Chances are you’ve seen collagen listed in your favorite face or body lotion or even as a supplement in the vitamin aisle. The ingredient gets a lot of buzz, but with it comes a slew of questions. What exactly is collagen? Why does your body need it? And how can increase the amount in your body?
Let’s just make a start on answering the first question: Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein…read on and I’ll unpack its many benefits. . .
Our bodies naturally produce collagen. It’s the major component of connective tissues that make up many body parts including tendons, ligaments, skin and muscles. And when your collagen levels are optimum, cells that contain collagen take on a healthy and youthful appearance.
Collagen is the glue that keeps your tissues and bones together. However, as with other things, our body’s collagen production begins to slow down as we age, and because collagen gives your skin structure and elasticity, you can blame your wrinkles and sagging skin on the lack of it.
As we find with many markers of aging, we’re often our own worst enemy. Certain lifestyle factors — such as a high-sugar diet, smoking and too much sun exposure — can contribute to tanking collagen levels.
Domino Effect: One Good Thing Leads to Another
A fascinating fact about collagen is that boosting its growth causes a domino effect, because the more natural collagen your body has, the more it can produce and maintain. In recent years, researchers have discovered several natural steps you can take to boost your body’s healthy collagen production. Here are just a few …
This plant has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat everything from inflammation to brain function. In modern days the anti-aging effects of the Panax ginseng plant have been well-documented at leading research institutions.1
When it comes to skin, ginseng succeeds without the unwanted side effects seen with certain pharmaceuticals. A Korean study2 found that ginseng promotes the growth of collagen.
And the herb offers another natural super power: it preserves the skin against the sun’s damaging UVB rays. Enjoy a cup of ginseng tea or take a ginseng supplement to promote glowing skin from the inside out.
Vitamin C-rich foods
Here’s yet another reason to pile on vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, red peppers and kale. Vitamin C is critical in the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, which, according to one study published in Nutrition Journal, boosts collagen production in the body.
Like collagen, hyaluronic acid production decreases with age. Fill your plate with foods rich in vitamin C and you’ll increase your levels of skin-loving hyaluronic acid and collagen.
Dubbed “the plant of immortality” by ancient Egyptians, aloe has long been favored for skincare. You’ve probably used aloe vera gel to soothe a painful burn or help heal a wound.
But have you ever considered why it works? This multipurpose plant increases collagen production – whether it’s applied topically or taken orally.4 Apply aloe in its pure form or consider an oral supplement. According to a Japanese study5, oral supplementation will improve skin quality.
Sorry to be a realist … but no supplement or beauty product is going to make you look like a 20-year-old again. However, that’s not to say you can’t protect and enhance what God gave you by limiting sun exposure, not smoking and incorporating natural collagen boosting foods
Be advised that some people experience allergic reactions when they take collagen supplements. Consult a trusted healthcare professional if you have concerns about side effects.