This is How Vitamin C Helps Produce Collagen

how vitamin c helps produce collagen

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According to a survey published in September, 2019, 77% of Americans take some sort of dietary supplement to encourage and support their good health. In the same study, the third most popular supplement is vitamin C. Collagen is another supplement that has exploded on the anti-aging health and wellness scene. The fact is, there is a connection between the two. In this article, we'll talk about why that is and how vitamin C helps produce collagen

Collagen is the main protein in your body in everything from bones and teeth, skin and connective tissues like tendons and ligaments, eyes and muscles.

Further, it helps to keep the structure in our arteries, like the heart. 

In addition, collagen is in our stomach lining and helps heal and stop what is known as 'leaky gut'. 

Because it is so integral to the body's cells and structures, collagen production is particularly important in the body's natural healing process

The thing is, natural and new collagen production starts to decline as you approach your 30s, then approximately 1% less each year after that.

Then, once you hit and go through menopause, you'll lose the ability to produce new collagen even more quickly.

The lack of collagen shows up in achy joints, cranky gut, dull, thinning hair, brittle nails wrinkles and crepey skin on our face and body.

If you'd like to keep your youthful look and vitality, read more into how collagen is made through the synthesis of vitamin C and other important nutrients and minerals.

Vitamin C and Collagen Production 

To start off, collagen production starts with amino acids (primarily glycine and proline) gained from the food in your diet.

The next stage, uses the introduction of vitamin C, zinc and copper to connect the amino acids together.

This completes the process to create the final collagen protein, also called tropocollagen.

With this in mind, vitamin C assists in the synthesis of collagen to such an extent that the body can't make collagen without it.

Importantly, our bodies can't produce vitamin C--the only way we can get the vitamin is through the food we eat.

Apart from this, it's important to know vitamin C is water-soluble.

Because it's water-soluble, and your body is an average 57-60% water, vitamin C  (and other nutrients such as B, folate and biotin) are washed through and out of our system each day.

Thus, we need to replenish our bodies daily with vitamin C.

In fact, a lack of adequate vitamin C causes scurvy, a disorder in which the body is unable to make (synthesize) new collagen.

In today's world, we don't have to worry so much about scurvy. However, we must consider the nutritional value of the food supply has declined over the years. 

Either way, a healthy diet full of vitamin C, copper and zinc will help to create and maintain valuable collagen protein and assist to hold off the effects of aging.

Boost Collagen Production with Vitamin C

Since collagen is so essential to your overall good health, you'll want to take active measures to help the body continuously produce collagen (and keep what you have!)

As we mentioned above, collagen cannot be produced without vitamin C--it's a required component in the process.

Interestingly, Vitamin C is not just essential for the synthesis of collagen. It is also used by enzymes in your body that create neurotransmitters.

These neurotransmitters help to support the immune system, and are an antioxidant that helps protect the body from further cellular damage.

To review, vitamin C is crucial to many vital processes in your body. These are important things to know about vitamin C:

  • Your body cannot make vitamin C, it comes from what you eat. 
  • It washes out of your body each day, so it has to be replenished each day.
  • Vitamin C helps your body create and maintain collagen protein.
  • It also helps to create anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant neurotransmitters.

These are only only a few benefits of vitamin C to your body and overall health.

Does Vitamin C Kill Cancer Cells?

If you're not aware, as far back as the 1970s, there has been speculation that vitamin C is toxic to cancer cells.

Unfortunately, studies done around, and after that time period, couldn't provide the the theory was true.

Although there is no hard evidence high doses of vitamin C kills cancer, alternative health care providers continue to recommend vitamin C as a course of treatment. 

Surprisingly, vitamin C given intravenously shows a different effect than taking it in pill form. Those results have re-ignited interest in the vitamin's power to fight cancer.

Moreover, what's also promising is vitamin C seems to boost the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  Clinical trials thus far seem to point to high doses and intravenous vitamin C may lessen the side effects of chemo treatments.

We wanted to make you aware of how vitamin C used in this way, in case you're in a situation where it may be considered an option for you or someone you know.

Foods High in Vitamin C

The average western diet offers the opportunity to get enough amino acids from fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, and cheeses, to help create new collagen.

However, many do not eat enough fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C to help take those amino acids and help convert them to new collagen protein. 

To get the most vitamin C, when you prepare these kinds of foods, cook them lightly (but always with food safety in mind), because overcooking can damage delicate vitamins. 

These foods and spices are known to be high in vitamin C. 

  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Mustard Spinach
  • Kale
  • Kiwifruit
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Potato

To gain all the benefits of these high-vitamin C foods, use the water the vegetables are cooked in to prepare other food.

If you want to be efficient, these foods are high in vitamin C and the amino acids needed to create collagen protein:

  • Bone broth
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Almonds (good source of copper, which is the final step in collagen production)
  • Garlic (high in sulfur, studies indicate may help stop the weakening of collagen fibers)
  • Oysters, seeds and nuts (contains zinc, which stimulates collagen production)

Collagen and Vitamin C Supplements

Given that our current food supply is not of the highest nutritional value, adding collagen and vitamin C supplements to your daily routine would be a smart move.

Because of the essential relationship between collagen and vitamin C, many collagen supplements also contain vitamin C. 

Because most collagen supplement are made with amino acids from animals or fish, they aren't a good  choice for those who live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. 

We haven't forgotten about you!  

There are vegan collagen supplements that are sourced from plants to help ensure you have all the necessary ingredients to create and save the collagen you currently have. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

To sum up, collagen proteins are the building blocks of your body. You don't make as much new collagen each year by your 30s and it decreases around 1 percent each year after.

In fact, you lose the most collagen during and after menopause.

To make new collagen, you will need the required amino acids along with zinc, copper and vitamin C.

To help your body make new collagen and protect what you have, a variety of healthy, natural foods, less stress, better sleep and collagen and vitamin C supplements can help make up the shortfall. 

Of course, I hate to say, you won't be able to have a body like you did when you were 20! 

However, if you can create new collagen in your body and protect what you have, you can fight the effects of aging.