Ah, collagen! The highly coveted matrix that has created a billion dollar industry in America. Collagen is a mesh like substance found in the skin that keeps your skin firm, tight, and wrinkle-free. As we age, collagen production begins to slow down, and visits to plastic surgeons begin to speed up.
If your skin could use a little “firming up” lately, consider your diet before hitting up your cosmetic specialist. Collagen is mostly made up of the amino acids Glycine (about 60%) and Proline (30ish %), as well as hydroxyproline. The 3rd component, hydroxyproline, is derived from proline but needs its dear BFF, VITAMIN C in order to successfully be manufactured into collagen. These 3 substances together must be present to complete the collagen matrix that will keep your skin fabulous. You can consume all the proline and glycine you want to, but without sufficient vitamin C, you’re skin is SOL. Sorry
So…what to do? Incorporate as many foods and organic amino acid supplements into your diet so you have the ingredients to complete the collagen-boosting cocktail. They are both non-essential amino acids, meaning that our bodies produce them in the liver. However, if your liver isn’t functioning at its best (unfortunately this applies to anyone with a healthy social life and consumes adult beverages), then your production levels could use a boost.
Milk thistle is awesome for cleansing and toning your liver…so it helps your body assemble amino acids more efficiently. Get some.
FOR GLYCINE, consume these:
- Spirulina- a potent superfood containing all 20 amino acids
- Animal sources: Pork, fish, dairy and turkey
- Plant sources: Sesame seeds, seaweed, beans, spinach, pumpkin, kale, kiwi, banana, cauliflower and burdock root.
*Be sure to consume vitamin C along with these! Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits are awesome sources!
FOR PROLINE, consume these:
- Asparagus, avocado, bamboo, broccoli rabe, brown rice, cauliflower, seafood, seaweed, spinach, watercress, whey, and eggs.
You can always take collagen supplements as well. Though I’m in my 20′s and still have smooth skin, I’m all about being proactive and just started to use the Supercollagen +C. So far so good!
Other ways to boost collagen production are facial yoga and massage, laser treatments, yoga (increased circulation brings more oxygenated and amino acid-rich blood to your face), and collagen powder facial masks to name a few.
Also, be sure to avoid lotions and make-up if you can, they are loaded with creepy chemicals and fragrances that break the collagen matrix. Not cute!!
I attached a pic of the chemical structures of these aminos….since I’m sure you were curious as to what they look like
(how nerdy am I!)