Collagen is the primary component of healthy, young skin, and this is no secret. Some others even proclaim collagen treatments and supplements to be the next “fountain of youth.” Have you ever considered the origin of this apparently magical protein, though?
It may be found in certain meals, vitamins, and high-quality skincare products, but it all begins within your body. Collagen is a protein your body naturally manufactures, providing organs and connective tissues strength and structure. The production of collagen slows down with aging, leaving a deficiency that accelerates skin aging, weakens joints, and more.
How Does the Body Make Collagen?
A chain of amino acids that has been twisted into a triple helix form makes up a collagen protein molecule. Collagen synthesis is the process through which your body produces collagen.
Fibroblasts are specialized cells that start the creation of collagen. The cells that produce the collagen proteins are called fibroblasts. They are found in an extracellular matrix, a structural layer.
The extracellular matrix (ECM), which is made up of a network of cells, proteins, and other substances, provides the body’s many tissues structure. It serves as the fundamental structural layer for several tissues, including your skin and cartilage, and it contains fibroblasts in addition to collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronic acid.
Your fibroblasts produce a variety of components into collagenous fibers for the ECM, twisting the fibers into chains that combine to create a triple helix structure.
The four components are required to make collagen.
The first two amino acids you should be aware of when it comes to the formation of collagen are glycine and proline.
The simplest amino acid, glycine, is a component of several proteins. The primary amino acid involved in the formation of collagen is glycine, which accounts for around 35% of the collagen in your body. 2
Another typical amino acid and a frequent component of many proteins is proline. Both as a free amino acid and after it has undergone oxidation, hydroxyproline is necessary for the synthesis of collagen.
Polypeptide chains, which are chains made up of three amino acids in a row, are what make up collagen molecules. This amino acid pattern consists of glycine followed by proline and/or hydroxyproline in alternating order.
A key component in the production of collagen is vitamin C. It triggers the oxidation of proline into hydroxyproline, which is required to finish the chain structure of collagen.
This vitamin also serves as a strong antioxidant, stabilizing proteins and protecting them from damage caused by dangerous free radicals.
Your fibroblasts, as well as other cells, depend on zinc for cellular repair. Your fibroblasts are shielded from harm by zinc throughout the manufacturing process.
The last essential component for collagen production is copper. Lysyl oxidase, an enzyme required to create collagen and elastin fibers, is activated by the mineral copper in your body.
External sources of collagen
You may be asking where the collagen in your supplements and skincare items originates now that you understand how collagen in your own body is produced.
In addition to being the most prevalent protein in the human body, collagen is a crucial protein that may be found in fish, cows, chickens, and pigs, as well as other species. The human body naturally produces liquid collagen, which is commonly harvested and used to make skincare products or health and beauty supplements.
Skincare treatment for collagen
There are many procedures available that may enhance your regular skincare regimen by producing more collagen in your dermis. These consist of:
- Microneedling or Dermarolling is an at-home and professional procedure that puncture your skin with tiny needle-covered rollers, causing your fibroblasts to manufacture collagen.
- Infrared radiation is used in LED red light therapy to reach the dermis, where heat and light waves stimulate fibroblasts and boost collagen production.
- Collagen injections are fillers and injections used to treat deep wrinkles and creases.
- If you’re interested in increasing your collagen with a more involved procedure, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to go through your alternatives.
While you’re here, we should also strongly urge you to avoid activities that weaken the collagen in your body. Avoiding sugar (candy, soda, processed carbohydrates), alcohol, smoking, and excessive sun exposure can help your body produce more collagen. These things may all harm your current collagen and hasten the aging process.