Collagen is an essential protein that helps your body in key ways. The nutrient is responsible for reinforcing muscular structure, skin elasticity, and building connective tissue. While the body naturally creates collagen, the production of this vital component declines with age. Understanding how collagen and vitamin C work together in your body is a crucial step in figuring out an ideal diet to maximize health benefits.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, and since your body doesn’t produce it, you have to consume it to receive the benefits. It’s required for proper growth, development, and body tissue repair. For example, a few key vitamin C roles in the body include:
- Improves Immunity– Eating enough vitamin C is necessary to boost your immunity. It promotes the production of white blood cells to help your body fight diseases and infections. The nutrient also protects white blood cells against free radicals that can compromise your wellness.
- Promotes Iron Absorption– Various body functions require adequate iron levels, from red blood cell formation to oxygen transportation. However, your body may struggle to absorb certain forms of iron, such as from plants. Vitamin C helps with the conversion of poorly absorbed iron.
- May Boost Heart Health– Vitamin C may help minimize heart disease risk factors, such as hypertension and cholesterol levels.
- It’s An antioxidant– This property enables vitamin C to minimize damage from free radicals linked to multiple health complications, including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.
While the human body can’t produce or store vitamin C, you can get this vital nutrient from rich sources like peppers, citrus fruits, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes. Eating meals with greens, such as cabbage, spinach, brussels sprouts, and broccoli, also boosts your vitamin C intake.
However, many people struggle to get enough vitamin C from their regular diet. Oral vitamin C supplements in capsule or chewable tablet form are an excellent alternative to get this essential nutrient.
Excluding fat and water, the rest of the human body is mostly made up of protein, with collagen being the most abundant. Collagen is a crucial component of connective tissues responsible for proper body structure and mechanics. It has many key roles, including:
- Joint Pain Relief– Collage preserves the structure of your cartilage, which protects your joints. Accumulation of collagen in cartilage may result in lower inflammation, proper joint support, and reduced soreness.
- Bone Health– Collagen makes up most of your bone mass, giving bones proper structure and strength.
- Skin Health– Collagen keeps your skin healthy, strong, hydrated, and elastic.
- Muscle Mass– The nutrient may constitute up to 10 percent of your muscle tissue.
However, studies show that your body’s ability to produce collagen declines as you get older, leaving you vulnerable to complications like:
- Degenerative disorders, such as osteoarthritis, due to cartilage damage in your joints
- Dry skin and wrinkles
- Bone loss, causing conditions like osteoporosis
- Loss of muscle mass and strength
By increasing your collagen intake, you may prevent or alleviate these health issues and others related to this essential protein deficiency. These nutrients boost your body’s collagen levels:
- Vitamin C (from sources like citrus fruits, bell strawberries, and spinach)
- Proline (naturally found in egg whites, cabbage, and mushrooms)
- Glycine (you can obtain it from chicken or pork skin, gelatin, and many protein-containing foods)
- Copper (available in foods like organ meats and sesame seeds)
- Essential amino acids (found in high-quality protein sources, including meat, legumes, tofu, and poultry)
- Taking collagen peptide supplements, many of which include a healthy amount of vitamin C
How They Work Together
Your body requires an abundance of vitamin C to convert procollagen to type I collagen. It first combines glycine and proline, which are amino acids, to form procollagen. But two important enzymes, lysyl and prolyl hydroxylase, must be present for conversion to collagen to occur. Vitamin C inhibits the inactivation of these enzymes.
Additionally, vitamin C facilitates hyaluronic acid production in the human body, which may, in turn, promote collagen synthesis. By promoting collagen production in the body, vitamin C helps boost bone health, preserve skin texture and shape, and maintain a proper muscular structure.
Regular Vitamin C and Collagen Intake
Your body needs sufficient amounts of vitamin C and collagen to maintain a healthy posture. From your toes up to the neck, important body parts and organs rely on connective tissues that use collagen to stay strong. If you can’t get enough of these nutrients from your regular diet, try incorporating some collagen and vitamin C supplements.