Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Symptoms & Causes of Collagen Deficiency
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It is a vital component in your body's skin, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, and other tissues. Collagen deficiency can arise due to several reasons. Knowing if you have a collagen deficiency can help you determine if adding a supplement may help you support healthy hair, skin, and nails or address specific collagen deficiency symptoms.
Collagen Deficiency Symptoms
Some possible symptoms of collagen deficiency include:
Fine Lines and Wrinkles
When collagen levels in the skin are lower than normal, wrinkles and lines are more likely to form, especially if you notice wrinkled skin at an early age. This is because collagen helps to strengthen and support skin tissue. When lacking, skin becomes more prone to sagging and loses its firmness.
Blood Pressure Irregularities
Collagen is a critical component of the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. If collagen levels are too low, changes in the elasticity of arteries may occur, and this can cause low blood pressure along with symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
Collagen is necessary to produce cartilage, the connective tissue that insulates the joints. If you don't have enough collagen to support the process, cartilage levels may decline, or its quality may suffer. The lack of insulation can increase the risk of joint pain and inflammation.
Routine Muscle Aches
Collagen helps create strong tendons and ligaments that connect muscles to bones and one another. Suppose you're suffering from a collagen deficiency. In that case, your tendons or ligaments may not have the necessary strength and elasticity to stretch with your movements, which could lead to muscle aches and pains.
The dimpled skin we commonly refer to as cellulite happens when fat builds up beneath the skin and pushes on the tissue. It is most likely to form when bands of collagen beneath the skin called septage lose their elasticity and become tight. While having some cellulite is normal, increased cellulite may signal a collagen deficiency.
Low levels of collagen may reduce mobility, especially in order adults. Changes in the connective tissue can contribute to a loss of flexibility. In addition, low levels of collagen may cause weak bones and even contribute to osteoporosis, a condition where tiny holes form in bones and the bones become more brittle and prone to breakage.
Weak Nails and Hair
Collagen also supports strong hair and nails, and a lack of protein could lead to weakening. Weak nails and hair include frequent split ends and breakage, reduced growth, and more frequent nail breakage. The association between the decline of hair and collagen deficiency leads some people to take collagen supplements for hair loss.
Facial hallowing or a hollowing of the face along the cheeks, underneath the eyes, and around the temples can happen when collagen levels decline, and the skin lacks the support it needs to appear plump and full.
Collagen is found in the lining of the digestive tract. If the protein levels are inadequate, you could potentially develop a leaky gut, a condition where the contents of your stomach may enter the bloodstream. While researchers are still working to understand leaky gut fully, some experts believe that the condition may cause symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, constipation, fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, joint pain, skin rashes, eczema, and acne.
Exercise-Related Muscle Soreness
Exercising causes tiny tears in muscle fibers. After a workout, your body uses collagen and other materials to repair this microscopic damage. If you don't have enough collagen to support the process, post-exercise recovery may be hindered, possibly causing an increase in post-exercise muscle soreness.
What Causes Collagen Deficiency?
Collagen deficiency can have many causes. For many people, reductions in collagen levels are due primarily to aging. As you grow older, the rate at which your body produces collagen naturally slows, which is why you develop signs of aging. Taking collagen supplements like Body Kitchen Youthful Beauty Collagen Powder may help increase collagen levels to improve skin elasticity and reduce symptoms of deficiency associated with aging.
External factors can contribute to the natural decline in collagen. Free radicals in ultraviolet radiation from the sun, cigarette smoke, and environmental pollutants may worsen the problem by causing oxidative damage to existing collagen fibers. If the body can't produce new collagen faster than free radicals destroy it, levels of the structural protein may decline more rapidly.
Antioxidants are your body's natural defense against free radicals. Some are produced by the body, while others are found in foods like citrus fruits and berries. When antioxidants come in contact with free radicals, they reduce them to harmless substances, limiting the damage they can cause to collagen fibers and other tissues. In addition to grass-fed bovine and marine collagen, Body Kitchen Youthful Beauty Collagen Powder contains the antioxidant resveratrol to help lessen the effects of free radicals.
"on my third or fourth bottle and everything is better, skin especially, my facial wrinkles are less deep and seem to have a bit of a glow about me, thanks" - Rhonda