Ever wonder how you can naturally boost collagen production? Well, good news – you can get it naturally from nutrient-rich foods in your diet! Or can you? While increasing foods high in antioxidants and vitamins like C & E can help reduce signs of aging for the skin, and support your hair, and nails, your best bet for increasing natural collagen levels in the body isn’t from food, it’s actually from supplementation.
Where Does Collagen Come From?
Collagen is a protein and it’s not just for wrinkles. Collagen is found throughout the entire body and makes up about 30-40% of the protein in our systems. It’s probably not the type of protein you think though – collagen contributes protein to the body in the way of connective tissue and structure within our bodily organs. The majority of collagen in our body is found in our tendons as a convolute of fibers, in the dermis (skin), and in the interstitial fibrous tissue between muscle fibers, to name a few1
Collagen Production in the Body
Our bodies are powerhouses for collagen production until about our late 20s. This is about the time when our natural production of collagen declines. Sad right!? The reduction of collagen producing properties in the body contributes to signs of aging on the inside and outside of the human body. Poor collagen levels and production also contribute to other health conditions like tendon deterioration and rheumatoid arthritis.3
Signs of low collagen levels include2
- Wrinkly skin
- Joint pain
- Worn cartilage
- Loss of muscle
- GI & Digestive issues
- Loss of flexibility
How To Increase Collagen Naturally With Collagen Boosting Foods
Even though natural collagen production in the body gradually declines as we age, having a robust and nutrient-rich diet can increase the bioavailability of amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. While this effort is great, the nutrients consumed may not always actually get absorbed, says Dr. Bradley of the Cleveland Clinic. He continues on to say that in order to “make sure your body has enough ingredients to make collagen, you may need to take dietary supplements”. 6
Even though supplements are the best way, increasing the number of vegetables and nutrients in your diet definitely doesn't hurt, which is why we included a list of 5 collagen boosting foods below.
RELATED PRODUCT: Swolverine's Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Powder
Collagen Rich Foods
Why is bone broth good for you? Because Bone broth is a collagen rich food. Bone broth comes from bones (doh!) of chicken, fish, or beef. The bone broth making process draws the collagen out of the bones for you to consume. You can drink it alone, add it into soup, or other dishes and drinks. Before bone broth got popular for its collagen rich properties, in the past bone broth has been referred to as stock, and yes, bone broth and stock are essentially the same things.
Interestingly enough, you’re better off making bone broth at home rather than opting for the store bought version. The reason? A published study from 2018 says otherwise.
“Bone broth [is] unlikely to provide a reliable concentration of collagen precursors compared to supplemental sources of collagen for standardized preparations, commercial bone broths [are] lower in all amino acids than the self-prepared varieties”7.
So, if you’re looking for the maximum benefit from bone broth? We say to make it at home and supplement with pure collagen hydrolysate protein powder.
It’s no secret avocados are good for you and the healthy kind of fat, rich in vitamin E and antioxidant properties. Can vitamin E reduce wrinkles? Research likes to think so. But as far as collagen production? Not so fast. Vitamin E is a major naturally occurring lipid-soluble non-enzymatic antioxidant that protects the skin from the negative effects of oxidative stress.8
So before you go out and buy a vitamin E supplement or pummeling down vitamin E rich foods for their “collagen-rich” properties, start thinking of the vitamin E in avocados as a way to slow the signs of aging by protecting the dermis (skin) against environmental agents that create damage, instead of a pill.
These yummy foods include vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin in the body for skin health, as an antioxidant, and as a major player in the collagen synthesis process. Are foods high in Vitamin C collagen-rich foods? No, but they help in promoting collagen production. Research has found that vitamin C is ‘most effective in protecting against damage induced by UV light and also has utility in the treatment of photo-damage and/or skin wrinkling9. Citrus fruits have the highest concentrations of vitamin C foods and include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes to name a few. While increasing citrus in the diet is wonderful, it’s conflicting whether topical or oral application of vitamin C is more beneficial.
Topical vitamin C has also been shown to reverse some of the age-related structural changes in the interface between the dermis and the epidermis 10). However, the effects of topical vitamin C are not apparent in all individuals, and interestingly, one study found that individuals with high dietary intakes of vitamin C showed no or little effect of a topical administration 11 .
In two human studies, it was found that oral vitamin C supplementation did not increase the photo-protection of UV light in skin11. While vitamin C regulates the synthesis of the structural protein collagen is well-characterized12, research suggests that the greatest effects of vitamin C supplementation and collagen production are seen when it is combined with other micronutrients, such as vitamin E and zinc.13
Our recommendation? Put collagen powder in your daily glass of orange juice and deliver a robust amount of collagen and vitamin C to your body. It will thank you, we promise.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are also not a collagen-rich food, but they help prevent the breakdown of collagen within the body and help slow the signs of aging, or so the internet likes to claim. One study suggests that a drink containing chlorophyll for 90 days improved the facial wrinkles and elasticity in female volunteers over the age of 45. Compared to the baseline, type I procollagen synthesis was increased14. While the pigment that makes leafy greens, green, is scientifically proven to fight free radicals15, increase your response to oxidative stress and slow the signs of aging16, and reduce inflammation17, the benefits of chlorophyll and collagen production is poorly researched and supported.
If you’re looking to improve your overall health and wellness, absolutely increase your dark leafy green vegetable intake. If you’re looking to specifically increase your natural collagen production and bioavailability, we recommend supplementing your nutritionally rich diet with a hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder, like THIS ONE.
Sulfur is an important component in the synthesis of collagen. Some research suggests that a diet without sufficient amounts of sulfur can contribute to a reduction in collagen synthesis and increase in skin wrinkling17, but again, research isn’t abundant for this. Moreover, the benefits of sulfur can be seen as it contributes to the synthesis of glutathione, an extremely important antioxidant in the body that fights against free radical damage18. If you’re looking to reap the benefits of collagen production, again in this case, supplementing collagen is your best bet to use against skin aging.19
The Fight Against Accelerated Aging
Skip the Botox, injections, and creepy facelifts and start getting the nutrients you need to help combat the signs of aging from collagen-rich and collagen boosting foods and supplements. What you put on your plate can nutritiously boost your overall health, wellness, and appearance greatly, but not necessarily collagen production. This is where supplementation comes in – to bridge the gaps in your nutrition so that you can reap the physical and cosmetic benefits.
Supplements are not intended to replace your nutrition, and while there are plenty of antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods out there to support a healthy lifestyle and slow the signs of aging, nothing is going to do the trick quite like a collagen rich hydrolysate protein supplement.
How Much Collagen Should You Take Daily?
It’s recommended that healthy, physically active individuals should aim to get on average from 1.4g/kg to 2.0g/kg of body weight daily.4 Older adults should look to include 1.2g/kg to 2.0g/kg of body weight per day.5 In addition to complimenting your nutritional goals with collagen hydrolysate powder, benefits of consuming collagen can help athletes stimulate protein synthesis, strengthen ligaments and tendons, reduce joint pain, all while aiming to help prevent injury. Taking collagen daily isn’t just for health enthusiasts, it’s for athletes, too.
The Best Way to Naturally Boost Collagen Production
So how do you increase collagen production? Well, In addition to a nutritious diet and implementing collagen-rich foods into your diet, we also recommend improving other areas of your lifestyle. Ways to fight signs of aging include reducing exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, staying away from smoking or stop smoking altogether, reduced refined and processed foods while also eliminating sugar. All of these things can greatly contribute to declining collagen levels within the human body.
While a nutrient-rich diet full of antioxidant, vitamin and mineral rich foods, is great for reducing the signs of aging and improving your overall quality of life, the best way to boost collagen production in the body is by supplementing with collagen hydrolysate. We can assure you collagen supplements are not fake news, and while there are foods out there that are 'supposed' to help you with natural collagen production, you're better off actually consuming collagen from a supplement.
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