Miracle molecule collagen

How can you stop collagen breakdown and ensure that your skin stays young for a long time?

Anyone who is concerned about the youthful elasticity of their skin and researches which factors strongly influence this property will come across the term collagen again and again. And yes, this molecule has a huge impact on how our skin looks and feels and of course it is beneficial when it is produced in large quantities and in high concentration in our skin. But what do you do when your skin starts to show the first signs of aging and is no longer as firm as it once was? Is there any way I can stimulate the body's own collagen production or do I really have to use one of the many nutritional supplements available on the market? Let us enlighten you in the following article and help you make your decision!


What is collagen?

Collagen is a structural protein found in the human body and makes up about a third of the total protein in the body. It is an important component of connective tissue that supports and protects skin, bones, tendons, cartilage and teeth.

Collagen molecules are made up of a chain of amino acids called glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. These amino acids combine to form long fibers that are very strong and stable and play an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of tissues and organs in the body.

There are several types of collagen in the body, each with a specific function. For example, Type I collagen is the most abundant collagen in the body and makes up a majority of the collagen in skin, bones, and tendons. Type II collagen is found primarily in cartilage tissue, while type III collagen is found in organs such as the liver, lungs and uterus.

Where does collagen production and breakdown take place in the body?

The collagen fibers in the skin are part of the connective tissue that supports the skin and gives it structure. Collagen production and breakdown in the skin occurs primarily in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin.

Collagen production takes place there by specialized cells called fibroblasts. These cells produce collagen molecules, which are then linked into long fibers that support the structure of the skin. Collagen is also produced by other cells in the skin, such as keratinocytes.

The breakdown of collagen in the skin occurs through various enzymes that break down the collagen fibers. An important type of enzyme is the matrix metalloprotease (MMP). MMPs are enzymes produced by various cells in the skin that promote the breakdown of collagen. UV radiation, tobacco smoke and other environmental factors can increase the production of MMPs in the skin, thereby accelerating collagen breakdown.

Another important process in the skin is glycation, where sugar molecules in the body react with collagen molecules to form "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs). AGEs can affect the structure and function of collagen by causing the collagen molecules to stick together and harden, accelerating the aging process of the skin.

Why does collagen content in skin decrease with age?

Collagen content in the body decreases throughout life, primarily due to two factors: age-related collagen breakdown and reduced collagen production.

As we age, the breakdown of collagen in the body increases while the production of new collagen decreases. This leads to a loss of collagen fibers and a decrease in the structural integrity of tissues in the body.

The breakdown of collagen usually begins between the ages of 20 and 25 and increases continuously over the course of life. From around the age of 40, collagen production in the body slows down significantly and collagen breakdown becomes faster.

Some studies estimate that the loss of collagen in the human body is around 1% per year between the ages of 30 and 60. This means that an average person at age 60 has about 30% less collagen than at age 30.

However, it is important to note that collagen loss can vary in different areas of the body. For example, loss of collagen in skin may be faster than in other tissues such as bones or tendons. Loss of collagen throughout life can lead to various aging processes and health problems, such as wrinkles and sagging skin, brittle bones, joint pain and inflammation, poorer wound healing and a higher susceptibility to injury.


Which factors accelerate collagen breakdown?

Collagen breakdown can be accelerated by various factors, such as:

  • The genetic factors play a role in both collagen production and collagen breakdown in the body. Some people have higher collagen production simply because of their advantageous predisposition, or the processes by which collagen is broken down occur more slowly or only become more pronounced later in life.

  • UV radiation can damage the collagen fibers in the skin, accelerate collagen breakdown and lead to skin aging and wrinkles. The rays penetrate the skin and can break the collagen fibers or destabilize the molecules. The activity of the enzymes responsible for collagen breakdown is also increased by UV radiation. The activity of the collagen-producing cells, the fibroblasts, is inhibited.

  • Smoking can accelerate collagen breakdown and reduce collagen production in the body by reducing blood flow to the skin and subsequently transporting less oxygen and nutrients to the skin that are important for collagen production. It can also increase the production of free radicals, which can cause oxidative damage to the skin. This damage, in turn, can accelerate collagen breakdown.

  • An unhealthy diet that is low in nutrients such as vitamin C, sulfur and antioxidants can affect collagen production in the body. It is extremely important to provide the cells in the skin with all the nutrients needed for the production of collagen molecules by the fibroblasts.

  • Chronic stress and the associated permanently elevated cortisol levels in the blood can reduce collagen production in the body and accelerate collagen breakdown. In addition, blood circulation in the skin can be restricted, inflammatory processes in the body can increase and the repair mechanisms of the cells can be impaired.

  • Hormonal changes associated with age, such as menopause in women, or during pregnancy, can affect collagen production in the body. The increased estrogen level in the blood is responsible for this. However, the effects of hormonal changes on collagen levels vary from person to person.

  • Excessive intake of sugar or refined carbohydrates can promote the formation of so-called AEGs, which react with the collagen molecules and cause them to stick together and harden. It can also lead to an increase in inflammatory mediators in the body, which accelerate collagen breakdown and inhibit production by inhibiting the activity of fibroblasts.

What are the consequences of a decrease in collagen in the skin?

The decrease in collagen in the skin can have various consequences related to skin aging and the deterioration of skin health. Here are some of the possible impacts:

  • Collagen is an important structural component of the dermis and is therefore important for the strength of the skin. As collagen breakdown increases, the dermis and skin as a whole becomes thinner and loses these properties. Wrinkles form, especially on the face, neck and hands.

  • Collagen is also important for retaining moisture in the skin. Collagen molecules have a sponge-like structure and can absorb up to 70% of their weight in water, helping to keep skin moist and hydrated. It works hand in hand with the body's own substance hyaluronic acid to retain moisture. When collagen production decreases, skin can become dry and rough.

  • Collagen is also important for skin elasticity. If collagen production decreases, this can also have consequences for other structural proteins such as elastin and fibrillin, causing the skin to look increasingly flabby and sagging.

  • A loss of collagen in the skin can cause the skin barrier to become damaged, making the skin more susceptible to damage from UV radiation and other environmental factors. This can lead to inflammation, redness, pigment changes and an increased risk of skin cancer.

How can I counteract the loss of collagen in the skin?

Some approaches arise directly from the reasons for reducing collagen production or increasing collagen breakdown. However, there are also various measures that have not yet been addressed that can help counteract the decrease in collagen in the skin. They are listed below:

  • A balanced diet with enough protein, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help support collagen production in the skin. The aspect of nutrition will be taken up and discussed in detail later.

  • Adequate hydration is important for skin health and collagen production. With the help of the water, the required nutrients are transported into the collagen-producing cells. It also maintains the structure of collagen. It is recommended to drink at least 2-3 liters of water daily.

  • UV radiation is one of the main factors that can accelerate the breakdown of collagen in the skin. It is therefore important to protect the skin from the sun's rays by wearing sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and appropriate clothing before bathing in the sun or spending long periods outdoors.

  • Smoking can also accelerate the breakdown of collagen in the skin and lead to premature aging. This is not the only reason why it is recommended to avoid smoking or, ideally, to quit altogether.

  • Chronic stress can accelerate the breakdown of collagen in the skin. It is therefore advisable to integrate stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation or breathing exercises into your everyday life and try to keep your stress level as low as possible. Skin benefits from low blood cortisol levels for several reasons, collagen content being one of them.

  • Activities such as face yoga, face cupping, gua sha and massage techniques stimulate metabolism and blood circulation in the skin and can lead to collagen production being stimulated. By applying pressure to the skin, collagen production can also be directly stimulated. The fibroblasts in the dermis are stimulated. In addition, more nutrients are simply transported to the collagen-producing cells. Inflammatory processes in the skin are reduced, which in turn delays collagen breakdown. Additionally, massages, face yoga, and gua sha can also help stimulate the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system plays an important role in removing toxins from the body and can also help keep skin healthy.

What exactly goes into a diet that is good for the collagen content of my skin?

In order for the fibroblasts in the middle layer of the skin to be able to produce collagen, they must be adequately supplied with certain nutrients. The nutrients are transported via our blood and reach the dermis via the capillaries in the subcutis, the lowest layer of skin. They ultimately reach the fibroblasts via diffusion processes or special transport proteins and are synthesized there in complex processes to form collagen and other extracellular proteins.

The most important nutrients for collagen synthesis are briefly presented:

  • Collagen is primarily made up of proteins , so adequate protein intake is necessary to support collagen production. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts and seeds.

  • Vitamin C is an important nutrient for collagen production and an antioxidant that can help protect collagen fibers from free radical damage. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, strawberries and kiwis.

  • Iron is a mineral needed for the formation of collagen and hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen in the body. A good source of iron is red meat, but whole grain products, beans and green leafy vegetables also contain iron.

  • Copper helps activate enzymes involved in collagen formation. Good sources of copper include seafood, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

  • Zinc helps form enzymes involved in collagen production. Good sources of zinc include seafood, meat, beans and nuts.

  • Adequate intake of vitamin A can help ensure that the skin has enough resources to produce and maintain collagen. Good sources of vitamin A include liver, eggs, dairy products, sweet potatoes and carrots.

  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect collagen fibers from free radical damage. Good sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the skin and improve the skin's moisture barrier. Healthy skin has enough resources to produce sufficient collagen. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish, flax seeds and walnuts.

  • Silicon is a trace element that is important for collagen production and is particularly found in whole grains, beans and green leafy vegetables.

  • Sulfur is a mineral needed for the formation of collagen and other important proteins. Good sources of sulfur include eggs, onions and garlic.

You can see that your diet should be balanced and, above all, varied if you want to make sure that your body has the above-mentioned nutrients in sufficient concentration to ensure optimal supply in terms of collagen production.

Is it worth buying dietary supplements with collagen?

First of all, it is important to note that the effects of collagen supplements are controversial and research on this topic is still limited. If you are considering taking collagen supplements, it is best to speak to your doctor or a qualified nutritionist to find out what type of collagen supplement is best for you and how much you should take.

Then there are a few things that will definitely interest you if you are thinking about such a supplement. There is currently no plant or synthetic collagen that is identical to the natural collagen in the human body. Collagen is a protein made up of certain amino acids that are only found in animal proteins. Therefore, collagen is usually obtained from animal sources such as pig skin, cattle bones or fish skin. The animal tissue is first ground up, then the collagen is extracted in an acid bath and then hydrolyzed, i.e. broken down into smaller components or peptide chains, which have better bioavailability when consumed as dietary supplements.

It should be borne in mind that collagen absorbed through food is broken down into its components - amino acids - during digestion in the gastrointestinal tract. This means that the collagen itself does not enter the body directly. However, there is evidence that the collagen amino acids from the supplements can be more easily synthesized back into collagen by the body and the collagen content in the skin may increase for this reason.

However, it is also important to note that producing collagen from animal sources raises ethical and environmental concerns, particularly regarding animal welfare and sustainability. There are already efforts to find alternative sources of collagen, such as from algae or bacteria, but the results of this work are not yet available to the market.

Ultimately, only you can decide for yourself whether taking a collagen supplement is right for you, although the effect is still being discussed and the origin of the animal ingredients will be difficult to trace in most cases.

Maybe you, like us, just try a balanced and healthy diet and stimulation through massages, Gua Sha, face cupping and face yoga, i.e. the natural way. If you are looking for inspiration or recipes, we might be able to get you interested in a Wellbeing Membership. For intensive and effective face training, you have come to the right place with one of our Basic or Advanced Face Training Memberships. We are sure we can convince you with our know-how...