Product Focus - Collagen & the menopause
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body; it’s the ‘glue’ that holds your body together, forming the scaffolding of skin, joints, bones, and organs. From age 25, collagen production starts declining by 1 per cent every year. However, this increases during perimenopause, leading to visible signs of ageing and low bone mineral density.
Unfortunately, you can’t stop the clock. But you can eat in a way to support collagen production as you transition through menopause.
What happens to collagen during menopause?
First, let’s take a look at what happens to collagen during menopause. Women can lose up to 30% of collagen in the first five years after menopause, and an additional 2 per cent each year after that (1).
This, coupled with the decline in oestrogen – which is also involved in looking after your complexion – can leave skin thinner, nails brittle, and bones and joints creakier.
Should I take supplemental collagen?
It’s easy to think that declining collagen levels can be reversed with supplemental collagen, often in the form of a powder, which has taken the nutritional supplement world by storm in recent years. But it’s not as simple as that.
As we’ve already mentioned, collagen is the most extensive protein in the body; we already have several kilos of it. So, the few milligrams of cow collagen found in a supplement are pretty much redundant. Plus, our digestive enzymes will break down the collagen into a few simple amino acids, as we can’t absorb it anyway.
Eating in a way to support your natural collagen production is a far better idea.
What foods support collagen production?
To support collagen production naturally, try to eat a range of protein-dense animal and plant foods, which supply the amino acids involved in collagen synthesis, as well as mineral-rich fruits and vegetables, which provide vitamin C, zinc, and copper – nutrients that also aid collagen production. Here are some of the best sources.
Chicken is a great source of collagen. But don’t go for boneless! It’s always best to choose cuts of chicken with bones and skin, as that’s where you’ll find the most collagen.
Fish have bones and ligaments made of collagen, making it another excellent choice. However, the scales, head, and eyeballs often contain the most collagen, parts of the fish that aren’t widely consumed. That’s why sardines are especially nutrient-dense because you tend to eat the whole fish, including its scaly skin, bones, and tissues.
While Eggs don’t have connective tissues like other animal products, they do have generous amounts of proline, an amino acid that supports collagen production (1).
It’s no secret that eating greens are good for our health. The likes of kale, spinach, and Swiss chard contain chlorophyll, an antioxidant that serves as a precursor to collagen in the skin.
Vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, making it essential. Citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, grapefruit, and oranges are packed with vitamin C.
High in protein, beans contain the amino acids that support collagen synthesis. Many of them also comprise copper, which further aids collagen production.
Found in purple-skinned berries, like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, flavonoids have long been recognised for their health-supporting properties. Most recently, anthocyanidins, a division of the flavonoid family, have been identified as playing an important role in supporting and repairing collagen-rich structures (3). In plants, anthocyanidins are responsible for the pigments that give fruit and berries their vibrant hues.
Golden Greens Biofibre Organic Prebiotic Inulin is made with 100% organic agave inulin sourced from Mexico. Agave inulin is both lower in dietary sugars and higher in dietary fibre than chicory inulin. Inulin is an excellent source of dietary fibre, which feeds the good bacteria in your gut, encouraging them to repopulate and thrive.
Anthocyanidins are thought to protect and strengthen collagen and elastin by blocking free radicals and destructive enzymes called collagenases, which are known to weaken collagen as we age. The trouble is most people just don’t eat enough of these foods to have a significant effect.
Colladeen Visage® contains an impressive level of anthocyanidins, one of the highest levels available in a convenient, reliable source.
If you’re looking to learn more about supporting collagen production or menopausal health, please get in touch with our team of expert Nutrition Advisors, who are on hand to provide free, confidential advice via email, phone, and Live Chat.
You can also head over to our dedicated Menopause Hub. The Menopause Hub is designed to answer all of your questions and bring you a streamlined version of everything you need to know in one place. We’ve covered every stage of your journey with menopause, from diagnosis to different treatments you can consider, as well as offering advice on how to manage your physical and emotional wellbeing.