Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It acts as the “glue” that holds and supports our tendons, ligaments, joints, and skin.
Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies decrease their production of collagen. This leaves us with skin issues, joint pain, and so much more.
We’ll answer all your questions about collagen deficiency in this post – the causes and symptoms of it, as well as how food and supplements can be of help.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Collagen?
Let’s first take a closer look at what collagen is and why it’s essential for our bodies.
Collagen is a protein we naturally produce and makes up around 75 percent of our skin’s structure. Not only is it responsible for our skin elasticity and texture, but it affects the flexibility of our joints and muscles.
Around the age of 25, our collagen production begins to decline. This is why it’s crucial to supplement collagen into our diets, through the right foods, vitamins or supplements.
What are the Symptoms of Collagen Deficiency?
It’s difficult to measure precisely how much collagen your body currently has. However, there are plenty of symptoms that will serve as evidence you lack the proper amount.
Here’s a list of the most common symptoms you’ll experience if you’re deficient in collagen.
The most prominent symptom of collagen loss is fine lines and wrinkles. This comes to no surprise since collagen is the reason our skin has structure and is firm. Without the proper amount of collagen, our skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag and form wrinkles.
You might notice discomfort in your joints. This is because cartilage, the rubbery, connective tissue found between joints and bones, is primarily made up of collagen.
When cartilage isn’t supported with collagen, there’s more bone-on-bone movement, which can result in joint pain like arthritis.
Studies show that supplementing with collagen can help support cartilage tissue and relieve symptoms of joint pain.
Loss of Mobility
Collagen vascular diseases (CVD) are autoimmune diseases that can cause loss of mobility. CVD include lupus, scleroderma, temporal arteritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
People with these diseases experience inflammation in collagen and the surrounding joints. This can result in joint damage and stiffness that make movement difficult.
As severe as it may sound, taking collagen, among other vitamins may be of great help, to avoid the progression of CVD.
What Causes Collagen Deficiency?
Now that you know the symptoms of collagen deficiency, let’s take a look at what factors may contribute to collagen loss.
It’s no secret that we’re growing older every second. It’s important to kill off bad lifestyle choices to avoid the shortage of collagen. However, it can be inevitable due to aging in general.
According to dermatologist Whitney Bowe, we begin to lose about 1 percent of collagen per year, starting around our mid-20s. Besides, women can lose up to 30 percent alone in the first five years of menopause.
This is why it’s essential to boost our collagen levels with various supplements.
There are many lifestyle choices you can avoid to prevent collagen loss – one of them being tobacco. Tobacco contains over 4,000 chemicals and toxins, which can cause premature aging in many areas of the body.
Tobacco can also cause damage to collagen and constrict blood vessels, resulting in dry skin, discoloration, and wrinkles.
Excessive Intake of Sugar
Smoking isn’t the only bad habit that affects collagen levels – a poor diet does too.
Sugar causes inflammation in the body. Plus, it’s highly addictive and can create several health problems, including the damage of collagen.
Our skin is an outward display of what’s happening inside of our bodies. When sugar sabotages our collagen production, you’ll start to notice wrinkles, acne, sagging skin, dark spots, and more.