Where to Find Collagen in Your Diet
Collagen is an essential protein; we don’t typically get enough of it in our everyday diet. Here are our top collagen-rich foods that can help. Learn more.
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
One of the most abundant proteins in the body, collagen, is vital for skin structure and elasticity. It is also in our muscles, bones, and blood. In this article, we will discuss the top food sources for collagen.
What Foods Are High In Collagen?
Collagen comes from the Greek word “kólla,” which means glue. It is a protein that helps keep the joints and cartilage healthy. Asa person ages, the body begins to produce less collagen. As a result, consuming foods rich in collagen daily is key. The following foods are excellent sources of collagen:
Chicken contains high amounts of collagen. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help rebuild cartilage. A study on BioCell Collagen, a hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract, found that its consumption reduces aging signs in the face and can affect aging-associated physiological processes.1
Beef bone broth contains Type I collagen, which promotes skin health. Chicken broth contains higher amounts of type II collagen, which supports the joints. Both have an extra benefit: unlike other foods containing collagen, each type of bone broth has a form of collagen your body can use immediately upon consumption. For more information on bone broth benefits (and recipes) from Dr. Pompa, click here.
Fatty fish such as wild salmon and sardines are rich in collagen. They also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to boost collagen production. Collagen synthesis is increased when consuming omega 3’s, with studies indicating it could improve systemic inflammatory conditions and represent “a possible noninvasive treatment to improve ligament healing” 2 The collagen in fish is primarily concentrated in the skin, with other top sources being the head, scales, and eyeballs.
Chicken eggs contain the amino acid proline and trace quantities of sulfur, which is a mineral. Each plays a vital role in collagen production. In addition to consuming collagen, collagen can also be used in beauty products. When applied to the skin as a water-soluble cream, the egg membrane protects against free radical damage and reduces wrinkle depth in female test subjects.3
Spirulina is a nutrient-dense food high in proteins and the amino acids proline, hydroxyproline, glycine, and hydroxylysine. All play a vital role in collagen production: skin creams with Spirulina platensis extract showed promise for their cell viability, wound healing activity, and genotoxicity in both cosmetical and biomedical applications.4
Foods That Help Collagen Synthesis
Collagen synthesis is the process of creating collagen in the body. Many foods that don’t contain collagen can help the body produce it. The following foods assist in collagen synthesis:
Both leafy greens and green plant foods contain chlorophyll, the pigment that produces the dark green color. Chlorophyll helps the body create procollagen, the precursor to collagen. Top leafy greens and vegetables include the following:
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
Even though citrus fruits do not contain collagen, their high vitamin C content increases collagen synthesis. Popular citrus fruits include the following:
Without vitamin C, the body is unable to produce collagen.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich sources of healthy fats and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E, copper, zinc, and B vitamins. Each of these stimulates the production of collagen. The following nuts and seeds are among the most beneficial for collagen production:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
Collagen is a protein that plays an essential role in the health of the joints, tendons, and skin. It helps the skin maintain its elasticity and a healthy, youthful appearance. Many of the foods listed above are rich in collagen, while others are key for collagen synthesis. As a person ages, collagen production begins to decrease, but eating various healthy foods can help the body continue producing this protein. Consuming organic foods free of pesticides and GMOs is strongly suggested for optimum results. Also, there are many collagen supplements available:
Systemic Formulas: #616 – Collagen MB provides collagen peptides rich in branched-chain amino acids and fatty acids. Each stimulates the production of collagen.
Vital Proteins Collagen Protein – Beef Gelatin is a pasture-raised gelatin powder that is 100% pure. This product contains amino acids that are identical to the protein found in the cartilage, joints, nails, hair, bones, and skin.
To see more collagen products that are natural and free of harmful additives or artificial ingredients, visit revelationhealth.com and see the complete list HERE.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based on the opinions of The Cell Health team. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended to share knowledge and information from the research and experience of the Cell Health team. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD, for the accuracy of the information provided. Still, we encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
- Stephen R Schwartz and Joosang Park. Ingestion of Biocell Collagen®, A Novel Hydrolyzed Chicken Sternal Cartilage Extract; Enhanced Blood Microcirculation And Reduced Facial Aging Signs. Clin Interv Aging. 2012; 7: 267–273. Published online 2012 Jul 27. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S32836. [PMCID: PMC3426261] PMID: 22956862. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426261/
- Hankenson KD, Watkins BA, Schoenlein IA, (et al). Omega-3 Fatty Acids Enhance Ligament Fibroblast Collagen Formation In Association With Changes In Interleukin-6 Production. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 2000 Jan;223(1):88-95. [PMID: 10632966] DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1373.2000.22312.x.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10632966/
- Gitte S Jensen,1 Bijal Shah,2 Robert Holtz (et al). Reduction Of Facial Wrinkles By Hydrolyzed Water-Soluble Egg Membrane Associated With Reduction Of Free Radical Stress And Support Of Matrix Production By Dermal Fibroblasts. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2016; 9: 357–366. Published online 2016 Oct 14. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S111999. [PMCID: PMC5072512] PMID: 27789968.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5072512/
- Seda Gunes 1, Sedef Tamburaci 1, Meltem Conk Dalay (et al). In Vitro Evaluation Of Spirulina Platensis Extract Incorporated Skin Cream With Its Wound Healing And Antioxidant Activities. [PMID: 28552036] PMCID: PMC6130752 DOI: 10.1080/13880209.2017.1331249. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28552036/