8 Essential Foods to Replenish Collagen in Your Skin

You can replenish collagen with creams and lotions; however, the best sources of this nutrient are foods that contain it in large amounts.
8 Essential Foods to Replenish Collagen in Your Skin
Karla Henríquez

Written and verified by the doctor Karla Henríquez.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

You need to replenish collagen if you’re over 35 and your skin is losing elasticity, firmness, and your first wrinkles are appearing.

Collagen is a protein made of connective tissue cells known as fibroblasts. It makes up around 30 percent of your body’s total protein mass, and 80 percent of the connective tissue.

In simpler terms, this protein is the glue that keeps your body together. Without it, your body wouldn’t be able to unite all of its components.

Collagen and your skin

Woman with healthy skin

The health of your skin is directly linked to collagen, which is responsible for protecting its structure and forming a barrier to toxins and other harmful external agents.

It’s the main component of your hair and nails, as well as the ligaments and connective tissue. More specifically, it’s responsible for your skin’s firmness and makes up the bulk of the dermis.

For this reason, when you lose collagen you also lose firmness and elasticity.

When do you start losing collagen and why?

Humans start losing collagen when they turn around 25 years old, and it becomes more obvious after the age of 35.

As collagen decreases, the epithelial structures weaken, the skin becomes thinner, your hair is no longer as strong, and wrinkles and sagging skin begin to appear.

Also, your tendons and ligaments become less elastic and your joints lose flexibility. Thus, supplementation of collagen is best after the age of 25.

Factors that accelerate the loss of collagen

  • Exposure to the sun, smoking, pollutants, toxins, stress, and excessive physical exercise increase the production of free radicals that can destroy your existing collagen reservoirs. At least according to this study by Universidad de Granada, in Spain.
  • Low hormone production during menopause and aging also decrease collagen production.
  • Health problems with treatments that prevent the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals.

What to eat to replenish collagen in your skin?

Signs of aging

Ok, so your collagen production has started to fall, no worries. Some foods are rich in this protein and others help produce it, in short, they help replenish collagen in your skin.

Eating them can help you recover the firmness, freshness, and elasticity of your skin. Among them:

1. Meat

This is an important nutritional element thanks to its high content of collagen, the best meats are:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Goat
  • Ox
  • Deer
  • Pork (especially the legs)

Skin, bones, and offal are also rich sources of protein and collagen, such as pork skin, bone broth, etc.

2. Replenish collagen by eating fish

Fish has a lower concentration of this nutrient than other protein sources. However, the scales are a high source of collagen.

Also, the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and tuna can help protect the membranes around your skin cells. At least according to this study conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica, in Mexico.

As you can see, this kind of fish reduces inflammation and provides elasticity and firmness.

3. Gelatin

Gelatin in a bowl
  • Gelatin is made up of 90 percent collagen protein derivatives
  • It’s also low in calories

4. Red fruits and vegetables can replenish collagen in your body

Fruits like apples, strawberries, cherries, red peppers, beets, and more, contain lycopene.

5. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, as suggested by this study from Hospital Da Costa in Galicia, Spain. You’ll find it in oranges, lemons, kiwis, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, and other fruits.

  • They also contain antioxidants that decrease the formation of wrinkles.

6. Vegetables

Vegetables like cabbage, eggplant, kale, endive, and spinach promote the production of collagen.

7. Foods rich in sulfur compounds

A bowl of olives to replenish collagen

Foods such as celery, green and black olives, garlic, cucumber, bananas, onions, and tofu have a high sulfur content.

8. Other foods to replenish collagen

Other foods you should include in your diet are soy milk, cheese, tea, nuts, and foods rich in lysine like potatoes, seaweed, and brewer’s yeast.

All these products are easy to obtain. Mix and match them with other ingredients in your diet to your taste and make sure it’s wholesome and well- balanced. You’ll notice the effects on your skin as soon as the collagen in your body increases.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Castellanos L, Rodríguez M. El efecto de omega 3 en la salud humana y consideraciones en la ingesta. Revista Chilena de Nutrición. Marzo 2015. 42 (1).
  • Martínez Ruíz Mª A, Morales Hernández Mª E. Aproximación al tratamiento del envejecimiento cutáneo. Ars Pharmaceutica. Octubre – Diciembre 2015. 56 (4).
  • Nimni, M. E., & Harkness, R. D. (2018). Molecular structure and functions of collagen. In Collagen: Volume I: Biochemistry. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781351070799
  • Prockop, D. J., & Guzmán, N. a. (1981). El colágeno. Tiempos Médicos.
  • Silva, T. F. reira, & Penna, A. L. B. (2012). Colágeno: Características químicas e propriedades funcionais. Rev Inst Adolfo Lutz. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-17226-7_13
  • Valdés F. Vitamina C. Actas Dermo – Sifiliográficas. Noviembre 2006. 97 (9): 557-568.
  • Waliszewski K. N, Blasco G. Propiedades nutracéuticas del licpoeno. Salud Pública de México. Junio 2010. 52 (3).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.