Collagen – could it be the miracle anti-aging cure we're all looking for in life? Okay, that's a bit of a sensationalist headline. However, the reality is that collagen does have plenty of benefits with restoring our skin's health, especially as we enter our 40s.
By increasing levels of collagen in our diet, we can enhance our body's natural production of this beneficial protein. Before we go any further, let's explain everything you need to know about why you need more collagen in your diet.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it's responsible for boosting metabolism, muscle recovery, and fighting off the signs of aging. When we enter our forties, we see a slowdown in protein synthesis. As a result, we start to see signs of aging come into our lives in the form of wrinkles and lines in our faces.
A decline in collagen production also results in challenges with female health. Post-menopausal women find that the combination of a reduction in protein synthesis and hormonal changes, results in conditions like "Vaginal Atrophy." VA results in a thinning of the vaginal wall, and changes to the way sex feels, often resulting in painful penetration.
The drop in collagen production also affects other areas of our physical health. Digestive disorders, muscular problems, and joint issues are all commonly associated with a reduction in protein synthesis and collagen production.
The amino acid profile in collagen proteins consists of proline, glycine, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine.
Of these amino acids, glycine is the most prominent, accounting for 33%, with proline and hydroxyproline accounting for 10% each. Only trace amounts of hydroxylysine exist, accounting for less than 1% of the total amino acid profile.
By the time we enter our 40s, we are producing 30% less collagen than when we start our thirties, and it continues to steadily reduce at rates of between 1% to 2% annually.
Collagen and our Diet
What we eat plays a significant role in our health and our aging. If your diet is full of sugar, unhealthy carbs, and bad fats, then you're not getting the right nutrition you need to support protein synthesis. As a result, your collagen production drops.
That's one of the primary reasons you'll notice that people who eat a lousy diet, look older than people who eat well. That statement is not an assumption; it's a fact. People who have a sugar-free diet that's high in beneficial amino acids, high-quality proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats – are healthier than those that don't.
So, without further ado, here are the top three foods that can help you improve your collagen production.
The way we boost collagen production with our diet is by consuming more gelatin. No, we don't mean that delicious gelatin you find in gummy bears, although it is essentially the same thing.
Gelatin is collagen; you just need to cook it first. You can make gelatin by boiling down cow and chicken bones over low heat for several days. During the process, the bones break down and release all the collagen they contain.
At the end of the simmering process, there is only a fraction of the bone left, and the rest exists in a jelly-like substance. Your strain the remaining bones away from the jelly-like liquid, and then store the "bone broth" in mason jars in the fridge.
Bone broth is easy to make yourself, and there are dozens of recipes available online. We love drinking a hot cup of bone broth, especially on a chilly morning. You get a highly bioavailable form of gelatin that helps to reduce digestive and systemic inflammation.
In case you don't want to go through the hassle of making it yourself, don't stress. There are a few brands out there, like Kettle&Fire, that make 100% organic bone broth available at your supermarket. Add a few cups of this delicious broth to your diet a few days a week, and you'll notice the difference in your skin health.
Eggs are one of the few foods with a comprehensive amino acid profile. An egg is superior to grass-fed beef in both its profile and bioavailability. With the egg white, you get plenty of glycine and proline, and the yolk contains healthy fats.
Adding a few eggs to your diet won't damage your cholesterol profile. However, make sure you're getting free-range eggs from a reliable supplier. The hen's diet and activity mean a lot when it comes to boosting the nutrition in the egg.
Avoid eggs from factory-farmed henhouses. These animals live in deplorable conditions with an inferior diet and exposure to antibiotics and other agents.
Spirulina is a species of aqua-culture algae native to the Hawaiian Islands. Spirulina is high in iron, and a teaspoon of it contains more proline and glycine than what you find in a large egg white. The supplement is also a good source of copper, another essential mineral for supporting collagen production.
Spirulina is an expensive supplement, but it's worth the money. You can find powdered bone broth products that include spirulina, and other mineral additives to add to your morning smoothie. I scoop a day into your shake is all you need to boost collagen production.
Try Red Light Therapy to Boost Collagen Production
Boosting your diet with bone broth and collagen supplements is a great way to limit inflammation, enhance protein synthesis, and increase collagen production. By adding these foods, you're starting in the right direction to limit the effects of aging on your body.
Consider adding some red light therapy into your skin beauty routine. A red light device can help to stimulate collagen production at a cellular level in the tissues. Collagen red light therapy devices are available online for an affordable investment in your skin health.
Devices like the MyElleVibe offer you collagen red light therapy benefits for your vagina and pelvic floor. If you're a new mother or post-menopausal, the use of the MyElleVibe red light devices can reverse the effects of vaginal atrophy, and repair the damage done to the vaginal canal through childbirth.