11 Signs That You Are Deficient in Collagen

Collagen is a structural protein that makes up a large percentage of the cells in our body. 30% of the protein in our bodies is collagen, making it the most abundant protein in the body. It is part of our connective tissue that holds together skin and many other parts of the body. It is found in muscle, bone, tendons, blood vessels and the digestive system. Collagen is essential for keeping your skin looking young and healthy, and losing collagen is a common part of the aging process. Collagen keeps skin looking young, soft, smooth and firm. It helps skin cells renew and repair themselves and keeps the skin moist. Collagen loss begins around age 30, and becomes more severe by age 50. Some studies suggest that collagen supplements can help reverse the adverse effects of collagen loss. In this article we will go through the common signs that you are deficient in collagen.

  1. Wrinkling: As we age, collagen stores become depleted and our skin loses some of its structure. This results in the common signs of aging including wrinkles, sagging skin and a decrease in skin elasticity.
  2. Joint Pain: Decreased levels of collagen can cause stiff, swollen and painful joints. Collagen loss in the joints can lead to increased friction between the bones and ligaments, which can be painful and progress into arthritis.
  3. Sore Muscles: Our tendons and ligaments hold our muscles to bones and our bones to other bones. Tendons and ligaments are made of collagen, and as collagen fibers weaken, so do the connections between these structures. This can lead to increased friction and aching muscles. A percentage of our muscle mass is also made of collagen, and as we age, muscle mass is lost, which is called sarcopenia.
  4. Cellulite: Collagen is part of your connective tissue, and is therefore important for skin elasticity, firmness and cell renewal. When the fatty tissue layer underneath your skin pushes upward against your connective tissue, cellulite results. With age and further decreases in collagen, the skin thins further and cellulite worsens.
  5. Flat or Thin Hair: Collagen protein is found around the hair follicles. Here, there are small blood vessels that deliver the nutrients your hair needs to stay healthy. As collagen levels decline, so does the delivery of the nutrients necessary for hair growth. This results in dull, thin hair.
  6. Brittle Nails: You may have heard of keratin, which is a protein necessary for healthy, strong nails. Collagen protein contains the amino acid proline, which is one of the building blocks of keratin.
  7. Hollowed Face and Eyes: As we age, our natural glow and smooth skin begins to deteriorate. Collagen deficiency may result in the darkening and hollowing of the area around the eyes.
  8. Blood Pressure Problems: Our blood vessel walls are partly made of collagen, and when collagen deteriorates we experience problems with regulating blood flow. Usually, collagen deficiency results in abnormally low blood pressure. Some of the symptoms associated with abnormally low blood pressure include headaches, chest pain, dizziness and fatigue.
  9. Decreased Bone Density: Our bones are partly made up of collagen. If we become low in collagen, we are at risk for osteogenesis imperfecta, or “brittle bone disease”.
  10. Poor Gut Health and Leaky Gut: Collagen is everywhere, including the lining of your digestive tract. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine and glutamine which are helpful for digestion and a healthy gut barrier. The right amount of collagen, glycine and glutamine help maintain the gut lining and increase nutrient absorption while reducing bloating. A leaky gut does not provide the strong protection needed to prevent toxins from entering the bloodstream. A healthy gut is not only important to feel good on a daily basis, but can lead to a stronger immune system.
  11. Poor Appetite Control: Collagen may help decrease your appetite because it supports satiating hormones. Collagen has been shown to make people feel full for longer than other proteins such as whey or soy. When we feel full and satisfied, we are less likely to overeat, which may make collagen an important piece of weight loss and weight management.

So, how do you boost your collagen levels? There are many non-invasive ways to increase your collagen.

  • You can take collagen supplements. Supplementing with collagen has been shown to slow the appearance of wrinkles, support joint health, reduce inflammation and arthritis, increase muscle mass, harden nails, improve hair growth, reduce hair loss and slow the graying of hair. When choosing a collagen supplement, make sure you are getting one with several different types of collagen in it, as our body uses different forms of collagen for different functions. Also consider whether or not the collagen supplement is hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed collagen contains collagen that has been broken down into smaller molecules making it easier and faster for your body to absorb. Make sure you always take collagen supplements under the supervision of a trusted healthcare professional.
  • Massages have been shown to increase collagen production. Plus, they feel great and can help reduce stress, which will help you look and feel younger.
  • Hyaluronic acid is a compound that is important for collagen found in the skin. Hyaluronic acid is found in amino acid rich foods like beans, root vegetables and soy. You can also find hyaluronic acid supplements.
  • Vitamin C has been shown to play a role in protecting the skin and producing more collagen. Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement but is easily found in foods such as citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, papaya, strawberries and broccoli.
  • Bone broth is a common way to get collagen from food. We do not eat the same way our ancestors did and thus it is more difficult for us to find collagen in our diet.

Clearly, collagen is an extremely important part of a well-functioning body. We hope that this article enhanced your understanding of what collagen is and why it plays an important role in staying healthy.


Resources:
  • https://www.healthworkscollective.com/4-symptoms-collagen-deficiency/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317151#What-is-collagen
  • https://www.absolutecollagen.com/blogs/features-testimonials/10-signs-you-have-collagen-deficiency
  • https://blog.biotrust.com/7-signs-collagen-deficiency/
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/collagen-defect