Collagen is a structural protein that naturally occurs in the human body and makes up more than one third of all protein in the body and interestingly 70% of all protein in is our skin. Collagen is found in all connective tissue and essentially “holds us all together”, adding strength and structure to our skin, bones and muscles.
It has several major beauty benefits – it essentially “props up” the skin and promotes skin elasticity, hydration and keeping the skin firm and supple. It is also what assists in the replacement of dead skin cells. Collagen also has a role to play in digestive health as it is found in the connective tissue within our gut lining which means it can assist us addressing a leaky gut or poor digestion.
Collagen levels are depleted by the natural ageing process along with environmental and lifestyle factors such as sun exposure, heavy smoking, drinking and chronic health conditions. In general as we age, collagen and elastin fibres become thicker and looser, which means our skin is less elastic, which eventually causes wrinkling and sagging. After the age of 20 our dermis (the second layer of the skin) produces 1% less collagen each year and by our forties, collagen has been reduced significantly – meaning the collagen and elastin fibres break, losing their elasticity in the process. As a result skin is left looking dull, thin and less plump and toned.
In order to help to support collagen production in our body we can reduce extrinsic ageing i,e, maintain our fitness, decrease alcohol consumption and reduce sun exposure. We can also provide our skin the support it needs to maintain collagen consumption by ensuring our diet contains an abundance of the building blocks of collagen itself.
There are also various ways to supplement collagen into our diets. This can be with marine and bovine supplements or vegan collagen. Bovine collagen is one of the most common sources of collagen and is derived from the hides (skins) of cow. The tissue / protein from the skin is hydrolysed in order to extract the protein. To produce marine collagen supplements, fish skin and scales are hydrolysed in the same manner as cattle hides in bovine collagen production. The hydrolysation process involves breaking down the molecular bonds between individual collagen strands to make it digestible. During this process, the collagen loses the amino acids which it is being used for and these need to be added back into the collagen to make it complete . Essentially this means that the collagen is not only heavily processed, it has had protein added back into it which means it does not differ too much from ordinary protein that you are consuming in your daily diet.
As a vegan and cruelty free company we promote using vegan supplements to boost collagen production. Plants do not produce collagen as such but they have an important role to play in our body’s production of collagen. Whilst collagen production slows as we age it does not stop, so having a nutrient rich diet containing healthy protein, antioxidants and vitamins ensures you are able to enhance the production of your own collagen. We recommend focusing on the following nutrients to maintain your collagen production.
Vitamin C is one of the key building blocks of collagen and its availability is critical to ensuring your body can create it. When vitamin C enters the body cells add hydrogen and oxygen to two amino acids: proline and lysine. This forms a molecule called pro-collagen which is the precursor to collagen. This is later packaged and modified into collagen outside of the cell. Vitamin C assists in the creation of up to 18 types of collagen found in the body. When consumed, Vitamin C targets skin needing a collagen production boost while also helping preserve existing collagen from damage. Foods rich in vitamin C include broccoli, kale, kiwi fruit, berries and red capsicum. We love using Australian natives to boost our daily vitamin C intake. As an example, Kakadu Plum is known for containing the world's highest plant based sources of vitamin C.
Proline, Glycine and Lysine
In addition to vitamin C the body needs the amino acids proline, glycine, and lysine to create collagen. Glycine and proline are considered non-essential amino acids which means the body can product them on its own. It does always help to provide the body with an abundance of both amino acids.
Foods rich in glycine include banana, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, kiwi, pumpkin, and spinach.
Proline-rich foods include alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, beans, buckwheat, cucumber, cabbage, chives, tempeh and watercress.
Lysine is less widely available but is found in black beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, pistachios, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, tempeh, and quinoa.
Vitamin A helps to assist in the production of collagen and is found in the form of betacarotene or carotenoids in plant-based foods. Food sources of beta-carotene, which your body must then convert to vitamin A to utilise, are apricots, broccoli, carrots, kale, squash and sweet potatoes.
Anthocyanins play an important role in suppressing inflammation and stabilisting collagen. They do so by preventing free radical damage, which inhibits enzymes from clinging to collagen. They can be found in most red and blue coloured fruits such as Macqui berries, butterfly pea flowers, hibiscus, blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries.
Edible Beauty Australia Native Collagen powder contains antioxidant rich botanicals to support collagen production, protect cells from free radical damage and supports normal connective tissue structure and function.
- Vitamin C. One serve of Native Collagen Powder provides over four times the recommended dose of Vitamin C. Kakadu Plum, Sea Buckthorn Juice and Macqui Berry found in the powder naturally contribute to this abundance of vitamin C.
- Vitamin A. Native Collagen Powder provides vitamin A to support skin membrane structure and function. Vitamin A rich Macqui Berry features in our native collagen powder.
- Anthoycanins. Macqui berry, Hibiscus and Mountain Pepper Berry found in our collagen powder contain an abundance of anthocyanins to stabilise collagen and reduce free radical damage which inhibits collagen production.
- Antioxidants. Our Native Collagen Powder contains antioxidant rich fruit powders including Hibiscus, Baobab, Kakadu Plum, Macqui Berry and Sea buckthorn berry. This synergy of these potent botanicals provides an abundance of antioxidants including flavonoids and polyphenols in addition to anthocyanins that act as free radical scavengers to prevent the breakdown of collagen from intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
- Amino Acids. Baobab and Sea buckthorn contain the free amino acids proline and glycine. Protein and glycine are essential for healthy collagen production.
- The addition of Aloe Vera in our Native Collagen powder, increases the bio-availability of Vitamin C and E and has been used for centuries to improve the health of ageing skin.
In addition to becoming conscious of your nutrient intake, taking certain lifestyle measures to maintain collagen production is crucial. This includes reducing sun exposure, avoiding more than two alcoholic drinks per week, exercising at least 30 minutes daily and avoiding smoking are easy ways to stop the process of collagen depletion and assist your body in utilising nutrients from food and supplements to give it a collagen boost.