Healthy Beginnings

The Youthful Wonders of Collagen

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We are always in search for the “fountain of youth,” to halt, slow down, or even try to reverse the aging process. Currently, we are made to believe that laser and Botox therapies are the solutions to prevent outward aging. What we don’t see is the more important internal damage that aging does. It has been proven that as we age, our organs deteriorate (arterial walls harden, joints and ligaments calcify or become worn out, etc.), which can lead to chronic diseases. Playing a major role in this process, collagen has been discovered to help prevent this from happening. Whether ingested orally, applied topically as a cream, or in injectable form, collagen repletion has been part of almost every anti-aging protocol of clinicians nowadays.

Collagen is an abundant protein packed in long, durable fibrils in our body, supporting organs and cells to provide strength and elasticity. This protein is prominently found in the skin, bones, and tissues. There are various types of collagen, 90% of which consists of Types 1 and 3. These are secreted mainly by the connective tissue cells located in the extracellular matrix where the physical shape of our organs is determined. In the middle layer of the skin, known as the dermis, about 80% is Type 1 collagen, which plays a major role in the creation of new cells, as well as renewing or revitalizing old cells. This makes up the supporting structure of the skin and maintains its firmness. With aging, collagen production slows down. In women, this is markedly prominent after menopause. Almost everyone experiences a significant decrease in collagen production by the time the body reaches 60 years of age.

Major symptoms of collagen deficiency:

1. Wrinkle formation;
2. Loss of “youthful glow”;
3. Sagging skin;
4. Weakening of joints and cartilage;
5. Slow healing of wounds.

Factors that deplete collagen:

1. Ultraviolet rays from the sun lead to accelerated collagen breakdown in the dermis. As improper repair occurs, skin starts to form wrinkles and creases.
2. Smoking directly damages collagen. Indirectly, nicotine acts as a vasoconstrictor on the blood vessels which decreases the amount of nutrition and oxygen being delivered to the cells.
3. Diets high in sugar, where sugar reacts to nearby proteins, may weaken collagen.
4. The aging process naturally depletes collagen.

What you can do to prevent collagen loss:

1. Injectable collagen is used to treat wrinkles and facial aging to even out the skin contour. Limitations of use include its limited surface area of application. It is difficult to use collagen for extensively damaged areas. In this particular case, extensive areas are usually injected with fillers. Caution should be observed when collagen is from an animal source. This might predispose more susceptibility to allergic reactions.
2. Laser therapy can stimulate the growth of collagen.
3. Diets rich in proline, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A (beta carotene) support collagen production.
4. Avoid tobacco and excess sun exposure.
5. As part of oral collagen supplementation, studies have been showing mixed results in terms of its therapeutic effectivity.
6. Collagen creams claim to increase skin collagen levels. The truth of the matter is that the majority of these products contain large molecules of collagen, which have difficulty being absorbed through the skin. While these creams do deliver moisture to the skin, this method has not been proven to directly increase collagen.
External collagen source, or exogenous collagen, is often synthetic and comes in the form of supplements, injectables, and creams, which are generally used for medical as well as cosmetic purposes.

Internal/natural, or endogenous collagen, on the other hand, is synthesized by the body. This is the type of collagen that we need to produce and increase, due to its natural state. The best way to achieve this is by using homeopathic collagen, either in the oral form or in the injectable form. The homeopathic dose, “in minute amounts,” is used to stimulate our own innate collagen to multiply and grow. This is the safer method of administration for it has almost no side effects, and has greater effectivity, compared to the other modes of delivery. With homeopathic collagen, the concept of anti-aging begins from deep within, and not simply on the surface.


REFERENCES

  1. Frantz, C., Stewart, K., & Weaver, V. (2010). The extracellular matrix at a glance. Journal of cellular science, 123, 4195-4200. Retrieved from http://jcs.biologists.org/content/123/24/4195
  2. Kadler, K.E., Holmes, D.F., Trotter, J., & J.A. Chapman. (1996, May 15). Collagen fibril formation. Biochemical Journal, 316, 1, 1-11. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1217307/
  3. Lodish, H., Berk, A., Zipursky, S.L. (2000) Collagen: the fibrous proteins of the matrix. Molecular cellular biology, 22, 3. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/