Healthy skin and hair are what we all want, but as we grow old, all our youth and health start to deplete.
Have you ever wondered why Koreans look as young and beautiful even in their fifties? It is because they take care of their health and skin, both internally and externally.
If you have ever come across a dermatologist, then they might have told you that your health and skin deteriorate with age due to collagen deficiency.
Collagen is responsible for maintaining the youth and elasticity of our skin.
In this article, we are going to learn everything about collagen and how its deficiency can affect the overall health and skin.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein which is abundantly found in the human body, and it occurs naturally in our body. It is found in the skin, muscles, bones, and tendons of our body.
The main purpose of collagen is to hold everything in the body together. It proves to be the main component to provide structure and strength to our entire body.
Collagen is an insoluble, hard, and fibrous protein that constituents one-third of the protein in our entire body.
In collagen, the molecules are closely packed to form long, thin fibrils. These closely packed molecules serve as anchors and supporting structures to each other. This tight molecular binding is what makes the collagen responsible for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and strength.
The collagen deficiencies are what make this binding loose making our skin prone to aging and wrinkles. It consists of amino acids which are bound together to form the triple-helices of the elongated fibrils.
Our body naturally produces collagen known as endogenous collagen. There is also exogenous collagen, which is derived by the body through supplements. These collagen deficiencies can lead to several health issues, including some grave ones.
What are the types of collagen?
Collagen makes up about 1-2% of the muscle tissue, while it accounts for about 6% of the strong tendinous muscles. Collagen often contributes to the weight of these muscles.
The collagen present in our human body is flexible and robust. There are almost 16 different types of collagen present in the human body, but most of them almost 80-90% falls under Type I, II, or III category.
According to a 2011 study done by Sylvie Ricard-Blum, there are 28 types of collagen which have been described, identified, and divided into several categories according to their structure and formation.
Collagen is broadly classified into fibrillar and on-fibrillar types, which accounts for the five most common types of collagen present in our body.
- Type I forms the organs, skin, tendons, vasculature, and also the main component of the bone, which is the most organic one.
- Collagen Type II forms the main component of the cartilages.
- Type III forms the primary reticulate fibers, and it is most commonly found alongside Type I.
- Collagen Type IV forms the basal lamina along with the basement membrane layer, which is formed by the secretion from the epithelium.
- Type V forms the hair, cell surfaces, and the placenta in our body.
How Collagen Affects Your Skin
Collagen is an elixir for fighting aging and wrinkles and hails to prove some positive effects on our nail, skin, and hair.
Our human body can not absorb collagen as a whole, so taking collagen as supplements do promote not only bone health but also affects our hair and skin.
Our body breaks this collagen into amino acids inside our digestive system, and it is stored for later use as per the requirements of our body.
Taking collagen supplements, however, can boost the collagen production in our body, which improves the health of joints and bones in our body.
Collagen might contribute to promoting healthy skin, but it alone cannot do so. If you think only taking a collagen supplement will help you achieve the skin of your dreams, then you will be disappointed.
There are no serious studies that prove that collagen alone can improve skin health. However, taking a collagen supplement along with a balanced diet can make the skin condition better.
Collagen in our body keeps decreasing as we age, and this is why taking collagen supplements is the right choice.
Research shows that collagen supplements boosts the hair building proteins in our body, which promotes hair growth, prevents hair loss, and minimizes the likeliness of grey hair.
Collagen supplements support the structure of the hair follicles, thereby keeping it healthy, which in turn produces natural and healthy pigmentation to the hair. They are an excellent treatment for dry and brittle hair as they maintain the natural moisture of the hair.
Collagen supplements, however, are not enough to curtail the damages of collagen deficiencies, food and lifestyle also play a vital role in this.
It is always advised to consume collagen along with Vitamin C as this vitamin can facilitate the increase of collagen production in the body. Apart from age stress, gut health and poor diet can contribute to collagen deficiency in the body.
Diseases Caused By Collagen Deficiency
Are you wondering what happens if you don’t have enough collagen in your body? The deficiency of collagen can lead to collagen vascular disease, which is a group of diseases that can directly affect the connective tissues of our body.
These diseases can be hereditary or autoimmune, but the collagen deficiency symptoms are different for both. There are several autoimmune collagen diseases, namely:
Lupus includes collagen deficiency symptoms such as shortness of breath, headaches, chest pain, stroke, recurrent miscarriages, mouth ulcers, and dry eyes.
People can have this disease without showing any symptoms. Symptoms can suddenly appear due to prolonged exposure to the sun or often due to stress.
Scleroderma includes symptoms such as hardening and thickening of the skin, coughing, breathing difficulties, wheezing, diarrhea, joint pain, acid reflux, and also numbness in hands and feet.
This disease mainly affects the heart, skin, lungs, digestive tracts, and other organs of the body.
This type of arthritis includes collagen deficiency symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, inflammation of the connective tissues, dry mouth, dry eyes, and also the thinning of the blood vessels along with the inflammation in the lining of the heart.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is known to affect almost about 1.3 billion people in the United States alone.
Temporal Arteritis includes collagen deficiency symptoms such as scalp sensitivity, headaches, vision loss, and jaw pain.
It is typically the inflammation in the large arteries, especially those which are present in the head. These symptoms are most commonly found in people above 70 years of age.
The given below are genetic diseases caused by the deficiency of collagen, so their symptoms will also be different in different people. But the most common symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle weakness, body aches, skin rashes, and joint pains.
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease
- Marfan’s syndrome
Warning Symptoms Of Collagen Deficiency
Having learned so much about collagen and learning about its diseases, let’s now learn how you can know that you are having collagen deficiency.
Here is a list of eight warning signs which will help you to figure out that your body is in a desperate need of collagen.
Hollow Face and Eyes
The hollowing of the face and eyes is one way to figure out that you have a collagen deficiency.
Aging can lead to the loss of collagen naturally. It also fades the natural glow giving a hollowed zombie-like look.
With aging, you can see that the area under your eyes has become deeper, creating a hollow, and the skin on your cheek also begins to thin out.
Stress can also be seen as a major factor in diminishing the natural shine of face and eyes, particularly. If your stress seems to be getting out of control, or you’re finding yourself battling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns, it’s important to see a therapist. Websites like www.betterhelp.com can help custom match you to a therapist available online, on your schedule.
Recurring Joint Pain that won’t go away
Joint pain is yet another way to know that you have collagen deficiency.
Collagen makes our cartilages, and the depletion of collagen in our body causes more tension in between the bones leading to joint pain.
Apart from this, a deficiency of collagen can also lead to the movement of tendons and ligaments.
Leaky Gut Syndrome that won’t heal
Collagen is present everywhere inside our body, including the stomach. So when you find yourself having a leaky gut, know that you have collagen deficiencies.
Collagen is a critical component that forms the lining of the gut, so the depletion in collagen in your gut area can lead to problems with digestions and the immunity system.
You Can’t seem to Move Freely
Loss of mobility is another factor that can prove that your body has collagen deficiencies.
The depletion of collagen can cause stiffness within the body and inflammation around the joints.
Your Muscles Ache All the Time
Collagen forms a connective tissue that holds our bones and muscles together. Muscle aches are your body’s way of telling you that it lacks collagen.
When collagen depletes, these tissues break, causing pains and cramps.
Your Blood flow is inconsistent
Collagen contributes to the lining of the blood vessels, which, when depletes, interrupt the smooth passing of blood flow. Problems with blood flow can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and chest pain.
You begin to see Cellulite here and there
As collagen depletes, our skin loses its elasticity and gives rise to cellulite, giving our skin a lumpy or dimpled appearance.
And not to mention how fast you begin to Age
The depletion of collagen also leads to fine lines and wrinkles, giving the appearance of the first signs of aging. Our skin loses its elasticity and structure when collagen depletes, thereby raising our concerns.
How To Boost Collagen Levels Naturally
I know you’re about to ask this now: How can I produce more collagen?
Collagen levels deplete naturally as we age, but fret not! Surprisingly there are natural ways to boost the collagen levels inside our body:
Aloe Vera has too many medicinal properties. It is a miracle plant that provides soothing and healing effects. But the very reason that it is effective in healing wounds is that it boosts the collagen production in the body.
You can apply Aloe Vera topically and take it internally, which promotes cell growth by increasing the collagen production.
You can use pure aloe vera or mix it with other ingredients to receive the benefits.
Foods rich in Vitamin C are a great way to boost collagen production within the body. You need Vitamin C for the adequate production of natural hyaluronic acid within the body, which speeds up the healing and recovery time.
Therefore, eating foods that are rich in Vitamin C will boost hyaluronic acid production in the body, which will provide more collagen.
It is an age-old traditional remedy for boosting collagen, which Koreans mostly use.
A 2012 study has shown that Ginseng is very useful in producing type I collagen inside the body. It quickly absorbs in the body without any adverse effects.
Apart from this, Ginseng is also an antioxidant that protects the skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
We use Cilantro in several food recipes. Apart from this, it is also essential for our body as it contains Vitamin C, which is very important to boost collagen production in our body.
Cilantro also contains Linoleic Acid, which, according to researchers, is a good antioxidant that provides anti-aging benefits as well.
Algae, aka Spirulina, prevents cell damage and boosts collagen by preventing oxidation of the skin due to excessive pollution.
Spirulina is one of the best sources of collagen for vegans and vegetarians. Consuming spirulina supplements is a great way to restore the collagen and the elasticity of the skin within the body.
Everyone values young and healthy skin, but beauty is so much more than that. It is essential to feel good in one’s skin without penalizing oneself. Healthy skin is our body’s way of telling us that everything is functioning well. Though there is no way that you can completely reverse the effects of aging, there is something that can slow it down. That is what collagen supplements do.