Collagen Food and Supplement Guide (for Anti-Aging)

Our skin collagen levels drop dramatically as we get older. This leaves our skin weak, flimsy and prone to wrinkles.

The good news....

A 5 to 10g daily increase in collagen intake has been proven in numerous studies to reduce wrinkles and increase skin elasticity by up to 30%.  

The above dose of orally ingested collagen-derived peptides promotes collagen synthesis in the skin and increases the size of collagen fibres in the dermis improving skin hydration, increasing elasticity and preventing wrinkles.

Most people...

see clearly visible improvements to their skin after using a daily dose of 10g of high quality collagen peptides for a minimum period of 3 months. Maximum skin benefits are seen after 6 months of consistent usage.

You can increase your collagen intake by eating foods that are high in natural collagen or through collagen supplementation.

These 6 foods contain actual collagen that can be absorbed when eaten.

6 Foods Packed with Collagen

2 Major Problems with Collagen obtained from Food

1. Limited Sources of Collagen

The first problem with getting your daily dose of collagen from food is that there are only a few foods that contain actual collagen that can be broken down and absorbed for its skin benefits.

These foods usually contain the bone and connective tissues of animals. This means you will not find any vegetarian source of actual collagen.

However, there are many vegetables and fruit that boost the body’s natural production of collagen but there are none that contain actual collagen.

This limitation leaves us with only a few foods that actually contain collagen in the form that can be absorbed for their skin benefits.

2. Bio-availability Issues

The bio-availability of collagen from food sources is also a problem, as collagen in its purest form, is insoluble and cannot be digested.

This means in our stomach and intestinal track must break down collagen into smaller peptide molecules so that it can be easily absorbed.

This breakdown and digestion process results in only about 25-30% of collagen from food being absorbed.

This bioavailability problem means that you have to consume a fairly large portion of collagen foods to absorb the daily required dose that is needed for most of the skin and anti-aging benefits.

6 Foods Packed with the Highest Concentrations of Collagen

These are six foods have the highest concentrations of collagen that can be absorbed for their skin benefits.

1. Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are mostly skin and bone, making it extremely high in natural collagen. They are also great tasting and can be prepared in a variety of cooking methods and flavours.

           Chicken Wings

A 100g portion chicken wings, including the skin and wings and excluding the bones contains about 9g of collagen.

Considering the poor absorption of collagen form foods, you would have to eat about 200g of chicken wings to get the daily dose of collagen required for skin improvements. 200g of chicken wings are only about 4 to 5 average sized wings, making it a really healthy meal if prepared using a healthy recipe.


2. Beef Shanks

Bone, tendons, cartilage and other gelatinous beef products have high quantities of collagen. These parts of beef also make excellent tasting meals. In particular beef shanks and beef oxtail have high levels of collagen.

Beef Shank

Traditionally cross cut beef shanks are about 150 to 200g in weight and contain about 3g of collagen per serving. 

2 to 3 servings of beef shank will help you get the daily required dose of collagen needed to see the skin benefits of increased collagen intake.

3. Pork Rinds

Pork rinds are a great snack packed with collagen.

Pork Rinds

Pork rinds contain about 8g of collagen per 100g grams of rind.

Commercially made pork rinds are mostly fried and prepared using saturated oils. The benefits of the collagen are out-weighed by this unhealthy preparation process.

In contrast 100g homemade pork rinds using healthy oils can serve up a decent amount of collagen.

4. Bone Broth 

Bone broth is prepared by slow boiling animal bones and cartilage. The preparation process is time consuming and takes several hours and even several days with some recipes.

The process of slow boiling bones extracts all the collagen and minerals from the bone to create a broth. The resultant rich broth has numerous health benefits and has been used in medicine for centuries.

Bone broth can be made using bones and waste from various animals however beef and chicken bones are most commonly used.

Bone Broth

Chicken Bone Broth

Most commercially available ready to drink chicken bone broths have about 5 to 6g of collagen in 250mls of bone broth. 

Beef Bone Broth

Most commercially available ready to drink beef bone broths have about 8 to 10g of collagen in 250mls of bone broth.

The preparation of bone broth is an unpleasant process. Apart from the time required, it also produces an unpleasant smell.

Given these issues with homemade bone broth, most people end up buying ready to drink bone broth products. It is sold in many flavours and lacks the smell that usually accompanies homemade broth.


Gelatin can be bought from a pharmacy or you could just use plain old “Jello” from the grocery store. Jello contains gelatin however the pharmaceutical grade gelatin found in pharmacies is of a much higher quality. Jello also contains high quantities of sugar and flavourings. 

Collagen and gelatin are often used as interchangeable terms. When collagen is broken down it forms gelatin. This is how collagen is extracted from meat products. It is broken down into gelatin and extracted.

Gelatin is the closest you will get to naturally occurring collagen outside of a natural occurring meat product.

In contrast to the above foods, gelatin is all collagen.


A 100g grams of jello contains about 40g of gelatin. The remaining portion consists of sugar and flavorants.

However, gelatin also has bio-availability problems but to a lesser extent than the above foods. 

Gelatin is only partially hydrolysed collagen and most of the gelatin molecules have similar molecular weights to collagen averaging around 300000 Daltons.

This makes gelatin a large molecule that would have to undergo the same breakdown process to be absorbed. 

Gelatin also binds and absorbs to many of the other content in the gastrointestinal tract. This process often leaves the gelatin in an indigestible state which gets passed out.

The great thing about gelatin is that it can be found in many desserts that are easy to prepare and eat. You can also purchase pharmaceutical grade gelatin that you can add to any hot beverage. It is tasteless, and you would need about 10 to 20g of gelatin a day to notice skin benefits.

6. Hydrolysed Collagen Peptides

Hydrolysed collagen peptides are small peptide molecules derived from breaking up collagen. The collagen peptides are the perfect size for maximum absorption and bio-availability.

Collagen peptides that have the highest biological activity are commonly short in length, comprising 2 to 9 amino acids with molecular weights lower than 3000 Daltons. This is about 100 times smaller than a gelatin molecule. This promotes easy absorption and transport to the extreme layers of the skin where they are most needed.

Hydrolysed Collagen Peptides

A good quality hydrolysed collagen peptide contains 100g of collagen per 100g.

Most of the collagen peptides currently available on the market have molecular weights of 2000 to 20000 Daltons. This makes them easy to break down into even smaller molecules thereby increasing their absorption.

Collagen peptides with low molecular weights have such good absorption and bioavailability rates that you require very little to get maximum skin benefits. Only 5 to 10g of collagen peptides are needed to see significant skin improvements.

Original Research by The Aesthetic Pharmacist

Collagen Peptides Reviewed

How Foods High in Collagen Contribute to Anti-Aging

Collagen Anti-aging

1. Foods High in Collagen have Anti-Aging Skin Benefits

Collagen plays the largest role in skin elasticity and firmness. Skin elasticity and firmness are the two qualities of skin that are needed to prevent wrinkles and sagging.

We also know that collagen production in the skin decreases with age and this is the main cause of wrinkles, sagging and aged skin.

To stop skin aging we must ensure that we take every measure to increase our collagen levels. 

An increase in collagen intake causes our skin to produce more collagen and it also increases the size and thickness of collagen produced. 

Here are two clinical studies that prove the effectiveness of collagen supplementation.

Oral intake of collagen can decrease wrinkles by up to 20%.

Oral intake of collagen can also increase skin elasticity by up to 30% in some patients.

Other possible skin benefits of consuming collagen for skin anti aging include improved smoothness, better moisture retention, increased suppleness and prevention of deep wrinkle formation

Increased collagen intake can also reduce cellulite and stretch marks. 

When your skin loses its elasticity, it causes cellulite. Improving your skin’s elasticity through collagen helps reduce that dimpling effect caused by cellulite on your skin.

2. Foods High in Collagen improve Bone and Joint Health 

Collagen from food forms an integral part of our bone and joint structure. The decreased levels of collagen that comes with age results in poor bone health and joint problems.

Collagen also acts like a lubricant facilitating easy movement of the joints. 

A 2012 study showed that consuming high collagen foods or supplementing with collagen can decrease joint pains by up to 20%.

Some studies have shown excellent results of collagen supplementation improving osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Foods High in Collagen Promote Wound Healing

We all know that things take much longer as we get older.

Wound healing is one of those things that take forever as we get older. Small bruises, bumps, scratches, or even tiny pimples take forever to heal over and renew.

One study showed that collagen increased the healing rate by a 100%.

Collagen plays such a major role in wound healing that most dressing companies have started to include collagen into the surgical dressings and plasters, to improve healing time and decrease scar formation.

Factors that destroy collagen


Due to the limited food sources of collagen and the poor bioavailability of collagen from these foods, it is essential that you increase your collagen intake via a supplement. Collagen supplements with low molecular weight have the best absorption rates and the least gastro-intestinal side effects giving you visible results in minimum time.

Check out our review of the 3 Best High Quality Collagen Peptides 

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  • The Aesthetic Pharmacist on

    Hi Chriss

    The clinical studies mentioned in this article used doses of 2000 to 5000mg of collagen daily. I and many others have found a daily dose of 10g (10000mg) to have the best anti-aging results especially in terms of wrinkle reduction and skin suppleness. let me know how it goes.

  • Chriss on

    Hi, I am 36, Female.
    I would like to seek for your advise whether taking 1000mg of collagen consumption is enough for my daily needs (is for anti aging purpose)? Thanks.

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