There’s a lot of hype and confusion surrounding vegan collagen. A lot of people seek answers to questions such as – What is vegan collagen? Is vegan collagen a thing? Where does vegan collagen come from? Is vegan collagen effective? Should vegan take collagen?
While vegan collagen has been around for a couple of years now, it is still is not well received. People are still hesitant about using plant-based vegan collagen products. There’s a big question mark when it comes to the effectiveness of vegan collagen products.
There’s also an issue with the authenticity of the vegan collagen products sold in the market. Since most of the plant-based vegan collagen products are collagen promoters or builders. They do not contain actual collagen.
In this article, you’ll have in-depth information about vegan collagen and its benefits. You’ll also find out whether it is as effective as animal collagen or not.
Collagen is the main structural protein in connective tissues and extracellular matrix. It is the single most abundant protein which is about a third of your total body protein content. It is also present in skin, tendons, ligaments, bones, and cartilage. Collagen is a natural moisturizer and humectant and is made up of amino acids. Amino acids join together to form short polymer chains called peptides.
Our body produces collagen naturally. But as we age, it starts to deplete. It marks the beginning of aging. External symptoms such as saggy skin, fine lines, and wrinkles become prominent. There are also signs of your body getting weaker such as joints pain and prolonged injury time. Secondary collagen, can into existence as a viable solution to this problem.
Many studies found animal-driven collagen effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Taking collagen supplements also helps in improving osteoporosis and ease osteoarthritis pain. Collagen is mostly available in the form of ingestible pills and powder. So you have the option to blend the collagen powder into smoothies and shakes. It is also available in the form of anti-wrinkle day cream, one that you can apply on your skin directly.
Animal collagen is widely used in the beauty industry. Hydrolyzed collagen is used in skin-care products such as anti-aging creams. Plant-based vegan collagen products are a new addition to the market. Companies claim that plant-based collagen products are as potent as animal collagen supplements.
Hydrolized Collagen Sources
There are three primary sources and one alternative source of hydrolyzed collagen. They are:
1. Bovine Sources. Hydrolyzed collagen is primarily extracted from bovine sources such as cows. Collagen types I and III are usually extracted from bovine.
2. Marine Sources. Hydrolyzed collagen can also be extracted from fish and other marine invertebrates. Collagen type I is mostly extracted from the marine sources.
3. Porcine. It is another important traditional collagen source. Collagen type II is primarily extracted from the chicken stern. It contains functional peptides similar to dietary supplements.
4. Alternative Sources. There are other alternative sources of hydrolyzed collagen. It can also be obtained from the skin of Chinese brown frog or Asiatic grass frog and chicken legs.
Is collagen vegan?
Collagen itself is not vegan. Since collagen protein contains a unique combination of amino acids. One that cannot be found anywhere else in nature. But it is rather convenient to believe because of the surge in plant based collagen in the market.
What you see in the market are plant-based collagen builders or collagen promoters. They are typically composed of micronutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. These multivitamins help to create collagen in your body.
There are no plant based sources of collagen. Collagen can only be obtained from animal sources. There are nearly 28 different types of collagen known to science. Collagen types I, II, and III make up for nearly 90% of the total human collagen.
What is vegan collagen?
Collagen can now be produced from genetically modified bacteria and yeast sources. It is a vegan alternative to traditional non-vegan collagen. Unlike plantbased collagen supplements, it is real vegan collagen. It is available in the form of tropical ingredients for now.
It is a rarity to find tropical products such as beauty cream and serum that come with vegan collagen. Most of the tropical products advertising vegan collagen do include vegan collagen. They are advertised as such to give you an idea about what the product is about and what it does.
Scientists have recently developed “real” vegan collagen after years of research. Bacteria and yeast can now be genetically modified to produce vegan collagen. As more people are cutting down on animal products, vegan collagen is becoming more popular than ever.
Here’s how vegan collagen is artificially produced in lab.
- Human genes that produce collagen are added to the genetic structure of the microbes.
- The bacteria or yeast then starts to produce amino acids, the building blocks of collagen.
- Pepsin is added to amino acids to form a stable triple-helical structure of collagen.
P.pastoris is the preferred yeast for the production of native collagen alternative. It is a species of methylotrophic yeast and uses methanol as a source of carbon and energy.
What is a vegan collagen supplement?
They are plant-based vegan collagen builder or vegan collagen protein powder. They do not contain collagen but rather contain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Plant-based collagen supplements are primarily composed of vitamin c. It is a potent antioxidant that is abundant in nature. It is also an essential cofactor for two of the enzymes needed for collagen synthesis.
What you see in the market is non-other than plant-based vegan collagen promoters. They are being marketed as such to give you an idea of what the product is about. Most of the plant-based vegan protein powders are based on rice bran solubles.
What are the benefits of vegan collagen?
Plant-based collagen has a lot more potential for growth in the future. Plus there are many benefits of vegan collagen. It is a lot safer and cost-efficient when compared to native collagen. Some other benefits of plant-based collagen include:
1. Improved hair skin health
Improved hair skin health is one of the health benefits of vegan collagen.
It is no secret that when it comes to beauty products, tropical collagen is a key ingredient. In the past, the majority of beauty products came with animal collagen. But it is not the case now, as vegan collagen has become a reality.
Many beauty brands are replacing animal-driven collagen with vegan options. Tropical vegan collagen is being widely used in manufacturing a range of products. Now all kinds of skincare products and cosmetic products come with vegan collagen.
A range of beauty products makes use of vegan collagen such as:
- vegan collagen anti-aging wrinkle creams
- vegan collagen anti-aging body creams
- plant-based collagen oils
- vegan collagen anti-aging serum
They may prove helpful in keeping the skin moist and maintain skin elasticity.
Related: Top 10 Anti-Aging Foods.
Vegan collagen is likely to cost less than native collagen produced from animals. It is one of the benefits of vegan collagen when mass-produced.
Producing collagen using bacteria or yeast is a lot more cost-effective approach. The production of vegan collagen is however still limited to the lab. But once it is mass-produced, it has the potential to lower the cost for consumers.
Additionally, vegan collagen holds the key to cosmetics and other medical procedures. It is widely used in the following medical procedures.
- Wound healing
- Tissue regeneration
- Cosmetic surgery
3. Lower risk of allergies
A lower risk of allergies is one of the health benefits of plant based collagen.
Tropical animal collagen creams aren’t suitable for people with sensitive skin types. There’s always a risk of developing allergies as a side effect.
Tropical vegan collagen creams make use of vegan collagen instead of animal collagen. So they do not have any side effects when applied to the skin. Even people with sensitive skin types have no issue using vegan collagen creams.
This makes tropical vegan collagen creams a lot safer compared to traditional collagen creams.
How can vegans restore collagen naturally?
Our body produces collagen naturally. It is one of the important structural proteins found in the human body. But it begins to deplete by the time we are halfway to our 30’s. It due to this fact that many people seek alternatives such as vegan collagen protein powder.
Many people consume them believing they are effective in replenishing the body’s collagen. Vegan collagen protein powder contains micronutrients that can help in collagen synthesis. But plant-based collagen boosters aren’t as effective as the company them to be.
In fact, most vegan collagen supplements do not qualify as collagen supplements. Since they do nothing to replenish the collagen in the body. But there are other ways to naturally restore collagen in your body. If your guess is by eating a healthy plant-based diet, then your guess is 100% correct.
Here’s a list of some of the best vegan collagen sources to help you in restoring collagen.
1. Amino acids
They are the building blocks of protein and are essential in producing collagen in the body. Your body is only able to produce some of them but not all. You need to get the remaining nine from the foods you eat. These are called essential amino acids.
Vegans can get essential amino acids from plant-based food sources. Some of the high protein vegan foods include:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most important components in natural collagen production. It is also a powerful antioxidant and helps to lower the damage caused by oxidative stress. Aside from its role as an antioxidant, it helps to regulate the synthesis of collagen.
Lack of vitamin C leads to poor collagen structure formation. As a result, your hair becomes brittle, your skin loses elasticity, and your joints become tender.
So it is best that you eat foods rich in vitamin C more often. Some of best the plantbased sources of vitamin C include:
- Brussels sprouts
Silica is sometimes referred to as silicon. It is another important component for the optimal synthesis of collagen. It helps in improving skin strength and elasticity. Silicon deficiency may lead to hair fall, soft and brittle nails, and saggy skin.
Plant-based foods are rich in silica. Eating foods rich in silica can help to maintain your skin, hair, and nail health. Some of the important plantbased sources of silica include:
- Brown rice
- Green beans
- Leafy greens
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an important component of collagen production. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant besides vitamin C.
Vitamin E alone is a potent antioxidant on its own. It helps to prevent inflammation and supports immunity function. But when combined with vitamin C, its antioxidant properties get a huge boost. It is helpful against collagen cross-linking and lipid peroxidation. Both are linked to the aging of the skin making it appears rough and dry.
You can get vitamin E from the following vegan foods sources:
- Sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Collard greens
- Red bell pepper
Zinc is a cofactor in the production of collagen and plays a vital role in collagen synthesis. It is essential in repairing cells and protect collagen from getting damaged. Zinc deficiency in the body can reduce the amount of collagen produces.
Some of the best plant-based vegan food sources rich in zinc include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
Vegan Collagen Risks
There are potential risks involved with the use of vegan collagen supplements. It is best that you become self aware of the potential risks involved with the use of vegan collagen products.
Some of the vegan collagen risks include:
1. Lack of concrete evidence on the health benefits of vegan collagen. There’s no sufficient evidence pointing to the health benefits of vegan collagen. Although producers claim that their products are safe and healthy, they provide no concrete evidence. The FDA does nothing to verify the claim made by the producers.
2. Gimmicks used in advertising vegan collagen products. Most of the vegan collagen products available are simply vegan collagen boosters. They do not contain actual collagen. They only contain micronutrients that may boost your body’s own collagen production.
Here’s a video on the benefits of collagen and how to get collagen from plants.
While vegan collagen sounds promising, it is still in its developing stage. There’s no telling how effective it will be in restoring your body’s collagen.
Also, the plant-based vegan protein powders available in the market are more bark and no bite. They may claim to restore the collagen in your body but aren’t that effective.
So, it would be wiser to focus on restoring collagen in the body naturally. Eating a plant-rich diet is the best way to restore collagen in your body.
1. Is it safe to take collagen peptides?
Collagen peptides are possibly safe when taken in the form of collagen powder or pills. Taking collagen peptides daily can help to improve skin hydration and skin elasticity.
2. Do vegans get enough collagen?
Some of you might have your doubts about whether vegans get enough collagen living on a plant-based diet. Well, there’s nothing to worry about here.
The micronutrients needed for collagen production can be easily obtained from plant-based sources. Thus, vegans can get all the essential nutrients from the food they eat.
3. Is vegan collagen as effective as animal collagen?
Vegan collagen is produced from genetically modified bacteria and yeast. They contain all the amino acids present in animal collagen. It makes vegan collagen functionally equivalent to animal collagen.