We've spoken of collagen before on the Vitasave blog, and there's no doubt that this is a trending beauty supplement that is gaining increasing attention for its various health benefits.
Collagen is a protein found naturally in connective tissue and it acts as structural support for the skin. This protein helps the skin to feel firm, smooth, and plump by maintaining skin elasticity and retaining skin moisture.
Though collagen production happens naturally in the body, this process declines with age which can lead to loss of moisture and firmness in the skin and increased dryness and signs of ageing.
Studies have confirmed collagen's ability to reduce signs of aging in the skin and improve skin aging parameters, skin elasticity, and hydration (1).
Even though we lose collagen as we age, the good news is that you can obtain collagen externally for additional support from either food sources or supplementation.
However, for those who are vegan or vegetarian and want to find alternative ways of stimulating collagen production without consuming animal products, what can they do?
Today on the blog we're sharing 3 plant-based ways you can support collagen production for a more youthful and glowing skin.
3 nutrients to support collagen production for youthful skin
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that plays an essential role in collagen production (2). It has the ability to raise collagen levels and produce firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
Compared to other body tissues, the skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C.
As a powerful antioxidant this vitamin can help to protect the skin from sun damage by neutralizing and removing oxidative stress from the body, which may help smooth and brighten skin from the inside out (3).
Lower levels of vitamin C have been linked to aged or photo-damaged skin (4). Signs and symptoms that have been associated with lack of vitamin C include poor wound healing, skin fragility, wrinkles, and roughness and dryness of the skin (5).
Because both collagen and vitamin C levels can decrease with aging and can be inhibited by environmental toxins and pollutants, supplementing can be a good idea to counteract this decline and boost collagen for beautiful looking skin as you age.
Though you can obtain vitamin C from various plant foods, it's not always enough. Vitamin C is depleted with increased stress levels, environmental toxin exposure, certain medications like oral contraceptives, infections, and smoking.
All of these factors increase the body's need for vitamin C and thus supplementation may be recommended to reach optimal levels.
Silica is a trace mineral that provides strength and flexibility to connective tissues such as hair, skin, and nails. It has been shown to directly stimulate collagen synthesis (6).
BioSil is a plant based collagen supporting formula that includes orthosilicic acid, the biologically active form of silicon. Taking this form of silicon has been shown to protect existing elasticity and strength in your skin while activating your own cells to produce fresh collagen.
A double-blind, randomized study of women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s with sun-damaged skin found their fine lines and wrinkles reduced by 30% and skin elasticity improved by 89% after twenty weeks of taking BioSil daily, compared to the placebo group (8).
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is also known as a co-factor for collagen synthesis. This means that it has the job of activating proteins that are required for the formation of collagen and without it, collagen can't be produced.
Chronic zinc deficiency can inhibit the reparative processes in the body and the administration of zinc may help to reduce the breakdown of collagen (9).
Zinc contributes to healthy looking skin in more ways than just collagen support. This mineral supports wound healing, combats free radicals, and fights inflammation, which makes it an important nutrient for skin health. Getting sufficient zinc can help to promote smoother, clearer and more beautiful looking skin while reducing premature signs of aging (10).
Zinc status can be supported with foods that are rich in this mineral such as shellfish, pumpkin seeds, beef, legumes, dairy products, and eggs, as well as dietary supplements.