Collagen occurs naturally in your body as a protein compound responsible for keeping your skin firm and supple. As you age, your skin naturally decreases collagen production and when combined with sun exposure results in premature aging. Specific vitamins support collagen production and can be ingested through food or vitamin supplements.
Vitamin C is typically recognized for supporting the body's immune system. It's also the main ingredient in collagen, reports Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Philippines. Vitamin C binds connective skin tissue in addition to promoting healthy cell regrowth. Many fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamin C such as strawberries, oranges and leafy greens. Any fresh, uncooked produce typically carries high amounts of this collagen-producing nutrient.
Vitamin E supports collagen by encouraging regular cell renewal and regeneration. According to an article in Annals of Surgery, while vitamin C promotes collagen production, vitamin E synthesizes and fuses the amino acids necessary to create the collagen protein. The nutrient is also critical in healing ulcers and wounds. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, avocados and seeds.
Vitamin A promotes collagen by fusing cells in a similar way to vitamin C. This nutrient is also required for the production of elastin, the outermost layer of skin on your body that naturally protects your skin from environmental aging factors like sun, according to Skin Care MD. High sources of vitamin A include dark, leafy-green vegetables, beef and liver. Vitamin A is frequently used in skin care products because it encourages cell renewal by slowly peeling back the exterior layers to reveal new, more elastic skin.