Factors affecting the decline of collagen in the body
Collagen is the main component of skin and connective tissue - up to 70% of both. The normal aging process starts to take place when our body's collagen stores start to decline. The breakdown of collagen usually starts at the age of 30 but can happen faster or earlier due to environmental factors.
What is collagen?
It is the protein that is most abundant in our bodies and that we start to lack as we age. After the age of 25, we start to lose about 1% of collagen per year. Collagen plays a very important role in the body, helping organs to develop, wounds and tissues to heal, and corneas, gums, and scalp to rebuild. Collagen can be said to act as the ''glue'' that holds our bodies together, as it is responsible for the stability and strength of the body's tissues.
Loss of collagen results in:
- poor functioning of the musculoskeletal system (stiffness)
- leading to wrinkles, cellulite, dry skin
- leads to a lack of shine in the hair and skin.
Collagen synthesis can also be disturbed by sustained overload (physical activity, high-intensity sports). Women experience an even greater decline in collagen during and after menopause due to reduced estrogen levels.
To prevent or slow down the decline of collagen in the body, we need to replace the lost collagen in the body.
What influences the breakdown of collagen?
Factors that accelerate the decline of collagen deficiency in the body:
The loss of collagen due to aging is called intrinsic skin aging. All other causes of collagen loss are classified as extrinsic aging.
Internal skin aging is an inevitable consequence of life. The first sign of skin aging is the loss of the youthful 'glow' you have in your teens and early twenties. It continues with increased skin dryness, thinning of the skin, and the appearance of fine lines that eventually turn into wrinkles as collagen reserves are severely depleted and the skin loses elasticity.
A decrease in collagen essentially means a decrease in skin thickness, which can expose you to several different signs of aging.
''Young'' skin is made up of 80% type I collagen and about 15% type III collagen. As we age, the ability to synthesize collagen decreases, and collagen fibrils become thicker and shorter. This results in a loss of collagen type I. This changes the ratio of the different collagen types in the skin.
As a consequence, the density of collagen and elastin in the dermis decreases, which also results in a deterioration of the skin's structure and elasticity. As a result, the skin can no longer maintain its shape and cannot fit the face as ''tightly'' and becomes looser, and wrinkles start to appear.
2. UV damage (also called photo-radiation)
One of the main factors that accelerate the breakdown of collagen in the body is ultraviolet radiation.
UV damage is the main cause of collagen loss in the skin and is responsible for 80-90% of skin aging. UV exposure:
- Reduced collagen synthesis in the body
- Increases collagen degradation via matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and other proteases in the skin. (Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins such as collagen and elastin)
In the body, an increased amount of free oxygen radicals are formed as a result of UV radiation. Our bodies can defend themselves against free radicals with substances called antioxidants, but only to a certain extent. When there are too many radicals, antioxidants can no longer scavenge the excess.
Why are radicals such a problem? The problem with radicals is that they have a detrimental effect not only on the amount of collagen in our body but also on our hereditary records, proteins, and lipids.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4000 toxic gaseous or solid compounds. Nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide are the toxins that have been most intensively studied. Studies show that smoking impairs wound healing and reduces the tensile strength of wounds (which is associated with collagen loss), in addition to other harmful effects.
Smoking reduces collagen synthesis by about 20% and greatly increases collagen-degrading activity in the skin. At the cellular level, smoking appears to have a detrimental effect on fibroblast and macrophage function, indicating impaired wound healing potential. The inflammatory response is also greater in smokers compared to non-smokers, due to the increased oxidative stress induced by smoking.
As a consequence, the amount of vitamin C in the body of smokers is also reduced, as it acts as an antioxidant to fight oxidative stress.
Vitamin C is indispensable for the formation of collagen in the body. It stimulates the natural production of collagen in the body and helps to keep the collagen network in excellent condition. Technically, vitamin C synthesizes collagen production by turning on the expression of collagen genes in your body (producing more collagen).
4. A diet high in sugar causes collagen glycation
The concept of glycation is very important for understanding skin aging and the decline of collagen in the body. It is a phenomenon in which sugar causes the skin structure, including collagen, to harden, leading to thinning and loss of skin elasticity.
Collagen glycation in the skin occurs due to damage caused by glycation products (AGEs). These are produced by intrinsic aging but are overproduced by diets high in refined sugars and/or excessive alcohol consumption.
Why are glycation end products harmful to your skin? Skin proteins such as collagen and elastin are particularly susceptible to damage from AGEs, causing the tissue to harden and lose elasticity.
Research has confirmed that the skin, which is the largest organ in our body, is the organ that senses stress. Repeated short-term stress causes the production of ROS/free radicals and depletes the antioxidant pool. Chronic stress causes chronic immune dysfunction and increased production of free radicals and DNA damage, which are known to lead to skin aging.
The exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, but reducing stress will help slow the rate of skin aging and collagen loss.
How to reduce collagen decline in the body?
1. Sun protection
The best sun protection is still sunscreen with SPF. As mentioned earlier, the radicals released by UV radiation are very harmful. Not only for the health of the skin but for the health of our whole body. By using a facial moisturizer with SPF every day, you reduce the risk of :
- Premature skin aging
- Skin cancer
- The appearance of sun damage on the face (hyperpigmentation)
Make sure you use sun cream every day. UV rays are present all year round, even when it is cloudy and temperatures drop below zero. UVA rays (mainly responsible for skin aging) also penetrate through window panes.
Using a daily SPF cream is therefore the most important step for beautiful, young, and healthy skin. By applying sunscreen regularly, you will prevent your body from forming excessive amounts of free radicals and thus protect your collagen, which is diminishing every year anyway with the natural aging process.
2. Healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is not only a good cue for slower external aging but also relates to other aspects of health. A balanced and varied diet will ensure that not only your skin is healthy but also your body.
Although collagen is mostly touted by many as a ''beauty'' supplement, it is much more than that. It's a protein that can be found throughout the body and, among other things, keeps the musculoskeletal system working well.
In addition to a balanced diet and sufficient intake, it is also important to be able to manage stress. Reducing the amount of stress in our lives is crucial in the fight against premature skin aging.
We know that getting a good night's sleep, and spending time in nature and with friends will help you feel less stressed. We would also add avoiding polluted air and definitely avoiding smoking to the list. These are really good lifestyle choices for your overall health, and if preventing collagen loss in the skin is what makes us say 'yes', then that's a real personal win in the area of well-being!
3. Dietary supplements with collagen
Dietary supplements with collagen - more specifically, dietary supplements with hydrolyzed collagen - have been shown to stimulate collagen production.
In fact, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study was carried out by the Independent Institute on the formulation of Collagen Shot. The clinical study involved 107 women aged between 40 and 65 years. The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of our product in stimulating the synthesis of collagen and elastin fibers in the dermal layer of the skin.
After 12 weeks of consuming a formulation containing 5,000 mg of collagen peptides, 1,500 MSM, and vitamin C, the results showed:
- 20% improvement in dermis density
- 3.6% improvement in dermis thickness
- 32 % improvement in skin hydration
- 12 % improvement in skin texture
- 14% reduction in wrinkle depth and 12% reduction in wrinkle volume
Dietary supplements with hydrolyzed collagen are made of collagen peptides, which are short chains of amino acids that make up collagen but are small enough to be easily absorbed by your body. Hydrolyzed collagen can therefore be easily absorbed and circulated around the body, depositing where the body needs it most.
Collagen Shot also has various active ingredients such as vitamin C, MSM, hyaluronic acid, zinc, and biotin. The body loses certain nutrients in the natural aging process, but regular intake of collagen and other active ingredients provides more elastic skin, shiny, strong hair and faster hair growth, stronger nails, stronger joints, balanced digestion, and improved well-being.
1 - Effect of lifestyle, gender, and age on collagen formation and degradation
2 - Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation
3 - Psychological Stress and skin aging: a review of possible mechanisms and potential therapies
4 - Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation, and Skin Aging