Menopause is a hot topic right now, and rightly so, as the impact of menopause is gradually getting more attention. From a wide variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms to an increased risk of osteoporosis and dementia, all women will experience menopause at a point in time and often in very different ways. As women approach their menopause phase, their estrogen levels will reduce, which can drive the reduction in their collagen production. So what can we do about declining collagen production as we age, and in particular, why is it important to address this around menopause? In this blog, we hope to share with you collagen’s role both before and during menopause as well as 3 different ways to alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Collagen and the stages of menopause
The 3 Stages of Menopause
Menopause has 3 stages, although it does feel like a long period of (never-ending) time. It is split into perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Perimenopause can start as early as your mid-thirties and is usually when you first begin experiencing hot flashes, an increase in fine lines, skin sagging, and brittle hair and nails. This is then followed by menopause which starts after you go 12 months without a period cycle, and all the symptoms from perimenopause essentially get worse (gaining a couple more irritating symptoms such as weight gain, mood swings, and fatigue). When these symptoms worsen, you enter post-menopause, which can last a decade longer.
How closely related collagen is to estrogen
The primary driving force for these symptoms is the progressive decline of estrogen production by your ovaries, which surprisingly is responsible for the amount of collagen your skin produces.
During the three stages of perimenopause, you may see a decrease in collagen levels over time. Collagen begins to DECLINE as early as your 20s. So, when you reach 50 years of age, your collagen production has been cut in half. Since collagen is a vital component of bones, joints, cartilage, skin, the gut, and more, the stalling of collagen synthesis in the body also leads to joint pain and stiffness, hair loss or flattening, and a decrease in the elasticity of ligaments and tendons.
However, not all collagen types are created equal. As the main types of collagens found in the body are Type 1 and Type 3 Collagen—not Type 2, 4, 5, or any of the other 25 types. Type 1 is found in the skin, bone, tendons, and ligaments while Type 3 is found in the skin, blood vessels, and intestines. With that being said, your collagen supplement should contain both Type 1 and Type 3 Collagen.
Learn more: Type I Collagen: Everything you need to know
3 most effective ways collagen can alleviate perimenopause and menopause symptoms
1. Collagen Combats Aging Skin
One of the biggest changes during menopause occurs on your skin, as it becomes dry, dull, and begins to sag from the lack of collagen production occurring as estrogen levels decline. Collagen supplements can help keep your skin plump and hydrated reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen combined with vitamin and fruit extraction has the added benefit of antioxidants that can help protect your existing collagen from degradation.
2. Collagen Strengthens Hair (AND Slows Graying)
Hair loss is another symptom that women experience during menopause (due to a change in hormones). However, because collagen makes up 70% of your dermis (the middle layer of skin that contains hair follicles), it contributes to the elasticity and strength of your dermis and could help prevent hair thinning and hair loss.
What’s more, that collagen may even slow graying. As you age, the cells that produce melanin—the pigment that gives your hair its color—begin to die. However, thanks to collagen’s potent antioxidant properties, it has the potential to fight oxidative stress and in return, slow the process of hair graying.
3. Collagen Alleviates Joint Pain and Reverses Bone Loss
Collagen exists all over the body and estrogen is also involved in regulating bone density and collagen production in your joints. The drop in collagen levels can reduce bone density and lead to osteoporosis. Including a collagen supplement can help lubricate your joints and prevent bone abrasion as the increase in collagen production functions as a cushion between them to maintain healthy joints with age.
Top popular applications of collagen for menopause stages
1. As a supplement
Collagen pills, collagen tablets, whatever you choose to call them, are a lot quicker and easier ways to get more collagen in your body on a regular basis.
- Pros: convenient, portable, flavorless
- Cons: small serving size, not as easily absorbed
2. As a liquid
Collagen drinks—whether pre-made or ready to be mixed into the liquid of your choice—are a less popular option overall, but are a favorite among on-the-go people who need the extra opportunity to hydrate.
- Pros: convenient, easily absorbed, flavorless
- Cons: limited use
3. As a powder
The powder form is the most popular type of collagen supplement. Hydrolyzed collagen (or “collagen peptide”) powder usually has no flavor and dissolves easily in beverages, smoothies, soups and sauces.
- Pros: well-tolerated, can be mixed into other foods
- Cons: may have a noticeable flavor
The best collagen supplement for you comes down to personal preference. Collagen powders and liquid are easy to add to drinks and meals, and they’re a good option for higher intake levels. Collagen pills offer a quick way to take your collagen, sans mixing.
Vinh Wellness, a leading freshwater collagen producer, provides single-sourced, traceable, and sustainable collagen peptides in powder form. Looking for a partner to produce collagen peptides for your collagen formulation? Contact Vinh Wellness today!