Words by Emma Tiernan
October 4th, 2018
When it comes to skin, we often hear the word collagen thrown about but what exactly is collagen and what does it mean for your skin?
Collagen is a protein found in the body that is responsible for keeping the strength and structure of the skin intact. When you are young collagen is found in abundance in the body but as you age, the amount of collagen the body contains is depleted. Essentially, as you get older the body breaks down collagen faster than it can be replaced. This is what causes your skin to age visibly and develop wrinkles and fine lines. Collagen is also responsible for the elasticity in our skin, which is why skin tends to sag more and more as you get older. Fun, eh?
But what can be done to stop this, or at the very least combat it, you cry? Well, Chinese people have sworn by ingesting collagen for years, believing it to be the fountain of youth which is why you’ll commonly hear of them eating foods such as chicken feet, chicken skin and even donkey hide, all to beat the ageing process. While their diet contains more collagen, diets in the western world are almost completely void of this protein. Though there are many foods that can help preserve and prevent the rapid break down of collagen, very few actually give you that extra boost of collagen itself. Foods such as dark vegetables and fish which are high in Omega 3 can help fight against free radicals that break down collagen while garlic can help your body rebuild damaged collagen. However, bone broth is known in the wellness world for being packed full of collagen, as well as having multiple other health benefits. It reportedly keeps you looking younger and helps to slow down the processes of ageing. Sounds good, right?
The biggest benefit of taking collagen is, however, maintaining skin health. Collagen is responsible for maintaining skin’s elasticity and hydration levels but once you hit your mid to late twenties, collagen production slows and continues to slow down after age 30. Thankfully, if you ingest more collagen via food and supplements this can help slow down the ageing process, leaving you with healthy, youthful looking skin and who doesn’t want that?
Taking collagen can also relieve joint pain. The cartilage found between your bones and in joints weakens and deteriorates with age which is why many of us experience stiffness and achy joints. Collagen helps preserve your cartilage which in turn can help lessen the pain and stiffness older people feel in their joints. It also helps improve the symptoms of osteoporosis and arthritis.
Lastly, collagen can help boost muscle mass. Collagen makes up somewhere between 1-10% of muscle and is necessary for keeping them strong and functioning properly. Collagen contains a high amount of glycine, which is an amino acid that is a building block for protein hence why many weightlifters take extra protein containing collagen when they work out as it provides the muscles with the fuel needed to power through workouts as well as building muscle mass.
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