Collagen for Anti-Aging: Why Collagen Is An Anti-Aging Superfood

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Collagen has recently become known as the anti-aging protein – the key to beauty and youth. Every article on collagen benefits will most likely mention, at a minimum, this one particular fact about collagen: that collagen can help reverse aging.  But what exactly are the effects of collagen for anti-aging? Read on to find out how collagen and aging are related and how collagen helps to improve the health and youthful integrity of your skin, hair, joints and bones. There’s even a bonus benefit that may surprise you! The anti-aging benefits of collagen will blow your mind!

Anti-Aging Collagen for Your Skin

Seventy percent of our skin is made from collagen. Within the skin, collagen is the main component of the dermis: the layer that gives our skin elasticity and flexibility. Beginning at age 21, our body’s production of new collagen begins to decline and existing collagen begins to break down. By the time we are around 60 years old, we have half as much collagen as we did at the age of twenty-one.

In addition, collagen synthesis rates – our body’s ability to create new collagen – have dropped by 75%1Exposure to UV rays throughout our lifetime furthers this depletion, which can lead to wrinkles, dryness, and saggy skin. Research shows oral collagen protein supplementation may help in firming and hydrating skin, as well as help in reducing the appearance of deep wrinkles. Additionally, collagen may help protect against UV-induced skin damage. Here are those collagen benefits for skin, broken down for you:

1. Collagen may increase skin elasticity and hydration.

Several clinical trials have shown collagen supplements increase skin elasticity and hydrates skin. In one trial, women aged 35 and over showed statistically significant improvement in skin elasticity and skin hydration among subjects given 2.5 or 5 g of collagen daily for 8 weeks 2. In another study among women ages 40 to 60, supplementation with collagen for eight weeks showed a 28% average increase in skin moisture levels, and 91% of subjects reported less dry skin after supplementation3

Within the dermis, a type of gland in particular that is key to skin quality is the sebaceous gland. These glands produce sebum that helps to keep our skin moisturized. Collagen supports the sebaceous glands and everything else in the dermis because collagen contributes to the overall strength of the dermis layer of our skin. By supporting the dermis, this internal layer of the skin, collagen is able to promote the function of other tissue and glands.

When your skin is well-hydrated, it appears healthier and is much more resilient. Collagen is a great way to support the skin thoroughly.

2. Collagen may help suppress UV-induced skin damage and photoaging.

Collagen breakdown is a chronic part of our aging process – as our cells age, their ability to produce collagen diminishes. Scientists have determined that 50% of our collagen decline is due to this chronic aging, but another 30% of this loss is due to photoaging: breakdown of collagen by UV exposure.

Scientists have linked UV exposure to an increase in collagen-degrading enzymes in our skin.  Once collagen molecules have been fragmented, the ability of skin cells to synthesize new collagen slows, creating an irreversible decrease in collagen production and total collagen content over time1. Repeated UV exposure has been linked to aging effects on the skin, including wrinkle formation, decreased hydration, and decreased skin-collagen content.

Research has found a positive effect of collagen peptide ingestion on reducing skin damage associated with sun exposure.  In a study measuring skin changes after repeated exposure to UV damage for 6 weeks, the group given collagen peptides throughout the trial demonstrated fewer effects of sun damage compared to the control group4. Another study showed a 31% decrease in skin-collagen fragmentation after supplementation for 12 weeks3.

3. Collagen may decrease wrinkle depth and volume.

Another study measuring the benefits of collagen powder on skin wrinkles showed a statistically significant reduction of eye wrinkle volume in comparison to the placebo group after 4 and 8 weeks of daily collagen intake5.

4. Collagen may help hide cellulite and eliminates stretch marks.

By strengthening the dermis layer of our skin, collagen also plays an important role in helping to hide cellulite and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Cellulite becomes more visible as our skin stretches, thins, and sags. By increasing skin-collagen expression and improving skin elasticity and thickness, collagen helps to generate stronger, thicker skin that reduces the appearance of stretch marks and helps to hide fat beneath the skin.

5. Oral intake of collagen improves skin more than topical creams.

While collagen is used in many skin creams and lotions, it unfortunately does not get absorbed by the skin when applied topically. Topical collagen usually contains full-length collagen protein molecules, which are too big to penetrate the skin. Oral collagen peptides are shorter-chain protein segments that are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by the skin.  

In order to reap the full benefits of collagen, it must be ingested in peptide form to promote synthesis of new collagen fibers in the skin. Research supports the direct relationship between oral collagen peptide ingestion and skin collagen content. In a study measuring the effect of collagen hydrolysate intake on expression of collagen in the skin, oral administration of collagen peptides for four weeks significantly increased the amount of collagen produced by skin fibroblasts6.

6. Collagen may prevent skin cancer.

Research suggests that degenerated or damaged collagen may play a significant role in the formation of precancerous and cancerous skin cells. Degeneration of skin collagen caused by skin diseases, UV radiation, and injury leads to the development of “pseudoelastic tissue,” which has been found to be a precursor to cancer7. Supplementing with collagen may therefore help reduce the odds of this development from happening in your body, consequently helping prevent skin cancer.

7. Collagen supports skin cells in the finger, which helps to maintain nail strength.

Nails are neither skin nor hair nor bones, but they benefit greatly from collagen supplements nevertheless. The reason we put this nail benefit under the skin section is because the skin cells located within the finger are what produces the fingernail. The matrix from which the nail grows may be positively affected by collagen supplementation. That means less brittle, fragile nails.

Collagen supplementation has been shown in studies to increase nail growth and decrease nail fragility. If you’re someone who breaks your nails easily, collagen might just be your solution. Many women have nails that grow to a specific length before getting broken, peeled, or chipped, but collagen can help you get to the length you want so you can paint your nails that shade of red you’ve been hoping to show the world!

Anti-Aging Collagen for Your Hair

While collagen may be most famous for its skin benefits, we can’t forget that it also plays a key role in hair health, too! Our skin has three layers. Collagen is found in the middle layer, called the dermis. Oil and sweat glands, blood vessels, nerve endings and connective tissue can be found in this middle layer of skin.

Do you know what else can be found in the dermal layer of your skin? Hair follicles! Based on this one fact, you can imagine how much help collagen for hair could be – but we’re going to tell you anyway!

8. Collagen strengthens and refreshes your hair.

Because collagen plays such a key role in our skin, let alone the dermal layer, the hair follicles and sebaceous glands are well supported. Hair follicles are small organs that regulate hair growth. Right at the top of each follicle are sebaceous glands that are internally attached. Earlier we said that these glands keep our skin moisturized; now we’re saying these glands keep our skin AND hair moisturized.

9. Collagen can improve hair growth.

The actual growth of hair follicles relies heavily on the collagen matrix within the dermis. If collagen is scarce, the thickness and total number of hair follicles you have can be reduced.

As we age, we tend to lose hair each year. Low collagen levels may be a big reason for this, and that is why supplementing with collagen may reduce this annoying and distressing symptom of aging. Collagen anti-aging benefits can help promote stronger, longer, and thicker hair that is less likely to fall out!

Anti-Aging Collagen for Your Joints and Bones

Let’s face it: no one is looking forward to the day when it hurts to just transition from a sitting position to a standing position. This is a major sign of aging, and it can easily sneak up on you as you get older. Our bones and joints weaken over time, just like anything else in our body. Thanks to collagen breakdown, we can actually lose up to 50% of our bone strength during the aging process.

So how do we take care of the connective tissue that holds us together and keep our bodies strong and healthy? You’ll be happy to know that there are many collagen benefits that help your bones and joints stay strong:

10. Collagen supports your joints and bones.

Collagen plays an important role in the matrix of our bones, taking up 90% of it. This protein helps give structure to our bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons – these are all parts of our body that helps us bend and stretch.  Collagen helps join bone to tendons and ligaments. According to scientific studies, when we experience any bone impacts, it’s the collagen in our bones that is taking that energy. This simply means that the more collagen we have in our body helps to lead to stronger bones that are harder to break. Collagen also contributes to bone strength by helping to promote the cell growth of new bone that replaces old damaged, worn bone cells.

Clinical studies have shown that the supplementation of collagen may help to reduce joint pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, pain and stiffness due to osteoarthritis, and it may even improve joint mobility, flexibility, and strength. Don’t let aging slow you down!

Anti-Aging Collagen Bonus Benefit

There are also more subtle benefits of collagen powder that make it a safe anti-aging substance for your body. Some symptoms of aging aren’t as obvious, including the fact that weight loss and weight maintenance get much more difficult as we get older. Collagen is here to help, and here’s how:

11. Collagen may help to promote weight loss and keep your body in shape.

Collagen is a protein, and protein in general helps make people feel more full after consumption. Collagen in particular is very satiating without having a lot of calories, overall keeping you full longer. So why use collagen for weight loss? In simple terms: collagen can help you eat less.

In addition, by contributing to your lean muscle mass, collagen supplementation may potentially help boost your metabolism. Rich in glycine, an amino acid that plays an important role in the conversion of nutrients such as glucose into energy, collagen may help promote the formation of muscle tissue.

Muscle mass is key to ensuring your body has a supportive system as you age, so it’s crucial to retain as much muscle mass as you can. Having muscle mass can help your bone health and posture, and it can also benefit you because you’ll be burning more calories than you are burning fat.

How Do I Use Anti-Aging Collagen?

At this point, you’re probably curious about how you can actually implement this anti-aging superfood into your daily routine. We’ve got good news: it’s super easy. A simple way to add this special protein into your diet is to add just one or two scoops of Further Food Collagen Peptides into your next meal, snack, smoothie, you name it! Doing this daily can optimize your ability to reap the many benefits of collagen for anti-aging, from your skin to your hair to your bones. Collagen may help you from the inside-out!

The anti-aging properties of collagen may not be able to help you look and feel like your old self, but it can surely help you look and feel like your current best self!

Want to read more?

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Citations:

1. Varani, J. “Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin : Roles of Age-Dependent Alteration in Fibroblast Function and Defective Mechanical Stimulation.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine,. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16723701>.

2. Proksch, E. “Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208>

3. Asseran J, Elian L, Toshiaki S, Prawitt, P (2015). The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, (In press)

4. Tanaka, M. “Effects of Collagen Peptide Ingestion on UV-B-induced Skin Damage.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19352014>.

5. Proksch, E., and M. Schunck. “Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208>.

6. Zague, Vivian, Vanessa Freitas De, Marina Rosa Da Costa, Geórgia Castro Álvares De, Ruy Jaeger G., and Gláucia Machado-Santelli M. “Collagen Hydrolysate Intake Increases Skin Collagen Expression and Suppresses Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 Activity.” Journal of Medicinal Food 14.6 (2011): 618-24. Web.

7. Anderson, By Stephanie Selene. “Cancer: A Collagen Disease, Secondary to a Nutritional Deficiency? – Selene River Press.” Selene River Press. <https://www.seleneriverpress.com/historical/cancer-a-collagen-disease-secondary-to-a-nutritional-deficiency/>

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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