Collagen – the mysterious anti-aging agent explained
Mopani Pharmacy had a chat with Dr Allison Blair, from Elan Healthstyle. Dr Blair is a general practitioner with a special interest in anti-aging and aesthetic medicine. Collagen supplementation has gained traction in the media in the last few years. Now we can finally dive into why this is one of the best things you can add for your health and skincare regimen.
Q: What is collagen?
A: Collagen is the building block of all connective tissue in the body and found in hair, skin, nails, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. It is also found in your veins, corneas and teeth! It is an essential protein in the body. It works as the glue that keeps everything together!
Q: Are there different types of collagen?
A: In terms of actual collagen, there are different types found in different connective tissue. There are at least 16 types that we know of, but we have identified four main types;
- Type I – It accounts for roughly 90% of the body’s collagen. It is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue and teeth.
- Type II – This type is made of more loosely packed fibres. It is found in elastic cartilage, which cushions joints.
- Type III: This type supports the structure of muscles, organs and arteries.
- Type IV: This type helps with filtration and is found in layers of your skin.
In terms of supplement forms; some are liquid, others are in powder form. Hydrolysed collagen supplements have been shown to be best absorbed in the body.
Q: What does your body use to make its own collagen?
A: Your body uses glycine, proline, vitamin C and copper to create collagen. If you aren’t supplementing these, make sure that you are including it in your diet. Food rich in these are the following;
- Vitamin C – citrus fruits, bell peppers and berries.
- Proline – egg whites, wheat germ, dairy products, cabbage, asparagus and mushrooms.
- Glycine – pork skin, chicken skin and gelatine
- Copper – organ meats, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews and lentils
Amino acids, also found in our protein sources are a great addition as well.
Read more: (Animal vs Plant Proteins article)
Q: What can we do to avoid Collagen damage?
A: Sugar and refined carbohydrates hinders collagen repair and production. Cut down on sugars and sun exposure. Smoking or drinking alcohol is also damaging to collagen production and may lead to impaired wound healing and wrinkles. Some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, can also damage collagen. If you suffer from any disorder that affects your skin, speak to your doctor about supplements that can alleviate damage.
Q: When should you start supplementing?
A: Collagen repair and production starts to decrease within the body from our mid-20s. Supplementing can also assist in preserving collagen that is lost due to certain health ailments.
Q: How can supplementing collagen benefit you?
A: It may improve skin elasticity, hydration, quality of hair and nail growth, quality of sleep and duration. It supports healthy aging, may improve sporting performance and has been clinically shown to prevent sport related injuries.
Q: How much of the supplement should people take?
Doses of at least 10 000mg per day have shown to produce clinical benefit. It is important to choose a supplement recommended by a doctor well versed in supplement information. It is also noteworthy that not all brands have been tested via clinical trials.
No collagen supplement is vegan friendly. All collagen supplements are derived from either marine, bovine or porcine origin. Ask your doctor or our friendly staff at Mopani for a recommendation, should you have any specific dietary requirements. If you live a vegan lifestyle, make sure to supplement the nutrients your body uses to create its own collagen.
You can also browse our online selection here:
You can book a consultation with Dr. Blair on 013 590 7345. Her consultation rooms are located at 22 Murray Street, Nelspruit.