Collagen - your internal 'anti-wrinkle cream'


Collagen is a large protein molecule that acts as the 'scaffolding' of your skin and helps your skin store water. This gives your skin a youthful strength, smoothness and elasticity.  After 40 years of age, collagen production begins to decline and collagen may undergo a process of glycation which denatures the protein, resulting in wrinkles. Also as we get older 'free radicals' accumulate which attack collagen. It is of little use applying collagen in the form of creams because collagen is a large molecule, not easily absorbed by the skin.

The good news is that we can help replenish collagen. Trending now are collagen 'shots' the idea being to replenish collagen that has become depleted through the aging process. But you can also boost collagen through your food.  

Foods rich in omega 3 such as oily fish and flaxseed boost collagen by reducing inflammation which destroys collagen.  

Genistein in soy products such as soy mince, soy milk and yogurt protects collagen by inhibiting enzymes that break it down.

Carnosine, a dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine, is found in animal products such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs and milk has the ability to extend  the life of collagen cells.  It also protects collagen from glycosylation.  Further carnosine helps prevent cross-linking in which fibres form in collagen making it inelastic. Vegans may need a supplement.  Yoga, in particular, yin yoga can also help restrict cross-linking.

Antioxidants neutralise free radicals which attack collagen.  These include vitamins A in sweet potato, squash, carrots etc, vitamin C in citrus fruits, kiwi, peppers etc, vitamin E in nuts and seeds, lutein in green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach and lycopene in tomatoes.  

In addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin C is also necessary for the production of collagen.  Most animals except humans produce vitamin C.  Linus Pauling claimed that we need 1g vitamin C daily for each decade of our age.  Be aware however that vitamin C supplements can cause gastric upset so I would not recommend taking such megadoses.  

Eat well, stay beautiful

Janet x



Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

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