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Cortisol, “The Stress Hormone” and Collagen

Cortisol, “The Stress Hormone” and Collagen

Christa M. Spence, MS, OTR/L, CAPS

Stress levels are at an all-time high because of the recent events that are happening around the world such as global illness and social and procedural injustices.  High levels of stress can be linked to emotional challenges, chronic disease, failing relationships, job loss, lack of sleep and other issues.

Stress can affect how we feel and can interfere with our mood, pain level, digestion, immune system, memory, and clarity of thought.  Eventually, it can take a toll on our health especially if prolonged and not properly dealt with.

But did you know that stress can also affect the body’s ability to produce collagen effectively?

Yes. Chronic stress can weaken the body’s ability to produce collagen while increasing cortisol levels – a double whammy!  

Collagen and Cortisol

Cortisol is one of the main stress hormones playing a primary role in aging the skin.  Stress impacts collagen in the skin and its integrity by changing collagen production and breakdown.  If stress is not effectively managed, it can result in lines, wrinkles and sagging skin which contributes to us looking older faster. This makes it crucial to find ways to manage stress.

Prolonged periods of stress can also produce high levels of cortisol increasing the risk of weight gain, belly fat, joint pain, anxiety, and many other bodily responses.  So along with reducing stress, it would be beneficial to increase the production of collagen to combat these problems effectively.

Ways to Reduce Stress:

  1. Regular exercise
  2. Balancing your personal and professional life.
  3. Get on regular sleep schedule of no less than 6-8 hours per night.
  4. Prayer and meditation
  5. Practice mindfulness (Not allowing your mind to wander too long on things in the past or too far in the future on things you have no control over)
  6. Start or learn a new game or art craft.
  7. Listen to uplifting music
  8. Aromatherapy – Light a calm smelling candle.
  9. Participate in, listen to, or watch something that you make you laugh.
  10. Seeking counseling if needed.

Ways to Improve Collagen Production:

  1. Take collagen peptides regularly
  2. Eat foods rich in collagen
  3. Decrease stress
  4. Improve your gut health
  5. Reduce consumption of sugar
  6. Avoid overexposure to the sun
  7. Increase foods with antioxidants
  8. Add Vitamins B and C to your daily regimen
  9. Reduce intake of processed and fatty foods
  10.  Do not smoke

Implementing these healthy habits and making them a part of a health-conscious lifestyle, can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, pain, weight gain, belly fat and other bodily responses and increase the production of collagen.  Collagen production will also slow down the aging process, allowing the body to stay active while increasing the skins integrity making it more supple, vibrant, elastic, and healthy.

Photo by David Garrison from Pexels