Several new studies examining long-distance runners’ habits of popping non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs, which include ibuprofen) are finding that the practice is preventing the growth of new collagen, and thus inhibiting their ability to rebuild new tissue.
Professor Stuart Warden, Director of Physical Therapy Research at Indiana University, informed the New York Times last week that “the stresses of exercise activate a particular molecular pathway that increases collagen,” which leads to stronger connective tissues in the dermis, and thus, fewer wrinkles and younger-looking skin.
However, taking ibuprofen reduces the positive effects of exercise on collagen.
“NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, substances that are involved in pain and also in the creation of collagen,” Warden says. “Collagen is the building block of most tissues. So fewer prostaglandins mean less collagen, which inhibits the healing of tissue and bone injuries.”
The studies were meant to scrutinize the common practice of marathon runners taking ibuprofen in order to reduce muscle soreness and pain after a run, and found that in fact, it can actually increase soreness and pain.
Professor Warden advises that the only time anti-inflammatory painkillers are justified is “when you have inflammation and pain from an acute injury. But to take them before every workout or match is a mistake.”
If you’re like me, you’re spending every spare moment outside soaking up the rare Canadian sunshine.
The dilemma is that I want gorgeous, tanned skin, but I have to grapple with the fact that the sun contributes to premature wrinkles and breaks down collagen in our skin’s cellular matrix.
Although this happens, our bodies do regenerate new collagen. Lifestyle choices dictate how much collagen is made and how much is destroyed.
Vitamin C is vital to the production of new collagen. You can help your body rebuild what was destroyed over the weekend by consuming the vitamin in the form of whole, raw foods.
How vitamin C helps produce collagen
When the body produces collagen, a complex series of events takes place both inside and outside of cells.
Dr Jerry Gordon, a national dean’s list scholar in undergraduate biology at Rutgers, explains that Vitamin C is active inside of cells, where it hydroxylates, or adds hydrogen and oxygen to lysine and proline, which are amino acids.
“This helps form procollagen, a precursor molecule, which is then made into collagen outside of the cell. Without vitamin C, collagen formation is disrupted.”
Dr Gordon also cautions that “vitamin C is easily damaged during the food preparation stage, such as during chopping, exposure to air, cooking, boiling, and being submerged in water.”
To maximize your intake of vitamin C, always try to eat whole, raw foods as much as possible.
You can’t eat too much vitamin C – if it’s from whole foods
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 60 to 90 milligrams per day, depending on age and gender. The average person consumes 72 mg (about 1 orange), but there’s nothing wrong with getting more.
It’s only possible to get vitamin C toxicity from consuming too much of the vitamin through supplements or fortified foods. Through whole food sources, it’s not possible to obtain toxicity because our bodies are able to cope by storing unused vitamins.
This is not a license to go outside and bake, unprotected. Getting vitamin D is healthy, but either go inside or cover up when you feel yourself starting to burn.
- Dr Jerry Gordon
- Sizer, F. Whitney, E. Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies. 10th edition. Thomson Wadsworth Publishing. Belmont, California. ISBN 0534645062.
If you’re looking for a food that will naturally prevent and fill in wrinkles, Royal Jelly is a strong contender.
Royal Jelly is a thick substance produced by the endocrine glands of nurse bees for the purpose of feeding the queen bee and larvae (baby bees).
Royal Jelly contains collagen, a main protein in our connective tissues which keeps our skin youthful, smooth, and wrinkle-free. A Japanese team of scientists found in 2004 that it promotes the synthesis of new collagen in the body.(1)
It also contains 28 trace minerals, including Sulfur (S), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), and Iron (Fe), which are essential for skin beauty.(2)
Sulfur, Manganese, and Zinc promote cell and tissue regeneration, which helps to produce collagen that has been destroyed through lifestyle factors, such as excessive exposure to the sun, alcohol consumption, and eating many advanced glycated end-products (“A.G.E.s”) in refined & processed foods. Further, iron-rich blood gives the skin a youthful, “colourful” glow.
Royal Jelly can be found in natural grocery stores, online, or at specialty stores such as Honey World in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market.
It’s a little on the expensive side ($62 for a jar), so if you’re cash-strapped, a regular good quality unpasteurized or raw honey for about $10 also contains many of the same trace minerals, including Silicon (Si). Please note that we earn no financial benefits from your purchase of any bee products.
What’s even more interesting is that The Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology reported that Royal Jelly seemed to be the result of nurse bees’ lactation, lending it the same function as human breast milk, and indeed had the same homeostatic adjustment in the body that human milk does.(3)
In laymen’s terms, it stabilizes the body’s internal chemical environment after we alter it through a poor lifestyle: for example, restoring the acid-alkaline balance of the blood, and stabilizing blood glucose levels.
1. Satomi KOYA-MIYATA, Iwao OKAMOTO, Shimpei USHIO, Kanso IWAKI, Masao IKEDA and Masashi KURIMOTO, “Identification of a Collagen Production-promoting Factor from an Extract of Royal Jelly and Its Possible Mechanism”, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., Vol. 68, 767-773 (2004).
2. Andreas Stockera, b, c, Peter Schramela, Antonius Kettrupa and Eberhard Bengsch , “Trace and mineral elements in royal jelly and homeostatic effects”, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. Volume 19, Issues 2-3, 2 December 2005, Pages 183-189.