Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It keeps our skin supple, joints lubricated, gut lining strong, and hair shiny. There are a ton of benefits to maintaining and producing collagen naturally, but unfortunately, there are also a ton of ways that collagen can be depleted.
Lifestyle choices, environment, and biological age all take a toll on our natural ability to produce collagen. We’re going to go through some of them and explain how to combat collagen loss. Let’s get into it!
4 things that deplete collagen (and what to do about it)
Whether you’re into beauty or health, you’ve surely heard about the importance of applying SPF when you plan on being in the sun. That’s because protecting our skin from UV rays can prevent collagen loss.
Studies show that there is a direct correlation between UV ray exposure and collagen depletion. UV rays negatively affect collagen production in several ways, including DNA changes to the cells that make collagen and the production of free radicals that can affect collagen directly via oxidative stress.
The main reason that smoking is detrimental to collagen production is that smoking decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to your cells. This makes it nearly impossible for tissue to regenerate leading it to become damaged and die.
That, plus the oxidative stress caused by chemicals in tobacco can lead to premature wrinkles, which we know is due to a lack of collagen. In fact, one study showed that those who smoked had an increase in wrinkles, fine lines, and crow’s feet compared to those who did not smoke.
Maybe the most upsetting thing we have to avoid to keep our collagen is sugar. Sugar is in almost everything processed these days, and sneaks its way into our diet even when we try to avoid it.
When you eat a diet high in sugar, processed foods, and meats, you increase your chance of poor inflammatory response in the body. Sugar in particular can be tough on collagen. High sugar levels can lead to the hardening and fragmentation of collagen which leads to wrinkle and premature aging.
Although we can’t prevent aging, we can inform ourselves of what happens to our bodies as we age so we can live as healthy as we can. One of the things that happen as we age is we naturally produce less collagen. Collagen production starts to dip after our mid-20s and continues to decrease by 1% every year.
Naturally, some people don’t lose collagen as quickly, and some people lose collagen faster. We are all different and our bodies produce collagen at different rates. What we do know is that collagen will deplete at some rate as we age.
What can we do about it?
Other than avoiding lifestyle choices like smoking, too much sun tanning, and unhealthy eating, many people turn to collagen supplementation to balance out what they lose naturally. At Primal Harvest, we offer a variety of collagen products that you may want to check out.
Consuming collagen daily actually triggers your body’s natural production of collagen. It also helps combat some of the causes of collagen decline. For example, it decreases the number of free radicals that can lead to oxidative damage.
Collagen’s ability to support inflammatory response actually helps strengthen our gut lining which so much of our overall health depends on. Collagen has been shown to support gut health, on top of supporting our joint mobility, skin, hair, and nails. In other words, it’s a pretty spectacular supplement to start with if you’re looking to improve your health.