Slow Aging: The Truth About Collagen For Skin And Body

It’s hard to miss the necessities of collagen proteins these days. Whether it’s in the form of homemade bone broth or collagen powders, collagen-rich items are now the “go-to” product to help slow the effects of aging. Dietary collagen can be helpful for supporting the body’s collagen structures.

​Did I Always Have That Wrinkle?

As crazy as that sounds, over the years, I’ve said that on numerous occasions staring at the person in the mirror!

Collagen breakdown begins as early as in your 20s. And the breakdown continues… Year after Year…….

And it gets worse. As we age the body produces less collagen as we age over time. So, it can’t “hold up” your skin as well as it used to. Some believe this is one of the reasons for aging skin, uneven skin tone, brittle nails, and other signs that give away your age.

Over time epithelial & dermal layers get thinner due to loss of collagen, elastin, proteoglycans and water binding capacity. This results in wrinkles, dryness, loss of tone & elasticity, cellulite, and “crepe-like” appearance.

Why would you want to support collagen and maintenance?

Well, collagen accounts for as much 40% of all the protein in the human body, especially connective tissue (skin), including blood vessels. Here’s how collagen supports us as a percentage of the protein in the following tissues:

  • Skin: 75%

  • Tendons: 65-80%

  • Ligaments: 70%

  • Corneal tissue: 64%

  • Cartilage: 50%

  • Tooth dentin: 30% (That’s right; even your teeth have protein in them!)

  • Bone: 16% (bones are also have protein, Not just calcium!)

  • Muscle: 10-11%

  • Lung: 10%

Compared to other proteins, collagen has a special amino acid combination thats crucial to your body. It’s the braid-like three protein strands woven together that lends collagen its strength as well as its flexibility, which we see in some of the tissues above.

Oh yes! We stretch, run, do yoga and Pilates while our blood vessels expand and contract thanks to the structural properties of collagen.

Here’s the science behind it all for the curious ones.

Collagen proteins are rich in something called hydroxyproline. This is the amino acid proline, modified by adding an additional component. Hydroxyproline accounts for around 12% of the amino acids in collagen.

Collagen also contains a high amount of the amino acid glycine (about 22%) which is found in the dietary protein which provides the building blocks for collagen, but ingesting pure collagen itself ensures a combination of these critical raw materials.

Many of us don’t consume enough daily protein. Even those with a higher protein intake, the richest sources of collagen—animal skins, bones, and tendons—are not typically part of the modern Western diet. (Tendon soups and stews are popular in East Asia.)

Fortunately, powdered collagen protein is now available, and it can be incorporated into shakes, smoothies, and other foods and beverages (including coffee). (You can use it to make homemade jello, gummies, puddings, and other gelatin desserts.)