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Natural Collagen Source From Chicken Feet, Really?

Updated on March 20, 2020
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Mazlan didn't think much about fitness and health before, but as age crept up on him he realized the importance of staying fit and healthy.

Collagen From Chicken Feet

Does something that looks like a dead man's hand, has little meat and flavor, can be rich in collagen? This creepy looking thing is also gelatinous. But that does not stop people from Asia and other parts of Latin America to consider chicken feet as a delicacy. They attest to its effectiveness for joint health, healthy skin, and youthful complexion. And it is cheap. Ready to try natural collagen from chicken feet, anyone?

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is present in our body in the muscle tissues, skin, bones, and joints. It is like a glue that connects and supports our muscles, skin, bones, tendons, and cartilage. It plays an important role in a healthy joint and good complexion

But as we get older, the collagen in our bodies deteriorate in both quantity and quality. As a result, we suffer from joint pain and we look older. Hence, the need to supplement our body with fresh collagen. These can be collagen from animals (bovine, porcine, poultry), marine life (fish, jellyfish, squids) and from some plants (horsetail, aloe, nettles, Gotu Kola, Hawthorn).

Some people have an allergic reaction to marine collagen. Some religions forbid the use of collagen from cows and pigs.

Is there a better alternative collagen source?

Collagen in Chicken Feet

Chicken feet are cheap and used to be thrown away in the west. But Asian had used chicken feet in their cooking for ages and attest to its efficacy in promoting joint health and good complexion. Studies had confirmed the presence of collagen in chicken feet.

So now others are interested in this collagen from chicken feet. Today, it is used as an alternative source of collagen for the development of new products.

Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of frozen chicken, had thrown away chicken feet for the last six decades. Now, it is making millions of dollars selling frozen chicken feet.

Automated processing of chicken feet to meet increased demand
Automated processing of chicken feet to meet increased demand

Types of Collagen

There are 28 types of collagen that exist in the body tissues and the most common are:

  • Type 1 Collagen: Found mainly in ligaments, tendons, skins, bones, internal organs and in the vascular system. Good for stronger muscles and bones, and healing of wounds
  • Type 2 Collagen: Found in the cartilage and connective tissues. This is a cartilage builder and helps lubricate the joints. Hence, good for joint pain.
  • Type 3 Collagen: Found mainly in the skin and vascular system. Pairs up with Type I to strengthen the arteries and for skin elasticity and firmness. Hence, good for that youthful looking complexion.
  • Type 4 Collagen: For a healthy membrane and filtration system of the capillaries. Good for the digestive system and for the respiratory organs.
  • Type 5 Collagen: For healthy hair, cells and placenta during pregnancy.

What is the Difference between Collagen and Gelatin?

Gelatin is the extracted collagen and is used as food. To get more gelatin out of your chicken feet, do the followings:

  • Scald it in boiling water to remove the skin.
  • Then soak it for half an hour in water that has a bit of vinegar.

It is now ready to turn on the heat.

Chicken Feet Collagen

Based on the studies by Puziah Hashim, M. S. Mohd Ridzwan, and Jamilah Bakar, Type 1 Collagen is a major component of collagen in chicken feet.

It also has:

  • Type 2 Collagen
  • Glutamic acid (as a neurotransmitter that enhances clarity of thinking, mood, and mental alertness)
  • Amino acids glycine (to treat schizophrenia, stroke, sleep problems etc)
  • Proline (for youthful skin, to repair muscle, skin damage, and connective tissue) and
  • Hydroxyproline (a major component of collagen)

Chicken feet are also rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, choline and Vitamins A, B12 and E.

Glycine and proline depend on Vitamin C as a co-factor in the hydroxylation process. Unfortunately, chicken feet do not have Vitamin C. So, Vitamin C intake is important for collagen synthesis to take place.

Hence, chicken feet is good for joint support, for a good complexion and a youthful skin.

Free From Blood Supply

Chicken feet are also free from blood supply unlike collagen and gelatin made from other animal sources. This is important because bacteria, viruses, antibiotics, steroids etc are carried through the blood supply. The mad cow disease and foot and mouth disease are examples of such diseases that can be transmitted through the blood.

Hence, chicken feet offer less risk of diseases. It is also an accepted source, for all religions.

Collagen From Chicken Feet
Collagen From Chicken Feet

Is It Safe To Take Collagen?

Collagen is like any other types of protein that we take every day and if it is taken and processed from a reliable source, it is safe. Otherwise, it might be toxic to our body due to the presence of contaminants and pollutants.

If you buy collagen powder, collagen peptides or collagen drink, check if you can trace the source and where it came from. If you are doubtful, steer clear of that brand.

Collagen from free-range chicken is better than from production chicken due to the way production chicken is raised and fed. Collagen from grass-fed cow or farm animals that are sustainably raised is also preferred.

How To Check If The Collagen Is Of Good Grade

If you are not taking collagen directly from food such as chicken feet soup or broth but in powder form, then you can do this test.

Put a scoop of your collagen into a glass of lukewarm water. Then mix until it is fully dissolved. If the water stays clear, then it is of a good grade. If the water turns yellowish or brownish, then it is of poor quality.

What About Collagen Side Effects?

As mentioned earlier, you must know the source and where your collagen came from. If it was first sourced from GMO marine, poultry, cow or pig it could be contaminated with heavy metals, pollutants or even radiation.

If you are pregnant or nursing, collagen from a marine source contains more calcium than from other sources. To some people, it can lead to constipation, vomiting or nausea. It can also give an allergic reaction.

Hence, collagen from farm chicken that is sustainably-raised is better.

NOTE: If you are taking collagen supplements, read the labels to check if there are added sugars, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Avoid them if you can.

Foods Rich In Collagen

Besides chicken feet, these are some of the other collagen boosting foods:

  • Bovine (Cow/Beef): Type 1 & 3 Collagen
  • Fish: Type 1 Collagen
  • Eggs: Types 1, 3, 5, and X Collagen
  • Spirulina: Glycine and proline (the main components of collagen)
  • Food rich in sulfur which is required for collagen synthesis (onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts, broccoli)
  • Food rich in Vitamin C, a co-factor for collagen synthesis (oranges, grapefruits, lemons)

So, How Do You Eat Chicken Feet?

Now that you know eating chicken feet will give you collagen to relieve joint pain and inflammations, and a better-looking skin, hair, and nails, do you know how to eat it?

You can have it fried, steamed or boiled.

But you wouldn't even dare try chicken feet dim sum. It is no different with chicken feet that are fried, steamed or flavored with soy sauce, spices, chili, garlic, vinegar, or any other seasonings. The sight of it will send shivers down your spine.

So, if you have this problem, the best way is to cook it as broth or stock.

Chicken Feet Stock vs Chicken Feet Broth

Chicken stock is made from the chicken's bony parts such as chicken feet. Chicken broth, however, uses more meaty parts.

Chicken feet stock also has a richer flavor and lots of gelatin. It is also cheap and easy to make. When you made chicken feet stock, it is like extracting the collagen and gelatin from the chicken feet.

If you are keen to make your own stock, watch the video, below.

Do you know that most of the commercial instant powdered chicken broth or chicken stock's main ingredient is chicken feet?

Making Chicken Feet Stock

Chicken Feet Soup Recipe

Another easier way to consume the goodness of chicken feet and have it immediately after it is cooked is to make chicken feet soup. For several recipes using chicken feet, read this book 'Nourishing Chinese Soup Recipes: For Health and Longevity' or check it out online at

Collagen Supplements Made From Chicken Feet

If consuming chicken feet soup or stock also scare the wit out of you, then try collagen supplements made from chicken feet.

BioCell Collagen is one such product. It has ingredients that promote healthy joints and a good complexion. I have personally used BioCell and it worked for my skin which is not as dry as before. Unfortunately, it is not so great for my knee joint problem. I mentioned this in my article on the Benefits of Chicken Feet.

BioCell Collagen contains the hydrolyzed collagen type II, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid that are easily absorbed by our body. This is important as collagen is a complex protein and not easily absorbed.

Chicken Feet For Dogs

You may not believe this but chicken feet are really good for dogs with arthritis and for their dental hygiene. Head over to my article on chicken feet for dogs for more information.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Mazlan


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    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      9 months ago from Malaysia

      Thank you. We are eagerly waiting for your posting :-)

    • profile image 

      9 months ago

      Thank you!!!!!! Chicken feet are amazing. They taste good ,and I’m waiting to experience good joint support this is my 3/4 time eating them I will keep you posted

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      21 months ago from Malaysia

      Thanks for sharing your experience with Biocell Dell.

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      I tried BioCell and for me, it doesn't work well for my knee problem but is great for my complexion. My skin is now smooth with no more visible wrinkles. My only wish is for my knee problem to work just as well!

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      22 months ago from Malaysia

      Thanks for dropping by Nell. Yes, we learn something new everyday.

      The thing about chicken feet is, it is cheap and is a good source for clean collagen.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Well I learned something new! how interesting!

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      22 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi Liz. Yup, chicken feet are amazing despite their scary look. And as mentioned in my article, there is no blood in chicken feet, hence, less risk of infection by viruses that are usually transmitted via blood. So, the collagen and gelatin from chicken feet are better!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      22 months ago from UK

      I had no idea chicken feet had so many uses or properties until I read both your articles.


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