Collagen – How to boost your skin’s levels naturally
Simple dietary recommendations that can make a huge difference to how your skin ages. Foods that boost collagen levels, scavenge free radicals and calm inflammation.
Our skincare plays an important role in how our skin ages but did you know that your diet is just as important? The head honcho responsible for keeping skin plump and looking youthful is collagen. Our bodies make it for us but this starts to decline with age and with a poor diet. Here is the low down on collagen and my top tips for boosting your collagen levels naturally.
What is collagen & where can I get some?
Collagen is a protein found throughout the human body and is naturally produced by all mammals and fish. This means that if I had to name the top 5 collagen rich foods, I would be naming parts of animals or meat-based dishes which are rich in collagen – tripe, bone broth, pigs trotters, animal skin (e.g. chicken skin, fish skin) etc. (note: actual collagen content varies dramatically according to age and size of the animal).
Can we absorb collagen from the food we eat?
Collagen is a large protein made up of several amino acids (Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine). So when we eat collagen, our body breaks it down into the individual amino acids and utilises those amino acids as it sees fit. So yes we can absorb collagen from food, but whether our body utilises it to boost the collagen levels in our skin is a complete unknown.
Are there other foods that we can eat to encourage collagen production?
Yes. The amino acids required to form collagen can also be found in a vegetarian diet, in particular beans, nuts, seeds and some vegetables.
Collagen also requires several key nutrients to assist in its formation, in particular vitamin C. In fact vitamin C deficiency (otherwise known as scurvy) is identifiable by the fact that collagen-rich tissues start to break down (skin, blood vessels, bones) and wounds are especially slow-healing (our body needs collagen to heal wounds). Vitamin C rich foods include citrus, berries, capsicum, broccoli and kale. Zinc is also an important co-factor in collagen production and can be found in meat, poultry, seafood, legumes, nuts and wholegrains.
Vitamin C absorption can be boosted with the addition of bioflavonoids (natural plant pigments and antioxidants), naturally occurring in most vitamin c rich foods including citrus and berries.
Other ways to ensure maximum collagen production
Sleep more + reduce stress + exercise. When we sleep our bodies go into repair mode, part of which involves making collagen. If you’re not getting enough sleep then you are making less collagen, so try to get around 8 hours every night. Stress can also affect your skin’s collagen production. The key stress hormone, cortisol, has an inflammatory effect which can affect the skin’s ability to produce collagen. Increased cortisol levels also lead to a decrease in the blood and nutrients sent to our skin, leading to dryness and a loss of lustre in the skin. To reduce stress, use daily stress management practices e.g. yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. Exercise has also been shown to boost collagen levels, so try to get around 30 minutes of exercise in most days.
Choose skincare products which support collagen levels and stimulate collagen production. Hyaluronic acid supports collagen levels by keeping it hydrated. Products which contain hyaluronic acid include our Ultimate Biome Spritz, Ultimate Face Cream and 2 in 1 Face Scrub + Mask. Just as vitamin C taken internally stimulates collagen production, so can it when applied externally. Vitamin C can be found in our Repair Face Serum and Ultimate Biome Spritz.
As always, I’m here to help so please feel free to reach out if you have any queries.
I hope you find it helpful.