Vitamin C For Collagen
Most of us know that collagen helps enhance skin health and appearance. Yet, you might not know that vitamin C plays a critical role in collagen synthesis. In fact, this is why many collagen supplements include vitamin C.
So, what else should you know when it comes to vitamin C for collagen? What benefits can it have for you and your body? Is collagen powder with vitamin C best? In this article, we examine the answers to these questions and more!
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and antioxidant involved in a variety of processes in the body, including:
- Protecting the body’s cells from free radicals
- Maintaining skin health
- Improving blood vessel health
- Contributing to good bone health
- Aiding in wound healing
In fact, a vitamin C deficiency can result in scurvy, which can cause extreme fatigue, bleeding, pain, swelling, anemia, and loss of teeth.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein found in many tissues throughout the body, giving your skin, connective tissue, and more vital structural support. This type of protein is found in animal flesh, such as meat and fish, with connective tissue.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough collagen today due to the nature of our diets. We simply don’t consume the “whole animal” as our ancestors once did, leading to an increased need for collagen supplementation.
The Benefits of Vitamin C for Collagen
Vitamin C and collagen work together to improve skin health and reduce joint pain. In fact, without vitamin C, the body cannot produce collagen, no matter how much collagen powder you consume.
In more scientific terms, vitamin C acts as a cofactor for certain enzymes that help create collagen. If this pre-requisite doesn’t happen, a stable collagen triple-helix won’t form. But let’s dig a little deeper. How do collagen and vitamin C contribute to skin health and appearance, tendon health, and more?
Collagen and Vitamin C for Skin Health & Appearance
As stated above, the body needs vitamin C for collagen synthesis. Collagen is actually the most abundant protein in the human body. It contributes to bone, muscle, skin, and connective tissue. Most importantly, collagen provides structure and strength to these tissues.
Research further shows how collagen is essential for skin hydration and elasticity, and without it, increasingly dry skin and wrinkles are likely to occur. With the world of beauty and health revolving around anti-aging, collagen powder has taken off for this very reason. Collagen may slow the aging of the skin, ensuring you have youthful and plump skin for many years to come.
According to scientific research, vitamin C further contributes to the “production of barrier lipids in cell culture.” These barrier lipids play an essential role in the skin’s line of defense, ensuring certain microorganisms stay out of the body.
Collagen and Vitamin C for Tendons
Collagen contributes to connective and muscle tissue, adding strength and structural integrity. Interestingly, vitamin C plays a key role in maintaining tendon health and maintenance due to its antioxidative properties and its contribution to collagen production.
This can actually prove to be largely beneficial for athletes or active individuals and can provide a type of recovery and healing aid. For instance, after a particularly tough workout, consuming both collagen and vitamin C may help with recovery by repairing any damaged tendon or muscle tissue. It may also support healing after an injury to muscle or tendon tissue, such as a strain or torn muscle.
Collagen and Vitamin C for Heart Health
Collagen is thought to provide structural integrity to parts of the circulatory system, such as the arteries. It may help create flexibility and elasticity within the arterial wall, which can aid in the prevention of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. A 2017 study even showed when healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen per day, they had reduced arterial stiffness and increased “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
Some research also indicates that vitamin C deficiency is closely associated with increased mortality due to cardiovascular events. Similarly, other research demonstrated how vitamin C reduced “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, showcasing how vitamin C and collagen may work together to provide optimal heart health and prevent heart disease.
Collagen and Vitamin C for Bone Health
Collagen and vitamin C can also make a winning pair when it comes to maintaining good bone health. Collagen is a major protein in the bone matrix, supplying the bone with adequate strength and support. Research further supports the necessity of vitamin C in stimulating bone formation and potentially preventing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by low bone density.
Additionally, vitamin C contributes to bone health through its antioxidative properties by preventing free radicals from damaging bone cells. In turn, vitamin C and collagen together may also reduce and prevent joint pain.
How Much Vitamin C Should I Take With Collagen?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 75 to 90 mg. As long as you meet this requirement, your body should be able to produce sufficient collagen, giving way to the benefits described above. But how can you obtain adequate vitamin C? The sections below discuss a few different options.
Foods High in Vitamin C
One of the best ways to obtain nutrients, such as vitamin C, is through the food you eat regularly. Examples of foods high in vitamin C include:
- Orange juice
- Chili peppers
- Brussels sprouts
By eating the above foods, you should be able to easily meet your daily requirements for vitamin C. However, if you struggle with this, there is always the option to supplement.
If getting enough Vitamin C in your diet is something you struggle with a greens powder such as So Body Co's Gorgeous Greens is a great supplement to add to your diet.
Marine Collagen with Vitamin C vs. Collagen Powder with Vitamin C
When it comes to collagen, most individuals can benefit from taking daily collagen supplementation. As previously mentioned, most of us don’t obtain enough collagen through our daily diets.
Due to the intricate relationship between collagen and vitamin C, many collagen powders come with vitamin C included. You may opt for marine collagen with vitamin C or regular collagen powder with vitamin C. Marine collagen is sourced from fish skin. Meanwhile, most other collagen powders are sourced from cows and are often labeled as “bovine collagen.” Yet, some collagen powders may also come from horses, pigs, and rabbits.
At the end of the day, the source of your collagen may come down to a personal preference or need.
Should You Add Vitamin C for Collagen to Your Diet?
If you’re lacking on the vitamin C front, you should make sure you’re getting enough either way.
It’s recommended to take at least 2.5 grams to 15 grams of collagen per day, alongside the aforementioned 75 to 90 mg of vitamin C each day. Combining collagen with vitamin C-rich foods can further enhance your skin, heart, muscle, tendon, and bone health—ensuring you live a long, happy, and pain-free life!