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Vitamin “C”ollagen

"How Vitamin C Helps Collagen Production"
By: Ciel Yu Ping KuVitamin “C”ollagen

Let’s face it, we’re conscious with our skin’s appearance. From visible wound scars to acne problems, to dark, aged-looking and wrinkled skin. We are looking for and trying all sorts of beauty products and methods, for the sake of getting rid of any skin impurities we see and to  have brighter, healthier skin. What we need is vitamin C and we are very familiar with it, but the thing we need to remember about vitamin C is the “C” is collagen, or related to collagen.

Vitamin C, most commonly known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and one of the essential vitamins we need in our daily intake. Vitamin C cannot be stored in our body; thus, we need to get it from the food we eat, particularly fruits and vegetables. Orange is a classic example of vitamin C source, and other citruses (e.g. grapefruit, lime, lemon), berries (e.g. strawberries), fruits such as guava, kiwi, papaya, and vegetables like bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes and string/snap beans.

Collagen is the protein that forms connective fibers in tissues such as skin, ligaments, cartilage, bones and teeth. Coming from the Greek word kolla (glue) and -gen (producing), it acts as a “glue” that gives support to blood vessels, bones, and organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. Collagen fibers help to anchor our teeth to our gums and is also required for the repair of blood vessels, bruises, and broken bones. It is the most abundant protein in the body, produced by our cells that helps hold the skin together, giving it elasticity and firmness. Collagen is composed of amino acids that form a triple helix, which consists of two identical chains (α1) and an additional chain that differs slightly in its chemical composition (α2). The most common motifs in the amino acid sequence of collagen are glycine-proline-X and glycine-X-hydroxyproline, where X is any amino acid other than glycine, proline or hydroxyproline. There are several types of collagen that occurs all throughout in our body, but the most common types are Type I (most abundant) for skin, tendon, ligaments, teeth and main component of the bone; Type II for cartilage; Type III for reticular fibers that give shape and strength to organs, such as the liver, heart, kidneys, etc.; Type IV for the basement membrane in between cell layers that separates blood vessels, muscles and skin; and Type V for the surface of the cell, hair and placenta.

Vitamin C – Collagen Relationship

Vitamin C is essential in the formation of healthy collagen. When collagen is produced, there is a complex series of events, some occurring inside of the cell, and some outside of the cell. Vitamin C is active inside of the cell, where it hydroxylates (adds hydrogen and oxygen) to two amino acids: proline and lysine. Along with lysine and proline, this helps form a precursor molecule called procollagen that is later packaged and modified into collagen outside of the cell. Without vitamin C, collagen formation is disrupted, causing a wide variety of problems throughout the body. The production of collagen in our body is continuous, in order to maintain and repair connective tissues lost from daily wear and tear.

Grab Your Vitamin C Fix!

As mentioned, fruits and vegetables are our sources of vitamin C nutrients. Oranges are classic examples of vitamin C source, and because it is common, many pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies are using images of orange in their packaging for consumers to get the idea of vitamin C. Commercially, ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate (another form of ascorbic acid) oral dosage forms are being sold over-the-counter for vitamin supplementation. According to the US Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, the maximum daily intake of vitamin C in adults should not be more than 2000 mg, for  adolescence 14-18 years old not more than 1800 mg, for 9-13 years old not more than 1,200 mg, for 4-8 years old not more than 650 mg, and for 1-3 years old not more than 400 mg. Cosmetic products containing vitamin C can provide a wide range of benefits that keeps skin younger-looking and brighter. Based from the Journal of theAmerican Academy of Dermatology and Journal of Clinical and Aesthetics Dermatology, vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of brown spots and other types of sun damage, helps boost healthy collagen production, reduces inflammation and irritation, both of which cause a cascade of damages, fade post-breakout red marks by improving skin’s natural healing response, and increases the effectiveness of your sunscreens and boosts your skin’s defense against UV exposure.

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