Collagen: What's Good & Bad
Collagen is one the main building blocks inside our body. It is a type of protein that forms one-third of our protein base. Collagen helps improve skin health, providing it a natural glow and firmness. It is also responsible for our muscles, tendons, bones, and cartilage growth. In this article, we understand what nutrients help increase the collagen production in our body and what can be harmful to it.
Good for Collagen
Collagen starts off as procollagen in our body, which is a combination of glycine and proline. To create procollagen, your body requires vitamin C.
But how to restore collagen? Let’s take a look at what foods can help further this process.
- Vitamin C: The best way to provide your body with vitamin C is through citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, lime and more. You can also find vitamin C in bell peppers, strawberries, brussel sprouts, and kiwis.
- Proline: Proline can be found in egg whites, dairy products, asparagus, cabbage, and mushrooms, among other things.
- Glycine: For glycine, you should look to consume more pork and chicken skin, gelatin, and other protein-rich foods.
- Copper: You can find copper in organ meats, cocoa powder, cashews, and lentils among other things.
Best food for collagen
It is a good idea to add protein-rich foods to your diet - as they can provide you with the necessary amino acids that are required to make new protein in the body. Meat, dairy, legumes, lentils, seafood are all good sources of amino acids and are collagen rich foods.
Bad for Collagen
If you want your collagen levels up and running, then there are certain things that you need to avoid. The guidelines for collagen maintenance include:
Avoid sugar: Eating too much sugar prevents the collagen in your body from repairing itself, thereby making it necessary to limit its consumption.
Avoid refined carbs: Too much carbs, like sugar, can prevent collagen’s ability to heal and repair itself.
Avoid excessive sun exposure: UV rays can reduce your body’s ability to produce collagen, thereby making it necessary to limit your sun exposure to 20-30 minutes a day.
Avoid smoking: It is observed that smoking reduces collagen production in the body, thereby making you more prone to wrinkles and preventing wound healing.
Certain autoimmune disorders such as lupus can also damage collagen production.
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- Beneficial effects of food supplements based on hydrolyzed collagen for skin care (Review), Mihaela-Adi Lupu, Gratiela Gradisteanu Pircalabioru, Mariana-Carmen Chifiriuc, Radu Albulescu, and Cristiana Tanase, Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, doi: 10.3892/etm.2019.8342, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271718/)
- Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles, Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, Maryam Borumand, Sara Sibilla, (https://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand)
- How much sun is too much? InformedHealth.org, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK321117/)
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