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How To Use Collagen To Fight Inflammation 

Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D.
Naturopathic Doctor
By Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D.
Naturopathic Doctor
Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D. is a weight-loss and natural anti-aging expert, concierge doctor for celebrities, board-certified naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition consultant.
Last updated on April 20, 2022

Inflammation is caused by a variety of factors, including less-than-ideal diets, stress, and environmental forces like pollution.

When inflammation isn't managed and becomes chronic, it wreaks havoc on the body, both inside and out, often making you feel and look tired and “washed out".

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The good news: You can reverse it, and it starts with what you put into your body.

When trying to calm inflammation, it's vital that you give your body the absolute best tools to work with: Eat plenty of organic vegetables, quality proteins, healthy fats, and supplementing with a daily dose of collagen.*

How collagen helps manage inflammation*

Collagen's anti-inflammatory powers come from the role that it plays in our gut health.* A healthy gut can reduce inflammation throughout the whole body.

Poor gut health, on the other hand, leads to stomach lining permeability where particles can leak into the rest of the body, which then triggers inflammation in the body.

Collagen has been shown to support the gut's lining, as well as contain key amino acids for gut health.*

It contains glycine, an amino acid with proven anti-inflammatory and immune system-supporting effects.

Additionally, glutamine, one of collagen's other amino acids, is key for managing inflammation and inhibiting oxidative stress of the intestines.

The supplement's ability to help promote balance in our digestive tract makes it vital to manage inflammation.*

Collagen doesn't just help inflammation, of course. It's one of the most abundant proteins in the body, and plays an essential role in supporting your overall health.

For example, It helps maintains skin elasticity, connective tissue flexibility, and even bone strength.*

Summary

Collagen contains glycine, an amino acid with proven anti-inflammatory and immune system-supporting effects. It also contains glutamine, which is key for managing inflammation in the intestines.
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The 3 best ways to up collagen intake:

1. Supplements

Collagen supplements make it easy to include in your daily meal routine.

For example, many powdered collagen options are flavorless, so you can mix it into your food and beverages.

It blends seamlessly into smoothies, coffees, and plenty of other meals or snacks (see seven recipes that include collagen powder, here).

With a high-quality supplement, the taste and textural difference is not noticeable, and the benefits are out of this world.*

Supplements make it easy to support skin and joints while managing inflammation at the same time.*

Summary

Collagen supplements are an easy way to help manage inflammation.* Powdered collagen options are flavorless, so you can seamlessly mix it into your food and beverages.

2. Bone broth

Collagen exists in the body in connective tissue, cartilage, and bones. One way to access this wonderful protein is through bone broth.

Bone broth is like soup stock, only it's cooked for a much longer time. This helps to pull the nutrients and collagen from the bones, cartilage, and joints.

You can make your own bone broth, or you can buy it premade. If you opt for the premade variety, make sure to buy only organic, grass-fed products.

Avoid preservatives, yeast extracts, and any other additives. You'll also need to watch out for added sugar, as it's often hidden in premade bone broth products.

Summary

The collagen found in slow-roasted bone broth can support the gut.
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3. Sardines

Canned fish might seem like a surprising place to find the health-boosting (and face-saving) benefits of collagen, but sardines pack a solid punch on the collagen front since they are packaged with their bones and connective tissue included. (Don't worry, they're so soft that you won't even notice them!)

You can use them as a pizza topping, chop them up finely and put them in salads or on toast, or, simply eat them as an on-the-go snack.

For an even better flavor, you can try mixing them with a little avocado mayo or mustard.

Summary

Sardines are packaged with their bones and connective tissue included making it a great source of collagen.
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What if you're vegan or vegetarian?

The best way to get collagen is through grass-fed bovine, as it contains both type I and III collagen, which are essential for full-body support.*

If that is not an option, you can promote your body's natural production of collagen by modifying your diet to include the foods here:

  • Foods high in vitamin C such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, kiwis, papayas, bell peppers, and broccoli are vital for the synthesis of collagen.
  • Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale contain antioxidants that protect against the free radicals that break down collagen.
  • Red veggies like beets as well as fruits like tomatoes and red peppers are full of lycopene, which boosts collagen.
  • Orange veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, which restores collagen that's been damaged.
  • Foods rich in sulfur such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, onions, shallots, and leeks play a key role in collagen production.
  • Foods rich in copper such as nuts activate an enzyme that plays a critical role in collagen production.
  • White tea helps to shut down the enzymes that break down collagen and another skin protein, elastin.

Summary

Foods high in vitamin C, dark leafy greens, red and orange veggies, foods rich in sulfur and copper, and white tea are other natural ways to promote your body's natural production of collagen.
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The bottom line

Adding collagen to your daily diet is one of the best things you can do to help your body fight inflammation.

If you're just starting to supplement with collagen, make sure to allow enough time for its effects to show up.*

It may take up to eight weeks before you notice it's effects on inflammation, visible changes in skin texture, and support in joint health.*

By simply adding a daily dose of collagen to your diet, you'll enjoy the gut-healing properties that will manage inflammation, both inside and out!*

The views expressed in this article are those of one expert. They are the opinions of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of mindbodygreen, nor do they represent the complete picture of the topic at hand. This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D.
Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D.
Naturopathic Doctor

Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D. is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet, Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Cookbook, and The 10-Day Belly Slimdown. She also is the host of the highly successful PBS special, 21 Days to a Slimmer, Younger You and 10-Day Belly Slimdown with Dr. Kellyann.

A weight-loss and natural anti-aging expert, Petrucci is a concierge doctor for celebrities in New York City and Los Angeles. She is a board-certified naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition consultant. Dr. Petrucci attended Temple University and St. Joseph’s University before doing postgraduate work in Europe, studying naturopathic medicine in England and Switzerland. She is one of the few practitioners in the United States certified in biological medicine by the esteemed Dr. Thomas Rau of the Paracelsus Klinik Lustmuhle in Switzerland.

Petrucci is a weekly contributor on Dr. Oz and appears regularly on Good Morning America and other national news programs. As the driving force behind the popular website drkellyann.com. Currently, Petrucci is focusing much of her attention on developing innovative beauty- and food-based products.