What is Collagen?

Collagen is a type of protein that is found mostly in skin but is also found in bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and other body tissue. There are at least 12 kinds of collagen in our bodies that provide strength to connective tissue and organs. Collagen is most prevalent in the skin where it helps to maintain its texture, elasticity and suppleness.

When you hear the term collagen, it is often paired with another term, elastin. These two are like cousins, because they are both proteins that are linked to lysine and proline. They work in conjunction with each other to support the basic functions of the skin.

Where collagen allows the skin to be strong and smooth, elastin allows the skin to stretch and contract. For example, if you were to pinch your skin, it would be the elastin that allows your skin to flex and return to its original condition. The collagen in this example, would maintain the strength of the skin so the pinch would not damage the tissue. By increasing the elastin and collagen production in your skin, you would be able to decrease the appearance of wrinkles by keeping the skin strong and flexible.

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Losing Collagen
Collagen production slows down as we age and there are some things that can neutralize production all together. They include sun damage, age-related hormonal changes, free radicals and smoking. When collagen slows down or stops, the skin thins, wrinkles become more defined, hair loses elasticity, lips begin to thin, and fingernails become weaker.

Building Strong Collagen and Elastin
There are two common ways to enhance the production of collagen and elastin in your skin, food and topical treatments. There is good reason to suggest that consuming amino acids, like lysine and proline can help, as collagen is actually formed by them. You can find both of these amino acids in animal products.

Additionally there are protein fragments, known as peptides that bind with phytonutrients to strengthen collagen and elastin, smooth wrinkles and firm the skin. These phytonutrients can be found in food sources such as blueberries, cranberries, eggs, garlic, strawberries, green tea and vitamin C to name a few.

Topically speaking, there are facial treatments, creams, lotions, and moisturizers that are equipped with green tea, and vitamin C help to boost collagen and elastin production and synthesis from the outside in.

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Final Thoughts
There are many ways to maintain a youthful appearance as we age, and there are few things you can do to wind back the clock. Empowering yourself with the knowledge of how the body works will help you to make informed, intelligent decisions. Maintaining a healthy, attractive appearance seems to be a combination of many things. However, being consistent with a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to keep yourself looking and feeling great.

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