Underneath our skin there’s a process happening every day: It’s collagen production, and it helps keep our skin plump, our tendons flexible and our bones strong. Indeed, collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body.
“Collagen provides structural support for the bones, skin and ligaments,” says Dr. Tori Hudson, ND, a member of Pharmaca’s Integrative Health Advisory Board. But with the normal aging process, there is also a normal loss of collagen, she says. In fact, decreased collagen production can begin as early as our mid 20s, and, by some estimates, our total collagen makeup decreases by as much as 1.5 percent per year. “That manifests in all of us as skin wrinkles to some degree or another,” Dr. Hudson says.
Dr. Hudson adds that the loss of collagen can be exacerbated by the decrease in estrogen that comes with the onset of menopause in women. Smoking, sun exposure and dry climates can also aggravate the effects of collagen loss. In these cases, Dr. Hudson says, supplementing with collagen support for the skin can be a good preventive strategy.
So how do we support our own collagen production? “This protein called collagen is dependent on certain nutrients,” Dr. Hudson says. Vitamin C actually increases collagen growth, she says, and vitamin E can help rebuild collagen and prevent oxidative stress. Amino acids such as threonine and proline are also essential to collagen production.
That’s where supplementation comes in. Here are a few different ways to boost collagen.
Vitanica’s Luminous: Formulated by Dr. Hudson, this combination formula features vitamins A, C and E, calcium and other ingredients specifically designed to support skin, hair and nails.
NeoCell Super Collagen +C Type 1 & 3: Supplementing with this type of hydrolyzed collagen (along with vitamin C) can increase the density and growth of collagen fibers.
Natural Factors’ BioSil: Made of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid, this complex helps active the biological pathways that generate collagen.
Of course, a standard supplement regimen, including omega-3s, vitamin D, antioxidants and probiotics are also vital to overall health, as well as the health of the skin.
Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about other ways to support your skin health.