More than just a pretty face…
The biggest organ of our body, our skin, is responsible for so much more than we give it credit for. Yes, many of us are looking for glowing complexions, but on top of how our skin looks, it also protects us against UV light, dehydration and chemical trauma. It is our immune system's first defense against pathogens. It insulates & regulates our body temperature. It helps the body detoxify. It synthesizes sunshine into Vitamin D. It helps us to feel sensation whether in the form of a bit-too-hot cup of coffee or a hug from our most loved ones.
Responsible for so much and yet in our modern day lives, our skin faces more onslaughts than ever before. From lack of adequate sun exposure (or too much of it) to air pollution, sanitisers and chemicals found in poor quality products applied daily - there’s never been a more crucial time to take care of the skin you live in.
Whilst ensuring that the products you put on your skin are chosen carefully, what you put in your body is of equal importance. It has been said that our skin functions as a window to our internal health; giving signs that your liver may need extra support or your gut health needs attention, your skin gives practitioners from naturopaths to nutritionists clues as to what may be going on inside. Eating well, staying hydrated and thinking carefully about your lifestyle practices has a huge impact on the health of your skin.
The recent boom in research and interest in gut health and the billions of tiny microbes housed within it, has paved the way for a new understanding on how inextricably linked it is to the health of our skin. Simply put, our skin is a result of the overall function of the gut. Optimising our digestion ensures we are effectively absorbing nutrients we need to thrive. When we see an imbalance in the environment of our microbiome we can, in turn, see increased amounts of inflammation, irritation and imperfections on our skin. Therefore, by supporting the balance of our microbes and improving digestive function, we can also improve the glow and radiance of our complexion.
Some great ways to help out those gut bugs include:
- Taking on Polyphenols, Prebiotics + Probiotic foods. Prebiotics such as garlic, leeks and artichokes or Polyphenols (plant compounds) found in foods such as cacao, coffee and berries feed your beneficial gut bacteria. Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut and contain live microorganisms intended to maintain or improve the microflora. Bitter foods including apple cider vinegar, rocket or radishes also play a role in helping with the production of stomach acid and improving digestive function.
- Take a break from snacking. Whilst certain foods benefit our gut health, an equally important function occurs when we stop eating. Our digestion has its own ‘housekeeping’ system called the Migratory Motor Complex or MMC, whose job it is to clean up undigested food particles, unwanted bacterias and enzymes. This function is activated around 2-3 hours after eating and importantly, only within a fasted state. Using functional foods such as MCT oil can help to increase these fasting windows in between meals and reduce snacking.
Let’s take a moment for collagen
The role of collagen in skin health is integral to its integrity, firmness, elasticity and hydration. A great analogy is to think of your dermis (the inner layer) of the skin like a mattress. The cross filaments of collagen act like the springs, maintaining the frame and shape, keeping the mattress looking plump and your skin feeling youthful.
Not just found in the skin, collagen is actually the most abundant protein in our body, comprising around 30-35% of the body’s total protein. This key protein is a vital component of our connective tissue – the most widely distributed tissue in the body. It is what supports and strengthens other body tissues, as well as insulating and protecting our organs. As well as the skin, it’s found everywhere in the human body including our ligaments, bones, tendons, joints, cartilage, gut lining, blood vessels and even our hair, nails and teeth.
The word "collagen" originates from the Greek word meaning “glue” and it’s helpful to actually think of it as the ‘glue’ that holds your body together. Some types of collagen strands are, gram for gram, stronger than steel. Much like structural scaffolding, collagen keeps everything held together making us strong, healthy and vital.
When we reach our twenties, collagen production starts to gradually decline. And whilst we don’t aim to be the bearer of bad news, every year after it is estimated that you lose a further 3% of your collagen. As we move past roughly 40 years old, it is thought that collagen depletes faster than our body can produce it. Other factors such as smoking, frequent flying, high sugar diets, alcohol. lack of sleep and UV radiation can damage collagen. Whilst this is happening, we might notice changes in our body, like a downturn in our skin’s elasticity, increased wrinkles or we feel like we’re unable to bounce back from injury like we once did.
Because the collagen molecule itself is huge, it cannot be absorbed by the skin as it’s just too large. Instead, taking high quality hydrolysed collagen peptides such as Ancient + Brave collagens, internally is where it makes a huge difference as here the collagen molecule has already been broken down. Studies have shown that, once absorbed, the small amino acids and peptides can be transported through the bloodstream and utilised around the body. The mechanism at work here seems to be that the presence of these specific amino acids in your bloodstream tricks the body into detecting breakdown of collagen, triggering it to produce more and increasing natural collagen production.
Studies have shown that collagen supplementation rich in type 1 collagen peptides, can improve skin elasticity, moisture, and the appearance of wrinkles.
Whilst collagen is clearly an important component to skin health, there are also many other nutrients at play when it comes to keeping our skin in top condition.
Top Players for Skin Renewal
Vitamin C: This powerful antioxidant helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and also helpfully supports collagen production.
Vitamin E: Another potent antioxidant, vitamin E helps to protect the skin from UV damage and prevents the breakdown of collagen.
Vitamin A: This vitamin helps to regulate cell growth and turnover, which is important for maintaining healthy skin. It also promotes the production of new skin cells and, you guessed it, supports collagen production.
Zinc + Selenium: These minerals are essential for wound healing, UV protection and also supports the production of (drumroll) collagen and elastin, another key player in maintaining skin elasticity.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids help to maintain healthy cell membranes and promote skin hydration. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce skin redness and inflammation
Diets rich in wholefoods, colourful plants, good quality protein and healthy fats are a great start in ensuring you get the full range of nutrients and cofactors your skin needs. Advanced support includes using foods and botanicals rich in antioxidants such as berries, cacao or herbs such as rosehip, which has traditionally been used as a nutrient dense and therapeutic food for this skin. Ancient and Brave formulations have potent levels of polyphenol rich botanicals, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and of course collagen to support the integrity of this incredible organ - the beautiful vessel for your intelligent body.
Radiant from the inside out
As we’ve established, there are many factors and nutrients required to optimise our skin health. With this in mind, Ancient + Brave have formulated a product to support glowing skin targeted at those on a plant-based diet, however anyone can enjoy using it. Plants don’t naturally create collagen, which can be an issue for those avoiding animal-based products, however our Radiant Collagyn intelligently uses collagen specific amino-acids; glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, to provide the body with the building blocks it needs to create new collagen. We’ve also added in generous amounts of absorbable Vitamin C, plenty of high antioxidant botanicals such as Haskap Berry and Rosehip, all of which contribute to the health and radiance of our skin. It’s not always easy to get all the nutrients you need on a vegan diet, so to make life easier for our community we’ve included some key nutrients which are commonly lacking; such as Vitamin D, Iodine and Choline to ensure you get your daily dose in this deliciously berry-tasting drink.