The subject of collagen pops up in the popular media which connect this special group of proteins often with your skin appearance. Particularly injections of collagen are mentioned in cosmetic procedures. However, the critical importance of collagen to your long-term wellness goes far beyond how well your skin looks when you turn 50 or 60.
Your appearance is like a Broadway show or the opera. The stars of the show may bring out the crowds. But their talents are not properly showcased if the “infrastructure” of the show does not function with equal precision. The infrastructure consists of other things like the lighting and costume crews, the orchestra, the house staff, set design crews, etc. If some or all of these infrastructure parts malfunction the performance could well be a total disaster!
Collagen is Your Infrastructure. Assume from birth you probably had superb collagen production. This means you had healthy development of your bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons, heart and blood vessels, skin, liver, eyes, nails, teeth, intestines, muscles, and even your brain. The fact is, collagens, of which there are at least 17 different types, are present throughout your entire body. About one-third of all your body proteins are collagens, each type having varying structures and accordingly different purposes. Three types of collagen, I, II and III make up over 80% within different tissues and organ systems.
What Do Collagens Do? These special proteins form the framework for your bone and cartilage for example. They give flexible strength and impact resistance to these types of tissues. In blood vessels and in muscles (including heart muscle) they impart elasticity and resistance to rupture from the continuous expansion/contraction. Research reported in Nature Neuroscience in 2008 links a certain collagen form to protecting neurons from attack which could lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Oh yes. By the way, collagen also is the foundation of healthy, youthful skin.
Lifestyle Habits That Can Interfere with Abundant Collagen Production in Your Body. Here is a partial list of habits that can potentially damage or interfere with the healthy production of collagens throughout your body:
- Poor nutrition habits.
- Excess sun exposure.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Too much sugar and carbohydrates in daily consumption.
- Poor gastrointestinal habits that damage your ability to digest properly and to absorb vital nutrients in your food.
- Poor sleep habits.
- Lack of control over stress in your life.
- Hormonal shifts in your life and failure to make timely life adjustments.
How to Support Strong Collagen Production. As you live longer collagen levels throughout your body start to decrease. Consciously make healthy food choices. Have adequate protein and vegetables daily to provide the amino acid building blocks of collagen as well as the necessary vitamins and minerals to support collagen synthesis. Vitamin C and the vitamin B family are of special importance. Make adjustments in your life from the list of factors above that can detract from collagen production. The media may give the illusion that genetics plays a big part in collagen production, often with emphasis on skin appearance. Growing evidence supports how your food choices (and thus your nutritional input over the years) exert strong influence over your genetics. Healthful foods and a healthy lifestyle are powerful forces that can direct your genetic composition to provide you with a lifetime of health.
Please remember collagen is not just about your skin and wrinkles. It’s even more about the healthy functioning of all your organs and tissues. Artificially addressing collagen decline in the skin through cosmetic procedures is like turning a blind eye to the even more serious matter of internal collagen loss. Support for strong collagen production in all your other organs and tissues is at the heart of prevention of more major health issues.
To Your Good health.