Collagen has stepped boldly into the spotlight of the anti-aging industry. You may have heard how important collagen is for your skin, hair, and nails. It is also gaining popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Are you wondering if collagen is something YOU need to be thinking about? Are the benefits of collagen for anti-aging evidence-based? Let’s dive into the research behind collagen and discuss what it is, why it is so vital to your anti-aging routine, and what else you should be doing to stay glowing well into your middle and late years of life.
What is Collagen? The Anti-Aging Superfood
Collagen is a massive protein structure that is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is made out of over 1,000 amino acids, with the most fundamental being proline, hydroxyproline, and glycine. It is a structural building block for skin, bones, tendons, and other connective tissues. Around 70% of your skin is made from collagen, which is why it is so important in anti-aging efforts.
Collagen is comprised of mostly non-essential amino acids, which means your body can make them on its own when there are insufficient amounts in your diet. However, collagen synthesis decreases with age - starting as early as your twenties - which is a big reason your skin develops wrinkles and gets weaker as you get older. You can combat the reduced collagen production by including high-quality hydrolyzed collagen in your anti-aging diet.
Collagen is an important and often undervalued part of an anti-aging lifestyle. We are realizing more and more what a critical component collagen is in the diet. This powerful protein is the most abundant protein in the body and plays a big role in skin health and longevity, connective tissue strength, injury prevention, and more.
Keeping your body looking and feeling young is a multifaceted endeavor. There is no magic pill to prevent aging. Taking care of your mind and body is a lifestyle- one that needs to be a long-term priority. You want to be intentional every day about what you eat, how you move, your sleep, who you surround yourself with, and the status of your mental wellbeing.
How Do You Add Collagen to Your Anti-Aging Diet?
Collagen peptides come from the hides and connective tissues of other mammals- most often it is sourced from cows. Cultures who prioritize using the whole animal after butchering will consume the collagen, but most modern diets do not buy or include this part of the animal in their meals. This is why supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen is the best option for most people.
Luckily, collagen is easy to mix in with your favorite foods, and it encourages sustainable farming practices by creating demand for all parts of the cow (no waste).
4 Evidence-Based Benefits of Collagen for Anti-Aging
Let’s take a look at the research surrounding collagen as an anti-aging nutritional supplement. Most benefits are derived from taking an oral collagen supplement versus a topical cream. You can read more details on that below.
1. Collagen may improve skin elasticity
Clinical trials have found that supplementing with collagen can improve skin elasticity (makes your skin more resilient to wear and tear), as well as skin hydration (reduce dry skin). One study found that women age 35+ who consumed 2.5-5 grams of daily collagen for two months experienced significant improvements in skin elasticity and hydration. Another similar trial had 91% of participants report less trouble with dry skin after regular collagen supplementation.
2. Collagen may help to protect skin against sun damage
Sun exposure is one of the most troubling factors leading to skin aging, skin break down, and skin-related cancers. It’s tricky because your body NEEDS sunlight to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D and mood-enhancing hormones. But too much unprotected exposure can wreak havoc on your skin.
Luckily, clinical trials have found that supplementation with collagen peptides seems to reduce sun-related skin damage. One study found that participants who consumed daily collagen as part of their anti-aging nutritional supplements showed 31% less sun damage in their skin than those taking a placebo.
3. Collagen may reduce wrinkles
Seeing as collagen is the main protein in your skin, it makes sense that having plentiful amounts can help support the body in maintaining a youthful look. Studies have indeed found that getting enough collagen in your anti-aging diet (through supplementation) may reduce the depth and volume of wrinkles.
One trial found that after only 4-8 weeks of taking hydrolyzed collagen, participants had a reduction of eye wrinkle volume when compared to those taking a placebo. Another study found that those taking collagen once daily for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements in visual wrinkles, increased skin hydration, and reduced wrinkle formation.
4. Collagen may reduce cellulite and stretch marks
Cellulite and stretch marks are something every human being develops at some point in their life, and are nothing to be ashamed of! Truthfully, it is almost impossible to eliminate all cellulite and stretch marks (despite what most marketers tell you), but you can reduce their appearance with collagen supplementation.
As seen with the above-mentioned studies, collagen strengthens your skin and may improve elasticity, thickness, resiliency, and longevity. By improving all these factors, your skin will naturally appear smoother and more healthy.
Should I Use Collagen Cream or Oral Collagen?
The most effective way for your body to absorb and utilize collagen is through taking it orally. While there are many cream-based collagen anti-aging products on the market, collagen synthesis doesn’t happen from products you put on your skin.
For the body to utilize and build new collagen structures, it needs to receive collagen peptides from your diet. When you consume collagen peptides, they can be absorbed, transported through the bloodstream, and molded into new collagen fibers in your skin and other connective tissues. Hydrolyzed collagen should be one of your main anti-aging nutritional supplements.
Other Ways To Promote Healthy Skin and Reduce Signs of Aging
Here are a few tried-and-true ways of protecting your skin from long-term damage, and ensuring you maximize the glow and youthfulness of your appearance:
- Protect your skin from sun damage by wearing high-quality sunscreen when you will be out in direct sunlight for more than 15-30 minutes.
- Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids to maintain good hydration
- Stop smoking and vaping
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Exercise and move your body daily to improve blood circulation and lymphatic flow
- Reduce your intake of fast foods and other processed products
- Eat a wholesome, balanced, anti-aging diet
- Get enough sleep (8-10 hours/night)
In your teens, twenties, and even thirties, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling somewhat immortal. Your body is in its prime, and what you do every day doesn’t seem to have immediate consequences. Eventually, though, the consequences of our choices catch up to all of us- for better or for worse! When we choose to love and respect our bodies, they will thank us for years or even decades to come.
Choosing to take care of your incredible body with something like an anti-aging diet is a true act of self-love. Strive for progress, not perfection. The changes you are making to improve your health and longevity are part of your lifelong journey. The choices you make now will impact your body for the rest of your life. Choose nourishing, high-quality foods and supplements.When deciding on a collagen supplement, choose one that contains complete protein, like ProT Gold Liquid Collagen. Our nano-hydrolyzed collagen supplement is made to support your body in all stages of life and formulated specifically for joint health, wound healing, post-surgery recovery, daily nutrition, and anti-aging.