How Does Vitamin C Help Produce Collagen?

how vitamin c helps produce collagen

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According to a survey published in September, 2019, 77% of Americans take some sort of dietary supplement to encourage and support their good health. In the same study, the third most popular supplement is vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid). Not only that, but collagen is another supplement that has exploded on the anti-aging health and wellness scene recently.  Actually, there is a strong connection between collagen protein and vitamin C and we're going to explore how vitamin C helps produce collagen.

Collagen is the main protein in your body in everything from bones, teeth and hair, skin cells and connective tissue like tendons, ligaments and your pelvic floor, eyes and muscles.

Also, it can help you get a restful sleep, restore structure to your arteries and blood vessels and help you lose weight.

In addition, collagen is in your intestinal lining and can help heal what is known as 'leaky gut'. 

Furthermore, collagen production is particularly important in the body's natural wound healing process

Why Collagen Levels Decline

The thing is, your natural collagen production decline with age starting in your late 20s, to the tune of 1% each year thereafter. The decline goes even faster during and after menopause.

Then, once you hit and go through menopause, collagen level decline at an even faster pace.

Unfortunately, you and most of us participate in activities that cause faster collagen breakdown like enduring stress, not sleeping enough, a poor diet, smoking and too much sun.

What does less collagen look like?

Some of the signs of collagen loss include achy joints, cranky gut, dull, thinning hair, brittle nails wrinkles and crepey skin on your face and body--to name a few.

If you'd like to keep your youthful look and vitality, read more into how collagen synthesis requires vitamin C supplementation and also needs other important nutrients and minerals.

Vitamin C and Collagen Production 

At a high level, collagen protein is made from a unique change of amino acids (primarily the amino acids glycine and proline) and then synthesized by other nutrients and other minerals. These include vitamin C, zinc and copper.

In fact, the synthesis of collagen protein cannot take place unless there is vitamin C in the mix. 

When everything comes together as designed by mother nature, the resulting triple-helix collagen fibril that is long, strong and flexible. That's why it's referred to as the scaffolding in the body or translated from the Greek language where it means 'glue'. 

Importantly, your body cannot produce vitamin C on its own--the only way you can get vitamin C is through the food you eat.

On top of that, vitamin C is water-soluble. That means because it's water-soluble, and your body is an average 57-60% water, vitamin C  (and other nutrients such as B, folate and biotin) are washed through and out of our system each day.

Thus, we need to replenish our bodies daily with vitamin C.

Either way, a healthy diet full of vitamin C, copper and zinc will help to create and maintain valuable collagen protein and assist in promoting skin health, skin elasticity, reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Boost Collagen Production with Vitamin C

Since collagen is so essential to your overall good health, you'll want to take active measures to help the body continuously produce collagen (and keep what you have!).

As we mentioned above, collagen cannot be produced without vitamin C--it's a required component in the process.

Interestingly, Vitamin C is not just essential for the synthesis of collagen. It's also used by enzymes in your body that create neurotransmitters.

These neurotransmitters help to support the immune system and are an antioxidant that helps protect the body from cellular damage.

To review, vitamin C is crucial to many vital processes in your body including collagen stimulation. These are important things to know about vitamin C:

  • Your body cannot make vitamin C, it can only comes from what you eat. 
  • It washes out of your body each day, so it has to be replenished each day.
  • Vitamin C helps your body create and maintain collagen protein.
  • It also helps to create anti-inflammatory, antioxidant neurotransmitters.

These are only only a few benefits of vitamin C to your body and overall health.

Foods High in Vitamin C

In addition to adding a vitamin C supplement to your daily routine, the average western diet offers the opportunity to get enough amino acids from fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, and cheeses, to help create new collagen.

However, what many are missing is enough fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C to help take those amino acids (along with zinc and copper) and help convert them to new collagen protein. 

To get the most vitamin C, when you prepare these kinds of foods, cook them lightly (but always with food safety in mind), because overcooking can damage delicate vitamins. 

These foods and spices are known to be high in vitamin C so you'll want to add them into your diet if you're already not eating a good amount of them:

  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Mustard Spinach
  • Kale
  • Kiwifruit
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Potato

To gain all the benefits of these high-vitamin C foods, use the water the vegetables are cooked in to prepare other food.

If you want to be efficient, these foods are high in vitamin C and the amino acids needed to create collagen protein include:

  • Bone broth
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Almonds (good source of copper, which is needed for new collagen production)
  • Garlic (high in sulfur, studies indicate may help stop the weakening of collagen fibers)
  • Oysters, seeds and nuts (contains zinc, which stimulates collagen production)

Collagen and Vitamin C Supplements

Given that our current food supply is frequently not of the highest nutritional value, adding collagen and vitamin C supplement to your daily routine would be a smart move.

Because of the essential relationship between collagen and vitamin C, many collagen peptides supplements also contain vitamin C. 

TIP: Because most hydrolyzed collagen supplements are made with amino acids from animals or fish, they aren't a good  choice for those who live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. 

But manufacturers haven't forgotten about the vegans!

Actually, there are vegan collagen supplements that are sourced from plants to help ensure you have all the necessary ingredients to create and save the collagen you currently have. 


To sum up, collagen proteins are the building blocks of your body. You don't make as much new collagen each year by your 30s and it decreases around 1 percent each year after.

In fact, you lose the most collagen during and after menopause.

To make new collagen, you will need the required amino acids along with zinc, copper and vitamin C.

To help your body make new collagen and protect what you have, you'll want to do these things:

  • Eat a variety of healthy, natural foods high in vitamin C
  • Take a high-quality vitamin C supplement along with hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder
  • Make it a point to learn how to deal with stress
  • Ensure you are getting restful, rejuvenating sleep
  • Add a collagen powder supplement with vitamin C to your daily routine

Of course, increasing vitamin C in your body won't make you look like you're 20!  

However, it can help you create new collagen and not damage the collagen you do have so you can fight all the effects of aging.