- Collagen is the most abundant of your body’s proteins, found in your connective tissues, muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels. and digestive system, and it comprises 70 percent of your skin’s protein
- By your mid-20s, the collagen in your body starts to diminish, and by the time you reach your 80s, you have around four times less collagen, which explains sagging skin and wrinkles
- Environmental factors like pollution and lifestyle factors such as poor nutrition can diminish collagen production, more quickly reducing your skin’s elasticity and aging your bones and joints
- Bone broth is considered a bona fide super food, as collagen leaches out of the bones as it cooks down, bringing healing benefits, soothing achy bones, and muscles, fighting infection and inflammation and improving your skin.
Whether or not they’ll admit it, both men and women may catch a reflection of themselves and notice with dismay that their skin looks dull and tired, and see lines or sagging skin they weren’t aware of before. They might purchase creams or lotions in an effort to minimize these and other telltale signs of too much sun, not enough sleep, inadequate nutrients, and other factors.
One of the biggest contributors to these and other signs of aging is the loss of collagen, an important protein you need to keep your skin looking youthful and vibrant. As a compound of essential amino acids, there’s only one way to get collagen; your body can’t produce it, so you must attain it through your diet.
Further, collagen is the most common and abundant of your body’s proteins, found only in human and animal tissue, specifically the connective tissues throughout your body, from your muscles, bones, and tendons to your blood vessels and digestive system.
While most have heard of it in terms of skin elasticity, collagen benefits many areas of your body, including your hair and nails. One study shows that this protein comprises 30 percent of the total protein in your body, and a whopping 70 percent of the protein for your skin.
Better Nutrition notes that your body contains more than 20 different types of collagen, but by your mid-20s, it begins to wane. By the time you reach your 80s, you have about four times less, which brings about skin issues. But it’s not a given. There are ways to slow the rate of diminishing collagen levels and even build them back up.
How Collagen — or the Lack Thereof — Impacts Your Skin
Technically a polypeptide, collagen is also a long-chain amino acid composed of individual amino acids such as glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine.
Threonine is another essential amino acid for collagen production. According to Vital Proteins:
“The composition of collagen is considered unique given its high hydroxyproline content. If you lack the amino acids that combine to form collagen, your body’s cells can’t produce enough of it. Threonine is an essential amino acid for production.”
Clear, firm, glowing skin begins inside your body, so it’s true that you are what you eat. The first things to concentrate on are the areas of your body that are either enhanced or suffer in accordance with your diet. Toxins take a toll, but specific organs that affect collagen production include:
- Your small and large intestines, as they release nutrients to your body and help keep food moving onward and out. Getting rid of waste in a timely manner is crucial (which is one reason why fiber comes in handy). When food hangs around for too long your complexion can become dull, oily and blemished.
- Well-functioning adrenals make essential hormones, including DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and pregnenolone. Hormone imbalances can promote problem skin.
- Two organs that filter impurities from your body continually are your liver and kidneys. A diet that’s lacking in the proper nutrients can tax these important organs and keep them from doing their job as they should. This, in turn, can result in skin that appears less than healthy.
- Thyroid problems can adversely affect your skin and lead to breakouts, but also cause dryness and itchy, dull, wrinkly skin. Because your thyroid works closely with your adrenals, it’s like a double whammy when one or both fail to function properly.