There are certain things to be expected in life, but none can be more certain than the expectation of getting older. Suddenly our supple skin begins to sag, our nimble joints begin to ache and creak, and formerly lustrous hair thins. It’s inevitable to some degree, but consider this: thanks to innovation by companies like AIDP who are committed to “healthy aging,” people can actually take action in their aging process, potentially even slowing down and reversing the aging process.

Collagen key to healthy aging.

Collagen is one of those ingredients that doesn’t immediately come to mind when one considers supplemental nutrients for healthy aging. But it holds a myriad of benefits. Collagen is a word derived from Latin meaning glue. It is the glue that literally holds the body together. Collagen functions much like the frame of a building. It is the structural backbone that provides support for everything, and without it the building would collapse into rubble of concrete and glass. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body and is the most abundant protein composing 30% of the body’s total protein content. It is what gives skin elasticity, bone its flexibility, and is found throughout joints, ligaments, arteries, organs, hair and nails.

There are many factors that lead to collagen deficiency and destruction. As the body ages, its ability to make its own collagen decreases so there is insufficient new collagen to repair and rebuild damaged tissues. By age 30, collagen levels can drop up to 2% per year. This might not sound like much, but over the years this deficit adds up, and by age 40, would mean a loss of 20% of collagen. Furthermore, free radicals and oxidative stress induced from the surrounding environment can further worsen the situation by damaging healthy collagen. Though a good antioxidant supplement can help reduce the effect of oxidative stress, the body must still find a way to replace the damaged collagen. Since age affects the body’s ability to produce enough of its own collagen, an external source of collagen is a must.

Collagen from fish skin shown to have dramatic effects in skin health

It is thought that what we put into our body has a direct effect on our skin and complexion. Collagen is the foundation of skin accounting for 75% of the tissue. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors can lead to skin aging. Intrinsic aging happens within the body and can be due to things such as free radical oxygen and toxic foods. Extrinsic aging is caused by external stimuli like smoking, air pollution and free radicals from the sun. This results in a reduction of skin elasticity and uniformity which leads to noticeably sagging, wrinkled and dry skin. It is shown that dietary collagen can help reverse these damaging effects and rebuild healthy skin. Regular supplementation of Naticol™, a collagen made from fish skin, shows that oral daily consumption may improve skin appearance after only 2 weeks.

Joint health boosted by hydrolyzed collagen.

Poor skin condition, brittle nails and hair can also be warning signs for joint health problems that are soon to come. One of every 3 Americans over the age of 60 suffers from joint issues. Studies have shown that hydrolyzed collagen, such as the patented and clinically studied ingredient KollaGenII-xs™, can be absorbed by the body and accumulates in joint cartilage where it can reduce inflammation and repair damage. Furthermore, consuming collagen signals cartilage-building cells to make new cartilage components.

Collagen good for the guts.

Collagen helps to restore and maintain health at multiple levels, and not only in skin, hair and joint tissue. It’s also critical for digestive health. As the body ages and isn’t able to maintain the needed collagen production anymore, the gut lining weakens and becomes porous, which allow undigested foods and food toxins to leak through into the blood stream. Otherwise known as leaky gut syndrome, this dysfunction can lead to a number of other serious health conditions such as: chronic inflammation, food intolerance, skin rashes and autoimmune issues. Similar to its effects on skin, collagen can also tighten and firm the digestive tract which closes the widened pores between the gut cells.

Bone Health boosted by collagen-calcium combo.

Collagen is probably the least known component of bone compared to its inorganic mineral counterparts, calcium and phosphorous. However, the truth is that collagen accounts for 35% of bone mass and is the organic framework that holds everything together. Bone undergoes continuous remodeling, with constant formation of new bone and reabsorption of old bone. As we age, the balance of bone formation and bone loss changes, where more bone is lost than new bone being formed. Both men and women are affected however more so women where up to 20% of their bone can be lost in a span of 5 to 7 years after menopause. Supplements targeting bone health have traditionally been focused on calcium and vitamin D, since calcium increases bone mineral density and vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium. However, recent concern over too much dietary calcium has the medical community reconsidering the amount and role of calcium supplementation.

KoACT™, a patented dietary ingredient made from a chelation of collagen and calcium is shown to improve bone health by addressing bone’s organic collagen matrix. KoACT™ has been awarded three US patents for its unique composition as well as its application on improving bone health. In a double blind placebo controlled human clinical trial conducted at Florida State University by foremost experts on bone research, KoACT™ demonstrated significant improvement of bone biomarkers favoring increased healthy bone growth. Animal studies also demonstrate heightened femur bone strength and flexibility.

Solutions include high quality, science-backed supplementation to fill gap in dietary deficit.

Sadly, the Western diet is progressively erasing collagen from the menu. Collagen rich foods are often shunned, for example steaks are trimmed losing much of the connective tissue. Chicken breast is served boneless and skinless, and fish is skinned and deboned. Fortunately one doesn’t need an adventurous stomach to add some collagen the diet, thanks in part to the growing availability of nutritional powder, capsule and tablet supplements made from conventional and science based proprietary collagen ingredients and even better these products are now available in fast dispersible tasteless versions.

Interested to learn more? Click here for a deep dive report on collagen based health ingredients.

NOTE: WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific brand or product. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before adding a dietary supplement to (or removing one from) your daily regimen. The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher.