Collagen is an important protein present in various connective tissues in the body. Almost 25 percent of whole body protein is collagen. Collagen has triple helical structure. There are at least 27 different types of collagen found in human body. Of all the types, types I to IV are important for humans. Collagen is found in abundance in fibrous tissues which include tendons, ligaments, skin, teeth, bones, cartilage, blood vessel, cornea of eye.
The main function of collagen is to strengthen and support the body structures and to prevent any damage caused by stretching.Collagen degradation or destruction can cause many problems as it is involved in many functions.
Gradual degradation of collagen can lead to wrinkles on skin, joint pain, sagging skin, muscle pain and soreness. Since collagen is present in cartilage, its deficiency can cause joint pain.
Common Causes Of Collagen Degradation
There are several causes that may lead to degradation of collagen.
- Aging: The rate of collagen destruction slowly begins after the age of 40. Aging is a natural process and you cannot stop aging. With growing age, collagen starts breaking down. The skin loses its elasticity and becomes more lax and saggy. The cartilage in the joint also starts to break down. This may lead to pain in joints. Although aging is one factor but there are several other environmental factors that enhance the destruction before aging.
- Exposure to UV light: Too much exposure to ultraviolet rays of sun can cause damage to collagen and elastin. The two natural substances in body which maintain integrity of tissues including skin may be damaged with excess exposure to ultraviolet rays of sun. Hence apply sunscreen before going out in sun. Also wear protective gear such as hat or an umbrella when you are exposed to sunlight.
- Smoking is known to speed up collagen degradation and aging process. Hence people who smoke may experience early wrinkles on their face. The skin loses it strength and elasticity quiet early in smokers. Smoking hampers production of collagen.
- Vitamin C is important for maintaining proper synthesis of collagen in the body. Deficiency of vitamin C causes slowdown in production of collagen. It can lead to condition called scurvy which is characterized by easy bruising, gum inflammation and joint pains.
How To Increase Collagen Production Naturally?
To ensure sufficient amount of collagen in skin and other parts of body, firstly prevent the degradation of collagen. At the same time follow measures that will help to increase production of collagen. Aging you cannot control, but other environmental factors that deteriorate collagen production can be stopped. It is in your hand to avoid smoking, exposure to too much of sunlight, prevent vitamin deficiency, etc.
To accelerate collagen synthesis in the body, you can take supplements available in liquid and pill form. Also you can stimulate collagen production naturally. Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C. It helps to stimulate collagen. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants. Fruits such as strawberry, blueberry, cherry, tomatoes are densely packed with antioxidants.
Sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours. It helps uninterrupted production of collagen. Exercise regularly as it will help to boost collagen production.