Welcome to Part Six of the Green Tea Science series! This article will answer Everything You Need to Know About Green Tea and Collagen. We're going to cover important topics relating to green tea and collagen.
If you have not yet read the first two posts in this series, you can find them here:
Part 1: Polyphenols, Catechines and EGCG
Part 2: Tannin, Gallic Acid
Part 3: Caffeine
Part 4: Vitamins
Part 5: Methylated Catechins
There have been reports of green tea having anti-aging properties, adding to its clout in the health and beauty industry. This may be based on its association with collagen, another buzzword in the medical and cosmetic fields. To nip in the bud any possible misconceptions about this relationship, it's best to start by clarifying that green tea itself does not have any collagen content.
Many tend to associate collagen with lip injections and anti-aging products, but there's so much more to it than these rather superficial functions. Collagen is actually a protein, the most abundant in the body. It is found in the skin, muscles, tendons, and bones. It is literally the substance that holds the human body together, forming a kind of scaffold for both structure and strength.
There's natural or endogenous collagen that is synthesized by the body and synthetic or exogenous collagen that is externally sourced, such as from supplements. Synthetic collagen, as many know, is used for cosmetic purposes; however, it's also used medically, often in repairing body tissues.
As for the natural collagen in the body, it's vital to sustain sufficient amounts as its breakdown and depletion could lead to various health issues. But unfortunately, its production declines as people age and get exposed to the elements, particularly UV light and smoke.
Collagen has a distinct function in the body. It helps form skin cell fibroblasts where new cells can grow, so it plays an essential role both in the replacement and restoration of dead skin cells. It keeps connective tissues together and even rebuilds cartilage. A decline in collagen production weakens the structural integrity of the skin and the cartilage in the joints.
Collagen is a very much in-demand product in the medical and cosmetic industries. It can also be sourced from cows, sheep, and pigs. Detailed below are the manners in which it can be used.
If green tea doesn't have collagen, how are they associated? What green tea has instead of collagen are vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin C, and vitamin E. Vitamin B2 is necessary for the cell's growth, development, and function. Therefore, it plays an essential role in the maintenance of collagen levels.
On the other hand, vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the health of all body tissues, including their growth, development, and repair. Additionally, it is also necessary for synthesizing and maintaining collagen in the body.
Meanwhile, vitamin E is necessary for the health of the eyes, reproductive system, blood, brain, and skin. It helps increase collagen production and support the growth of new skin cells.
Considering all these, studies were done on green tea's natural antioxidants' ability to block collagen aging. The results showed that green tea could delay collagen decline through its antioxidant mechanism that includes the combination of these vitamins.
Many studies do confirm that consumption of green tea, both through drinking it and topically applying it, does benefit the skin. Thanks to its remarkable antioxidant content, it can help collagen production, which directly impacts the elasticity of the skin, an essential factor in youthful-looking skin.
Besides green tea, other foods also help the body produce collagen. Animal food sources like bone broth, chicken, fish, and shellfish actually have collagen. Meanwhile, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruits, tomatoes, and bell peppers are high in vitamin antioxidants like green tea is. Minerals like sulfur, zinc, and copper also boost the body's ability to produce collagen, so foods high in them like garlic (sulfur) and cashews (zinc and copper) also make the list. Amino acids are another component that can help synthesize collagen, so beans and egg whites can be added to the list as well. Lastly, it has also been found that chlorophyll can also help with collagen formation in the skin. Since green tea also has chlorophyll, that only furthers its work with collagen.
Besides the mentioned vitamins and chlorophyll, green tea also has a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG that promotes DNA repair as well as combats DNA damage from harmful UV rays and, as a result, helps fight skin cancer. Reportedly, this catechin reactivates dying skin cells and is 200 times more potent than vitamin E when it comes to neutralizing free radicals that harm the cells' DNA. It and the other antioxidants in green tea work together to prevent damage from free radicals and encourage cell healing.
EGCG is also known to inhibit collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen. This inhibitory action allows the skin to maintain firmness and elasticity.
Other teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant possess similar nutrients and polyphenols as green tea but in varying amounts. For example, black tea and oolong tea have less, but white tea seems to have more than green tea since it's the least processed. However, white tea is much less studied than green tea, so it's still difficult to make definitive claims on its benefits.
Since Matcha is deemed to have three times more antioxidants than the highest quality Sencha, the assumption is that it would also have the most beneficial effect on the body's collagen production and maintenance. The approximation is that two cups of Matcha would equal the antioxidant content of 20 cups of other kinds of green tea.
If you have ever thought that Green Tea is an “acquired taste” or that it is “too bitter” to enjoy, we’re here to change your mind! We want everyone to experience the health benefits of Green Tea and show you that this can be an amazing, refreshing, and delicious drink when made correctly. With just a few tips on how to brew this powerful leaf we can change your mind about the taste and enjoyment of drinking Green Tea.
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