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Beauty Benefits of Collagen

Collagen is a hot supplement these days, especially for women!  And for good reason too!  It is a building block when it comes to our skin.  It can help keep our skin looking fresh, wrinkle-free and plump – a true anti-aging supplement!  If you’re not using collagen, or following a diet and supplement plan that improves collagen production, the question is why not!?  This post will deliver the goods on collagen – what it is, why we need it and how to get more of it!

What is Collagen Protein? 

Collagen protein is one of the most abundant proteins in the body.  It is important for providing structure to your skin – keeping it firm, tight and even hydrated.  It’s also one of the major building blocks of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Collagen is the glue that holds us together, and as we age the body produces less collagen and collagen that is lower in quality.  The skin can become less firm and supple.        

What are the Types of Collagen Protein? 

 There are many types but only a few that you’ll find in most collagen protein powders.  There are 16 types of collagen, divided into four main types – I, II, III and IV, each with a specific function.

  • Type 1: makes up 90% of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue and teeth.
  • Type II: makes up loosely packed fibres and found in the elastic cartilage which protects the joints.
  • Type III: supports structure of muscles, organs and arteries.
  • Type IV: helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.

What Are the Beauty Benefits:

Reduces Skin Aging 

Perhaps the best-known use of collagen protein is for it’s anti-aging skin benefits.  Collagen supplementation can help strengthen your skin, improve elasticity and improve hydration.  As we age, the body produces less collagen, resulting in dry skin and the formation of the dreaded wrinkle.

Collagen supplementation has been shown to reduce wrinkles and dryness.  In one study, women, 35 years or older, were given 2.5 g of collagen peptides, along with collagen stimulating acerola fruit extract, vitamin C, biotin, vitamin E and zinc for 12-weeks. A skin assessment of skin hydration, elasticity and roughness was evaluated.  The collagen supplement was found to significantly improve skin hydration, elasticity, roughness and density.

In another study, collagen peptide supplementation for 4-weeks increased collagen density in the skin, while fragmentation of the dermal collagen decreased, after 8-weeks skin hydration significantly improved.  Collagen supplementation helps stimulate the body to produce the proteins that help structure your skin, such as fibrillin and elastin. 

Improves Appearance of Cellulite

Cellulite is the result of the breakdown of the structural components of the skin, and the seeping through of the fat that sits subcutaneously. This can lead to bulges of fat into the dermis, blood and lymphatic disturbances and altered dermal extracellular matrix. Cellulite can occur on the thighs, butt and abdomen.  The result dimpling of the skin characterized as orange peel or cottage cheese in appearance.

Collagen supplementation can help reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve the structure of the skin.  In one study on 105 women, between 24 to 50 years of age with moderate cellulite, were randomized to orally receive a daily dosage of 2.5 g of bioactive collagen peptides for 6-months.  The degree of cellulite was evaluated after 3 and 6-months of intake.  Supplementation resulted in significant decrease in the degree of cellulite, reduced skin waviness on thighs and increase in dermal density.

Improves Nail Strength

Supplementation with collagen can help improve nail strength.  Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides was found to alleviate brittle nails and improve nail growth rate.  In this study, 25 participants took 2.5 g of bioactive collagen peptides, once daily for an extended 6-month period.  Nail growth rate and frequency of cracked and chipped nails was assessed, treatment increased nail growth rate by 12% and decreased frequency of broken nails by 42%.  After treatment, 80% of participants had improved nail appearance.

Helps Hair Grow

Collagen is one of the components that is used to build keratin.   In fact, proline which is one of the non-essential amino acids used to build collagen, is a main component of keratin.  Collagen can also work as an antioxidant that can protect hair follicles.

What’s even more important, is the role collagen plays for the roots of your hair!  Collagen makes up 70% of your dermis, where the roots of your hair are anchored.  Collagen contributes to the elasticity and strength of the dermis.  With age, your body becomes less efficient at replenishing cells in the dermis, which means the hair can thin over time too.

Want to Know More About Collagen – Watch this! 

What Supplements Should You Use:

All collagen starts off a procollagen, which is made from the combination of two amino acids – glycine and proline.  This process requires Vitamin C.  A diet that provides more of these two amino acids and the vitamins required for production will help increase collagen production!  You can also supplement directly with collagen protein powder.  Supplement or increase these nutrients in your diet!

  • Vitamin C – involved in production of collagen, get your daily dose
  • Proline & Glycine – can be supplemented as single aminos or via an amino acid supplement that provides both essential and non-essential
  • Copper – a cofactor in the production of collagen
  • Collagen Protein Powder – marine and bovine collagen are both available

What Should You Eat:

  • High Protein Diet – it’s important to get a variety of protein that will deliver the needed amino acids – proline and glycine
  • Citrus Fruits – which provide sources of vitamin C
  • Strawberries, Capsicum, Kiwi & Pineapple – or any fruit or vegetable that delivers a source of vitamin C, plus antioxidants that can help protect the skin
  • Bone Broth – provides sources of the aminos and collagen
  • Cabbage, Asparagus, Mushrooms and Egg Whites – provide a source of proline
  • Sesame Seeds, Lentils, Cashews – provide a source of copper

Bad Habits to Stop:

In addition to following a good diet that helps increase and support collagen production, you should also reduce bad behaviours that can destroy collagen.  Stop doing the following:

  • Eating sugar – minimize your consumption of sugar, get yourself on a sugar cleanse!
  • Too much sun – UV rays can reduce collagen production, avoid excessive exposure!
  • Smoking & drugs – both can impair collagen production, and lead to formation of wrinkles.
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Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World!

Lauren Jacobsen

References:

Bolke L, et al. A collagen supplement improves skin hydration, elasticity, roughness and density: results of a randomized, placebo-controlled blind study.  Nutrients. 2019.  11(10): 2494.

Asserin J, et al.  The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized placebo controlled clinical trials.  J Cosmet Dermatol.  2015. 14(4): 291-301.

Schunck M, et al.  Dietary supplementation with specific collagen peptides has a body mass index dependent beneficial effect on cellulite morphology.  J Med Food. 2015.  18(12): 1340-8.

Hexsel D, et al.  Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails.  J Cosmet Dermatol.  2017. 16(4): 520-26.

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