That term “collagen” is one you have probably heard mentioned over and again. Whenever there is a discussion of skin aging issues such as wrinkles, you will most likely see a mention. That goes to underscore the importance of this material in the maintenance of healthy, young-looking skin. It is the loss of collagen that brings about several unpleasant signs you see on the skin with age. Little wonder you see many individuals paying huge sums of money for the main purpose of boosting its production. This piece covers all you need to know about this vital fiber and what you can do prevent decline.
Collagen is a protein that facilitates the smoothness of the skin. It is found in the connective tissue across different parts of your body. Sufficient production, or lack of, is more noticeable in the face since that is where people tend to see most. The helical protein guards against excessive tissue stretching. Your skin features three layers, namely: epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Production of collagen takes place principally in the middle dermis layer. This supports skin qualities such as texture, resilience and strength. You can easily see why you get to have a great skin when you have sufficient amount of this biological polymer.
This vital protein is present in connective tissue all over the body. The tendons are among those. These are made up almost entirely of collagen. Tendons are responsible for attachment of muscles to bones and stabilization of skeletal joints among others. They are pretty vital for efficient joint movement. Based on this, it is obvious that there are going to issues when there is loss of collagen.
Scientists have identified more than two dozen types of collagen. The major ones among these are types I to IV. Of all protein present in the human body, collagen makes up roughly a quarter.
Unfortunately, the amount of collagen in the body declines as you get older. This is caused by different factors. The decline that comes with aging may be described broadly as intrinsic and extrinsic aging. What are these?
Intrinsic aging – It is natural for the level of collagen in the body to drop as years pass. You have the highest amount of the crucial protein as a kid or an adolescent. It is estimated that production reduces by one percent annually after you reach the age of 20. This is what is called intrinsic aging. The reduced collagen synthesis results from reduced ability of skin cells known as fibroblasts to replace broken fibers. This gives rise to irregularities in the mesh mechanism that supports qualities of youthful skin. Diminished synthesis of fibrillar collagen (types I and III) is mainly responsible for skin aging signs.
Extrinsic aging – Decline in production is not the only cause of reduction in collagen. Destruction of existing protein is another major cause. This is what extrinsic aging is about. It is brought about by external, environmental factors such as sun and pollution. These are capable of giving more free room for free radicals to do damage to your skin and body. The harmful agents destroy your existing store of collagen. When this destruction combines with decreased production, the loss of collagen is amplified.
The most talked about impact of collagen loss has to do with skin changes. Your skin starts to lose its firmness as levels of the supporting fibers drop. The problem is further worsened by the decline in elastin that occurs at the same time. This makes your skin loses its elasticity, resilience and texture. You start to have fine lines, wrinkles, skin sagging and other signs of skin aging. The extrinsic factors also give rise to spots, freckles, uneven skin texture and tone, brown patches, lesions and even skin cancer. The high amount of collagen and elastin in younger individuals explains why their skin usually looks more elastic, firm and supple.
The impact of collagen loss is also felt in other connective tissue in the body. It weakens the attachment between tendons and bones, making the area more fragile. When the area where the bones and tendons attach weakens, you become increasingly susceptible to injuries. Tendons suffer tears with the decline and this may give rise to pain sensation. Conditions said to result from loss of collagen due to aging include tendinosis and tendinitis. Bones, teeth and internal organs may also be affected by the decline.
There are several options available right now for dealing with collagen loss. These include procedures that are often expensive, painful and invasive to different degrees, such laser therapy and chemical peels. However, there are some simple things you can do to prevent or slow drop in level with very little money. You may think of these as easy ways of replenishing your store of collagen. The following are some of the options you have.
We have talked about sun being among the factors responsible for loss of collagen from extrinsic aging. It then means you can deal with the problem from this angle by ensuring adequate protection from the sun. Sunscreen will be beneficial. This can help to protect against ultraviolet rays (A and B) from the sun. Some experts recommend protection of at least SPF 30-35. While you protect yourself from UV radiation with sunscreen, you will also do well to avoid tanning booths. These break down your collagen very fast and cause skin damage with strong UVA light.
This vitamin, which is obtained from sources such as fruits and vegetables, is crucial for stability of collagen molecules. There will be reduced production of the vital protein if you have insufficient amount of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Deficiency can produce certain other symptoms, including poor wound healing and bleeding gums. You can guard against these issues and promote collagen synthesis by ensuring adequate intake of the vitamin in your diet or as supplement.
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is sometimes referred to as vitamin A1. Findings in studies have made it one of the more popular solutions for fighting skin aging. Tretinoin (Retin-A) is a similar retinoid that many researchers have also used in trials on benefits for the skin. These vitamin A derivatives assist in dealing with collagen breakdown resulting from photo damage. They are available as topical solutions. You can easily get retinoid creams in stores. But you are going to need a doctor's prescription for stronger-dose offerings. It is worth stating though that you may experience side effects such as redness and peeling at the start of treatment. These usually subside with time.
You can also guard against collagen loss by ensuring adequate intake of protein. As you know, the biological material itself is a protein. You will therefore benefit by increasing the quantity of protein in your diet. This will shore up the production of collagen. It is suggested that women should consume about 46 grams of protein daily. Men need to consume around 10 grams more protein for the same reason.
Among the minerals needed for collagen production is copper. It is said that the amount of the helical protein surges when that of copper increases in skin cells. So you may benefit from taking a copper supplement. It is important to state however that the recommended daily value of the mineral is just 2 mg. You could be putting yourself in harm's way if you take more than this because it is potentially toxic. Copper peptides, which are used topically, are probably the only copper form that you can safely apply to your skin. Application of inorganic copper leads to increase in the number of free radicals.
Collagen features amino acids. As a result, you can promote its synthesis by increasing the amount of these small organic molecules. There are almost two dozens of amino acid types in the human body. Of these, lysine and proline are particularly useful for collagen synthesis. You can take supplements containing these amino acids or eat foods in which they are naturally found. Low fat dairy and fish are two good sources of lysine. You can get proline from sources such as wheat germ and egg whites.
Decrease in HGH levels in the body is a factor in collagen reduction. Human growth hormone (hGH), produced by the pituitary gland, is a major hormone whose decline can cause this problem. It is known that the levels of this substance in the body drop after puberty. Collagen synthesis suffers with this natural decline. By having sufficient amount of this hormone in your body, you may have no need for costly beauty treatments. It promotes fresh production of the tissue protein for younger-looking skin and healthy tendons. HGH is especially popular these days as a hormone for anti-aging and bodybuilding purposes. It offers numerous other benefits as well.
While synthetic HGH or somatropin injections are the most effective for raising levels, you cannot legally take these for collagen synthesis. They are meant for limited medical conditions. Collagen reduction is not really a medical challenge; it is natural. Your best choice will be to take HGH supplements or releasers. You can use a potent and popular HGH supplement such as GenF20 Plus to enjoy collagen-boosting benefit of growth hormone. These supplements contain natural ingredients, including amino acids, and stimulate the pituitary gland to produce more hGH. You do not need a doctor's prescription to buy them and they are considerably cheaper than HGH injections.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are certain types of enzymes present in the body. Their presence in high number constitutes a threat to the integrity of your skin. They not only break down collagen, but also destroy elastin and other essential proteins. The population of these enzymes rises with aging and exposure to certain environmental factors, including the sun. MMP-1 in particular is a major threat to collagen fibers. Also known as matrix collagenase, the enzyme disrupts these key fibers. The use of MMP inhibitors is a relatively new approach currently being explored for dealing with the enzymes. These, it is hoped, will guard against collagen destruction and may be beneficial for prevention of cancers.
You can easily prevent or slow loss of collagen due to aging with the suggestions present here. These will help guard against fiber breakdown and/or enhance production. You can enhance your chance for success by using all the ideas. But you may need to speak to a professional on other available options if these fail to deliver impressive results.
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