Nutritional formulations expert and founder of Pura Collagen, Jennifer Mo explains that, in short, collagen basically holds us together. “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. As a major component of connective tissue, collagen is found in joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, nails, the lining of the digestive tract, blood vessels, organs, and structures within the eyes and teeth.”
There are 28 different types of collagen, with Types I, II, and III being the most common. “Type I is found predominantly in the skin, hair, nails, joints, and ligaments, it provides strength, support, and flexibility to these tissues,” adds Mo.
We naturally produce collagen, but the rate of production starts to decline by around 1% a year from our mid-twenties onwards. “For women, the decline increases after the menopause, when falling oestrogen levels leave collagen at greater risk of breakdown,” explains Mo. “Because we aren’t producing as much collagen from our twenties onwards, the existing collagen must work even harder and is more prone to damage. Other factors such as alcohol, smoking, excessive sunlight exposure, and diets high in sugar and processed foods can further exacerbate collagen breakdown and signs of ageing.”
According to Mo, while certain foods can provide either collagen or the amino acids needed to make collagen, these levels are variable and may not be enough to manage a health concern. Beauty creams and serums present the same problem. Collagen peptides in facial moisturisers and serums are too large to be absorbed into the dermis layer of the skin, where collagen-producing cells reside.” she adds. “For collagen supplements to make a difference, they must be easily digested and absorbed, and provide targeted support to tissues.”