The 6 causes of collagen deficiency

Collagen – with a proportion of 70% – is the most important protein in the connective tissue of our skin. Decrease of collagen in the connective tissue causes skin slackness and wrinkles. A collagen deficiency is therefore something you would rather prevent. Fortunately, you have a lot of influence on the occurrence of a collagen deficit and you can also supplement your collagen deficit!

What is collagen?

Collagen is a very important protein in our entire body. We also call it ‘the golden protein’ and there are several reasons for this. You find collagen in your entire body: your bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, teeth, connective tissues, skin, hair and nails. Collagen literally means binding together; it holds everything in our body together and is an important building block for various body processes. In short: collagen is a vital component for a strong and healthy body and also plays an important role in the ageing process of our body.

wat doet collageen
Collagen is found throughout the body.

Collagen shortage of the skin

Over 70% of our connective tissue consists of collagen, which shows how important collagen is for the skin! Collagen can actually be seen as the skin’s brick; it gives the skin firmness and elasticity. When the collagen in the skin starts to decrease, the skin loses its firmness and starts to sag. This is how the first fine lines and eventually wrinkles appear.

Natural collagen production

This golden protein is produced naturally by our bodies. The production of collagen is as follows: 

  1. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Collagen is a protein and therefore consists of amino acids.
  2. Collagen consists mainly of the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. These amino acids are therefore necessary for the production of new collagen. 
  3. Hydroxyproline is made by combining proline and glycine, which requires vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important building block of collagen. 

In the skin, fibroblasts (important cells in the skin) produce pro-collagen by using these amino acids. This pro-collagen is then used to create new collagen fibres. 

The 6 causes of collagen deficiency
Collagen is made up of amino acids. The body uses amino acids to make new collagen.

Collagen shortage

So our bodies produce collagen all by themselves. Nothing more to do, you might think? Unfortunately, there are various causes that reduce or even stop the natural production of collagen. This causes an ever-increasing collagen deficit, which in turn causes the body to age more and more. Here are the 6 main causes of collagen deficiency: 

Collagen degrader 1: Natural production decreases

Unfortunately, the natural production of collagen decreases from the age of 25. This is how our body starts the natural ageing process. After the age of 25, the quantity and production of collagen decreases by approximately 1% per year. In the menopause this decrease is even greater, by about 30%. You can read more about this in this blog.

Collagen degrader 2: The sun

Sunlight is responsible for as much as 80% of skin ageing. Sunlight consists in part of ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays reach the deeper layers of the skin. UVB rays cause the skin to tan, but can also cause sunburn. Both UV rays damage the skin and the collagen fibres in our connective tissue. The collagen fibres lose their elasticity and this is how the first fine lines and wrinkles appear. The UV rays in sunlight can thus cause a collagen deficit. So always wear a high SPF! 

Collagen degrader 3: Free radicals.

Free radicals are small, reactive atoms that help our immune system fight off viruses, for example. So these free radicals are naturally useful to our bodies. However, when too many free radicals are created, things go wrong. The free radicals then not only target pathogens, but also bind to healthy cells. Cells that are damaged too much die, including the cells that make our collagen. Fewer of these cells means a shortage of collagen. This damage is reflected in the form of wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots.

Collagen degrader 4: Sugar

Sugar is not only bad for our health, but if you want to keep your skin beautiful it is best to avoid it. Sugar can lead to inflammation in the deeper skin layers, which ultimately causes wrinkles. An excess of sugar in combination with a protein causes glycation. During this process, harmful substances are released: AGEs. These substances bind to collagen fibres, which then lose their ability to strengthen the skin and keep it elastic.

Collagen degrader 5: Smoking

Smoking is one of the factors responsible for premature skin ageing. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels and thus reduces the supply of oxygen and important nutrients to the skin. In addition, smoking accelerates the formation of AGEs. Smokers also have higher levels of cortisol in their bodies. Cortisol in turn causes skin ageing and wrinkles. In addition, nicotine breaks down vitamin C, the building block of collagen. A lack of vitamin C can also lead to a collagen deficit. 

Collagen degrader 6: environment

Not only does sunlight damage skin cells, but the inhalation of toxic substances does not do much good to the skin either. Think of cigarette smoke and other toxic substances in cleaning products, deodorants, hair sprays, building materials, etc.

Supplement collagen shortage

Fortunately, we ourselves have a great deal of influence on many of the above factors. A varied diet and a healthy lifestyle have a positive influence on skin ageing. Unfortunately, compared to 50 years ago, our diet today does not contain as many nutrients. For example, we only get 5% of the collagen RDA from our diet today. Reason enough to use supplements as a supplement to your diet. Note: food supplements are a supplement to a healthy diet, not a replacement!

The 6 causes of collagen deficiency
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