Collagen is the most abundant type of protein in the body. It acts as the “glue” that connects your tissues and cells.
Unfortunately, collagen production declines after age 20. By the time you’re middle-aged, you could be producing HALF the collagen you did in your twenties.
Even worse, lifestyle factors like poor diet, smoking, pollution, stress, and excess sun exposure, can deplete your collagen levels even faster.
Over time, lower levels of collagen in the body can cause sagging skin and wrinkles, weak nails, thinning hair, stiff joints, brittle bones, slow recovery from exercise and digestion problems.
Today, we look at one important mineral you need to boost collagen production.
We also mention two other overlooked minerals your body needs to maximize collagen production.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
The number one mineral to boost collagen is copper.
Copper activates an enzyme called lysyl oxidase that’s required for collagen maturation.
Active lysyl oxidase glues collagen fibers with other supportive fibers, helping to form the frame that supports your tissues.
Because of its role in collagen production, copper keeps your bones, heart, and blood vessels healthy.
Copper is an essential trace mineral that the body needs in very tiny amounts for survival.
According to the Institute of Medicine, adults should consume 900 micrograms of copper daily.
Besides keeping your skin young, copper is also involved in making red blood cells and maintaining nerve cells and the immune system.
While true copper deficiency is rare, many people are not getting enough of this mineral in their diet.
In fact, up to 25% of people in America and Canada may not be meeting the recommended copper intake.
If you are deficient in copper, there are several things that can happen to your body.
Number one, a severe deficiency in copper can lead to a condition called swayback or lordosis.
The spine normally curves at the neck, the torso, and the lower back area.
This positions the head over the pelvis naturally and allows the curves to work as shock absorbers, so that we can move pain-free.
However, when the spine curves too far inward at the lower back, it can cause pain and mobility issues.
Inadequate intake of copper can also lead to fatigue and weakness.
That’s because copper is essential for absorbing iron from the gut.
When copper levels are low, the body ends up absorbing less iron.
This can cause iron deficiency anemia, a condition in which the body cannot carry enough oxygen to its tissues.
Having lower levels of oxygen can make you weaker and feel tired more easily.
As you age, not getting enough copper in your diet can lead to loose and sagging skin.
That’s because copper can help boost the production of elastin.
This stretchy protein that acts like a rubber band does more than just keep your skin tight.
It’s a major component of tissues in your body that require stretchiness, like your lungs, bladder, large blood vessels and some ligaments.
Because collagen is needed to strengthen vein walls, a lack of this protein can lead to the development of varicose veins and spider veins.
Weakened, less elastic vein walls allow blood to pool within the vein, eventually stretching it to the point where it enlarges and forms a visible varicose vein.
Not getting enough copper can also affect melanin formation and cause premature grey hair.
So what are the common causes of a copper deficiency?
Since copper is primarily absorbed in the stomach and then in the small intestine, problems with either organ can affect a person’s ability to absorb copper.
Having digestive issues like low stomach acid, chronic diarrhea, celiac sprue, Crohn’s disease, and surgery can cause decreased absorption of copper.
Regular consumption of antacids, which lowers stomach acid, can also put a person at risk for copper deficiency.
People who take high doses of zinc from supplements can also develop a copper deficiency.
This is because zinc and copper compete for absorption in the stomach, with zinc being the usual winner.
As a result, copper isn’t absorbed.
The same thing can happen if you use excessive amounts of zinc-containing denture creams.
So, what can you do to add more copper to your diet?
The very first thing you can do is to eat more nuts, seeds, mushrooms, whole grains and legumes.
Other foods that are naturally high in copper include organ meat, especially liver, oysters, lobsters, and crabs.
To boost collagen production, your body relies on several nutrients from your diet.
This includes two other minerals that are often overlooked: manganese and silica.
Collagen protein contains proline, an amino acid that helps give collagen fibers their shape, and manganese is required to activate enzymes that your cells use to make proline.
The recommended daily intake of manganese is 1.8 milligrams for women and 2.3 milligrams for men. Brown rice, pecans, black pepper, and green tea can all help you reach your intake goal.
This is a naturally occurring mineral that helps with the production of collagen and has anti-inflammatory properties.
This mineral is important for optimal synthesis of collagen and for activating the hydroxylation enzymes, which improve skin strength and elasticity.
Silica can be found in foods like green beans, bananas, leafy greens, brown rice, cereal, lentils, and beer. All are significant sources of this mineral.
The FDA recommends that you shouldn’t consume more than 10-30 grams (or 2% of your daily food intake) of silica daily.
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And now, over to you. What foods are you eating to get enough copper to maximize collagen production?
Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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