You have probably heard it 100 times over, collagen and elastin are the building blocks of the body, and they are.. More like the cement that sticks the blocks together actually., collagen and elastin are proteins made up of amino acids that are found in abundance in all our body. From bones, skin, muscles and tendons, it makes up about one third of all protein in the body. Imagine what would happen to a wall if the cement holding it all together started to shrink.. Sticking with this analogy, there are two things that we need to consider. Firstly, trying to keep the collagen and elastin that you have as healthy as possible. This is done by avoiding certain behaviors. There is also however what we can do to fortify the collagen and elastin making process, so even if these proteins do in fact diminish they are replaced. The body, by nature.. Has its collagen and elastic making ‘factory’. As we age however, this factory losses its capacity to produce collagen at the same rate, which is where aging comes in, which is a normal and natural process. What we do need to do though is ensure that our habits do not prematurely affect the production of collagen and elastin in the body. Read on!
Sun literally kills the collagen and elastin that you currently have, the free radicals that are set off, actually weaken the collagen causing them to break down at a higher rate than normal. So, in this case you are not affecting your production capacity, but you are destroying what you are producing.. What you need to consider is the following: Always protect yourself from both UVA and UVB, which means sunblock every day of the year, even when its gloomy and cold. Ensure that your sunblock is ‘broad sprectrum’ which means that it protects from both UVA and UVB. Our bodies need about two hours of sunlight over the span of two days for the collagen degrading enzymes to activate. With frequent sunscreen application, you can protect your skin and maintain collagen production.
Smoking and Pollution
The above theory is also used here, smoke, pollution, x-ray and radiation all contribute to an increase of free radicals in the skin. Free radicals are defined as molecular species that do not have a paired electron. In order to pair the electron they need to breakdown a healthy cell, that is how the healthy collagen is broken down. Exposure to pollution is not really something we have control over, which means that we need to increase our consumption of ‘anti-oxidant’ rich foods, such as greens, colored vegetables and of course fruits. These will attempt to protect our cells in addition to strengthening our collagen and elastin production. Vitamin C is probably one of the most important ingredients in the fight against free radicals. Green tea has also been scientifically proven to be a strong anti-oxidant.
When we get stressed, we release a hormone called cortisol. Our ancestors found cortisol to be very helpful.. it is, simply put..Today’s Red Bull and allows us to become extra alert and reactive in dangerous situations. The problem we face today is that this hormone is activated when your boyfriend forgets to call or your mother-in-law says something malicious, or you didn’t get that promised promotion.. There are far too many stressors nowadays and they all lead to cortisol which breaks down collagen and elastin in the body. You know how young people that are saggy look miserable.. It’s because cortisol can do that to you! Meditation and a consistent yoga practice goes a long way in combatting stress. Another stressor for the body is overly vigorous or extreme exercise.. You know how marathon runners look a little saggy, well the sun and stress are to blame. The body, when stressed from extreme exercise will release cortisol to deal with the strain on the body, and therefore breaks down collagen in the process.
Sugar and High Glycemic Index Carbs
High glycemic index carbs such as white bread, rice and pasta are easily broken down into sugar in the body. This increase in sugar leads to the reals of the enzyme collagenase which is responsible for an increase in insulin levels, causing a burst of inflammation that’s tiffins and breaks down both collagen and elastin. This process is called glycation.. Simply replacing your carbohydrates with ones with a lower GI, which are broken down more slowly, and incidentally keep you full longer, will help protect your body and collagen.. As for sugar, there is honestly very little to say which hasn’t been said already. Simply put sugar is our rat poison..
Sleep is required.. uninterrupted deep sleep that is. There are qualities of sleep, and you need to be enjoying at least 6 hours of uninterrupted deep sleep for your body to be able to regenerate and recharge as expected. Very few of us actually get that amount of deep sleep and it will effect your body’s ability to keep your skin healthy, lustrous and glowing. It always surprises me when people don’t prepare for bed.. I mean, if you eat, you start with an ‘appetizer’ and if you workout you need to warm up right.. So why is it that you expect to fall asleep watching TV! Create an enjoyable ritual before bedtime that you can practice at least a couple of nights a week. I would have loved to say, draw a bath but the water situation in most countries makes that an irresponsible suggestion. Instead consider some fragrant essential oils in your shower, lavender is obviously the most popular. Dim the lights, listen to relaxing music before bed, there are plenty of apps, have a hot drink, meditate or simply rest, in preparation for sleep.