Collagen production decreases by 1% each year after you reach age 21.
What a horrible way to start an article! That’s the bad news. Here’s the good…
You can help your body produce more collagen naturally, even as you age. Let’s dig in to how that works.
Table of Contents – Click to the Section You Want to Read
- How much collagen do you need to produce?
- How do our bodies rebuild collagen?
- What are nutrient cofactors?
- What keeps us from producing collagen?
- Why Vitamin B can help
- Are collagen powders effective?
- Which collagen type is best?
- What’s the formula for producing collagen as I age?
How Much Collagen Does Your Body Need to Produce?
Here’s a crazy stat. Every 5 days, your body needs to produce 1 pound of collagen to keep your skeleton, skin, cardiovascular, joints, and bones properly remodeled.Every 5 days, your body needs to produce 1 pound of collagen to keep your skeleton, skin, cardiovascular, joints, and bones properly remodeled. Click To Tweet
What does that even mean? Remodeled?
Well, cells get damaged over time. And Collagen has some specific enemies.
Sugar and homocysteine can damage and/or destroy collagen.
→ Want to know your homocysteine levels? Come get your bloodwork with our partners Bwell4ever here in Chattanooga. Nutrition World Founder, Ed Jones recently had his levels checked, and his homocysteine levels were a bit elevated. This can affect your collagen production.
The fibroblasts in our bodies create enzymes to destroy damaged cells and clear them out of our bodies. And that’s why we need to produce more collagen.
This is a very energy and enzyme dependent process.
How does rebuilding work?
We’re about to get pretty scientific. But we’ll break it down and then tell you what it all means in layman’s terms below.
To create collagen, your body needs a few items: amino acids, and the right enzymes to build this fibrous, tough, and flexible substance that holds all of our body together and keeps things working right.
It all starts by the body linking together amino acids, determined by our DNA. Then enzymes create reactions to form a triple helix and then links those together again, and again, and again, and again.
And because amino acids start the whole chain, you know what that means…
You’ve got to consume enough protein!
Here’s a little secret, collagen supplements and powders do add some protein, but they do not supply our bodies with complete amino acid chains. Founder Ed Jones suggests a whey protein supplement would give our bodies a far superior protein supply than a collagen supplement or powder if we’re trying to increase muscle mass. You need the FULL chain amino acid to produce more collagen, especially as you age.
So, let’s say you get enough protein. That’s not the end of the story. In order for your body to produce these enzyme reactions to create functional collagen, they need nutrient cofactors.
What are nutrient cofactors?
I’ll be nerdy and say a cofactor is a non-protein chemical compound or metallic ion. And cofactors serve as the catalyst to get the enzymes to do their jobs in creating functional collagen. Like pushing the button to start the engine in your car before you can move forward.
The two biggest cofactors used in collagen production are orthosilicic acid and vitamin C.
There are 10 enzymes involved in collagen production. At least 7 depend on activation by vitamin C and 6 depend on orthosilicic acid. So, you can understand the importance of these two cofactors to help our bodies naturally produce what we need.
Vitamin C, you know. But what is orthosilicic acid?
You’ve probably heard of orthosilicic acid by the moniker silicon.
Wait a minute? Plastic? Nope! We’re talking silicon, not silicone. Silicon is a naturally occurring substance.
And if you need it to produce what your body needs, how do you get it?
Natural sources of silicon include fruits, vegetables, cereals, and mineral water. European and North American diets typically don’t have enough silicon, because of all the high-processed foods we eat. You can overcome a deficiency in silicon by consuming foods like fish and animal meat, eggs, milk, fruits, grains, and drinking water PLUS the use of silicon supplements.
→ Founder Ed Jones uses Biosil as his orthosilicic acid supplement on a daily basis. It contains silcon, and he’s been using it for years!
When we consume these silica rich foods, our stomach acid digests it and turns it into orthosilicic acid. The problem is, we produce less stomach acid as we age. That’s one reason our bodies produce less collagen. So, that’s another reason to do everything you can to maintain a healthy gut.
Hippocrates says, ‘All disease begins in the gut.’ I say, ‘so does healing.’ – Ed Jones, Founder, Nutrition World
Other Nutrient Cofactors We Need
Enzymes typically need two kinds of keys to turn them on…a vitamin key and a mineral key. We’ve talked about orthosilicic acid and Vitamin C. Obviously vitamin C is the vitamin key. And orthosilicic acid is the mineral key – it’s a trace mineral found in nature.
We mentioned previously that we need 10 activating enzymes to produce functional collagen. Vitamin C activates 7 and Orthosilicic acid activates 6. That leaves us with a few enzymes that need different cofactors to activate them to produce collagen.
When we spoke to Richard Passwater, Jr., with Natural Factors in 2020, he advised we also need Iron and Copper to activate our collagen producing enzymes. Some of us may consume enough iron and copper in our diets. Others, may need to supplement.
Have your iron and copper levels checked in your bloodwork onsite here in Chattanooga at Nutrition World with our partners bwell4ever.
What Inhibits our Ability to Produce Collagen?
There are a few ways we might be keeping our body from producing collagen naturally.
Here are three things that destroy collagen in our bodies:
- Free radicals from sugar consumption
We have long encouraged lower sugar intake to promote a more healthy life. Here’s your next reason why. If you want strong bones, glowing skin, and a healthy cardiovascular system with natural collagen production, reduce your refined sugar intake.
As for cortisol, having the right amount of cortisol is essential for healthy living. The problem is, with the stresses of life, wonky sleep patterns, and lack of exercise, most people produce too much cortisol. And that cortisol ends up damaging and/or destroying our functional collagen. To maintain healthy levels of cortisol, you can concentrate on sleep, exercise, and getting outside in the morning and afternoon sunlight.
Sneaky Benefits of Vitamin B
A few supplements help us metabolize cortisol better. And the cool part is, one of them also reduces homocysteine levels at the same time.
Here’s a quick list for help metabolizing cortisol:
- Omega-3s (that’s one of our Core 4 Supplements we believe everyone should use!)
- Pre- and Probiotics (healing begins in the gut!)
- Vitamin B12 – this powerhouse helps prompt our bodies to produce cortisol if we’re low, and it also reduces levels when they surge.
In order to reduce homocysteine levels in the body, we need B vitamins to the rescue. Particularly, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Our bodies use these vitamins to reduce homocysteine levels in our blood.
Nutrition World founder Ed Jones mentioned he recently discovered higher than optimal levels of homocysteine in his bloodwork. And now he’s taking extra B vitamins to help. That’s why he’s a huge proponent of regular bloodwork! And Nutrition World has partnered with Bwell4ever to bring bloodwork to you for a reasonable price here at our Nutrition World Chattanooga location.
Can I use Collagen Powders to Help With Natural Collagen Production?
Many people that come to Nutrition World love using collagen powder. We believe collagen powders are useful, but you should understand the limitations of what these powders offer.
First, think of collagen powder as a good source of amino acids. While they don’t provide a complete amino acid protein, collagen powders do offer healthy amounts of most of the amino acids your body needs to produce collagen. Just remember, you still need complete amino acids to produce functional collagen. So, you’ll need to find natural ways to complete those proteins or use other supplements as well.
Second, many collagen powder manufacturers say the collagen peptides stimulate our mRNA to produce more collagen. This claim may hold true; however, we haven’t seen any solid third-party research to confirm it.
Third, we have a few concerns with collagen powders products.
Collagen Powder Purity
Powder supplements notoriously include heavy metals and other impurities that damage our health more than they help. Collagen powder specifically may also include collagen produced with bad farming methods. If you’re going to use collagen powder, be sure to understand where the manufacturer sources their collagen supply.
Powders Don’t Contain Enzyme Activating Nutrient Cofactors
We’ve discussed how enzymes contribute to our body’s production of collagen and how we need a vitamin and mineral combo to activate those enzymes. If you look at the ingredients of most collagen powders, they do not include any of the vitamins and minerals we know our 10 collagen producing enzymes need. So, again, the peptides may serve as a great source of amino acids. And yet, our bodies will need more in order to naturally produce collagen on our behalf.
We only bring you the BEST collagen powders. Check out some of our favorites here:
This Dr. Axe Powder Includes Vitamin C!
This Garden of Life Collagen Powder Includes Other Sources of Protein for a Complete Amino Acid Profile – PLUS the collagen comes from Grass Fed Sources!
This Vibrant Health Joint Powder Includes Peptides PLUS Vitamin C, Minerals, and Silica
Do Collagen Powders Block our Access to Tryptophan?
Here’s the skinny on collagen peptides and tryptophan and why it’s important for overall good health, from our perspective. Some people come to us and say they feel their anxiety levels increase when they use collagen powders. Our founder Ed Jones has experienced this himself. And tryptophan may be the key.
We cannot find any studies showing that collagen powders actually inhibit our ability to metabolize tryptophan. However, IF one uses collagen as the ONLY source of amino acids, you won’t have the tryptophan you need. And tryptophan helps us produce and metabolize serotonin. Which wards off depression and anxiety.
Since some on our team have experienced increased anxiety when using collagen powder, we’d love to see more research before we comment further on this possible side effect.
The good news is, we haven’t heard about any of these types of side effects with medical grade liquid collagen.
And you can watch an interview on using medical grade liquid collagen supplements with Ed Jones and Health Direct’s Jim Caras here.
Try Our Biosil Bone Collagenizer Ultra
So, what about collagen types? Which is best?
So far, scientists have identified 28 types of collagen in the body. And that’s how it can really start to feel overwhelming. You may start seeing labels with collagen type I or II or II, and you’re not sure which type you need.
Here’s the good news. Over 93% of collagen is type I. Plus, your body is smart! If you’re stimulating the growth of collagen, your body will create all 28 types of collagen for you. The myth is that you need to supplement with all collagen types. The reality is, if you provide your body with what it needs to produce collagen itself, you don’t need to supplement with every type of collagen.
What’s the Easiest Way to Prompt My Body to Produce What it Needs?
Here’s a great formula for naturally increasing collagen production…
Protein + Vitamin C + Orthosilicic Acid (or Silica)
And then do your best to reduce your sugar intake and keep your cortisol and homocysteine levels in the optimal range. (That may be a reason to add a Vitamin B complex supplement to your regimen.)