For most people, consuming collagen is believed to be one way to stay young.
This method is also widely applied by artists in Hollywood, United States. Some of them are Jennifer Aniston, Kourtney Kardashian, and Jennifer Garner. These artists are the fans of consuming collagen and make it their habit in the morning.
But, is it true that collagen has benefits for such good skin?
Functions and Benefits of Collagen for the human body
Collagen is the most protein in the body.
This compound is one of the main constituents of connective tissue in our body, including the skin, muscles, joints, and tendons (1).
Collagen itself has a variety of important functions in the body, such as giving strength and shape to tissues, maintaining elasticity in the skin, maintaining muscles and joints so that they can keep moving normally, maintaining strength in bones, and various other functions (1).
Based on its function in the body, this collagen can be imagined as "glue" that unites the tissues in the body. Collagen itself comes from the Greek, "kolla" which means glue.
Collagen and its benefits as an anti-aging on the skin
Collagen is one of the biggest constituents of skin cells. Almost 80% of the human skin consists of collagen. Collagen is the secret behind the elasticity of our skin.
Together with another protein named elastin, they cause the skin to return to its original shape after being pulled. Collagen is mainly found in the middle layer of the skin, which is commonly called the dermis layer.
Actually, our body can produce its own collagen. However, collagen production in the body will decrease with age (2,3).
According to Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist in New York, at the age of 25 years, we will lose more collagen than our body can produce. As a result, since that age, our body will lose 1% collagen content every year (4).
Avoid things that can accelerate the reduction of collagen in our body
The collagen degradation can sometimes be accelerated by bad habits that we often do.
Call it, smoking habits, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, a high-sugar diet, excessive sunlight exposure, and exposure by other oxidants in the environment around us, can accelerate collagen damage in our body.
Fortunately, there are some ways that we can do to produce more collagen and maintain the level of collagen in our bodies.
4 ways to increase collagen level in our body for a beautiful skin
1. Consuming foods that stimulate collagen formation
According to Dr. Jaliman, proper nutrition is the key to getting healthy skin.
Several types of food can provide nutrients to increase collagen production in our body.
Foods that are high in vitamin C such as oranges, mangoes, and strawberries, are very important for increasing collagen production.
In addition, foods that contain high amino acids, including proline and glycine, play an important role in increasing collagen production. Examples of high proline food such as egg whites, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, and dairy products. While to consume high glycine food, we can eat chicken skin, cow skin, gelatin, and other high-protein foods.
Other nutrients needed to accelerate the process of maturation of collagen in the body is copper. Copper is one of the trace minerals our body needs. Examples of foods that contain lots of copper such as meat products, sesame seeds, chocolate, cashews, and other legume products.
2. Application of red light therapy
This therapy is treated by firing light into our skin cells to improve its condition. This method uses light with a safe wavelength, then is fired at skin cells as deep as 10 mm. Then, our skin cells will capture the energy from this light.
Dr. Rhonda Klein, M. D., a registered dermatologist in Connecticut, United States, explained this therapy could stimulate the production of collagen, elastin, and fibroblasts. The process is carried out through ATP level enhancement. ATP itself is the source of energy in our body cell. Thus, red light therapy can increase blood circulation to the skin area, so our skin cells and tissues will get more oxygen and nutrients.
A study done in 2014 showed that red light therapy on the skin can improve skin texture and increase collagen content in the intradermal matrix (8).
Dr. Angela Lamb, M. D., a dermatology professor in New York said that red light therapy can increase collagen in our body so the collagen level can be maintained. Because of that, this therapy is also useful to maintain the skin texture and size of the skin pores, so that the skin remains soft and avoids wrinkles.
3. Using vitamin C serum
Vitamin C is one of the important components for collagen formation in the body. Aside from being an antioxidant, vitamin C also plays an important role in the hydroxylation process of collagen synthesis (5,6).
Research says that the use of vitamin C as skincare can increase collagen production in the skin (7).
Other studies suggest that the application of vitamin C- contained skincare by 3-10% for at least 12 weeks can reduce wrinkles, reduce the level of roughness, and increase collagen production in the skin (5).
4. Take a hydrolyzed collagen supplement
The easiest and most practical way to increase the amount of collagen in our body is to add collagen-forming components from outside the body, namely hydrolyzed collagen.
Currently, the hydrolyzed collagen supplement is easy to be found in the market. Some are packaged in capsules for practical use, but some are in the powder form to be mixed with a variety of beverages.
Another form of the supplement is a powder drink containing hydrolyzed collagen, combined with many popular flavors, such as chocolate, matcha, etc.
Research shows that the consumption of hydrolyzed collagen every day for 8 weeks, can improve skin elasticity in older women (9). Other studies suggest that routine use of hydrolyzed collagen supplements can reduce wrinkles on the skin and improve the matrix component in the dermal part of the skin (10).
Collagen is an important component of the body. Unfortunately, as we get older, usually collagen degradation is faster than the amount of collagen our body can produce. Therefore, the amount of collagen in the body will usually decrease by age.
Various ways can be done to increase the amount of collagen in the body, including consuming nutrients that are important for collagen formation, using vitamin C serum and skincare, red light therapy, and the most practical is taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements in our daily consumption.
After knowing the importance and the benefits of collagen for us, now is the time for us to look for hydrolyzed collagen supplements that are most suitable for our needs and tastes.