Collagen deficiency is not something we see very often. Dermatologists may have told you that your health and skin deteriorate with age due to collagen deficiency. This article will learn everything about collagen and how its deficiency can affect overall health and skin.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that is abundant in the body. It is responsible for holding skin, muscles, bones, and tendons in the body together. A lack of collagen not only makes the skin prone to aging and wrinkles but several health issues.
What are the types of collagen?
One to two percent of muscle tissue is made up of collagen, while the strong tendons are composed mostly of collagen. It is often collagen that contributes to the weight of these muscles.
Collagen in the human body is flexible and robust. There are 16 types of collagen in the human body, but almost 80-90% of them fall into the Type I, II, or III category.
A 2011 study by Sylvie Ricard-Blum on the Collagen Family describes, identifies, and categorizes 28 types of collagen-based on their structure and formation.
Collagen is mostly divided into fibrillar and on-fibrillar types, which make up our five most common types.
- Type I forms the organs, skin, tendons, vascular system, and the bone’s main component.
- 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.
- Type IV forms the basal lamina and the basement membrane layer 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
As the human body cannot absorb collagen as a whole, taking collagen as a supplement can promote bone, hair, and skin health.
During digestion, our body breaks down collagen into amino acids, which are stored for later use according to our body’s needs.
Collagen may contribute to healthy skin, but it cannot do so all by itself. You will be disappointed if you think only a collagen supplement will help you achieve the skin of your dreams.
There is no hard evidence that collagen alone improves skin health. However, in combination with a balanced diet, supplements can help improve skin conditions.
Furthermore, studies have shown that people who consume collagen in the peptide form for two weeks or more have a significant reduction in wrinkles.
Taking collagen supplements is the best way to keep our body’s collagen levels high as we age.
Supplementing with collagen can improve hair growth, prevent hair loss, and minimize the appearance of gray hair. By supporting hair roots, these supplements ensure a natural, healthy pigmentation of the hair. Their moisture-retaining qualities make them an excellent treatment for dry and brittle hair.
The consumption of collagen supplements is not enough to keep collagen deficiency in check—diet and lifestyle also contribute to this.
Diseases Caused By Collagen Deficiency
Have you ever wondered what happens if your body doesn’t produce enough collagen?
In the absence of collagen, a group of diseases can develop that affects the body’s connective tissues.
Women are twice as likely as men to develop collagen vascular disease, which usually occurs in their 30s and 40s.
The symptoms of collagen deficiency may differ depending on whether the disease is hereditary or autoimmune. Collagen autoimmune diseases include:
Lupus symptoms include shortness of breath, headaches, chest pain, stroke, recurrent miscarriages, mouth ulcers, and dry eyes.
People with this autoimmune disease can have no symptoms at all. Stress or prolonged sun exposure can cause symptoms to appear suddenly.
The symptoms of scleroderma include hardening and thickening of the skin, coughing, breathing difficulties, wheezing, diarrhea, joint pain, acid reflux, and numbness in the hands and feet.
The disease primarily affects the heart, the skin, the lungs, and the digestive tracts.
The symptoms of collagen deficiency arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, inflammation of the connective tissues, dry mouth, dry eyes, thinning of the blood vessels, and inflammation in the heart’s lining.
In the United States alone, 1.3 billion people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
This condition includes symptoms of collagen deficiency, such as headaches, loss of vision, and jaw pain.
The inflammation usually occurs in the large arteries, especially in the head. People over 70 years of age are most likely to experience these symptoms.
The following are diseases caused by the deficiency of collagen, so their symptoms will also vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms are fatigue, fever, muscle weakness, body aches, skin rashes, and joint pain.
- 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 its diseases, let’s now learn how you can tell if you have collagen deficiency.
The following eight warning signs will help you determine if your body is in desperate need of collagen.
Hollow Face and Eyes
If your face and eyes are hollow, you may have a collagen deficiency.
Collagen can be lost naturally as we age. Moreover, the natural glow is also faded, giving the illusion of a hollowed-out zombie.
When you age, you’ll notice your eye area has become deeper, resulting in a hollow, and your cheek skin also appears thinner.
It has also been found that stress can make eyes and faces appear dull and lifeless. It’s important to see a therapist if your stress seems out of control or you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. 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
Another sign that you have collagen deficiency is joint pain.
As collagen depletes from our bodies, our cartilages become more strained, causing joint pain. Besides this, a lack of collagen can adversely affect the movement of tendons and ligaments.
Leaky Gut that won’t heal
A stomach is made up of collagen, just like any other part of the body. When you have a leaky gut, you probably lack collagen.
Collagen makes up the lining in the gut, so its depletion can cause digestion and immunity problems.
You Can’t Move Freely
Another sign of collagen deficiency is decreased mobility. Inflamed joints and stiffness in the body can result from a depletion of collagen.
Your Muscles Ache All the Time
The connective tissue in our bodies – collagen – holds our bones and muscles together. A muscle ache is your body’s way of telling you it lacks collagen.
A decrease in collagen results in these tissues breaking, causing pain and cramps.
Your Blood flow is inconsistent
Collagen contributes to the lining of the blood vessels, which, when depletes, interrupt the smooth blood flow. Blood flow problems can lead to dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and chest pain.
You see Cellulite here and there
When our collagen depletes, our skin loses its elasticity and becomes lumpy or dimpled, giving an unflattering appearance to our skin.
You begin to Age Quickly
The loss of collagen also causes fine lines and wrinkles, which are the first signs of aging. As collagen depletes, we experience a loss of elasticity and structure in our skin.
How To Boost Collagen Levels Naturally
By now, you might be thinking: How can I produce more collagen?
With age, collagen levels naturally diminish, but don’t fret! It is surprising to find that collagen-rich foods have the ability to boost our body’s collagen levels:
Aloe vera has a wide range of medicinal properties. Miracle plant, it provides soothing and healing effects. Nonetheless, it is effective at healing wounds because it boosts collagen production in the body.
Topically and internally, aloe vera promotes cell growth by increasing collagen production.
You can use pure aloe vera or mix it with other ingredients to receive the benefits.
Consuming collagen-boosting foods, such as those rich in Vitamin C, is a great way to boost collagen production. Vitamin C is necessary for producing natural hyaluronic acid within the body, which speeds up recovery and healing.
As a result, consuming foods rich in Vitamin C will increase the body’s hyaluronic acid production, producing more collagen.
This is an ancient traditional Korean remedy for boosting collagen.
Ginseng was found to be very helpful in producing type I collagen inside the human body in a 2012 study. Without any side effects, it quickly reaches the body.
In addition to its medicinal properties, Ginseng contains antioxidants that help protect skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
Several recipes call for cilantro. Furthermore, it contains Vitamin C, which is very important for boosting collagen production in the body.
According to researchers, the herb also contains linoleic acid, which is an antioxidant that provides anti-aging benefits.
Spirulina, an algae, prevents skin oxidation due to excessive pollution and boosts collagen production.
In vegans and vegetarians, spirulina is one of the best sources of collagen. Consuming spirulina supplements is a great way to restore collagen and the skin’s elasticity within the body.
Everyone indeed appreciates young, healthy skin, but beauty goes far beyond that. The key to feeling good in your own skin is not to punish yourself. A healthy complexion is our body’s way of telling us that everything is in order. Although you cannot entirely reverse aging, you can slow down its effects—exactly what collagen does.