I’m sure most of you have heard of collagen and how important is for our skin! In fact collagen is not only found in our skin, it is also in our bones, tendons, blood vessels and corneas. It is the most abundant protein in us! When we experience problems building or maintaining our collagen it can have severe effects on our bodies and can cause many issues.

Our collagen molecules are what give our skin its elasticity. They are grouped into fibers and are very durable. They are considered a fibrous protein made up of a combination of three amino acids (specifically glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline or hydroxylysine). In order to make collagen we first need to hydroxylate (add an OH molecule) the amino acids proline and lysine. We need vitamin C to make this reaction happen. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that we consume by eating oranges, pomegranates, peppers, broccoli and many other foods. It is used by many other processes in the body and may not be readily available to regenerate our skin cells when they are in need!

So what do we do with all of this information? Why do smokers have more saggy skin than non-smokers? Well, it is based on the fact that when you smoke cigarettes you inhale an abundance of toxins and dreaded free radicals. These are killer substances that torture our cells. Vitamin C is one of our strongest defense mechanisms against free radicals! Smokers have to use the vitamin C they consume in their diets to fight the free radicals they take into their bodies with each puff. This leaves little vitamin C left over for the formation of collagen. Without collagen our skin loses elasticity! It is a vicious cycle that can be brought to a halt by quitting smoking. When I see a smoker with saggy skin I can’t help but think of the bigger problems going on. If their skin is so badly affected than their bones, tendons, corneas and blood vessels are surely just as bad.

Finally, I want to mention the World Health Organization’s most recent second hand smoke findings. Yesterday they reported that their recent research states that 600000 people per year are dying due to second hand exposure to cigarette smoke (165000 per year are children). For more information check out the link here –http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Second+hand+smoke+kills+year/3887747/story.html.

Protect yourself, your children, family, and the environment by quitting smoking.