Why collagen matters for singers

Collagen serves as the foundational support system for our bodies. It is crucial for maintaining the health and flexibility of connective tissues, cartilage, and joints. For singers, collagen plays a particularly vital role in the strength and quality of their vocal cords.

Understanding collagen, the vocalist’s ally

Vocal cords rely on collagen for structure and mass, with higher collagen levels contributing to enhanced vocal strength and resonance. While individuals may be born with varying vocal cord mass, collagen levels can significantly impact vocal performance.

Collagen is abundant in various foods, including animal skin, ligaments, and bone marrow, as well as select vegetables. Understanding the different types of collagen, such as Type I for skin and Type II for joint support, is essential for optimizing its benefits for singers.

Top collagen sources

Here are a few of the top collagen sources that are found in many diets (my favourite is chicken!):

  • Chicken and beef (with connective tissue): Rich in Type I collagen, crucial for skin and bone health.
  • Fish bones: Provide Type I collagen and minerals like calcium and phosphorus, supporting bone density.
  • Egg whites: High in proline, an amino acid necessary for collagen production.

Types of collagen and their functions

There are 16 different types of collagen. Some of them are more commonly found than others. Here are the top five:

  • Type I: Provides structure for skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Type II: Supports elasticity in cartilage, essential for joint health.
  • Type III: Found in muscles, arteries, and organs, contributing to tissue flexibility.
  • Type IV: Forms layers of the skin, contributing to its integrity.
  • Type V: Present in the cornea of eyes and skin layers, playing a role in tissue strength.

Essential nutrients for vocal health

Certain nutrients are crucial for collagen synthesis and overall vocal health.

Nutrients for collagen production

There are other nutrients that aid the process of collagen production. I’ve listed some of these nutrients below, which are essential for aiding in collagen production:

  • Vitamin C: Acts as a cofactor in collagen synthesis, essential for converting proline to hydroxyproline.
  • Proline: A key amino acid in collagen formation, found in mushrooms, asparagus, and cabbage.
  • Glycine: Supports collagen structure and has anti-inflammatory properties, abundant in turkey and chicken.
  • Copper: Required for the final step of collagen formation, linking collagen molecules to form strong connective tissue.
  • Zinc: Supports collagen synthesis and bone formation, found in oysters and red meat.

Maintaining vocal strength through diet

A balanced diet rich in collagen-promoting foods can support vocal health and performance. Here are some important foods for vocal health:

  • Garlic: Boosts immune system and collagen production, aiding in vocal cord repair.
  • Leafy greens: High in chlorophyll and antioxidants, protecting vocal cords from oxidative stress.
  • Beans: Provide protein and collagen-promoting amino acids like proline and glycine.
  • Cashews: Rich in zinc and copper, supporting collagen synthesis and tissue repair.
  • Cottage cheese: Contains casein protein for muscle growth and repair, crucial for vocal muscle maintenance.

Protecting your vocal investment

As singers age, declining collagen levels can lead to vocal cord deterioration and reduced vocal strength. There are some particularly bad habits that can accelerate this process.

Habits to avoid

  • Smoking: Damages collagen and impairs vocal cord function.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Dehydrates vocal cords and accelerates collagen breakdown.
  • Poor sleep routines: Disrupts collagen production and vocal cord repair processes.
  • Late-night snacking: Leads to acid reflux, irritating vocal cords and inhibiting collagen synthesis.
  • Frequent fast food intake: Severely impairs collagen production.

The role of supplements in vocal health

Supplements offer a convenient way to ensure consistent intake of essential minerals for vocal health. Products like Neocell Super Collagen, paired with zinc, magnesium, and multivitamins, can complement dietary efforts to support collagen levels and overall vocal performance.

If you’re like me and your goal is to maintain or add additional mass to your vocal cords, then we need to get serious about finding the easiest and most effective ways to supplement our collagen intake. This is because we don’t always eat the right things.

I personally use collagen supplements as a way of being able to top up my body’s collagen levels. I combine this with zinc, magnesium and multivitamins, which include vitamin C. The brand I personally use at the moment is called Neocell Super Collagen (available in different sizes for delivery from Amazon), but any reputable vitamin brand will suffice.

Neocell Super Collagen

If you’re looking for some of the other supplements mentioned, here are my top picks:

Another supplement I use to promote collagen synthesis is bone broth, which I make into a soup by mixing with hot water and stirring. Here are a few links to bone broth products, which is a good way to add variety to your collagen intake:

Chicken bone broth
Beef bone broth

Disclaimer: The provided supplement links are Amazon Associate links, which support the site at no additional cost to you. In keeping with my “No BS” policy, I will never recommend any product that I wouldn’t personally use.

Empowering singers for longevity

For singers experiencing vocal strength loss or concerns about overuse, a personalized vocal routine and strategic collagen supplementation can be invaluable.


Collagen serves as the cornerstone of vocal strength and resilience, making it essential for singers to prioritize its production through diet and supplementation. By understanding the importance of collagen and adopting proactive measures to support vocal health, singers can ensure their instrument remains strong and vibrant throughout their careers.

I recommend a multidimensional approach to your collagen boosting strategy:

  1. Eat foods that are rich in the components that help the body to produce natural collagen.
  2. Consume a high quality multi-type collagen powder. Add it to your drinks and smoothies to maximise collagen production.
  3. Drink bone broth (delicious soups high in collagen).
  4. Reduce excessive sun exposure.
  5. Reduce your body’s exposure to nicotine.
  6. Get more sleep, or a better quality of sleep.

For personalized vocal health guidance or consultations, feel free to reach out and book a consultation today.

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