The Importance of Collagen and How Red Light Therapy HelpsLast Updated:
Collagen is an essential protein that keeps your skin and muscles supple, your bones from becoming brittle, and your blood healthy.
The stimulation of collagen production is one of the key processes through which red light therapy bestows health benefits.
In this article, we will examine the role of collagen in your body and how red light therapy elevates your natural production of this vital, restorative building block.
Table of Contents
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the primary structural protein in your body, and the most abundant. Collagen makes up about one-third of the protein in your body as a whole and approximately 75 percent of the protein content of your skin, the largest bodily organ.
Elements of your body structured by collagen include:
- Cartilage, bones, and bone marrow
- Muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Blood vessels
- Lymphatic system
- Connective tissues
- Liver, kidneys, and other major organs
Derived from the Greek word “kólla”, which means glue, collagen is the substance that binds these things together. Your body would not be a collective whole without collagen.
There are 28 different types of collagen, each characterized by its unique organic composition. About 90 percent of your body’s collagen is Type 1, with the remaining 10 percent falling mainly into Types 2 through 5.
- Type 1: Composed of dense fibers, Type 1 collagen is found in your skin, internal organs, bones, tendons, connective tissue, and teeth.
- Type 2: Composed of loose fibers, Type 2 resides primarily in your joints and cartilage.
- Type 3: Found in your bone marrow and lymphatic tissues, Type 3 collagen supports your muscle structure and arteries.
- Type 4: Thin sheets of collagen surrounding most bodily tissues, Type 4 assists with filtration.
- Type 5: This type of collagen is found in your hair and the surfaces of certain cells.
The remaining 23 types of collagen are less specialized and exist at trace levels within your body.
How Does Red Light Therapy Stimulate Collagen Production?
When red light is radiated on your skin, the wavelengths penetrate your skin to reach your cells.  The energy-production centers of your cells (mitochondria) communicate with the protein cytochrome c oxidase, triggering your body to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The organic compound ATP acts as a host for the transfer of cellular energy. Increased energy within your cells activates the creation of fibroblasts. 
Fibroblasts are significant because these are the connective tissue cells that produce collagen. Red light therapy is an excellent means by which to optimize your collagen production and realize the resulting health advantages.
What Are the Health Benefits of Collagen?
Skin elasticity decreases over time and your bones become more brittle, along with other collagen-related signs of aging. This is because your body gradually produces less collagen as you age.
Red light therapy helps to restore more abundant, youthful levels of collagen in addition to treating numerous conditions and diseases.
An abundance of collagen promotes all of the following:
- Skin quality and elasticity 
- Anti-aging including wrinkle prevention 
- Treatment of acne and other skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema 
- Ocular health
- Increased athletic performance, physical fitness, and decreased recovery time after exercise   
- Accelerated wound and injury healing    
- Building muscle mass
- Weight loss, boosting metabolism, and cellulite reduction
- Increased testosterone in men
- Treatment of dementia and degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases
- Healthy thyroid function
- Treatment of depression and anxiety
- Increased cognitive function and ability to concentrate
- Reduction of inflammation, leading to relief from pain caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other conditions
- Regulation of sleep patterns
This is just a partial list of the ways that collagen impacts your body and overall well-being.
What Else Impacts Your Body’s Natural Production of Collagen?
Diet and Lifestyle Choices
As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat”. Your body’s natural collagen production is driven by the fusing of amino acids, the organic protein compounds found in the foods you consume. Maintaining a healthy diet is the best way to promote basic, healthy collagen production.
Your diet should be rich in:
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Milk, cheese, eggs, and other dairy
- Beans, chickpeas, lentils, mushrooms, asparagus, and leafy green vegetables
- Soybeans and tofu
- Colorful produce like bell peppers, tomatoes, and citrus fruits
- Whole grains
Healthy eating will prompt your body to produce a healthy level of collagen whereas a poor diet will inhibit your body’s ability to do so. Other negative health habits such as smoking, inadequate sleep, excessive sun exposure, and too much sugar consumption can also decrease collagen production.
To help your body produce collagen efficiently, your lifestyle should consist of a wholesome diet and healthy behavioral choices.
What About Collagen Supplements?
Collagen supplements are widely available in the form of oral over-the-counter pills, topical creams, and even injections. Most of these products make lofty claims about their benefits, ranging from bone loss prevention, increased muscle mass, better heart health, and stronger hair and nails.
Be skeptical of these products. The “collagen” in them is not natural; rather, it has been highly synthesized and artificially processed. While some success in wound-healing via topical collagen supplements has been demonstrated, the efficacy of these products is largely unproven.
In addition, most over-the-counter collagen supplements are not FDA-regulated. This means that the manufacturers are not required to prove that their products are safe or effective and that their composition may be inconsistent. Red light therapy, on the other hand, is safe, FDA-approved, and clinically proven to boost natural collagen production.
An artificial dietary or topical supplement will not help an already unhealthy lifestyle. It is best to concentrate on maintaining healthy habits and a good diet, supplemented by the natural healing powers of red light therapy. This combination paves the way to maximum collagen production and the resulting benefits.
Red light therapy is easy to administer in the privacy and comfort of your own home, with an array of devices available for purchase to suit your personal treatment needs.
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