Sagging Skin Collagen and Digestion

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/27/2024

Collagen absorption and digestion are fundamental aspects of maintaining our overall health.

This complex process keeps us youthful, energetic, and vibrant.

Learn about the importance of collagen as you age and what you can do to ensure absorption.

Understanding Collagen and Its Role in the Body

The body is an intricate arrangement that needs various elements to work correctly. One such element is collagen, an abundant protein crucial to maintaining health and vitality.

The Importance of Collagen for Overall Health

Collagen makes up about 30% of all proteins within the human body, demonstrating its significance. It forms densely packed fibers needed for strength and elasticity across different parts of your system, including skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

Recent research suggests dietary collagen may offer additional benefits like improved bone density or heart health promotion.

Apart from being essential raw materials, our bodies need to maintain structural integrity; it contributes significantly to overall wellness through diverse functions. This ranges from aiding the wound healing process to boosting hydration levels.

Ensuring adequate intake via diet or supplements is vital to achieving optimal well-being and longevity.

How Collagen Contributes to Maintaining Body Structures

Serving primarily as a component found within connective tissues - be it cartilage (elastic cartilage), bones (bone broth), or even skin (skin elasticity) - collagen helps sustain their structural stability by providing flexibility coupled with resilience.

These properties are particularly critical when dealing with joint movements or pressure applied to specific areas.

In terms of skincare specifically, one study published in Skin Pharmacology & Physiology demonstrated how sufficient animal protein sources can boost production levels, leading to better hydration and reduced signs of aging.

Beyond just aesthetic appeal, these findings underscore the importance of adequate production.

Balanced nutrition and targeted supplementation are necessary to help combat common issues associated with declining natural collagen due to age and environmental factors that damage it over time.

Anti-aging concept

Aging and Collagen Loss

Life is a journey of constant change, and one significant transformation is the decline in collagen production as we age.

This protein, which once ensured the firmness of our skin and the luster of our hair, begins to decrease over time, leading to visible signs of aging.

Age-related Decline in Collagen Production

The human body naturally produces collagen throughout its lifetime. From our mid-20s, collagen production slows at an estimated rate of one percent each year.

By the time we reach middle age or beyond, collagen levels show a noticeable drop.

Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking or consuming excessive amounts of sugar, also accelerate this process by promoting inflammation within cells responsible for adequate collagen production.

Effects on Physical Appearance Due to Decreased Levels of Collagen

Dietary collagen loss has direct implications on physical appearance over time. Skin elasticity declines, resulting in wrinkles, while thinning hair becomes more prevalent due to densely packed fibers needed for growth becoming less available.

  1. Negative impact on connective tissues affecting joint health,

  2. Blood vessels lose their strength, potentially increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease,

  3. Eyesight might be impacted since the fluid inside the eyes relies heavily upon sufficient quantities of type II elastic cartilage - one of the major types found within the human body.

Bone density also takes a hit owing to insufficient animal protein sources rich in raw materials needed to synthesize new molecules, making us susceptible to osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders.

Thus, understanding the importance of maintaining adequate protein intake, especially during the later stages of life, cannot be overstated when it comes to managing the effects of aging on the skin and the overall well-being of a person.

Digestion's Impact on Collagen Absorption

Regarding collagen absorption, our digestive system plays a pivotal role. The stomach's task is breaking down proteins like dietary collagen into smaller peptides that can be absorbed and utilized by the body.

The Role of Stomach pH in Effective Digestion

A key player in digestion is hydrochloric acid (HCl), used by the stomach to break down food particles, particularly protein sources such as dietary collagen.

The level of acidity or pH within the stomach significantly impacts how well these proteins are broken down for absorption.

Research has shown this step is crucial for efficient nutrient uptake, including vital components like abundant protein from animal sources, which contain densely packed fibers needed for adequate collagen production.

In an ideal scenario, adult human bodies maintain a highly acidic environment with gastric pH levels ranging between 1.5 and 3.5, perfect conditions denature complex protein structures into simpler forms, readying them for adequate digestion.

The Link Between Aging-Induced Acid Reduction & Poor Nutrient Uptake

Natural aging processes change bodily functions, including reduced secretion of HCl, leading to increased gastric pH values over time - a condition known as hypochlorhydria. This hampers the proper breakdown of consumed foods, resulting in potentially inadequate nutrient assimilation, which is significant for connective tissue health maintenance, such as skin elasticity, blood vessels, and elastic cartilage structure.

Studies suggest this could damage adequate collagen production if left unchecked in the long term. If you're considering supplementation options, hoping they'll augment dwindling natural reserves, keep in mind they might not work effectively if your gastrointestinal tract isn't functioning optimally due to decreased acid output and age-related factors.

The term hydrolyzed refers to the processing to make collagen more easily digestible; however, it doesn't guarantee complete assimilation if an underlying issue exists.

Addressing Digestive Issues for Better Collagen Intake

The correlation between digestive health and nutrient absorption is undeniable. If you're experiencing signs of low collagen levels and digestive issues, it's crucial to address these problems before increasing your intake of food or supplements.

This approach ensures that the body can properly absorb nutrients from dietary collagen, leading to adequate collagen production necessary for maintaining skin elasticity, the integrity of blood vessels, and other connective tissues in the human body.

Improving Your Digestive System for Efficient Absorption

Your gastrointestinal tract plays a vital role in breaking down proteins like hydrolyzed collagen into smaller molecules that can be absorbed effectively.

The process begins with thorough chewing, which initiates digestion by mixing food particles with saliva enzymes.

Your stomach uses acid and further enzymes to reduce these fragments into amino acids - the raw materials needed for abundant protein synthesis, including densely packed fibers within our bodies' connective tissues.

However, poor nutrient absorption may ensue if any part of this system is compromised due to insufficient chewing or inadequate stomach acidity.

Several strategies help promote healthy digestion:

  • Maintain Proper Hydration: Adequate water consumption aids digestion by helping dissolve fats and soluble fiber, allowing them to pass more efficiently throughout the system.

  • Proper Diet: A diet rich in animal protein sources such as bone broth provides essential building blocks required for optimal functioning of bodily structures.

  • Avoid Overeating: Large meals overwhelm the digestive system, causing indigestion and bloating, and hinder the proper extraction of valuable nutrients, including those derived from supplemental forms like peptides and hydrolysate.

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Pursuing regular physical activity, managing stress, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking and alcohol all improve overall gut health.

Once you've addressed existing digestive issues and implemented the strategies designed.

Natural Remedies to Enhance Stomach Acidity & Aid Absorption

Collagen, the most plentiful protein in our systems, is essential for keeping skin flexible and forming connective tissues. However, as we age or due to certain lifestyle factors, collagen production may decrease, leading to aging skin and other health issues.

To enhance collagen absorption from dietary supplements like hydrolyzed collagen or food sources such as bone broth rich in animal proteins, we need to maintain an optimal level of stomach acidity.

Here, two natural remedies - apple cider vinegar (ACV) and betaine hydrochloride - could be beneficial in aiding this process, especially if consumed with meals.

Apple cider vinegar

The Benefits of Using ACV at Meal Times

Apple cider vinegar is known for its potential benefits on digestion.

Consuming small amounts before each meal can stimulate the production of stomach acid, which aids in the efficient breakdown and assimilation of nutrients, including those densely packed fibers needed for adequate collagen production.

Studies suggest that incorporating ACV into your diet helps increase gastric juice secretion and improves overall digestive health.

Though excessive intake might lead to discomfort, moderation is essential when using this remedy. Before beginning any new diet, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice and to ensure safety.

Betaine Hydrochloride: A Supplement that Boosts Gastric Acid Levels

An additional source of hydrochloric acid required by the gastrointestinal tract during digestion, betaine hydrochloride has been shown to improve the body's capacity to digest foods rich in protein, thus facilitating better uptake, particularly those containing collagen. 

Overconsumption of these supplements could damage the lining however. Therefore, taking them under professional guidance is always recommended to avoid adverse effects.

Dry Lips and Collagen

If you've ever wondered why your lips are so dry, collagen could hold some answers.

Collagen, a protein that provides structure to the skin, plays a significant role in maintaining lip health. Dry lips can result from a lack of collagen, which helps maintain moisture and elasticity.

Factors like aging and UV exposure can reduce collagen production, leading to dryness and chapping. Incorporating collagen-rich foods, such as bone broth, fish, and leafy greens, can help support lip health.

Additionally, skincare products containing collagen or collagen-boosting ingredients may contribute to keeping your lips supple and hydrated.


Understanding collagen and its role in the body is fundamental to our health. We've learned that as we age, the natural production of this vital protein decreases, leading to visible signs like sagging skin.

The impact of digestion on collagen absorption cannot be overstated. A balanced stomach pH aids effective digestion and nutrient intake.

Addressing digestive issues can significantly improve collagen intake. It's essential to fix these before increasing your intake through food or supplements.

Natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar and betaine hydrochloride could restore a healthy stomach balance, aiding better absorption with each meal consumed.

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