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Posts Tagged ‘aging’

What causes all those wrinkles as we age? No doubt, our gene pool makes a difference, but are there ways to keep those wrinkles at bay? For years, collagen has been touted as a fountain of youth. Is it?

What is this substance, and how do we get it? The word itself comes from the Greek kolla, meaning glue, and gennao refers to producing, which somewhat explains collagen’s role in the body. It is a protein produced by our bodies primarily from the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroproline. Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is a main component of bones, skin, muscles, and ligament structures.

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Collagen production decreases as we age. We recognize symptoms of diminishing collagen when wrinkles replace soft, pliable skin. Tendons and ligaments become stiffer, and muscles weaken from shrinking. Worn cartilage causes joint pain and osteoarthritis. While aging may result in discomfort from less collagen, noticeable changes occur in the skin, the largest organ in our bodies. Collagen removes and repairs skin and keeps it moist. Most people notice changes well before middle age as skin loses its elasticity. The face and neck start to develop folds or creases we don’t want. What, if anything, will stop or at least slow the onslaught of wrinkles before we look like a dried prune? Aside from aging, poor diet is the primary reason people don’t have enough collagen.

Hands, Old, Old Age, Elderly, Vulnerable, Care

Food Sources of Collagen:  

Image result for pixabay free clip art foods with zinc and copper

Before spending money on creams, pills, and potions for the skin, consider this. Foods we consume may have a greater impact on skin and wrinkles than any other choices we make affecting health other than smoking and sun exposure. Smoking produces free radicals that damage cells. The sun’s ultraviolet light damages the elastin in skin causing it to sag, stretch, and lose the ability to snap back. The skin also bruises and tears more easily and takes longer to heal. Nothing can repair sun damage, but the skin sometimes repairs itself.

The best food source of collagTangerines, Citrus, Fruit, Clementines, Citrus Fruiten is meat broth. Equally significant are nutrients involved in the production of collagen, primarily Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), zinc, and copper. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, broccoli and green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, and green and red peppers. Oysters are plentiful in zinc and copper. Other good sources are seafood, dried beans, and dark chocolate. In addition to broth from meat sources, meats provide necessary amino acids as well as zinc and copper to produce collagen.

Supplements:

Varied collagen supplements may help increase collagen production. Before the body can use them, most supplements are broken down into peptides to increase availability. Check labels to confirm if they have been hydrolyzed. However, remember labels may or may not be accurate since food supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, manufacturers do not have to prove effectiveness or safety of the products sold.

One scientific study of collagen supplements compared to a placebo found that some participants reported improved skin elasticity and decreased joint pain. That does not mean results may hold true for those taking supplements. Because of lack of regulation, consumers have no way of knowing if what they choose is safe and effective.

Image result for food and drug administration free clip art

 

Like many products on the market, collagen supplements may be overrated. One thing is sure. No strong scientific evidence supports collagen supplements in any form to treat or reverse the natural aging process.

Aging remains a fact of life, but appropriate foods and adequate protection of the skin will help keep those wrinkles at bay.

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How long do you want to live? We seem to have a built-in urge to live longer. Normal healthy people don’t want the grim reaper at their doorstep.

Deaths occur from numerous causes. Several things may cut the lifespan, but science is closing in on many factors that seem to increase longevity. Some lifestyle patterns, like smoking, may shorten life while others such as exercise seem to add more years. Unscrupulous wonder-potions with claims to extend existence surface then disappear. Do specific foods or nutrients impact survival?

Insufficient amounts of vitamin D may cause or worsen several health conditions—osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, some cancers, auto immune diseases, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. These infirmities decrease quality of life, and some shorten the lifespan. Sufficient quantities of vitamin D may help prevent various health problems, especially certain types of cancers and diabetes.

Researchers studied the role of vitamin D in more than 10,000 people with an average age of fifty-eight. Based on blood levels below thirty nanograms per milliliter, they classified seventy percent as vitamin D deficient. Those with deficiencies were more prone to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and increased mortality. Survival rates improved when they treated the vitamin D-deficient with supplements.

How much vitamin D do older adults need? Like other nutrients, it’s best to get vitamins from food sources. Unlike other nutrients, the sun is an excellent source of vitamin D. In the elderly, loss of the skin’s ability to generate vitamin D from sunshine aggravated by immobility or limited exposure to outside physical activities causes even greater risks for deficiency. The most plentiful natural food supply is fatty fish. Mushrooms, eggs, cheese, and liver contain limited amounts. The food industry supplements many products— namely milk, yogurt, cereal, and orange juice—with vitamin D to close the nutrient gap in diets.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D after age seventy is 800 International Units (IU) per day. The Institute of Medicine set a level of 4,000 IU as the upper limit for supplementation. Although other health professionals increase that limit to 10,000 IU, the lower level reduces the potential for harm from an overdose.

While studies show definite health improvements in those treated for deficiencies, too much vitamin D has a downside. We cannot assume that if a little is good, more is better. Doses of vitamin D above the upper recommended levels can cause health issues, especially for those with kidney problems. However, the potential consequences from deficiency outweigh the less life-threatening conditions of overdose.

Will vitamin D delay aging and cause you to live longer?  Maybe. Evidence seems clear that vitamin D plays a role in longevity. If you fail to consume vitamin D rich foods, either natural or fortified, supplements may make a difference. You don’t have to wait until old age to start. After all, if you delay consuming adequate amounts, you may not get there.

 “Healthy Eating & Diet,” http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/are-you-getting-enough-vitamin-d

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