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Home/Blog/Collagen Levels Decline as You Age: Learn What to Do About It

Collagen Levels Decline as You Age: Learn What to Do About It

By Jill Levy

May 29, 2024

Declining collagen levels

Did you know that collagen is the second most common substance in the body, second only to water? And that collagen is also the most abundant protein in the human body, making up nearly 30 percent of all the proteins in the body?

This structural protein is found throughout the body — in our skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bone. Its fiber-like structure helps make our connective tissue, but as we age, our natural collagen production begins to decline. This is completely normal. 

The human being can give the body certain “building blocks” to make its own collagen through specific diet changes and careful supplementation, similar to how our ancestors ate a collagen-charged diet full of broths and stocks to support the entire body. 

Today, however, dietary collagen is virtually non-existent in the American diet. Because of that shortfall, we’re often feeling it in our gut and joints — and noticing it on our skin, such as “crow’s feet” and less skin elasticity, and even with our hair and its lack of thickness.

Let’s examine why you need collagen, why and when collagen levels can drop, and then what to do about it.  

Why Collagen Is So Important

Found in our flesh, bones and connective tissue, collagen is like a glue that holds our bodies together. 

What is collagen exactly? Collagen is a protein made up of building blocks called amino acids, and this protein is responsible for the health of our joints, our skin elasticity (its stretchiness) and even contributes to our hair strength. 

Collagen resides in our muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bones and even blood. All of these areas of the body play incredibly important roles for our structural health:

  • Our bones are living tissue and serve to provide overall structural support for the body.

  • Ligaments are a type of connective tissue that attaches bones together and holds joints together, while tendons are bodily tissues attaching muscles to bones.

  • Cartilage is the flexible connective tissue found in joints between bones and other bodily areas. 

Collagen also makes up about three-quarters of our skin. It functions to help skin retain and maintain its firmness and smoothness, while playing a large role in healthy hair and nails. 

Collagen Levels as You Age

Once we reach our 30s and 40s, nearly all women and men produce less collagen. In fact, sometime after the age of 20, collagen production naturally begins to diminish (sometimes by up to 1 percent each year). That shortfall can really add up over the years.  

We can thank this process and lower levels of collagen for contributing to “normal signs of aging,” such as fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, as well as impacts to the hair, joints and the gut.

Other lifestyle factors — like eating a diet high in sugar, smoking and high amounts of sun exposure — can also lead to diminishing collagen levels. On top of that, poor intake of collagen-rich foods (like bone broth) can contribute.

How to Help Boost Collagen Levels

Our ancestors followed earlier traditional diets that incorporated whole-animal eating. Simply put, they ate many animal parts — like skin, tendons and ligaments — that we now commonly avoid or discard.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to “get back to the basics.” A surefire way to increase collagen consumption is by making a homemade bone broth. It’s a health-conscious, delicious and cost-effective (no waste!) way to use parts of an animal that can’t be eaten directly. 

Bone broth is simply very good for you. As these inedible animal parts simmer for hours or days, they release collagen in an easy-to-absorb broth. (You can also simply mix Bone Broth Protein with water instead, including using in recipes. It contains three times more protein than bone broth and features collagen types I, II and III, along with glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid.)

Collagen supplements, like Multi Collagen Protein (with its 10 types of collagen from four food sources), are another easy way to increase your collagen intake. Make sure that you get your collagen powder from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows (raised without antibiotics or growth hormones), such as at Ancient Nutrition.

Ancient Nutrition also recently debuted a groundbreaking collagen supplement line called Multi Collagen Advanced. On top of the collagen benefits for one's skin, joints and gut, it also includes ingredients to help one lose weight and fat, gain muscle and strength, or even rapidly hydrate and promote healthy detoxification.

Each Multi Collagen Advanced formula is packed with 10 types of collagen from 10 food-based sources, including six premium grass-fed organs as well as a unique, clinically studied blend of superfood ingredients

Collagen supplements can be conveniently mixed into smoothies, soups or even into baked goods to provide health benefits without adding any taste to your favorite meals.

Using a collagen supplement like Multi Collagen Protein or Multi Collagen Advanced is perhaps the most easy and effective way to help boost the building blocks of collagen levels, which can do the following:

Food-wise, it’s also helpful to employ a nutrient-dense diet that includes lots of antioxidants and vitamin C — such as from fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices — is also helpful for maintaining higher collagen levels. Vitamin C is required for the production of type 1 collagen, which is the most abundant form of collagen in the body.

Finally, consuming enough quality protein-rich foods and healthy fats also plays a role in supporting collagen synthesis.

Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation. 

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