Aging is kind of a bummer, am I right?
Even though our mothers gave us the heads-up that things are going to change, we then wake up one morning (approx. age 35 for me) and realize that 1) Things HAVE changed, along with 2) Mom was right…AGAIN . And unfortunately, our skin is usually where we see the effects of aging in our bodies first. From dryness, to volume loss and fine lines, to perhaps even the oh-so-unfair adult onset acne, time has a way of wreaking havoc on our once pristine skin.
But the great news is, we can reduce these effects by nourishing our skin from the inside, out. And as a registered dietitian, I’m here to provide a few proven nutrition tips and real-life tricks, to nourish your skin to help keep it glowing and healthy for years to come.
Protecting your skin from the sun is important, no matter what time of year it is, but it’s especially vital in the summertime. While you might want to bare your skin in the summer to achieve a beautiful, sun-kissed complexion, UVA and UVB radiation from the sun can wreak havoc on your skin and cause premature aging if you aren’t careful.
UVA rays, which account for 90 to 95 percent of the UV radiation that reaches the earth, penetrate deep layers of the skin and cause tanning. UVB radiation accounts for only 5 to 10 percent of solar radiation, but it damages the epidermis, or surface layer of the skin, causing sunburn.
UVA rays cause the collagen in your skin to break down at a higher rate than normal aging . They do this by penetrating the dermis, or middle layer of the skin, and lead to the abnormal buildup of elastin. This elastin accumulates and results in the production of enzymes that break down collagen.
The more sun exposure you get, the worse the damage becomes. UV radiation also creates free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that increase the number of enzymes that break down collagen. An excessive amount of free radicals in your body can also weaken your vascular system, cause poor circulation, and lead to deteriorated eye health.
You’ve probably heard of good fats and bad fats, but what about good sugars and bad sugars? Sugar is a carbohydrate that is naturally found in a variety of foods. An example of good sugar is the naturally occurring sugar found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables. This type of sugar is bundled with water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bad sugar consists of regular table sugar or the refined stuff you find in sodas, candy, ketchup, or baked goods. The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar each day . Many of us consume sugar without even realizing it because ready-made foods, even savory ones like pasta sauce and bread, often contain sugar.
A protein found in connective tissues of our body, collagen gives our skin support and elasticity while keeping it supple and firm. Our body naturally produces the collagen it needs but production starts to decline as we age. This decline also results in our skin aging, causing fine lines, wrinkles, and skin losing firmness and elasticity.
The concept of ingesting collagen supplements to promote firmer, youthful skin originates from Japan and its now catching the attention of celebrities and beauty editors in the US and Europe. No wonder collagen supplements that promise beautiful, youthful skin are now the fastest growing anti-aging product category. As a result, there are many collagen brands and types to choose from-- but not all collagen beauty supplements are created equal.
Here are 7 tips for buying the best quality, most effective collagen beauty supplement that will benefit your skin, and help visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
1. Repair, strengthen, and rejuvenate skin with collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is a major structural protein, making up about 75% of our skin. Skin with healthy collagen levels looks smooth, plump, and youthful. After the age of 25, however, collagen production slows and you start to lose approximately 1.5% of your collagen each year. The breakdown of collagen causes the skin to get thinner and leads to the formation of wrinkles.
Collagen gives the skin its strength and smooth appearance, so it’s crucial to protect and promote collagen growth. The active collagen fragments in collagen drinks are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body and to the skin. Skin cells called fibroblasts produce collagen.
Collagen drinks containing hydrolyzed collagen promote collagen synthesis by stimulating these fibroblasts to produce new collagen. Clinical studies shows ingesting 10,000mg a day for a period of 8 weeks help to increase skin thickness and collagen density, reduce wrinkles. See Clinical studies.
2. Hydrolyzed collagen can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and stay in the dermis of our skin
In their natural state, collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the skin’s surface, so the effectiveness of many topical collagen products is limited. Collagen molecules are also too large for your body to absorb when ingested. The process of hydrolysis breaks collagen down into fragments that are small enough for your digestive enzymes to break down completely. Hydrolyzed collagen consists of small peptides with low molecular weight that are easily digested, absorbed, and distributed throughout the body.
While traditional collagen serums only penetrate the top layer of the skin, hydrolyzed collagen is more easily absorbed by the body and can thus boost collagen in the deeper layers of the skin. A 1999 study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatology showed that orally administered hydrolyzed collagen was digested and more than 90% of it was absorbed within 6 hours, with measurable accumulation in the skin and cartilage.
3. Collagen drinks are better than powder or pills
Collagen supplements come in all forms, including tablets, capsules, chewables, softgels, powders, and even marshmallows. The problem with collagen pills and powders is that they could pass through your digestive system without being broken down. Pills are also hard for some people to swallow. Moreover, they typically contain fillers, binders, stabilizers, and chelating agents, making them less potent than liquid supplements.
The secret to success with collagen supplementation is taking collagen in liquid form. Collagen drinks are absorbed into your bloodstream faster than other supplements because the collagen is already dissolved in the liquid. Collagen drinks are also a lot more convenient than pills and powders. They come ready-made in small bottles that you can easily carry in your purse, so you can drink them on the go. No messes or mixing necessary. Additionally, collagen drinks are a lot more potent than other collagen supplements, so you can get a higher dose of collagen.
4. The higher the potency, the better
While there is no recommended daily allowance for collagen, high-end supplements typically contain more than 5,000mg of collagen. For maximum results, drinking a collagen supplement with at least 7,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen is recommended. Anything less than that simply isn’t potent enough. LAC Taut® Premium Collagen drink contains 13,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen per 1.7oz bottle, which is two to six times the concentration of other collagen drink brands.
5. There’s more to collagen drink benefits than meets the eye