Vegan collagen is collagen synthesized by utilizing genetically modified yeast and bacteria.
Collagen supplements are among the most popular and highly sought-after dietary supplements, and many variations have landed on the market. From collagen gummies and marine collagen to collagen drinks and peptide powders, you’re bound to find something that suits your personal needs!
As people begin to shift towards plant-based products instead of animal-based products, interest in vegan collagen supplements is rapidly and steadily rising. But since collagen is typically derived from animal sources, you might be wondering if there is such a thing as vegan collagen.
Let’s explore what it is, how it’s made, the benefits, and the availability of vegan collagen.
What Is Vegan Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein present in your body and is a significant component of your connective tissues. As we age, our body’s ability to synthesize collagen starts to dwindle, and here’s where collagen supplements come into play!
Collagen supplements are commonly derived from animal sources, such as beef or fish. Hence, if you practice veganism, collagen supplements would not be suitable for your lifestyle.
The question is, “Is there vegan collagen?”
Well, the answer is yes, and no.
Scientists have discovered a method to produce collagen utilizing genetically modified microorganisms, such as yeast and bacteria, and this is how vegan collagen is synthesized. It is not well understood how well vegan collagen works in comparison to animal-derived collagen, though.
Unfortunately, this genetically engineered vegan collagen comes at a very extravagant price, and currently, actual vegan collagen is challenging to find. As of now, there are no consumable vegan collagen supplements, peptides, or powder readily available as companies are only producing it in limited quantities, mainly for medical purposes.
But if you’d like to purchase vegan collagen supplements from your local drug store or pharmacy, you’d very well end up disappointed.
Benefits Of Vegan Collagen
Studies have suggested that collagen, in general, may lead to benefits such as improved skin hydration, elasticity, and complexion. Additionally, collagen may help with combatting skin aging, bone density loss, and joint pain.
However, there are contradicting findings across multitudes of studies, so further research and concrete evidence are warranted before these benefits can be thoroughly confirmed.
And since you can’t get actual vegan collagen supplements, peptides, powder, pills, or drinks, you may wish to turn to alternatives known as ‘collagen-boosting’ supplements.
Several brands have sauntered into the market with their vegan plant-based ‘collagen’ products that they claim can enhance the body’s ability to produce collagen. Typically, these products contain ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, grape seed extract, and bamboo extract, which are believed to improve collagen synthesis in the body.
Manufacturers remark that these vegan collagen-boosters promotes natural collagen production in the body and may benefit consumers in certain aspects, such as:-
- Increasing hydration and moisture of skin
- Fortifying the skin’s barrier
- Boosting skin elasticity and enhancing complexion
- Reducing appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Alleviating joint pain
- Strengthening hair and nails
- Promoting hair growth
Do Vegan Collagen Boosters Work?
The claimed benefits are not regulated or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any dietary supplement, including vegan collagen boosters. Furthermore, there are currently no studies that concretely and conclusively prove the benefits and effectiveness of these vegan collagen-boosting supplements.
Hence, it’s wisest to consult a qualified health professional to determine if these products are safe for you and if they’re worth the investment.
In short, the benefits of both animal-derived collagen and vegan collagen-boosting supplements have yet to be determined in black and white. Because there is a vast grey area, you may wish to weigh the pros and cons before eagerly hitting that ‘add to cart button.’
How To Choose The Best Vegan Collagen-Booster
It’s recommended that you do thorough research on the brand and product and consult your health provider before commencing on any of these supplements.
If you’re interested in purchasing vegan collagen boosters, there are some factors to take into consideration when choosing a product:-
Since the FDA does not regulate the claims of dietary supplements, try to stick with a trustworthy brand and perform prior research of the product before purchase.
Ingredient transparency is a huge plus. Look through the ingredients list and seek advice from your health professional if you have any uncertainty or doubts. If a brand does not provide a full ingredients list, it may be better to steer clear of the product.
Ingredients such as vitamin C, zinc, and copper are thought to boost the body’s ability to synthesize collagen. For instance, one study discovered that vitamin C could increase collagen synthesis and accelerate bone healing post-fracture.
However, there is a lack of human trials that concretely proves the efficacy of vitamin C, zinc, or copper in increasing the natural production of collagen in the body. Therefore, further research is warranted to confirm these claims.
Always be wary of brands that make promises and guarantees that almost sound too good to be true. Unlike drugs, dietary supplements are not meant to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent medical conditions and diseases. Hence, keep away from products and brands that make exaggerated ‘miracle cure’ claims.
Risk of adverse effects
As with any drug or supplement, there are risks attached to consumption. Likewise, vegan collagen-boosting supplements may lead to allergic reactions, so it’s best to check the product ingredient list and get professional advice if you have any allergies.
Additionally, you may also experience side effects such as nausea or stomach discomfort. In the event you experience any worrying signs or symptoms post-consumption, seek medical attention as soon as you can.
How Can Vegans Get Collagen?
Admittedly, finding vegan collagen sources can be difficult.
Nevertheless, suppose you’re not too eager to drop cash on vegan collagen-boosting supplements. In that case, you may be able to enhance your body’s collagen production by modifying your diet to contain foods high in vitamin C, zinc, and copper. In fact, experts recommend foods over dietary supplements to support the body’s collagen synthesis.
Some plant-based sources of collagen for vegans include:-
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole-grain foods
- Black beans and kidney beans
- Soy products
- Red and green peppers
Ultimately, it’s best to start by modifying your diet to include more of these foods before opting for a supplement to cover unfulfilled dietary needs.
Bottomline: Vegan Collagen
Actual vegan collagen peptides, powder, pills, or drinks are extremely challenging to find. Popular alternatives are vegan collagen-boosters which supposedly increase your body’s ability to synthesize collagen naturally. However, there are no studies that prove these claims.
Hence, to safeguard your wellbeing, always seek advice from a health provider before commencing any supplement.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking:
- Báez, J., Olsen, D., & Polarek, J. W. (2005). Recombinant microbial systems for the production of human collagen and gelatin. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol, 69(3), 245-252. doi:10.1007/s00253-005-0180-x
- Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. (2019). A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients, 11(10). doi:10.3390/nu11102494
- Daneault, A., Prawitt, J., Fabien Soulé, V., Coxam, V., & Wittrant, Y. (2017). Biological effect of hydrolyzed collagen on bone metabolism. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 57(9), 1922-1937. doi:10.1080/10408398.2015.1038377
- DePhillipo, N. N., Aman, Z. S., Kennedy, M. I., Begley, J. P., Moatshe, G., & LaPrade, R. F. (2018). Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthop J Sports Med, 6(10), 2325967118804544. doi:10.1177/2325967118804544
- Figueres Juher, T., & Basés Pérez, E. (2015). [An overview of the beneficial effects of hydrolysed collagen intake on joint and bone health and on skin ageing]. Nutr Hosp, 32 Suppl 1, 62-66. doi:10.3305/nh.2015.32.sup1.9482
- Marengo, K. (2020). What To Know About Vegan Collagen. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/vegan-collagen
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2019). Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplements
- WebMD. (n.d.). Vegan Collagen: What to Know. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/beauty/vegan-collagen-what-to-know#1