Why must we improve our collagen levels? Not for a younger face alone!

 

There is more to collagen than a smooth young face and cellulite free body.

Collagen also improves hair and nail follicles, improves mobility in joints and preserves, builds and replenishes lean muscle mass.

Some skincare companies still sell the myth that collagen cream will increase and support the collagen in our skins. But the truth is, that applying collagen to the skin as a cream, gel, or mask does nothing for it, bar plumping up the epidermis (top skin layer) to make it look smoother.

We can use needling, light therapy, micro-current, radio frequency, and peels to stimulate the collagen in the skin – usually on the face, but all of these treatments are only short lived if we are not supporting the collagen from the inside out.

So what is collagen?

Collagen is the fibrous structural protein that makes up the white fibers known as collagenous fibers, found in the skin, tendons, bone, cartilage, and all other connective tissues. It is also found in certain parts of the body to add strength such as in the vitreous

It is also found in certain parts of the body to add strength, such as in the vitreous humor of the eye. It is the natural protein that composes most of the body’s structural support and is the primary substance of connective tissue (this tissue connects, supports, binds and or separates all of our tissues and organs). It is the fibrous tissue that holds our body together.

Collagen gives our organs and tissues their strength and elastic properties. Twenty-five percent of the dry protein weight of the human body is collagen. Seventy-five percent of our skin is made of it, and in total – some thirty percent of our entire body is collagen. Collagen is part of the natural make-up of tendons, ligaments, joints, muscles, hair, skin, and vital organs.

The body’s production of collagen slows dramatically with ageing. This slowing process is stealth-like and rather insidious. It starts slowing in our mid-twenties, picks up speed in our thirties and forties, and the losses are even more pronounced through our fifties and sixties. Lack of collagen, or the body’s improper use of collagen, is what causes the

Lack of collagen, or the body’s improper use of collagen, is what causes the ageing process. Besides its many structural properties, collagen serves as the major catalyst for growth and repair of nearly all the body’s tissues. Many different

Besides its many structural properties, collagen serves as the major catalyst for growth and repair of nearly all the body’s tissues. Many different

Many different ageing diseases are related to the body’s supply of this vital protein and to disorders in the collagen itself.

One of these is Arthritis. Collagen protects joint cartilage by supporting and enhancing the synthesis of synovial fluid, which is required to lubricate the joint. It also inhibits free radical enzymes and auto-immune processes that degrade joint cartilage, it also works by removing blockages in blood vessels leading to the joint, therefore allowing better blood flow and regeneration.

So if our goal is to stay looking and feeling younger, just stimulating the collagen on our faces is just not going to cut it, we need to work at improving our collagen internally.

There are three ways of doing this, and I recommend if you really want to turn the clock back, you need to attack all three areas at the same time. But remember, it took you a long time to loose all of that collagen, it is not going to improve instantaneously! It is like going on a diet, you may not see major changes till approximately 12 weeks.

But remember, it took you a long time to loose all of that collagen, it is not going to improve instantaneously! It is like going on a diet, you may not see major changes till approximately 12 weeks.

Step one – Eat to restore and keep collagen.

Certain foods will naturally increase collagen formation, by adding these to your diet, preferably organic versions of them (this again is another article) will start your body on the path to improving its collagen levels

Soy – soy products such as tofu, soymilk, soy yoghurt and soy cheese contain an element known as genistein. Genistein is a phytoestrogen and belongs to the category of isoflavones which produces collagen.

Dark green vegetables – are also excellent collagen producing agents.  Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale, are packed with an antioxidant called lutein.  You need 10 mg to get results – which equates to about  4oz. of spinach or 2oz. of kale.  These vegetables are also rich in Vitamin C, and consumed daily will help to strengthen the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and to utilize the protein effectively.

Broad beans and butter beans – help your body produce a vital anti-ageing substance called hyaluronic acid.  Aim for at least two tablespoons of beans each day – broad or butter beans make a great substitute for mashed potatoes.

Another source of Hyaluronic acid is Sweet Potato also known as Kumera. In actual fact, any of the Yam family all contain large quantities of Hyaluronic acid.

Red fruits and vegetables – contain lycopene an antioxidant compound. It is found abundantly in fresh or cooked tomatoes, red peppers, and beets. It is also found in sweet potatoes and carrots.  Research from Dr. Ronald Watson at the University of Arizona found that the antioxidants in red, yellow and orange foods build up under the skin creating natural UV protection. “The effect is so strong that eating six portions a day for about two months will build a natural barrier equivalent to a factor four sunscreen,” says Dr. Watson.

Citrus fruits – contain high levels of vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, and strawberries.

Prunes  – contain the highest level of antioxidants, even more so than blueberries, maybe not as appealing!

Omegas – create an ideal environment for collagen production. Flaxseed is the major source of Omega 3,6 and 9. Fish such as salmon and tuna are also excellent sources of omega fatty acids.  Nuts such as cashews, pecans, almonds and Brazil nuts also contain healthy amounts.

Foods rich in sulfur content are also important for collagen production. Among these are green and black olives, cucumbers, and celery. Vegetables such as carrots and sweet potato are high in vitamin A, which increase the effect of the sulfurous foods.

Turkey – contains a vital skin-friendly protein called carnosine that slows down a process in the skin called cross-linking. Cross-linking causes fibers to grow into the collagen of the skin making it stiff and inelastic. This stops collagen snapping back when you do things like smile, laugh or frown, causing smile lines or crows feet.

Chocolate – studies in Germany, found that after drinking a cocoa-packed drink, there was an increase in blood flow to the skin (therefore increasing nutrients and moisture levels). It also increased natural UV protection. Unfortunately only dark chocolate worked, no sweet milky chocolates loaded with sugar!

Manuka Honey – Manuka honey or organic honey, when used topically or internally, restores and rejuvenates your skin. It supports the skin cell renewal process and assists in the formation of stronger collagen protein. As an added benefit, active Manuka honey is rich in antioxidants and helps to reduce blemishes, and is great for keeping colds and viruses at bay.

Avocado oil – is high in plant steroids, which help to reduce blemishes and age spots. It also helps to regenerate and rejuvenate skin damaged by free radicals. Avocado oil is scientifically proven to stimulate collagen production and it increases the proportion of soluble collagen in the dermis of your skin.

Step 2 – Supplement to support and repair collagen. 

I would love to eat all of the correct foods to maintain and restore my collagen levels, but I would have to eat all day every day, so there are some supplements which can be taken daily, or taken on days when the food sources are not available.

Flaxseed oil – as mentioned before as a food source, is high in Omegas 3,6,9 but also high in Essential fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, potassium, lecithin, magnesium, fibre, and protein.

Silica – heals connective tissues.

Vitamin E – stimulates collagen production.

Vitamin C – helps collagen formation by changing proline into hydroxyproline and lysine into hydroxylysine which is fights free radicals produced by too much sun that lead to prematurely aging skin.

Vitamin A – repairs and acts as an antioxidant.

Selenium – protects skin from sun damage and promotes glutathione production. Glutathione is a super powerful antioxidant that reduces deterioration of collagen and elastin by neutralizing free radicals, which damage cells and age skin.

Zinc – reduces dry skin, inflammation in the skin and promotes cell growth as well as maintaining collagen and elastin.

Step 3 –Collagen supplementation.

Ok – so this sounds as if you can skip the two steps above – sorry, the collagen supplements work well with the correct diet. They are expensive, and unfortunately do not work well all alone.

Collagen tablets are made out of bovine collagen or fish collagen and are normally listed as collagen type 1&3. Most bottles are marked for joint and ligament support, but if the product contains HA (hyaluronic acid) or vitamin C, you are doing well as hyaluronic acid is highly anti-aging and vitamin C also builds collagen as I mentioned before.

Of course, all of the internal support needs external support as well. But you will notice better and faster results from your facial treatments and body treatments when supporting the skin from inside.

But the best part is –you will feel better as your joints mobility increases, loose weight faster as your muscle mass improves, and look younger all over, instead of a young face on a sore aging body!

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