Anti-ageing diet and collagen supplementation

Collagen is a protein that structures our dermis, and its reduction over time is responsible for skin slackening. Our diet can influence collagen production, protecting it or accelerating its degradation. The best collagen supplements

Over time, our bodies naturally produce less collagen, which results in the appearance of wrinkles, but to this we must add external aggressions such as the sun, pollution, smoking... all of which generate free radicals that destroy collagen. The other bad news is that with age, the quality of collagen produced is not as good as it used to be, which makes a collagen-boosting diet all the more essential, combined of course with a good anti-aging skincare routine.

Focus on collagen:

Let's start with a reminder about collagen. It's part of the structural protein family, which creates the structure of our body, and is therefore essential for skin firmness. Collagen is extremely important, accounting for a quarter of our body's protein mass. There are many different types of collagen, but their manufacture changes little. The basic structure of collagen is tropocollagen, formed by a triple helix of polypeptides made up of amino acids such as glycine, proline, hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline. So each chain is made up of numerous amino acids. And many reactions are necessary to arrive at the final form of collagen. One of these reactions, the hydroxylation of lysine and proline, requires vitamin C. And you can see why I'm telling you all this, because today we're going to talk about foods that provide the right amino acids, foods that help collagen production and foods that protect existing collagen. Severe vitamin C deficiency is the cause of scurvy. Scurvy is a disease that causes a defect in collagen production. Sailors on long voyages often fell victim to scurvy, as they were unable to eat fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the formation of the helix requires disulfide bridges, so we'll see later which foods are rich in sulfur. Once the triple helix has formed, procollagen leaves the cell and finishes its maturation in the extra-cellular environment. I'll spare you the rest of the transformations to get to the theme of the video, how to boost collagen through our diet.

A diet rich in collagen:

In fact, very few foods contain collagen: bone broth, eggs, gelatin, shellfish and the skin of fish such as salmon. However, it's much more interesting to turn to the foods that are essential for collagen production. And we're going to start with a diet rich in protein and amino acids important for collagen production, such as lysine and proline. Proline is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body is capable of producing it, but as we have seen, it is essential for the production of collagen, which accounts for a quarter of our body's protein mass. That's why we need to get enough of it from our diet. Foods rich in proline include gelatin, fromage frais, parmesan, milk, beef, cabbage, spinach and asparagus. All these foods are rich in proline. Now let's move on to lysine, which is an essential amino acid, meaning that our bodies are unable to synthesize it, and so lysine must be supplied by our diet. Lysine is very important in the manufacture of collagen, but it also has the particularity of reducing the frequency of herpes labialis outbreaks. This amino acid is found almost everywhere in fish, particularly cod, dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt, legumes, soya, cereals and meat.

Food supplements

Before I tell you about the other important ingredients for boosting your collagen, I'd like to discuss the controversial subject of dietary supplements containing collagen peptides. Peptides are associations of several amino acids, and in the case of collagen peptides they are associations of amino acids present in natural collagen. A number of studies have shown the benefits of taking collagen peptides. Indeed, researchers have shown that hydroxyproline intake can increase hyaluronic acid production in vivo. Other clinical studies have shown an improvement in skin elasticity, hydration and fine lines. However, these studies are few in number, sometimes contradictory and often financed by the laboratories that sell food supplements. Data is therefore limited, and it's difficult to give a definitive opinion. If your diet is well-balanced, you probably don't need them, but if your diet is unbalanced, a course of treatment from time to time could be useful. I'll leave it up to you to make your own choice when it comes to collagen peptide supplementation.

Other anti-aging foods

Citrus fruits:

Among other important foods, citrus fruits, kiwis, blackberries - in fact, all foods containing vitamin C - are important, as vitamin C contributes to the formation of the triple helix of collagen. Vitamin C is also an anti-oxidant and helps fight free radicals, which is why vitamin C is so good for your skin, whether you eat it or apply it as a serum.


Another food that boosts collagen is garlic. In addition to its many anti-inflammatory benefits, garlic has a high sulfur content. As we saw earlier, sulfur contributes to collagen formation. Other sulfur-rich foods include sulfur-rich vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, radishes, onions and shallots.


Zinc-rich foods are also useful, but it's rare to run out. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, calf's liver, meat, bread, egg yolks, lentils and, to a lesser extent, milk.
Now that we've talked about the foods that help make collagen, let's talk about the foods that protect existing collagen. These are antioxidants, which protect collagen from free radicals, and isoflavones, which inhibit collagenase.


Isoflavones are found in soy, which is a controversial food. Some studies have shown that isoflavones inhibit the action of collagenase, an enzyme which breaks down collagen. The effect of soy would therefore be to reduce collagen degradation and make it more resistant to environmental aggression.
Other properties of isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens or plant estrogens, include partial compensation for the drop in estrogens produced by the ovaries. Phytoestrogens appear to be less effective than synthetic estrogens, providing relief for only 30 % of women, compared with 70 % for synthetic products. What's more, phytoestrogens have not been the subject of any clinical studies on their long-term use. Like all hormone-mimetic foods, they can be both good and bad. To clarify matters, the recommendations I can give you are based on a 2018 study. This study does not recommend Isoflavone supplementation as a precautionary principle for pregnant women, people with thyroid problems, or who have had breast cancer.

On the other hand, soy can promote acne via an increase in the growth hormone IGF1, so if you're prone to acne this may not be the best food for you.

Now let's talk about foods rich in anti-oxidants.

Orange vegetables: Vitamin A

Orange vegetables and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which is important for collagen synthesis and repair. Foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene have an anti-oxidant action. What's more, vitamin A and beta-carotene will give your skin a radiant glow. On the other hand, I would advise against vitamin A supplementation, as this can lead to overdosing and can be more harmful than beneficial.

Vegetables and red fruits: Lycopene

Vegetables and red fruit are rich in Lycopene, one of the most powerful antioxidants, and cooked tomatoes are the best source, clearly helping your body to fight off external aggressors.

Avocado, salmon, almonds: Vitamin E

Now, avocado, salmon and almonds are rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin that is excellent for protecting the skin from UV rays and preventing damage caused by free radicals.

Green leafy vegetables: Vitamin B9

Green leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid, a B9 vitamin involved in the metabolism of amino acids that make up proteins and the production of DNA. It is therefore particularly important for rapidly-renewing cells, such as red and white blood cells, as well as skin cells. It is therefore important for cell repair processes.

Omega 3 and 6 essential fats

Essential fats omega 3 and 6 and monounsaturated fatty acids omega 9, help build the lipid cement between epidermal cells. These good fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and help combat collagen degradation. What's more, they promote the absorption of vitamins A and E and boost skin hydration.
Now let's talk about the foods to avoid. I've already told you about them, but the most important thing is to eliminate unhealthy fats and sugar.

Bad fats:

Bad fats are those that are industrially produced, usually with the term "Partially hydrogenated" on the packaging. They are known to raise bad LDL cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. They also create inflammation, which accelerates aging and collagen degradation.


And of course sugar, which causes protein glycation. Glycation is the binding of sugar to proteins. Once "glycated", they become larger and can no longer be destroyed by your body. They accumulate and degrade elastin and collagen, leading to accelerated aging of your skin.

Sin BY, Kim HP. Inhibition of collagenase by naturally-occurring flavonoids. Arch Pharm Res. 2005 Oct;28(10):1152-5. doi: 10.1007/BF02972978. PMID: 16276971.