The collagen connection
UPTOWN DOWNTOWN - Joanne Zapanta-Andrada (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2015 - 12:00am

Collagen is the present buzzword in beauty and Filipinas can’t seem to get enough of it. Collagen products (ranging from pills, dietary supplements, creams and facial masks) are believed to have a myriad health and beauty benefits, chief of which is the strengthening of hair, nails and the firming of the skin. We are just beginning to discover what our Asian cousins (Japanese, Chinese and Koreans) have known for decades: collagen is an essential building block to maintaining good health and a youthful appearance.

Collagen is a fibrous protein that is found in our bodies, particularly in the connective tissues. It is said that our skin is made up of more than 75 percent collagen and is the main component not only of the skin but also of the hair and nails. This special protein keeps muscles, ligaments and bones from falling apart and is responsible for keeping skin firm, supple and flexible, hair thick and nails strong. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have been advised to take collagen supplements in order to treat pain, swelling and stiffness around their joints.

Advancing age, toxins in the environment, sun and light exposure, however, diminish the amount of collagen we have in our bodies. By the age of 35, about 15 percent of collagen in the body would have been lost. By age 45, the loss increases to 30 percent. The loss of collagen is the main reason why skin sags and wrinkles appear. This is also the reason why hair thins and becomes dull, joints start to ache and nails thin out.

I have started adding collagen-producing food to my diet. Soybean-based food, dark green vegetables (like spinach, kale and asparagus) and fruits like berries and cantaloupe strengthen the body’s ability to produce this protein. As insurance, I have also taken supplements to ensure that I increase my collagen levels. My favorite supplement is Belo Nutraceutical Collagen Powder Drink, which I take twice a day. I mix the pre-measured, flavorless  powder in my coffee, water or juice. After three months of taking the supplement, I have noticed a visible difference. My skin feels      firmer and plumper, my nails are less brittle (a pet-peeve of mine!) and I have noticed less hair loss.

Many skin clinics offer treatments through radio-frequency (RF) machines. These treatments work by allowing radio frequency waves in the form of mild heat to penetrate the dermis and in so doing, signals the body to produce more collagen. These treatments however, only target collagen stimulation in the skin.

My advice to readers who wish to try collagen-stimulating treatments or collagen supplements is to do their research and patronize well-established products and procedures. It is important to be mindful of anything we subject our bodies to. At the end of the day, proper nutrition and exercise go a long way to maintaining a healthy and youthful physique.

AGE BODIES CHINESE AND KOREANS COLLAGEN HAIR NAILS SKIN SUPPLEMENTS TREATMENTS
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