Menopause and Collagen Loss
Menopause is so much fun, isn’t it? There are the hot flashes, the mood swings, and (ugh) that tendency to gain two pounds every time you even look at a cookie.
And here’s the thing that upsets menopausal women the most of all: those wrinkles that seem to appear overnight. What on earth is happening?
Here’s the deal: When you hit menopause, your collagen production decreases dramatically. In fact, it drops by around 30%. That’s because estrogen is critical for maintaining collagen. As you lose estrogen, you also lose collagen—and as a result, your skin looks older every month.
But chin up, because there’s a solution, and it’s easy (and delicious).
How to replenish your collagen stores
If you’re losing collagen, the answer is clear: replace it! And I’m not just talking about rubbing collagen creams or serums on your face. While these can help, you’ll get a much bigger payoff if you feed collagen directly to your skin cells. So restore your lost collagen every day by getting into these two habits:
- Add collagen powder to shakes, soups, and green drinks.
- Drink a mug of bone broth every day—and use it in soups, sauces, stews, and chili.
Collagen powder is made of hydrolyzed collagen—which is collagen that’s broken down into tiny peptides your body can easily assimilate and use—and bone broth is loaded with the building blocks of collagen. Both of them will firm your skin and erase those wrinkles from the inside out. (And who doesn’t like a cool, creamy shake or a warm, satisfying bowl of soup?)
It really is that simple: Love your skin by feeding it collagen, and it’ll love you back by looking years younger. But remember: This needs to be a regular habit. You’re losing collagen every day, which means you need to replace it every day. So make hydrolyzed collagen and bone broth part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth.
By the way, if you’d like more motivation to make collagen part of your regimen, here it is. While I’m focusing primarily today on keeping your skin beautiful, here are three other big benefits to getting that daily dose of collagen when you’re in menopause:
- Menopause puts you at higher risk for osteoporosis, and research shows that supplemental collagen can increase your bone density during this stage of life.
- You know that weight gain I talked about earlier? Collagen can help you get rid of those pounds that pile on so much more easily as you age.
- If you have osteoarthritis, taking supplemental collagen can promote joint comfort. One of the most common comments I hear from people doing my collagen-rich weight-loss plans is, “Dr. Kellyann, my knees don’t hurt anymore!”
So in addition to making your skin gorgeous, collagen is going to strengthen your bones, help you lose weight, and make your joints happy—pretty impressive bonuses, right?
How to preserve your existing collagen
Clearly, it’s smart to add collagen to your diet every day during menopause and beyond. And while you’re renewing your collagen supplies with hydrolyzed collagen and bone broth, it’s also smart to rev up your body’s own collagen production and protect your existing collagen. Here’s how to do it:
Get plenty of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a “rate-limiting” factor for collagen, meaning that if you’re deficient in this vitamin, your collagen production line shuts down.
Eat lots of different colors of veggies. The phytonutrients that create the rainbow of colors in vegetables help to build, protect, and maintain collagen.
Cut out the sugar. Sugar binds with proteins to form destructive molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These cause collagen to get dry and brittle.
Drink white tea. This type of tea protects against enzymes that break down collagen.
Avoid smoking, excess alcohol, and over-exposure to the sun. All of these speed the breakdown of collagen.
Get plenty of sleep. The more you short yourself on slumber, the faster your collagen will break down.
- Bust your stress. Stress increases cortisol levels and is murder on collagen—so practice de-stressing activities like yoga, journaling, and meditation.
When you combine these lifestyle changes with your daily dose of collagen powder and bone broth, you’ll maximize your collagen production and minimize collagen breakdown—and that translates into a younger, healthier you.
The sooner you get in the collagen habit, the better your results will be. To get you started, here two of my favorite recipes from my latest book, Dr. Kellyann’s Cleanse and Reset.
BERRIES AND CREAM SHAKE
A big dose of collagen, PLUS vitamin C-rich berries!
- 1 cup water, coconut milk (not canned), or almond milk, unsweetened and carrageenan-free
- 1/3 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup assorted berries
- 1 packet Dr. Kellyann’s Vanilla Bone Broth Protein, Vanilla Almond Collagen Shake, or any high-quality vanilla collagen powder
- Ice (optional)
In a blender, combine the water, canned coconut milk, berries, collagen powder, and ice. Blend well.
LEMONY CHICKEN VEGETABLE SOUP
Loaded with bone broth and those collagen-protecting veggies!
- 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
- 4 cups chicken bone broth (here’s an easy recipe)
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 to 2 cups zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, diced
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup parsley or basil, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1 teaspoon Celtic or pink Himalayan salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups or more loosely packed baby spinach
- Lemon wedges, for serving
In a large stockpot, melt the ghee over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and leeks and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the bone broth, carrots, celery, zucchini, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the spinach and serve with lemon wedges.