Collagen is ubiquitous in the world of beauty. From lip plumping glosses to anti-aging moisturizers, collagen is an ingredient that has grown tremendously in popularity over the past decade. As consumers push for products that help them to stay looking fresh and youthful, significant advancement has been made in the world of collagen supplements. However, not all collagen supplements are equally effective and safe. Read on to find out more about collagen and why Correxiko uses 100% marine based collagen in our Collagen Booster supplement.
What is Collagen?
The skin is our largest organ and serves many important functions including temperature regulation and serving as a barrier against pathogens and bacteria. The skin consists of two main layers called the dermis and the epidermis. In the dermis, which is the deeper layer of skin, specialized cells called fibroblasts make collagen and elastin.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, accounting for 25 to 35 percent of your total protein content. Aside from the dermis, collagen is found in the bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and teeth There are more than 16 types of collagen that are found in the body, each with a different function.1 However, the most important function of collagen is to give the skin support and elasticity. 2 In fact, collagen accounts for 70% of our skin tissue. 15
Collagen works synergistically with elastin, a protein that enables the skin to bounce back after being stretched. Collagen provides structure for the skin while elastin helps to keep the skin taut. Both collagen and elastin are composed of amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of proteins. 80 to 90 percent of all collagen in the body consists of types II, III, and I. Type I collagen is found in the skin, tendons, organs, and bones.1
In the past, humans consumed much more collagen than we do now. Older generations prepared home cooked meals consisting of broths and gravies using the bones of the animals that they consumed for meat. Collagen is found in the ligaments, tendons, bones, skin of animals and is also found in tougher cuts of meat that contain large amounts of connective tissue. Although these parts of animals were staples in our diets many years ago, modern diets are typically lacking in these types of collagen rich foods.
Why We Lose Collagen as We Age:
As we age, collagen production begins to decrease regardless of external factors like lifestyle choices and exposure to pollution and UV radiation. This is called intrinsic aging, After the age of 20, collagen production in the skin drops by about 1 percent each year, causing our skin to develop wrinkles and become less resilient.3 This is due to the aging of fibroblasts, the cells that produce collagen in the skin. Elastin, the protein that helps the skin to stay taut and bounce back also declines, further impacting the skin’s appearance. Our skin becomes thinner and loses its ability to remain firm and plump. At the same time, sweat and oil glands that normally keep the skin hydrated begin to malfunction, leading to dry, dull complexion.4
Wrinkles and sagging skin, which are classic signs of aging, can result from the reduced elasticity of the skin as we age. Due to the decreased production of elastin and collagen, our skin loses its ability to stretch and return to its original position, leading to wrinkles and a saggy appearance. When we are younger, oil-secreting glands keep our skin moisturized by providing a protective, hydrating layer. As we grow older, these glands shrink, and the skin is no longer able to stay properly hydrated. This further promotes the look of drooping skin and signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
Lifestyle Habits and Collagen Depletion:
As we grow older, gradual changes occur over time that lead to telltale signs of aging in the skin like wrinkles and uneven skin tone. This is in part due to genetics, however lifestyle choices have a substantial influence over how well we age.
Extrinsic aging refers to environmental damage and lifestyle choices such as UV radiation from the sun and exposure to pollutants like cigarette smoke. This type of aging also affects collagen production in the skin. UV radiation from the sun accelerates the aging process by damaging collagen fibers while concurrently causing an abnormal accumulation of elastin.5 This sunlight-induced accumulation of elastin damages collagen and fuels the aging process. Unhealthy habits like smoking can enhance the destruction of collagen fibers. Research has shown that cigarette smoking decreases the production of collagen by up to 22%.6
Your diet also has an effect on the rate of which your skin ages. A diet that is heavy in sugar and refined carbohydrates like breads, cakes, and pasta, will accelerate the aging process in the skin. When we consume sugar, it attaches to proteins in the body forming molecules called advanced glycation end products. These molecules build up over time and destroy proteins in the body. Both collagen and elastin are extremely susceptible to glycation and become hard and brittle from structural damage. Glycation also inhibits collagen from regenerating properly, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle.7
While unhealthy habits like too much sun damage, smoking, and a sugar laden diet can lead to the premature destruction of collagen, healthy habits can increase collagen production in the body. Procollagen, which is the precursor to collagen, is synthesized by combining two amino acids called glycine and proline. Vitamin c is necessary for the conversion of procollagen to collagen. By providing your body with excellent sources of vitamin c like bell peppers, oranges, kale, and strawberries, you will be providing your body with the resources necessary to produce healthy amounts of collagen. Consuming highly bioavailable forms of protein like eggs, meat, seafood and legumes is another way to increase collagen production.
Types of Collagen and Why Marine Collagen is Superior:
Although there are many different types of collagen on the market, marine collagen has been proven to be far superior than other collagens derived from cows or pigs. Most collagen supplements contain collagen obtained from the skin and bones of cattle and pigs. However, many concerns have been raised over the safety of these types of collagen proteins because of certain diseases like mad cow disease, foot and mouth disease, and several viral infections, which can be transmitted through animal sourced proteins.8
Marine collagen is extracted from the scales of fish like cod and salmon, and is a safer, more bioavailable option than bovine or porcine collagen. In fact, research has shown that marine collagen is absorbed up to 1.5 times more efficiently by the body than other forms of collagen derived from cows and pigs. Due to the fact that marine collagen is absorbed and utilized so effectively by the body, it is considered to be the best, most highly bioavailable source of collagen.8
Marine collagen is also something that you can feel good about using. Around 75% of the fish caught for consumption is thrown away during processing in the form of skins, bones, fins, and heads.8 By choosing marine collagen, you are reducing the processing waste produced by the fishing industry, helping to reduce environmental pollution.
Marine collagen peptides are unique in the fact that this type of collagen is very similar in structure to human collagen and is highly biocompatible to human tissues. Marine collagen has a low molecular weight, meaning that it is small in size. Because of this fact, it can be easily absorbed and digested by the human body. Marine collagen peptides increase collagen production in the body by increasing the gene expression of several collagen-modifying enzymes, leading to an increased production of collagen by fibroblasts.9 Supplementation with marine collagen has been shown to reduce skin wrinkles10 and even protect the skin against UV damage from the sun.11
Why Take a Collagen Supplement?
In its natural form, collagen is composed of large particles that are too big to penetrate the skin, making most topical beauty products containing collagen ineffective. However, taking collagen in supplement form allows collagen particles to be absorbed through the intestinal wall. Hydrolyzed collagen has been broken down into smaller pieces called collagen peptides. The body absorbs and utilizes hydrolyzed collagen more easily than collagen in its natural state. Hydrolyzed marine collagen is far superior to other forms of collagen due to its high rate of absorbability and the fact that the body easily absorbs and assimilates marine collagen.
Being a type 1 collagen, which is the same collagen that is found in human skin, marine collagen has been shown to benefit the skin in several ways. Research has show that supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen increases the hydration of the skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and increases skin elasticity.12 One research study found that women who supplemented with just 2.5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen for 8 weeks had a 20 percent reduction in the depth of their wrinkles at the end of the study.13 In order to reach the deeper layers of the skin where collagen is synthesized, hydrolyzed collagen must penetrate the intestinal barrier to reach the bloodstream quickly. Marine collagen is absorbed and utilized rapidly and more efficiently by the body than any other type of collagen.
Modern day diets are lacking in natural forms of collagen like the connective tissues and skins of animals. This means less collagen being consumed and utilized by the body to support natural collagen production. Paired with an increase in sugary foods and beverages, and environmental exposure to things like pollution and UV radiation from the sun, this has a disastrous effect on skin health. Stress can also play a major role in skin aging. Chronic stress has been shown to lead to an increase in inflammation in the body and cause damage to DNA, resulting in premature aging of the skin. 14 Taking a marine collagen supplement can safeguard your skin from the effects of stress, sun damage, and inadequate dietary collagen by providing your body with a boost of this vital protein.
While collagen supplementation can benefit the entire body, the most noticeable and desired effects are seen in the skin. If you are looking for a safe and effective way to reduce signs of aging like sagging skin and wrinkles, a marine collagen supplement could be your next favorite beauty product.