- Our collagen levels naturally drop as we grow older.
- Declining collagen levels typically result in wrinkle formation, stiff joints, and weakened muscles, among others.
- To help the body restore collagen, diet changes and supplement intake may help.
Ever noticed how the collagen trend is now becoming widespread? From cosmetic injections to food, skin creams, pills and powders, you see these products sold every day in store and drugstore shelves. Word is, they are all vital for a healthy, youthful body.
But collagen isn’t something new. In fact, your body has been making this your whole life. Most of the protein in your body is collagen. It is found in your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, skin, intestinal lining, and other connective tissues.
Products that bolster collagen levels may be helpful, but still, you need to consider if your body needs more.
When Collagen Levels Drop
While there’s no test available to measure your collagen levels, you can tell if it’s decreasing.
Collagen levels decline with age, the slow-down of which can begin during your mid-to-late 20s. This contributes to:
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Slower wound healing
- Stiffer, less flexible joints
- Shrinking, weakening muscles
- Joint pain due to worn cartilage
- Digestive issues caused by thinning intestinal lining
Besides aging though, poor diet is the leading cause of declining collagen levels. Without sufficient amounts of amino acids and nutrients, your body can’t produce enough collagen.
Making Collagen Naturally
When your body makes collagen, it combines amino acids and repurposed into collagen. Protein-packed foods such as meat, beans and legumes, and dairy products are excellent sources.
Vitamin C, zinc and copper are also necessary in the repurposing process. You can get your supply of vitamin C from citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and greens, while meats, shellfish, nuts, beans and whole grains provide minerals.
However, as part of aging, your body may no longer absorb and synthesize nutrients efficiently. To ensure that your body has ample amounts of the ingredients needed to produce collagen, you may have to modify your diet or consider taking supplements.
Top Foods that Support Collagen Production
The nutrients your body needs to make collagen can be restored through your diet. In addition to eating animal products as well as beans and legumes, one favorite collagen-boosting food is bone broth, which you make yourself or buy from stores.
Through a slow, simmering process that takes 1-2 days, collagen can be sucked out from beef, chicken, or fish bones. You can either drink this straight up or mix in other dishes.
Try buying organic bone broth, or broth cooked from the bones of organically raised animals to reduce your intake of contaminants like residue of pesticides and antibiotics.
Another great food is gelatin. Because it comes from collagen, it naturally has what your body needs to reuse it as collagen.
Taking Collagen Supplements
You probably don’t need supplements if you’re eating a healthy diet. But if you do, opt for the hydrolyzed collagen (collagen peptide) powder which has no flavor and can be dissolved in beverages, smoothies, soups, and sauces.
Revitalizing Your Skin
Skin creams with synthetic collagen may help rejuvenate your skin by minimizing water loss and protecting the skin from harsh environmental elements.
As the body’s largest organ, the skin reflects inner health. Thus, nourishing your body with collagen will also nourish your skin.
Take note, however, that skin creams may not be as effective as healthy eating as well as protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure, which is the top cause of skin damage.
Feeding your body enough protein and other nutrients is a sure-fire way of supporting your body to make collagen. It’s actually as easy as consuming one cup of bone broth a day or another beverage with hydrolyzed collagen powder.
Via Very Well Health