Collagen and Skin Health

Could supplementing with collagen benefit skin health?

For skin conditions I normally prescribe herbs and nutrients that support skin health and collagen production and health. Nutrients such as Astaxanthin, Silica, Quercetin and Bioflavonoids, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Glutamine and Glycine are beneficial for collagen and elastin, making the connective tissue stronger and flexible. I had great patient results where a combination of Glutamine, Glycine, and Lysine dramatically improved the healing of damaged ligaments and tendons. I regularly prescribe Burdock and Calendula for skin conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis, and acne. Many successful responses in patients with acne of all ages. Skin can be linked to poor digestion, so I might include Milk Thistle and Turmeric in the plan for their liver health and detoxification properties. Turmeric is an amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. I love Blueberries and regularly suggest eating Blueberries most days to patients. Blueberries are also an amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. I have been prescribing Collagen for a while now and see it becoming more popular in a few years time.

A study examined the content and distribution of collagen and procollagen in sun-damaged human skin. The total collagen content of sun-damaged skin was 20% less than nonsolar-exposed skin (524 micrograms collagen per mg total protein in sun-damaged skin and 667 micrograms collagen per mg total protein in nonsolar-exposed skin). In addition, there was a 40% decrease in the content of intact amino propeptide moiety of type III procollagen in sun-damaged skin (0.68 U per 50 mg wet weight) as compared to nonsolar-exposed skin (1.12 U per 50 mg wet weight). The data suggest that this change in collagen content is due to increased degradation.

Reference: Schwartz E et al. Collagen alterations in chronically sun-damaged human skin. Photochem Photobiol. 1993 Dec; 58(6): 841-4.