What Is Collagen Synthesis And How Can It Be Increased?

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Learn the importance of collagen synthesis in keeping a more youthful appearance and a healthy body.

In this article:

  1. What is Collagen?
  2. Who Needs Collagen?
  3. What is Collagen Synthesis?
  4. Why is Collagen Production Important?
  5. Where Does Collagen Synthesis Occur?
  6. When is Collagen Synthesis Disrupted?
  7. How Can You Increase Collagen Synthesis?

Everything You Need to Know About the Process of Collagen Synthesis

 

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a type of protein composed of amino acids such as proline, glycine, hydroxyproline, and arginine. It is an integral fibrous protein found in the connective tissue and is also a major part of the skin. It composes most of your body’s protein accounting for 30% of the body’s total protein. The best way to describe it is glue. It connects the body together providing firmness and strength to keep it functioning.

This protein is the building block of muscles, bones, skin and other connective tissues. A lack of collagen can lead to wrinkling and sagging skin making you look older faster. Experiencing stiff joints and weak muscles can also be a sign of collagen deficiency.

Who Needs Collagen?

Everyone needs collagen but those who have aged need it more. Aging slows down collagen production, and by the age of 25, it is estimated that you lose collagen at a rate of 1% every year. This can cause the body to age faster leaving you prone to injury. Adding more collagen to your diet can help with wrinkly skin and aching joints.

What is Collagen Synthesis?

Collagen synthesis is the body’s natural process of producing collagen within the dermis.

Why is Collagen Production Important?

A lack of collagen can cause bleeding gums, skin discoloration, non-healing wounds, wrinkled skin, painful joints or even bone loss. Collagen is also needed for repairs to the bones, muscles, and joints.

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Collagen Peptides

Where Does Collagen Synthesis Occur?

collagen triple helix molecule | What is Collagen Synthesis and How Can It Be Increased? | where is collagen found

Collagen synthesis takes place intracellularly (transcription of mRNA in the nucleus of the cell,  translation in the cytoplasm, and post-translation in the endoplasmic reticulum) and extracellularly (formation of propeptide cleavage and assembly of collagen fibril). Errors in the process may lead conditions like scurvy, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and osteogenesis imperfecta.

When is Collagen Synthesis Disrupted?

Poor diet, stress, and imbalances in the intestinal tract can hamper collagen synthesis. Here is a list of activities to avoid to promote collagen synthesis:

  • Advanced glycation end products or high sugar diets can cause damage to collagen which may accelerate signs of aging.
  • Avoid UV ray damage to your skin by putting on sunscreen. When skin rebuilds it, unfortunately, wrinkles form.
  • A deficiency in vitamin C hinders collagen production and leads to weaker and thinner blood vessels and skin.
  • Smoking damages collagen and elastin because of the chemicals in tobacco.
  • Age slows down the process of collagen production.
  • Alcohol can destroy the collagen in the skin by with its free radical contents.
  • Some prescription drugs may interact with the compounds needed to produce collagen. Do take note of the adverse and side effects of your medications.
  • Lack of rest and sleep can weaken important bodily processes such as the synthesis of collagen.

How Can You Increase Collagen Synthesis?

Supplements

Supplemental intake of the following can boost collagen production:

  • Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A which boosts collagen synthesis and speeds up cell turnover for youthful looking skin.
  • Vitamin C reverses sun damage, boosts collagen synthesis, and protects your skin from free radicals. Look for stable ingredients such as ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl palmitate because they are more stable and do not degrade easily.
  • Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells to give smooth skin. It also stimulates collagen synthesis and the production of elastin to minimize blemishes and fine lines. Look for concentrations between 5 to 15% for the best results.
  • Martixyl is a peptide that aids in collagen production. Peptides are fragments of protein that signal the skin to produce collagen. Applying it to your skin can help slow down the aging process.
  • Niacinamide is a component of vitamin B3 which enhances elastin and collagen production to minimize wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Resveratrol is an antioxidant that fights sun damage and rejuvenates the skin by blocking UV light and stimulates collagen synthesis to prevent the onset of the signs of aging.

The collagen factories in the skin perform better when you consume anywhere between 5500 to 6500 milligrams of collagen peptides. But note that it is important to seek medical consultation prior to taking collagen supplements to avoid potential diet or drug interactions. There are possible side effects should you take in the wrong dose or formulation:

  • allergies (if made with seafood, egg, or other allergens)
  • upset stomach
  • heartburn
  • aftertaste

Diet

Collagen can also be increased through diet. Here is a list of collagen-rich foods you can eat to boost synthesis:

  • Kiwis contain high concentrations of vitamin C. This vitamin is necessary to execute your body’s pre-collagen production phase because it coordinates with the amino acids proline and glycine to create hydroxyproline, which secures the structure of collagen.
  • Spinach contains antioxidants that protect collagen from breaking down because of free radicals.
  • Tomatoes have an abundance of lycopene which helps increase the production of collagen and offers protection from the sun.
  • Oranges give vitamin A and help restore damaged collagen.
  • Almonds provide vitamin E, another strong antioxidant that protects collagen cells from damage. When paired with vitamin C, they both stimulate the formation of collagen.
  • Garlic is abundant with the trace mineral sulfur, which enhances collagen synthesis while helping preserve the protein for healthy joints and skin.
  • Strawberries are filled with natural antioxidants to boost and protect collagen.

 

For more information about collagen synthesis, watch this video from AK LECTURES:

Collagen deficiency can lead to weak muscles, poor bone framework, premature aging skin, and lifeless hair. Take your dose of collagen regularly. Eat the right natural foods and use skincare products with collagen peptides. Again, seek the advice of a medical professional prior to modifying anything in your diet or lifestyle, especially if you are pregnant, lactating, taking prescription medications, or living with a pre-existing condition, as collagen may interact with body fluid compounds and the protein’s natural synthesis.

How do you maintain healthy collagen levels? Do you include it in your diet or do you take supplements? Tell us in the comments section below!

Up Next: Should You Be Taking Collagen Supplements?

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