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Does the body make its own collagen?

Posted on April 23 2022

Should I consider a collagen supplement?

Feel’s like every time I log onto Instagram, a new health company is trying to sell me collagen. With claims of luscious and glowing hair within just weeks of taking their supplement, it is sure hard to stay away from marketing cues.

What is this collagen anyways?

In most layman terms, collagen is really a combination of three specific amino acids (type of protein). Namely, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.

Collagen is an essential requirement for optimal bodily functioning. It aids in several essential body functions, like skin repairing, bone strengthening, maintaining bone density, and taking care of the heart.

Does the body make its own collagen?

Yes! However, the body’s capacity to develop collagen reduces as it ages. The structural integrity of the skin deteriorates- wrinkles grow, and joint cartilage deteriorates. As a result, people fall to the marketing gimmicks of collagen supplements and skincare products.

However, the three specific amino acids that make up collagen are found in abundance in food too.

Lifestyle changes that will help boost collagen production:

  • The most crucial factor to consider before jumping on a skincare routine for vegan collagen growth is to keep away from the sun and apply sunscreen to prevent cellular damage. Long hours of exposure to the sun produce ‘free radicals’ that damage the skin’s top layer.

  • Include one raw salad and three to four cups of fruits per day: According to a recent report, plant-based foods are high in phytochemicals, including the potent antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, which could help. Consuming food with antioxidant properties can amplify the production of natural collagen in your body as well.

  • Stay away from smoking: One of the main components of cigarette smokes besides the nicotine and carbon monoxides is nitrites. Nitrites are converted to nitric oxides in the body that change the structure of collagen in a way that mimic age-related damage. Think of voluntarily aging your skin faster. Before you celebrate the ‘But I don’t smoke’ gloat, think about passive smoking exposure, sheesha’s and hooka’s too. The below picture is an example from a twin study on the effects of collagen on the body:

  • Cured and processed meats are often treated with sodium nitride. This is to prevent them from going grey, because dead things go grey ;). But also to prevent the formation of toxic bacterial growth. The problem with sodium nitride though is the same with cigarettes. It damages the structure of collagen.

  • AGE’s or advanced glycation end products are toxic animal proteins that have been exposed to sugar or heat. Excess AGE levels in the body are associated with decreasing collagen activity, hampering not only skin health but also stiffening blood vessels. This simple answer is to stay away from sugars and animal proteins such as dairy and meat.

I will of course share a list of foods to include to improve skin and hair health in my next newsletter.

Loving you always,

Roshni Sanghvi.

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