that later…

Our body naturally produces collagen through a process called glycosylation.

But as we get older, we produce less.

By the time we turn 25, collagen production starts to decline.

In fact, the collagen factory starts to slow output by about 1% every year from there on out.

Because of this, the skin gets thinner and more fragile.

The sweat and oil glands don’t work as well as they used to.

The skin loses some of its elasticity. And wrinkles begin to form.

Those who smoke, subject their skin to sun damage or are exposed to high pollution levels can see these effects more rapidly than others.

Starting pretty early, the body just can’t meet the demand for the amount of collagen that is being broken down.

And beyond forming wrinkles and reducing the skin’s ability to function, this can also lead to decreased bone density and weak cartilage that’s unable to prevent friction between joints.

Collagen is important stuff.

That’s why as we get older, it’s imperative that we give our body a helping hand to try and meet its need for collagen.

How to Source It

Just as in the case of people, collagen is found in the connective tissue of animals.

Chicken and pork skin are very high in collagen… but not very healthy.

There’s also a lot of debate as to whether dietary collagen is an effective means of boosting collagen levels because the body isn’t particularly good at absorbing it.

Instead, it’s broken down in the digestive process before being absorbed into the bloodstream.

On the other hand, quality collagen supplements go through a process called hydroxylation. This means that the collagen is broken down into easily absorbed peptides.

And these peptides serve as building blocks for the creation of more collagen, which boosts production levels.

It’s like hiring more workers for the body’s collagen factory.

Collagen comes in many forms. There are topical skin creams, capsules and powders.

While the powders and capsules have been shown to bring some impressive benefits in terms of increasing skin elasticity and collagen density, topical liquids and creams don’t really bring much to the table.

Because collagen is produced in a lower level of the skin, topically applied collagen isn’t very likely to make it to the level where it will be effective.

Those with dietary restrictions or a general aversion to animal-based products should take note that there are no effective plant-based collagen supplements out there. There are a lot of products out there that suggest they support collagen production, but to date there is no evidence to back those claims up. (Sorry, vegetarians.)

Effective supplements will note that they are sourced from bovine, fish or chicken.

Some of these provide the body with different types of collagen. But there’s no clear winner as to which type is most beneficial.

So as long as it’s sourced from one of these three animals, it should be an effective way to counteract the body’s slowing production of collagen.

Related Articles