Did you know that 30% of our body is collagen? Having a collagen deficiency could lead to a whole host of problems, ranging from your skin to your organs.
Your health is greatly improved when you add collagen to your system when you don’t have enough to begin with such as joint and muscle health, gastrointestinal health, and clear and supple skin.
We are going to take a look at the top collagen deficiency symptoms, and the role and importance of collagen in your body.
The Definition of Collagen
Collagen is in our skin, hair, nails, and connective tissues. It’s actually found in all mammals, consisting of 20-40% of their makeup. Biological cells known as fibroblasts create collagen, helping to restore and repair muscles and wounds.
Collagen is also found in tendons, muscles, ligaments, and organs, helping the most important parts of our human anatomy function correctly. Collagen is designed by several amino acids as such glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine – making a complex protein.
The Location of Collagen
As mentioned, collagen is in a variety of locations in the human body. The main source being our organs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones. Secondary to that, our cartilage, tissues, and other cellular membranes.
Collagen’s Job in the Body
Collagen deficiency is important to note because of collagen’s vital role within the body. Without it functioning properly, your health starts to suffer. Collagen acts as an adhesive substance that fastens the framework of your body together. Collagen is most noticeable in the skin as it provides elasticity and protects us from unwanted disease and bacteria.
Over time, the body stops producing large amounts of collagen, leading to collagen deficiencies. Although old age leads to deficiency, there’s a chance you may have one prior to the point in which your body stops producing it.
Collagen depletion also comes from extreme and extended periods of the skin’s exposure to pollution and UV rays, as well as having a history of smoking or being post-menopausal. If your body doesn’t have the antioxidants it needs, like Vitamin E or CoQ10, your collagen becomes weak.
Tell Tale Signs of Collagen Deficiency
There are some really obvious things that begin to change in your body when you’re suffering from a collagen deficiency.
Since collagen is responsible for being the glue that holds so many parts of the body together, it is cause for concern when you’re lacking in collagen.
Changes in Skin
One of the most noticeable changes is in the features of your skin. Your face will start to droop and sag as elasticity fades due to collagen depletion. You’ll no longer sport supple, round cheeks or smooth skin, but instead, have prominent wrinkles and dark eye circles. You may even notice thinning around your cheeks, making them hollow.
Collagen depletion also causes cellulite. Due to the thinning of the connective tissue, your fat cells begin to push their way through to the top of the skin.
Collagen also provides cartilage and joint tissues with the meat it needs for joint movement. With a collagen deficiency, your joint tissues and cartilage begin to thin, causing bone to scrape on bone.
This makes your joints ache, become stiff, and even prevents movement in your tendons and ligaments if advanced.
The same reason joints ache and become stiff can also lead to muscle aches and stiffness. Muscle aches become more prevalent as collagen deficiency increases. If you are experiencing this, it means that the collagen depleted far enough that it is now affecting your skeletal system.
Blood Vessels and Flow
One of the more serious side effects is the reduction in blood flow. Lack of collagen causes your blood vessels to shrink and flatten, limiting the flow of blood through your body. This limitation causes symptoms like headaches or migraines, extreme fatigue, weakness or dizziness, and chest pain.
Another side effect of the lack of collagen is gastrointestinal pain, infection, and disease. Collagen serves as a major part of the stomach’s lining. Without it, the body experiences leaky gut syndrome – an unpleasant syndrome that leads to diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, and nutrient deficiencies. Worst of all, it weakens the immune system, making infection hard to fend off.
Diseases Caused by Collagen Reduction
Now that you know a few of the major side effects caused by having a deficiency of collagen, let’s briefly touch on the diseases it causes if left untreated.
Collagen Vascular Disease
Collagen vascular diseases are ones that attack the connective tissue in the body, causing intense damage to the immune system. These diseases are known as hereditary, autoimmune diseases.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that damages your joints and causes joint pain. All sides of joints are inflamed, and flare up at unexpected times, causing stiffness and the inability to move.
Lupus is another autoimmune disease that affects blood flow in the body. The symptoms include joint pain, inflammation, blood clots, anemia, rashes, tingling and numbness of fingers, and hair loss.
Fixing Your Deficiency
The implications of having collagen deficiency are serious. While it will take time to build collagen back up in your system, there are steps you may start on today.
If you’re a smoker, putting the cigarette down is the first step in helping your collagen production. Applying sunscreen when you go out in the sun will help limit your body’s exposure to harmful UV rays.
An obvious choice, a collagen supplement helps to promote the increase of collagen levels. Collagen supplements come in the form of powders, vitamins, creams, and oils. Adding collagen into your routine allows the body to start producing more.
Aside from these things, there are natural remedies that may help such as ginseng. Ginseng helps with skin health and provides antioxidants. Curcumin is another herb that helps with inflammation in the body, providing relief for joints.
Do you want more information on what collagen levels do to your skin? Being prepared with information helps you determine if you have a deficiency or not, allowing you to take proper action today. Eating foods with added collagen is a great place to start – have a look at our blog!