Everything You Need To Know About Collagen
Collagen has become a popular ingredient in products from juices to face creams but what does it do? We turned to Plenish nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik to let us in on the secrets of collagen from what it does for us to how to get more.
You may be more familiar with collagen as one of the hero ingredients listed on face cream promising youthful and perkier skin but what exactly is collagen and what does it do for us?
Collagen is the most abundant protein throughout the body and could best be described as a type of ‘glue’ that holds our bodies together. It is found in muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels as well as our skin. As we get older our production of collagen decreases hence the wrinkles and saggy skin and deterioration in the joints (oh the joys!). Here are a few of its supportive role;
Collagen is what gives our skin elasticity and strength as well supporting a healthy turnover of cells to keep it nice and strong. Essentially it helps to maintain a more radiant and bouncy complexion and hence why it headlines a lot of beauty products. This also extends through to its positive influence on the health of our hair, nails, teeth and may even help reduce cellulite and stretch marks.
Collagen is not just needed for a brighter visage but is also essential for our entire structure and for the health of our joints too so they can move more freely and easily. Think of it as almost like greasing the engine so the machinery doesn’t get stuck or clunky.
This may surprise you to know but collagen is also a key nutrient that can be used to help support the health of the gut as it soothes and heals the intestinal barrier that can often be associated with digestive conditions and symptoms. This is one of the essential ingredients in bone broth and why it has been heralded for its gut health benefits.
One of the key amino acids found in collagen – glycine – may improve your body composition by adding lean muscle mass and assisting with converting essential nutrients so it can also give your metabolism a boost too.
How To Support Collagen Production
When it comes to getting collagen through the diet there are very few direct sources unfortunately. However organic chicken, beef or fish bone broths are excellent and eggs also contain some collagen in their yolks. However it is important to eat foods rich in nutrients that will support its natural production. These include manganese and copper (nuts and seeds are great sources of both) and foods high in anthocyanins such as blueberries, cherries and blackberries. By far the most crucial vitamin for collagen production is vitamin C that is vital for its production and absorption and makes collagen more available for the body to uptake efficiently. Foods high in vitamin C include broccoli, peppers, dark green leafy veggies, strawberries and pineapple – in fact the Plensh calm juice has your full daily quota of vitamin C right there. So to help you max your collagen production ensure you have plenty of these foods in your daily diet.
It is also important to go easy on high sugar foods as they contribute to the production of harmful molecules called ‘advanced glycation end products’ aka AGEs that really do what their acronym suggests. These molecules reduce the effectiveness and quality of collagen and with high dietary intake of sugar this can lead to easier formation of wrinkles, less bounce in the skin and makes it harder to repair. So, if you do want to keep that youthful glow then up your vitamin C and try to cut out the sugary treats.
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