Today I am bringing you another #FormulaFriday post! Today we’re talking about collagen. I think collagen is used and abused these days. We even have a collagen infused water here, in Croatia. So, even though it’s not a common skincare ingredient (even though it sometimes does appear on the list), let’s see what it’s all about!
What is it?
Collagen is a protein, and a complex one, since it contains 19 different amino acids, both essential and non-essential (which are still very much essential, don’t let the name fool you :D).
It is the most abundant protein in our bodies, especially type 1 collagen. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It is what helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, it’s the ‘glue’ that helps hold the body together. Even the word collagen comes from Greek for ‘glue’, because it used to be used for making glue.
Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. This degenerative process, signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pains, is due to weaker or decreased cartilage.
There are at least 16 different types of collagen within the human body, but the vast majority of the collagen consists of types 1, 2, and 3.
Type 1 is very important for wound healing, giving skin its stretchy and elastic quality, and holding together tissue so it doesn’t tear.
Deficiency in type 3 collagen has been linked to a higher risk for ruptured blood vessels and even early death.
Type 5 is connected to hair, as well as very useful for the placenta during pregnancy.
Bovine collagen is a naturally occuring type 1 and 3 collagen in the cartilage, bones and skin of cows.
Provides proline and glycine, which are amino acids, very important for normal body functions.
Glycine and proline are useful for creatine production, building muscle and also for helping the body make its own collagen.
Gelatin and collagen are not the same thing. Gelatine is derived from it.
How to consume more of it?
Eating or drinking real bone broth (chicken or beef).
Using bone broth protein in recipes.
Taking collagen supplements, like powder. However, make sure that you get your powder from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows (with no antibiotics or chemicals).
Lastly, eating a well-rounded diet that helps increase absorption of the collagen you consume.
What it does?
2.5–5 grams of collagen hydrolysate used among women aged 35–55 once daily for eight weeks significantly improved skin elasticity, skin moisture, it helped with transepidermal water loss (dryness) and skin roughness, all with little to no side effects. This makes collagen one of the best natural skin care ingredients available.
Collagen also reduces cellulite and stretch marks. When skin loses its elasticity as a result of decreased collagen, there’s another side effect: more visible cellulite. Because your skin is now thinner, cellulite becomes more evident.
Besides that, it also:
- Reduces Joint Pains and Degeneration
- Helps Heal Leaky Gut
- Boosts Metabolism, Muscle Mass and Energy Output
- Strengthens Nails, Hair and Teeth
- Improves Liver Health
- Protects Cardiovascular Health
How to use it?
When consuming collagen, you can benefit from also consuming vitamin C to ensure your body can convert the collagen into a useable protein. Besides vitamin C, you should also consume enough manganese, copper, proline and foods high in anthocyanidins (such as blueberries, cherries and blackberries).
Certain foods (especifically ones heavy in amino acids) promote its growth and production more than others.
You can use it in the form of powder (instead of protein powder) in smoothies, and even in baking.
Main natural sources are foods high in protein: beef (type 1 & 3), chicken (type 2), fish (type 1, fish collagen very easily absorbed) and egg shell membranes and yolks (type 1, also 3, 4 and 10; it also contains hyaluronic acid).
Egg collagen is not easy to obtain, so the best way is to use egg collagen supplement.
You may see many skincare products claiming to revitalize your skin using collagen, but in most cases, its molecules are too large for the skin to absorb them. However, if you digest it, it will improve, not only your skin, but also your entire body and health.
Collagen production can be stimulated through the use of laser therapy and the use of all-trans retinoic acid (a form of vitamin A). I will definitely write more about retinol (and other derivates (?), I really know nothing about it) in the future!
I am not saying it’s absolutely not possible for collagen to absorb into the skin, because I am not an expert, and I found so many data, which all say different things. However, I do know that eating (or drinking) foods that contain collagen can only help! If you swear by a product that contains it, or you know more about collagen as a skincare ingredient, please do let me know in the comments. We’re all here to learn!
Vitamin C deficiency can cause abnormalities in collagen levels. Even though collagen is very important for our skin and for its youthful look, there are many diseases linked to collagen deficiency. So, make sure you intake enough of it, and if you can, try to consume as much of the natural collagen as possible.
My food of choice is beef soup, where bovine bones are cooked for several hours, until they become completely hollow, and all the bone marrow is dissolved. I seriously can’t even tell you how good that is for you and how good it tasted! By far my favorite kind of soup!
Since I’m quite young, I still haven’t noticed that my skin elasticity is decreasing, but do eat beef soup (or any other bone broth) quite often, so let’s hope that helps, haha! 😀
And that’s it for today’s post! Which ingredient would you like to see in some of the upcoming posts? Do you use collagen in your skincare? Do you think it works that way? What would you like me to talk about next?
See all of my previous #FormulaFriday posts.
Thank you for reading!
See you soon x
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