How to Support Natural Collagen Production

How to Support Natural Collagen Production

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Collagen is the main component of facia, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and skin. Not surprisingly, collagen has many different functions in your body. Collagen provides structure, strength, and elasticity to the skin; it strengthens blood vessels, is involved in blood clotting, and plays a role in developing new tissue. When collagen degrades, wrinkles occur in the skin. Unfortunately, a natural part of aging involves diminishing collagen production. In addition, the collagen your body produces is of lower quality, and existing cartilage weakens with age. These processes lead to wrinkles and thinning of the skin. Collagen’s importance in youthful-looking skin, hair, and nails has led to the addition of collagen to many nutritional supplements and beauty products.

Types of Collagen

There are at least 16 types of collagen that we know about, with four main types: type I, II, III, and IV.

  1. Type I is the most plentiful, making up 90% of your body’s total collagen. Type I collagen comprises densely packed fibers and provides structure to the skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
  2. Type II collagen contains fibers that are more loosely packed than type I and is part of elastic cartilage, which provides cushioning to the joints.
  3. Type III collagen supports muscles, organs, and arteries.
  4. Type IV collagen is located in the layers of the skin and plays a role in filtration. Keep reading to learn how to support your body’s collagen production naturally. 

Collagen powder

All types of collagen begin as procollagen, a combination of two amino acids, glycine, and proline. You may be able to support the formation of procollagen by consuming certain nutrients. Vitamin C is required for procollagen formation. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, bell peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and strawberries. Proline is abundant in egg whites, wheat germ, dairy products, cabbage, asparagus, and mushrooms.

Collagen Sources

Large amounts of glycine are found in pork skin, chicken skin, and other protein-containing foods. Copper also aids collagen production and can be found in organ meats, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews, and lentils. In addition to these nutrients, your body requires good quality protein to make new proteins. Protein is made up of amino acids. Your body breaks down protein foods into these amino acids and then uses them as building blocks to make the proteins your body needs. Protein sources include meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, legumes, and tofu. Besides protein-rich foods, fruits and vegetables are safe and healthy options for boosting skin health. 

Collagen in food concept

Just like in humans, collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals. There are large amounts of collage in chicken and pork skin (which also contain glycine, important for collagen production). Bone broth is particularly rich in collagen. You can make or purchase bone broth prepared by boiling animal bones. The bone quality will influence the broth’s quality, so your best bet is to make your bone broth with bones from a reputable local butcher. Gelatin, a protein obtained by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones of animals, is cooked collagen, so it is very high in the amino acids your body needs to build collagen. Remember that when you consume any protein, including collagen, your body breaks the protein into amino acids first and then reassembles these amino acids into new proteins. Therefore, directly eating collagen does not mean collagen levels increase in your body.

Increase your Collagen Production

Skin is damaged mainly through oxidation, which occurs through the exposure of the skin to elements such as pollution. Antioxidants protect the skin against free radicals, which create damage through the process of oxidation. Certain antioxidants improve collagen production. Some antioxidant-rich foods include green tea, blueberries, licorice extract, mulberry extract, yerba mate tea, pomegranate extract, and cinnamon.

Many foods contain high amounts of protein and collagen, but what about supplements? While the science behind collagen supplementation is new, studies show benefits in certain areas. Collagen supplementation may help increase muscle mass, protect against arthritis, and increase skin elasticity. On the other hand, foods that contain high amounts of collagen contain a bioavailable form of collagen. This may mean that your body is better able to use the collagen found in foods than the collagen in supplements.


Algae is also able to prevent oxidation and the subsequent loss of collagen. It can be taken as an oral supplement.

Collagen powder and pills

Aloe vera

Aside from food and supplements, other methods may work to increase your collagen production. Aloe vera has been used for a long time as a wound healer. You have probably bought a soothing aloe vera lotion after a nasty sunburn. Aloe vera treats cuts and burns because the aloe vera plant increases collagen production. Aloe can be applied directly to the skin or taken orally as a supplement.

Hyaluronic Acid

You might also want to try hyaluronic acid. This anti-aging ingredient is an important compound for collagen in the skin and keeps the skin hydrated. One study showed that hyaluronic acid booted collagen production. Just like collagen, hyaluronic acid is produced naturally by the body but decreases with age. Hyaluronic acid production also requires vitamin C. Lastly, prioritize regular exercise, which can help reduce the signs of aging and protect your collagen, keeping your skin, bones, muscles, and joints healthy.

Happy senior woman exercising

Behaviors bad for Collagen

While there are many things you can do to increase your collagen production, there are also behaviors to avoid that destroy collagen. Eating large amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates interferes with collagen repair, an important process in maintaining a youthful appearance. Excessive time in the sun can decrease collagen production due to ultraviolet radiation. Smoking has also decreased collagen production, impairing wound healing and increasing wrinkles. Some autoimmune diseases can damage collagen. Pollution and free radicals, which can be encountered due to lifestyle and environmental factors, can decrease collagen production and diminish elasticity in the skin.

You can do many things to boost your body’s natural collagen production. Use the information in this article to support a youthful appearance and increase your overall health and well-being. 

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