Most of us who are interested in anti-aging, youthful skin and reducing wrinkles have heard about collagen. Collagen is a protein that consists of amino acids that serves as a key structural component of the body’s connective tissue such as skin, bones, ligaments, etc. The inner layer of the skin contains large amounts of collagen, which gives it the strength, texture and resilience that we see. When we are young, we produce more collagen. Unfortunately, as we age, we tend to breakdown more collagen leading to facial wrinkles, sag and rough skin texture. So is there anything we can do to reverse this process and stimulate collagen production in the body?  Studies are showing that our diet and the nutrients we intake can affect collagen production. Do you take Vitamin C? It is essential for efficient synthesis of collagen. Many of the symptoms of scurvy (vitamin C deficiency disease) such as bleeding gums, skin hemorrhages and poor wound healing are due to impaired collagen synthesis. Supplying extra vitamin C can accelerate collagen synthesis especially when other key ingredients are also in abundance. Do you take a complete multivitamin with minerals? Certain minerals are also essential for collagen production. One such mineral is copper. Studies show when the level of copper inside skin cells increases, collagen production goes up. However, copper is a potentially toxic metal so do not take too much. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for copper is 2 mg per day. Do not take more unless directed by your physician. Products like Asta-Krill 8, a krill/astaxanthin blend has also been shown to work wonders on the skin. Daily supplementation, with a krill oil that has been fortified with 4-6mg astaxanthin per softgel twice per day can reduce visible signs of UV-aging and helps dermal renewal. Do you eat enough protein? If protein is lacking in your diet, your face could look puffy and slack. Not eating enough protein is also associated with water retention and slow wound healing. Not enough protein can make your face look bloated. Eat at least one 6 ounce serving of any of the following: fish, chicken/turkey, meat, eggs, low fat diary products, or vegetable protein per day. Stay away from sugar. Sugar has been shown to cause cross linkage of elastin and collagen fibers. It causes wrinkles. So if you want to keep your complexion smooth and young-looking, you need to minimize consumption of sugar. Armed with information, we can make better choices for our skin. A few simple reminders can help us look better at least for a few years. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist