Why You Need Collagen and Vitamin C

Collagen is a special protein that makes up the important structural components of our bodies. Long, chain-like molecules form to support tissues like skin, ligaments, tendons, bones, and internal organs. Collagen production keeps our skin stretchy and elastic, allows us to heal after injury, and keeps our joints strong and flexible as we move our bodies [1]. 

It’s important to note that collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It makes up about a third of our total protein, accounts for about 75% of our skin, and about 60% of our cartilage [2-4]. We need a lot of collagen to keep ourselves looking and feeling our best. And, considering that natural collagen production drops off around age 20, and continues to decrease over time, it’s important for us to continue to optimize our collagen intake as we age. [5]

Optimizing Collagen Production

If we want to optimize our collagen stores and production, there is another important nutrient we need to consider – vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, especially bones, muscles, and skin. Collagen and vitamin C work together: vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, and vitamin C deficiency can lead to collagen destabilization and weakened structure of the protein. [6]

Vitamin C also plays an important role in our bodies, acting as an antioxidant and protecting against harmful free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage the healthy cells in our bodies in order to stabilize themselves. We accumulate free radicals from environmental exposure to toxins, such as tobacco smoke and UV light, and also as a natural byproduct of our body’s metabolic processes. Vitamin C, and other antioxidants, protect against these free radicals by stabilizing and neutralizing them, rendering them benign. [7]

So, should you boost your vitamin C along with your daily dose of collagen? Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the science-backed benefits of this dynamic duo.

Anti-aging

Collagen is known to play an important role in our skin’s elasticity, hydration, and texture. As mentioned previously, collagen production begins to drop off around age 20, and continues to decrease as we age. It is estimated that collagen production decreases by a minimum of 1-1.5% every year. This decrease can be accelerated even more with certain behaviors, like smoking and exposing the skin excessively to UV light. Due to this decrease of natural collagen production, there have been many studies to explore the effect of collagen supplementation on improving skin elasticity, hydration, and texture in an aging population. The evidence supports that collagen supplementation is an effective way to increase collagen synthesis and reduce the appearance of aging [8-10]. 

Additionally, vitamin C plays an important role in skin health and protection. It does this in a few different ways. We know that collagen is highly dependent on vitamin C – without it, collagen would lose its strength, and the rate of synthesis would decrease significantly. Research has proven that collagen-producing cells replicate much quicker in the presence of vitamin C compared to cells without vitamin C. [5] Vitamin C also plays an active role in protecting your skin from the damage that UV rays cause when you get sunburned (though you should still wear sunscreen!). And last, there is some evidence to show that vitamin C inhibits melanin production, which essentially means that vitamin C can help prevent and repair those stubborn dark spots on your skin. [12] 

Now, while it seems that vitamin C and collagen both play an important role in the aesthetic appearance of our skin, it’s also important to note that they both contribute to the structural integrity of our skin and body as well. 

Healing

Though deficiency is very uncommon, it is known that low vitamin C levels are associated with gradual loss of skin function, such as poor wound healing. This decreased ability to heal is closely related to vitamin C’s role in producing collagen. Collagen is a key component in wound healing, and is involved in the creation of scar tissues that forms as a means of strengthening broken skin. 

The relationship between collagen, vitamin C, and healing is not just limited to the skin either. There is evidence to suggest that vitamin C supplementation results in increased collagen synthesis and accelerated healing after bone fractures. [13] 

The role that vitamin C plays in increasing collagen synthesis is very important. Without adequate vitamin C, the collagen in our bodies would be weak and unstable, and our ability to recover from wounds would be compromised. It’s been shown that improving collagen production helps improve our ability to heal soft tissue injuries, may help prevent re-injury, and may reduce the symptoms associated with diseases that affect our joints, like osteoarthritis. [14-16] 

So, it seems fair to say that in optimizing the health and appearance of our skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, we need adequate amounts of vitamin C and collagen. Because natural collagen levels slowly decline as the years go on, it’s important to supplement to make sure you’re getting enough! For a simple way to promote healthy skin and healing, try Complete Collagen+. Just one serving a day can provide your body with 1000mg of collagen! Make sure to pair your collagen with vitamin C, to optimize the effects of collagen. We love PuraTHRIVE’s Micelle Liposomal Vitamin C – it’s a carefully crafted Vitamin C supplement designed with improved absorption and potency in mind.

Citations

  1. “Collagen.” Physiopedia, https://www.physio-pedia.com/Collagen. 
  2. “Collagen.” The Nutrition Source, 27 May 2021, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/. 
  3. Mandal, Dr. Ananya. “What Is Collagen?” News, 5 June 2019, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Collagen.aspx#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20predominant,the%20whole%2Dbody%20protein%20content. 
  4. “An Overview of Your Skin.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10978-skin#:~:text=Collagen%3A%20Collagen%20is%20the%20most,off%20wrinkles%20and%20fine%20lines. 
  5. “Collagen Synthesis.” Collagen Synthesis – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/collagen-synthesis. 
  6. Reilly DM, Lozano J. Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty. Plast Aesthet Res 2021;8:2. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/2347-9264.2020.153
  7. “Understanding Antioxidants.” Harvard Health, 10 Jan. 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-antioxidants.
  8. Bolke L, Schlippe G, Gerß J, Voss W. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2494. Published 2019 Oct 17. doi:10.3390/nu11102494
  9. de Miranda RB, Weimer P, Rossi RC. Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Dermatol. 2021 Mar 20. doi: 10.1111/ijd.15518. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33742704.
  10. Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz ML, Mesinkovsk NA. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019 Jan 1;18(1):9-16. PMID: 30681787.
  11. Phillips CL, Combs SB, Pinnell SR. Effects of ascorbic acid on proliferation and collagen synthesis in relation to the donor age of human dermal fibroblasts. J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Aug;103(2):228-32. doi: 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12393187. PMID: 7518857.
  12. Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):866. Published 2017 Aug 12. doi:10.3390/nu9080866
  13. DePhillipo NN, Aman ZS, Kennedy MI, Begley JP, Moatshe G, LaPrade RF. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018;6(10):2325967118804544. Published 2018 Oct 25. doi:10.1177/2325967118804544
  14. Clark, K. L., Sebastianelli, W., Flechsenhar, K. R., Aukermann, D. F., Meza, F., Millard, R. L., & Albert, A. (2008). 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Current medical research and opinion, 24(5), 1485-1496.
  15. Zdzieblik, D., Oesser, S., Gollhofer, A., & König, D. (2017). Improvement of activity-related knee joint discomfort following supplementation of specific collagen peptides. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 42(6), 588-595.
  16. Lis, D. M., & Baar, K. (2019). Effects of Different Vitamin C–Enriched Collagen Derivatives on Collagen Synthesis. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 29(5), 526-531.

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Collagen 101: What You Need To Know

We hear so much about collagen… But WHAT is it?

Here is the rundown on collagen:

Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix found in the body’s various connective tissues. Since it is the main component of connective tissue, it’s the most abundant protein in mammals – which makes up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content.  Collagen consists of amino acids bound together to form a triple helix of elongated fibril, also known as a collagen helix. It is mostly found in connective tissue such as cartilage, bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin.

In simple terms…

It is a protein that gives structure to skin, joints, and bones. Collagen is found in skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, and teeth, and provides structure to the connective tissue throughout your body.

So it makes sense that our bodies need this protein for our skin and bones to not just look healthy but FEEL healthy. It is something that our body naturally produces- and as we age, the amount our body makes can decrease.

One way to tell if our body is producing less collagen, is if our skin has wrinkles or appears to be sagging – it means it has lost its elasticity. And if our joints are stiff – it can also show in our bones- they can become brittle and even break. 

Taking collagen may help to improve bone density and keep your bone strength at an optimal level. Not to mention, the benefits it can have for your skin and hair as well! Low collagen levels can even cause hair loss, which is what I experienced!

And the good news is, you generally cannot have too much collagen. Collagen is generally considered to be a safe and nontoxic daily supplement for healthy individuals, and most people won’t experience adverse side effects.

There are foods naturally rich in collagen that we can incorporate into our diet…

Collagen Rich Foods:

  • Fish & Poultry
  • Egg Whites
  • Garlic
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Berries
  • Soy
  • Leafy Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cashews
  • And more!


Now, collagen is something our bodies does produce on its own… but sometimes we do not make enough. And I knew I wasn’t as it was PHYSICALLY OBVIOUS!

I eat well and eat a lot of collagen filled foods… but I just was not getting enough, so I knew I needed more… but how?

That is when I KNEW I had to create a supercharged supplement for collagen.

Supplementing with collagen is quite popular, and comes with a lot of great benefits…

IN FACT, check out these stats:

A 2014 study of 69 women between the ages of 35 to 55- found that those who took 2.5 or 5 grams of collagen daily for 8 weeks- showed a lot of improvement in skin elasticity, compared with those who didn’t take it.

Another showed that 73 athletes who consumed 10 grams of collagen daily for 24 weeks experienced a significant decrease in joint pain while walking and at rest, compared with a group that did not take it.

It has also been shown to help with bone support. We know that calcium supports strong bones- but adding collagen to that- is like the cherry on top!

A study was conducted on women that took either a calcium supplement combined with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium supplement and no collagen daily for 12 months.

By the end of the study, the women taking the calcium and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown than those taking only the calcium.

Another study found similar results in 66 women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months.

The women who took the collagen showed an increase of up to 7% in their bone mineral density (BMD), compared with women who didn’t consume any collagen.

Now- there are more benefits to collagen than just bone/joint support and hair and skin benefits.

It is also said to assist with:

  • Sleep
  • Immunity Support
  • Heart Support

So you know all the great things collagen does for us. You may be wondering what your next step is if you fear you are not getting enough.

Incorporating collagen high foods is a great place to start- but a collagen supplement can also help fill your collagen void.

And trust me- I know that when seeking any type of supplement – quality is always the biggest concern.  So one for collagen should be no different!

You want the most top notch ingredients and to ensure what you’re giving your body- is nothing but THE BEST!

If you are looking for a collagen supplement – try Complete Collagen+.

A high quality oral supplement your body will LOVE!

I am living proof of the results.

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Resources:

https://www.medicinenet.com/collagen_diet/article.htm