Collagen is a hot topic these days – and for a good reason! It is the main structural protein found throughout our bodies. Collagen production is the ‘secret sauce’ to beautiful skin that provides structure, elasticity, and suppleness. As we age, we produce less collagen, which is why our skin becomes thinner and develops fine lines and wrinkles. Certain lifestyle choices, including eating a high glycemic diet, excess sun exposure, and smoking, can cause collagen to breakdown more rapidly.
The good news is that you can play a significant role in minimizing collagen loss. Additionally, you can take specific steps now to help your body’s regenerative processes and slow the signs of aging skin.
I recommend these 7 tips to boost your collagen production. But first, let’s talk about collagen – what it is, why it’s important, how it’s depleted, and most importantly, how we can protect the collagen in our skin.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant and naturally occurring fibrous protein in the human body. Think of collagen as the scaffolding of the body. It provides the structure and strength in all our connective tissues, including tendons, ligaments, fat, and skin.
The three structural forms of collagen our body uses in connective tissues are collagen type 1, 2, and 3. Types 1 and 3 primarily support bone, muscle, hair, nails, and skin. While type 2 supports the function and fluidity of joints and cartilage.
Why Collagen is Important
Collagen is one of the essential building blocks of the skin – helping maintain its firmness, suppleness, and consistent skin cell renewal. The skin’s primary structure is collagen scaffolding, which composes a whopping 70 to 80 percent of the skin’s dry weight! As you can see, collagen is the ‘secret sauce’ of beautiful, youthful skin.
As we age, our collagen production starts diminishing, causing a loss of elasticity and skin strength. This leads to the telltale signs of aging, such as the appearance of sagging skin and wrinkles.
How to Slow Down Collagen Loss
Part of the natural aging process is the decrease in collagen production, but lifestyle choices you can make to slow this process.
Protect Your Skin: Minimize your time in the sun, wear hats, and ensure you properly protect your skin when you go outside by wearing good sunscreen.
Avoid smoking and other pollutants: Stop smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Air pollution also contributes to oxidative damage (that speeds collagen breakdown), so consider getting an air purifier for your home.
Minimize sugar consumption: Sugar increases blood glucose levels, which leads to advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). Glycation is when sugar binds to and modifies proteins (like collagen) in the body. Glycated collagen is more rigid and less elastic, leading to accelerated aging (wrinkles and sagging skin). Avoid refined sugars and carbs, and learn about the best collagen-producing nutrients in this post on the best and worst foods for your skin.
7 Tips to Boost Collagen Production
Many people look to topical treatments, skin filler injections, laser treatments, or other procedures to improve their skin’s appearance. While some of these procedures can be beneficial (like micro-needling with exosomes), some can simply drain our bank account and come with possible unwanted side effects.
For long-lasting benefits that work – take a natural holistic approach to increasing collagen by being more mindful of what you put in your body.
Here are 7 all-natural ways to increase collagen production – or provide bioavailable collagen to your body.
1. Clean Animal Protein
Consuming grass-fed beef, organic poultry, wild fish, and nuts usually provides a sufficient amount of amino acids such as arginine, glutamine, lysine, and proline—all components that can help support collagen production. Also, consuming tougher cuts of meat, skin, tendons, and bones provides a good collagen source. The tougher the meat, the higher it is in collagen.
2. Homemade Bone Broth
Bone broth is full of collagen, and to get an additional collagen boost, you can add gelatin. As bone broth simmers, the collagen leeches out of the animal parts and is released into the broth. Make delicious homemade bone broth using the recipe below.
3. Collagen Peptides
Choose supplements that contain collagen peptides. Peptides are the broken down elements of collagen that are a bioavailable form your body can easily use to produce more collagen. The Spa Dr.® Collagen Plus is formulated with collagen peptides and other essential nutrients to supply the specific proteins, vitamins, and other substrates to help support healthy connective tissue.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a natural component in the skin’s dermis and epidermis and is vital for collagen synthesis. If you can’t get enough Vitamin C naturally in your diet, you may wish to boost your intake with a supplement.
5. Ubiquinone (CoQ10)
Ubiquinone (also known as Coenzyme Q10) is a powerful natural active; found in all living cells. It is essential for cell metabolism. The natural form has been shown in studies to reduce the depth of wrinkles and accelerate collagen production. The Spa Dr.® ENHANCE: Glow Boost, contains the natural form of CoQ10 readily bioavailable to the skin.
6. Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) Gel
Nicotinamide increases collagen synthesis and that of other proteins to help moisturize the skin and keep it elastic. It also helps build cells in the skin while protecting the cells from environmental stresses, such as sunlight, pollution, and toxin.
7. Sodium Hyaluronate
Sodium hyaluronate supports collagen and elastin by keeping them nourished and moist. This support helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles while keeping skin soft, smooth, and supple. The Spa Dr.® NOURISH: Antioxidant Serum provides a pure source of sodium hyaluronate to the skin.
Collagen-Rich Bone Broth Recipe
Enjoy this bone broth—alone as a snack or drink, or incorporated into other recipes—not only for its taste but also for its skin-enhancing benefits.
2 pounds (905 g) grass-fed beef marrow bones 5 quarts (4.7 L) filtered water
6 carrots, cut into large chunks
5 ribs celery, cut into large chunks
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1 cup (35 g) shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, skin on, halved
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt (or more to taste)
1⁄2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped
7 sprigs fresh thyme
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed or diced
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). In a large roasting pan, roast the bones for 30 minutes. (You can skip this step, but it adds a nice flavor to the broth.) Transfer to a large (6-quart/5.7 L) soup pot or slow cooker.
Add the water, carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, cider vinegar, ginger, and salt. Bring to boil; reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cover.
Cook for 24 to 48 hours. Skim off any foam that forms on top during the first hour of cooking. The longer you simmer the broth, the more bone marrow nutrients will seep into it.
During the last hour of cooking, stir in the parsley, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Strain, and enjoy warm, or add to one of the recipes as indicated.
Chicken Broth: Instead of beef bones, you can use free-range chicken bones (simmer for 12 to 24 hours) or fish bones (simmer for 8 hours).
Vegetable Broth: You will get the nutrients from the vegetables, but not the collagen-boosting benefits. Skip the bones and add more celery, carrots, broccoli, and other vegetables, such as greens (kale, collard greens, chard), and simmer until the vegetables are tender. To get the collagen benefits, add any vegan sources of peptides. Collagen-boosting peptides can be found in – Pea protein, soy products (tempeh, tofu, and soy protein), black beans, kidney beans, legumes, seeds (pumpkin, squash, sunflower, and chia), or nuts (pistachio, peanut, and cashew).
The Spa Dr.® Approach
At The Spa Dr.® – our approach is to help shine the light on skin care information and offer guidance to nurture your skin care journey. We believe the information we provide will help support your self-care and healing, and we want you to feel safe and cared for within our community!
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I hope you enjoyed these natural collagen boosting beauty tips. Feel free to share them with your friends, and spread the word to promote natural beauty.
I would love to hear about your story. Have you seen a difference in your skin since you started taking natural steps to boost your collagen production?