The effect of collagen on the skin: the most important questions and answers

Die Wirkung von Kollagen auf der Haut: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

People are getting older and trying to preserve their beauty for as long as possible. Wrinkle-free, plump and young-looking skin without a lot of make-up is desirable for many people, even in old age. Many rely on a healthy lifestyle or the right cosmetics.

In order to actually keep yourself young and counteract the skin aging process, it helps to understand which mechanisms in our body are responsible for exactly that. Collagen plays a central role in skin health and everyone is talking about its function. In this article we will go into more detail about the active ingredient and tell you everything you need to know about it. Have fun while reading!

the essentials in brief

  • Collagen occurs naturally only in the human and animal body. It is a very important protein which, among other things, is responsible for the beauty of our skin.
  • Vitamin C plays an essential role in collagen formation, so you should ensure you eat a nutritious diet with enough vitamin C.
  • You can protect your collagen scaffold by minimizing external stresses such as too much sun, alcohol or smoking. Prevention is better than cure.

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  • With hyaluronic acid, zinc, vitamin C and biotin 🌿
  • Optimal anti-aging effect 🤗
  • Get a 21% discount automatically if you buy now 💰
A N O R D I C O I L C O M P A N Y

Definition: what is collagen?

Collagen is a protein found in the human body that is formed into collagen fibers by the body. About 30 percent of the protein balance is collagen.(1)

powder with measuring cup

There are numerous dietary supplements on the market, including collagen powder. This way you can ensure that your daily dose of nutrients is covered. (Image source: HowToGym / Unsplash)

Collagen is mainly found in the skin, bones, tendons and ligaments. Wherever strength and elasticity is needed in the body.

Collagen is particularly important for the connective tissue of the human and animal body. Connective tissue is made up of many different types of collagen.

The protein molecule collagen is mainly composed of proline and glycine. These are two amino acids that are made from substances in the body.

If one speaks of collagen in general, one usually speaks of collagen I. It makes up about 25 percent of all protein in the human body. It regulates the nutrients in the skin and cannot be formed without vitamin C.

When the body has enough collagen, the skin benefits. She is then healthy, toned and looks young. So you see, collagen matters when it comes to the skin aging process.

Background: What you should know about collagen

In the following, we will go into more detail about the key data of collagen that you should definitely know.

What is the function of collagen in our body?

Collagen is an important protein in your body. It performs several functions that play a role in your body's health. A deficiency can therefore have serious and unpleasant consequences.

Collagen increases elasticity and strength by storing 15 times its own mass in water.

It acts, among other things, as the skin's moisture reservoir.(10) It is responsible for its elasticity and cell renewal. It ensures that the cells absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide.

Over time, the percentage of collagen in the body decreases. This is how you can explain the skin aging process. The skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles form.(5" in on>

Bones contain about 50 percent of your body's collagen. They also need a certain strength and elasticity.

It is an important component of hair, fingernails, bones and joints. It makes cartilage resistant to pressure, ensures tear-resistant ligaments and offers protection for organs and blood vessels.

So you should not take a massive deficiency lightly, as this can lead to serious pathological disorders.

Where is collagen found?

Your body, like every human body, produces collagen itself. Provided, of course, that there is enough vitamin C in the organism. Nevertheless, as already mentioned, the body's own collagen production decreases over time. A healthy and balanced diet can have a positive effect on collagen metabolism and delay the degradation process.(8)

Here are a few examples of foods that are good for collagen production:

Groceries examples
Red fruits and vegetables Tomatoes, beetroot, red peppers, strawberries, etc. contain a lot of lycopene (radical scavenger and antioxidant)
Orange fruits and vegetables Sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, mangoes contain a lot of vitamin A
Fish Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, help prevent inflammation and inhibit collagen breakdown, tuna and salmon are particularly good.
Meat contains amino acids that are important for collagen formation, good suppliers of e.g. lysine, which is also found in soy products and cashews
eggs contain a lot of vitamin B choline, is converted into the amino acid glycine, is involved in collagen production, also contained in chickpeas, turkey and cauliflower
oatmeal contains vitamin B1, selenium, iron, L-arginine and manganese, positive for connective tissue, blood circulation, cell renewal and supports collagen formation

Collagen is also contained in numerous skin care products such as anti-aging products. Especially in the marketing of such products, collagen is often given priority as a component. Despite this, it is unclear what effect it has on the skin and whether it actually prevents / combats skin aging.

Your skin is primarily a protective coat, a barrier that is designed to protect against external influences, which is why only a small amount of the active ingredients in the cream (e.g. collagen) penetrate the skin. Animal studies have shown that around 8 percent collagen penetrates the skin, while other studies show that type 1 collagen can only penetrate in combination with a fatty acid.(3,4)

You can also get collagen as a dietary supplement. These are available over the counter in pharmacies, drugstores or online.

How is collagen produced in the body?

Collagens have a rather complex composition. They are called structural proteins. This structure forms from propyl peptide chains. The structure of collagen can be described in three steps:

  1. Synthesis: Three protein chains lay on top of each other in the cells and form a collagen molecule.
  2. The rest happens outside the cell. Collagen molecule and peptides form cross bridges. These are particularly stable. Several collagen molecules then form what are known as fibrils.
  3. In the last step, the fibrils then form collagen fibers and also bind water to this collagen.(2)

There are different types of peptide chains and therefore different types of collagen depending on the connection.

What destroys collagen?

Collagen naturally decreases with age. This already happens from the age of 25.

After menopause, the collagen content of the skin is 30 percent less than when you were young. The reason for this is the falling estrogen level.

External circumstances such as UV radiation also ensure that collagen is broken down. Frequent sunbathing causes damage to collagen fibers and leads to greater loss of elasticity.(6)

Harmful substances from our environment, which enter the organism as free radicals, can also lead to collagen damage.

Bad lifestyle habits such as too much sugar in the diet or smoking also have a negative impact on collagen production. They reduce them and decrease wound healing.(13,14)

Is Collagen Healthy?

Collagen is essential for a healthy body because it supports many functions in the body and protects against some diseases and ailments.

Collagen can be taken in various forms as a dietary supplement. There is collagen in powder form, as tablets or capsules and even in liquid form as drinking ampoules.

When buying, pay attention to the purity, origin and organic quality of the product, because there are qualitative differences. The quality determines how healthy it is for you.

The collagen should not come from factory farming, because by consuming it we take in not only the good but also the bad ingredients. The animals from which the collagen comes should be fed species-appropriate grass, not grain.

When should you take collagen?

Morning, noon, evening - when exactly you take your daily collagen intake is up to you. The exact daily requirement cannot be determined either. Everyone is slightly different.

Someone with joint problems, for example, needs more than someone without problems. As well as older people will probably need more than younger ones.

In various studies on the topic of collagen, the daily dosage was between 2500 and 10000 milligrams. The average daily dose was around 8 grams.

It can make sense to take collagen in the following cases:

  • in case of a shortage
  • for joint problems(11)
  • with weak connective tissue
  • for rheumatism / arthrosis diseases(9)
  • as an athlete/bodybuilder
  • for signs of (premature) skin aging

What are the different types of collagen?

To date, science has identified 28 types of collagen. The following three are most significant:

Type characteristics
type 1 Largest collagen content in the body, is increasingly found in the skin, bones, connective tissue, cornea and tendons
type 2 similar structure to type 1, mainly found in cartilages such as the auricle and lungs
type 3 most present in the skin, cornea, internal organs and vessels

(1,2)

What role does collagen play in skin aging and skin care?

Now you have already learned the most important facts about collagen. How can you best use this information for yourself now? In any case, there is no lack of a product selection with the popular ingredient. In the following part we will inform you about the intake of collagen and what exactly is important. We hope it will help you further.

When and for whom is it useful to take collagen?

In principle, the body can produce collagen itself. Eating lots of foods that contain building blocks for collagen production helps. The demand for these building blocks may increase under certain circumstances. Depending on age, illness or certain environmental factors.

It makes sense to take collagen if your body's production of collagen is slow or impaired. Also with high joint loads.

Lemons

Our skin is a very powerful organ. We should take good care of them to maintain their health as much as possible. (Image source: Noah Buscher / Unsplash)

The connective tissue is more stressed in people suffering from rheumatism, osteoarthritis, diabetics, smokers and older people. (9) Here it is necessary to support the collagen build-up. As well as in people with skin damage, wounds or sarcopenia (muscle breakdown). Strengthening the connective tissue is beneficial here.

Athletes also often use collagen supplements to support muscle building and to protect the joints.

At what time of the day you take it is entirely up to you. You can decide how it fits best into your everyday life.

What effect does taking collagen have on the body?

Beautiful skin, hair and nails in a matter of weeks, improved well-being, appearance and better bowel function. All of this is promised in advertisements for collagen supplements. But so far none of this has been conclusively, scientifically proven. Numerous studies have already been carried out on the subject, in which positive results have been achieved. However, these are not sufficient to properly deposit the positive effects on skin and intestines.

It is up to you whether you still want to try the whole thing, so you can create your own picture.

The best tip when it comes to beauty and intestinal health is and remains a healthy and balanced diet with many valuable vitamins.(8)

Reward your skin...

with the collagen complex with Q10!

  • With hyaluronic acid, zinc, vitamin C and biotin 🌿
  • Optimal anti-aging effect 🤗
  • Get a 21% discount automatically if you buy now 💰
A N O R D I C O I L C O M P A N Y

Which supplement is better collagen powder or collagen capsules?

The active ingredient collagen hydrolyzate is used in most collagen supplements. The collagen has been modified here with the help of enzymes and is now more water-soluble. Now it can be better absorbed by the body.

The additives are available in different forms. The most common are capsules and powder.

collagen capsules

Advantages
  • easy ingestion
  • already pre-dosed
  • the capsules are also available in combination with other active ingredients
Disadvantages
  • often more expensive
  • limited dosing options
  • collagen powder

    Advantages
    • can easily be added to meals and drinks
    • do not affect the texture
    • mostly tasteless
    Disadvantages
  • Stay away from inferior quality
  • can leave a bad taste in the mouth over time
  • What should you consider when consuming collagen?

    Before you take collagen, you should deal with the topic and choose a suitable product for you through extensive research. Because there are crucial, qualitative differences.

    The collagen hydrolyzate is obtained from the bones of animals. It's especially important that you pay attention to where they're coming from. It should be about grazing animals that are fed appropriately, not with grain. Because if you eat the animal product, you can also absorb pollutants that are widespread in factory farming.

    Also pay attention to the bioavailability. The purer your product, the better.

    Collagen is generally considered to be very well tolerated. Side effects when ingested are rarely observed.(12)Particularly sensitive people experienced mild symptoms such as flatulence, nausea and digestive problems.

    How effective is collagen in relation to skin aging / beauty and hair?

    As already mentioned, collagen is an important protein in the human body. It ensures elasticity of the body tissue. Skin, bones, cartilage, joints and connective tissue benefit from this.(11)

    It is mainly used for skin problems or joint diseases.

    The absorbed collagen is broken down in the intestine and the building blocks and individual parts are absorbed. The body does not store collagen. The individual parts are therefore processed directly in the body and installed in the right places.

    It supplies the tissues with nutrients. This improves this and also promotes regeneration. Furthermore, collagen has a positive effect on inflammatory processes in the body. Joints and skin can benefit from this, as animal experiments have already shown. It promotes skin health and reduces joint pain.(6,7)

    Your cardiovascular system can also benefit, because it has a lowering effect on mild high blood pressure. The reason for this is a building block that is created during the decomposition process of collagen.(15)

    Collagen is very well tolerated and only very rarely has side effects. Therefore, under certain circumstances, it can be used as an alternative to medicine.(12)

    Are there also vegetarian / vegan collagen preparations?

    Normally, collagen preparations consist of animal ingredients, since collagen in nature is only found in animals and humans.

    cows

    Collagen as a dietary supplement is derived from animal bones, which is why it is unfortunately unsuitable for vegans. The collagen from cows, pigs or marine animals is most commonly used. (Image Source: Robert Bye / Unsplash)

    But there are also vegan collagen supplements on the market. However, these do not contain pure collagen. They consist of extracts from numerous foods and herbs and are said to stimulate collagen production in the body. However, if you compare the effect with animal products, they perform worse.

    Which is better for the skin collagen or hyaluronic acid?

    Both substances are formed by the body itself. What collagen is used for has already been explained in detail in the article.

    Hyaluronic acid is used by the body as a lubricant for the joints and moisturizes our skin. Just like collagen, the production of hyaluronic acid decreases with age.

    Hyaluronic capsules are said to have a fast and deep effect. Wrinkles should be visibly reduced. However, which supplement, whether collagen or hyaluronic acid, is better cannot be said in general terms. Often they are even offered as a combination preparation.

    What alternatives are there to collagen supplements?

    Now we have already found out that collagen can reduce skin aging. But there are more ways you can support this effect. Below are a few more tips on how best to keep your largest organ young and healthy.

    • Nutrition: By eating a nutritious diet and choosing certain foods, you can boost your body's own collagen production and prevent premature skin aging. Consume enough foods with vitamin C, without which collagen cannot be produced.(8)
    • Skin care: It is particularly important to keep the skin young, as we are constantly exposed to environmental influences and the skin has different needs depending on the skin type.
    • Hyaluron: It plays an important role in skin health and makes it look better and younger. However, it is not a substitute for collagen, but rather a supplement.
    • Biotin: Biotin can contribute to the maintenance and growth of the skin.
    • Amino acids: Ensure supple skin, are moisturizing and prevent skin aging. The best amino acids for skin are: arginine, histidine, lysine, proline and methionine.
    • Vitamin supplements: Vitamins A, B3, C, E and H naturally make your skin glow from within. They promote cell growth, are used in skin care products and ensure a young-looking face.

    As you can see, there are a lot of products and active ingredients that can contribute to skin health and thus younger-looking skin. There isn't just one miracle cure. A healthy lifestyle as well as good protection and care are part of maintaining the beauty of the skin in the best possible way.

    Conclusion

    If you want to look young for a long time, you should start paying attention to your body early and eat accordingly. Nutrition provides the best basis for health and helps to improve the body's functions.

    It helps to understand the processes and functions of certain substances in the body. Especially when you're working toward a specific goal. A lot is made known to us by the media, advertising, influencers, etc., but a lot of it is for marketing purposes. Therefore, always inform and research in detail about the topics, especially when it comes to your health.

    Collagen is important for beautiful skin, and collagen supplements can help you maintain it longer. However, how effective it is is debatable. The best way to get an idea of ​​it is to simply try it out for yourself, taking into account the knowledge you have acquired.

    itemizations

        Sylvie Ricard-Blum; published on Jan 2011; The Collagen Family
    Source
        Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al.; published in 2000; Molecular Cell Biology, 4th edition
    Source
        He Zhang, Daian Pan, Ying Dong et al.; published on Feb. 19 2020; Transdermal permeation effect of collagen hydrolysates of deer sinew on mouse skin, ex vitro, and antioxidant activity, increased type I collagen secretion of percutaneous proteins in NIH/3T3 cells
    Source
        Yun Lim Choi, Eun Ji Park, Eunje Kim et al.; published in July 2014; Dermal Stability and In Vitro Skin Permeation of Collagen Pentapeptides (KTTKS and palmitoyl-KTTKS)
    Source
        James Varani, Michael K Dame, Laure Rittie et al.; published in Jun. 2006; Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation
    Source
        Chisato Oba, Hiroki Ohara, Masashi Morifuji et al.; published Aug 2013; Collagen hydrolysate intake improves the loss of epidermal barrier function and skin elasticity induced by UVB irradiation in hairless mice
    Source
        Hongdong Song, Siqi Zhang, Ling Zhang, Bo Li; published in Nov. 2017; Effect of Orally Administered Collagen Peptides from Bovine Bone on Skin Aging in Chronologically Aged Mice
    Source
        Barbara Szyszkowska, Celina Lepecka-Klusek, Katarzyna Kozłowicz et al.; published on Jun. 13, 2014;The influence of selected ingredients of dietary supplements on skin condition
    Source
        Naohisa Tomosugi, Shoko Yamamoto, Masayoshi Takeuchi et al.; published in May 2017; Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy Humans
    Source
        Hu Hou, Bafang Li, Zhaohui Zhang et al.; published in Dec. 2012; Moisture absorption and retention properties, and activity in alleviating skin photodamage of collagen polypeptide from marine fish skin
    Source
        James P Lugo, Zainulabedin M Saiyed, Nancy E Lane; published on Jan. 29, 2016; Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
    Source
        E Proksch, D Segger, J Degwert et al.; published on Aug. 14, 2013; Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study
    Source
        Knuutinen A, Kokkonen N, Risteli J et al.; pulled in Apr 2002; Smoking affects collagen synthesis and extracellular matrix turnover in human skin
    Source
        F William Danby; published in Jul.-Aug. 2010; Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation
    Source
        Margaux A Horn, Andrew W Trafford; published in April 2016; Aging and the cardiac collagen matrix: Novel mediators of fibrotic remodeling
    Source
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