You may have heard doctors talk about collagen, and you might even know it’s an important part of the body, but do you really know what collagen is? Well, keep reading and I will explain all about collagen, and why it is imperative for optimal health.
Let’s start from the beginning and answer the burning question you all want to know. What is Collagen? Collagen is a protein made up of amino acids, glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. Aren’t you glad you asked?
Basically, there are four types of collagen. Type I provides structure to the skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, and connective tissue, and teeth. Type II is found in elastic cartilage and helps to cushion your joints. Type III is supportive for the structures of your muscles, organs, and arteries. Finally, Type IV is found in the layers of your skin.
Why is collagen important? Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up 30% of all protein in the body, and is the glue that holds everything together. It makes up to 70% of the skin, and it is important for its strength and elasticity. Collagen is the main component of ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bones, and muscles. In our joints, collagen is important for overall strength, and the cartilage in our joints is proteoglycans, collagen, and water. Are you getting the picture now? We are talking, MOST OF YOUR BODY RELIES ON COLLAGEN.
You might be asking now, well how can I get more collagen into my body? That’s a great question to ask, but there isn’t a simple answer. You see, as we age, our bodies produce less collagen. Starting in our 20s and 30s, our collagen production decreases by about 1-2 percent a year. Lifestyle choices can accelerate the loss of collagen. Unopposed sun exposure, smoking, stress, alcohol, dehydration, chronic sleep deprivation, and poor nutritional health choices all can take a toll. So the way to support your own body’s collagen is to slow down the aging process by wearing a hat in the sun, wear sunscreen, stop smoking, cut down or eliminate alcohol consumption, reduce stress, (do yoga, meditate, deep breathing, humming or singing, spend time in nature), and stay hydrated.
There are many ways to stay hydrated and the obvious ones are to drink more water and replenish your electrolytes. Other ways are to eat hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables like celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, and berries. You should also avoid foods that can dehydrate you like alcohol, salty foods, foods high in sugar, and soda. Eating a whole food diet with healthy fats and high proteins, and getting 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day will really help your body retain its collagen levels. Eating foods that contain collagen or have vitamins or minerals necessary for collagen production is important. Also, eat adequate amounts of protein broken down into amino acids needed for collagen. Bone broth is a good source of collagen, and fruits and vegetables that are high in the vitamins and minerals needed or collagen are also important. For Vitamin C, eat thyme, rosehips, parsley, kale, or broccoli. For Zinc, try pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, garlic, and nuts. For copper, eat organ meat, seeds, or oysters. A more complete list can be found on my newsletter you can get by signing up for my emails. On the Home Page of my website, drmadisonfandel.com scroll down a bit for my Guide to Turn Back Time.
As I’ve mentioned before, some of the supplements that support collagen are Vitamin C, Zinc, Copper, and Vitamin D3.
In addition, I can offer several treatments in my office for collagen restoration. Depending on what it is you need, I offer any one, or a combination of things such as;
- Nutrient IV’s with collagen-boosting nutrients and antioxidants.
- Microneedling to promote collagen production in the skin.
- PRP and microneedling to promote collagen production in the skin.
- Regenerative injections to promote collagen production in the skin and joints.
I hope this post has helped educate you on the importance of collagen, and why it is so imperative we support and restore our body’s collagen supply. If you strive for a healthy lifestyle, want to keep looking your best, and enjoy the freedom of living pain-free, then doing all you can to protect your collagen is a must.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I can help you on your wellness journey. Call my office or go to my home page and set up your appointment today. I know that since you finished reading this post, you are someone who cares about your health, and I do too. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself.
YOUR TOMORROW STARTS TODAY.
Dr. Madison Fandel
* Photo with patient was taken before Covid restrictions.