Boosting Collagen Production

…simple joy by simpler living

There’s a lot of talk these days about wanting to boost collagen production because as we age our bodies produce less and less of this protein.  Collagen is the most plentiful protein in our bodies and it is needed to strengthen and support connective tissues all over our bodies including:  bones, tendons, muscles, skin and even blood vessels.  So a decrease in it can obviously affect many areas throughout our bodies. 

Many lifestyle choices also cause a decrease in collagen production.  Spending too much time in the sun, drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking, not getting enough sleep or exercise are some of these collagen decreasing activities.  You have probably noticed excess wrinkles in people who do these things more than the average.  A few years ago I met a woman who owned a pool and was extremely tanned and wrinkled for her age.  It was a warning to me as I bought a house with a pool not to overly indulge in sun tanning as I enjoy the great blessing of a pool in my own backyard.

Many companies produce their own varieties of collagen peptides claiming to counter the effects of aging by replacing the collagen with dietary supplements. A lot of these products appeal to those wanting to reduce wrinkles in our aging skin. According to research, however, dietary collagen supplements have not been shown to have much effect on increasing collagen production in our bodies. So the question we are left with is, “Is there a way to increase collagen production in our bodies and therefore decrease some of the effects of aging?”

I am not a scientist but a Health Educator seeking to help others simplify eating & lifesyles for maximum health.  So I read scientific research and find simple ways to implement things that are healthy. For this collagen project, I researched and found what nutrients help our bodies need to produce collagen then found foods that contain those nutrients. This way we can aid and not hinder our bodies to heal and grow strong. Our bodies naturally produce collagen, so I have sought out ways to help boost that process along to hopefully counteract some of the natural decline that happens as we age.

According to my research there are several vitamins that help our bodies create collagen:   vitamin C, vitamin B12, zinc, copper and manganese.  Any supplement in excess or deficiency can be detrimental, so be sure to check with a functional doctor or nutritionist and get your blood levels periodically checked if supplementing with high-dose vitamin pills.  I prefer to get vitamins and nutrients primarily through foods I eat then strategically add a few supplements. It would be very hard to get too much of a good thing through food because our stomachs can only eat so much food.  Also, food as a primary source of nutrition is more nutritious and delicious!

I haven’t done enough research on copper and manganese but do know too much copper can cause problems so I am going to focus on vitamin C, vitamin B12, and zinc. These vitamins are also very helpful to the immune system. Vitamin C has been found to help with many things and is water soluble so it would be hard to take too much yet benefits are found with higher doses. For that vitamin, I supplement with a powder. I found a mostly tasteless powder that doesn’t affect the flavor of food and also is easy on the stomach. I typically have stomach pain if I take too many supplements or even spicy foods, but this vitamin C powder does not bother me at all.

Foods to Eat

So on to some foods we can eat to help our bodies naturally produce more collagen…

Vitamin C Foods:  Citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), tomatoes, strawberries, kiwifruit, guavas, avocado

Zinc:  turkey, chicken leg, beef, milk, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, beans, oatmeal, shitake mushrooms, almonds, edamame, oysters, spinach, broccoli, kale, garlic

Vitamin B12:  seafood (clams, trout, salmon, tuna), dairy products (yogurt, milk,…), beef, eggs, chicken breast

Chicken Bone Broth

Now, I mentioned that collagen pills/powders have not been found to increase collagen in your body much. One dietary source of collagen I do recommend, however, is chicken bone broth. It contains gelatinous collagen but also many collagen-producing nutrients. In addition, it has a multitude of other health benefits. Chicken bone broth has long been known to heal colds and coughs, among other ailments. Once a staple in homes across across America, it has now become a rare find because of our busy lives and easy access to faster foods. This may contribute to the increase in health disorders in our modern society. In her book, Nourishing Broth, Sally Fallon Morell gives research, history and recipes to integrate bone broth into your regular diet. The beginning of the book is a fascinating read and inspires me to use what many of our grandmothers knew was liquid gold of nutrition. Food made from scratch is always healthier than processed food but doesn’t have to be hard to make. See my broth recipe for an extremely easy way to make this yourself!

Just One Healthy Change

This blog is all about making healthy living made easy.  I always recommend just making one change at time and only doing that one thing until it becomes easy.  Then add another.  It is what my favorite writing teacher, Andrew Pudewa, calls “easy plus one”.  It works great for kids’ writing class, and it works great for life!  So let’s try to pick one thing, just one, that we can implement in our eating this week to improve our health.

My Simple Collagen Boosting Routine

I want to share the primary way I boost collagen that is SO easy to implement. I add vitamin C powder to my morning yogurt or smoothie. That’s it. Easy! Just 1/4 teaspoon has 1000 mg of vitamin C so it’s easy to get 2000+ in your diet. That boosts collagen production. Now that I have gotten into an easy routine of making my own yogurt, which is super healthy in itself, adding the vitamin C powder enriches it even more. If you don’t make your own yogurt, you can buy plain yogurt with probiotics, add your own local honey, fruit, and mix in vitamin C to make a delicious healthy treat too! Then you will have a Collagen Boosting Bowl of Yogurt!

Since I already have my yogurt routine down and it has become easy, I am ready to implement one more healthy habit in my family’s diet.  I make bone broth but need to find more ways to use it regularly. After doing all this research, I am going to integrate broth more regularly into our weekly menu.    Comment below with any ways you have success in increasing collagen-boosting foods in your diet! 

(** For full disclosure, I receive a small affiliate fee through the Amazon links. Although, I only recommend products I actually use and believe in.**)

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