Vegan collagen can support your body’s collagen production if you choose not to get collagen from beef, pork, chicken, and fish or animal-derived collagen. That’s because collagen is naturally found in the connective tissues of animals (*).
If you’re interested in vegan collagen supplements, this article is for you. Below, you’ll learn what vegan collagen really is, the reasons you might want to take it, its effectiveness, and whether it’s better than the animal collagen we all know.
Vegan collagen or plant-based collagen isn’t actual collagen, but rather a supplement that’s made of a combination of ingredients that increase collagen in your body.
Common examples of these micronutrients or “collagen boosters” found in plant-based ingredients include vitamin C, zinc, and copper (* , *, *). Such micronutrients are necessary for collagen synthesis to take place. You’ll usually notice plant-based ingredients in vegan collagen, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, herbs, and fruit extracts.
Now, you might be wondering, “Is there vegan collagen?” While not yet available to consumers, scientists have experimented with certain yeast and bacteria to help produce large and complex proteins such as collagen (*, *).
Alternatively, you could consume these vitamins, minerals, and amino acids found in collagen (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) in your diet alone instead of supplementation (*). These nutrients are available in plant-based foods like soybeans, legumes, nuts, and leafy greens.
Why would you take a vegan collagen supplement if you can eat plant-based foods that boost collagen production? Here are some of its potential advantages.
A cost-effective collagen protein source
Once vegan collagen (made from yeast or bacteria) becomes available in the market, it may be a cheaper alternative to animal-derived collagen. Currently, animal-based collagen costs anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on the brand and number of servings per container.
May improve the health of your skin and connective tissues
Taking dietary supplements that boost collagen can help you experience the benefits of collagen, such as:
- Fewer wrinkles and improved skin hydration (*)
- Reduced joint pain and the risk of joint deterioration (*)
- Improved bone mineral density (*)
Additionally, the micronutrients found in the supplement can provide you with other benefits, such as boosting your immune system and decreasing inflammation, helping to reduce your risk of disease.
Get more of the nutrients your body needs
Following a vegan diet can put a person at risk of being deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, which leads to several health problems (*). This is why it’s extremely important for vegans to plan their diet with optimal health in mind.
While vegan collagen isn’t better than multivitamins and mineral supplements, it may help increase your nutrient intake — thanks to the micronutrients that boost collagen synthesis.
People taking animal-based collagen should note the possibility of allergic reactions if they’re allergic to fish, shellfish, eggs, and chicken. It’s probably best to avoid these collagen supplements if you tend to have severe reactions to any of these animal foods — or use single-source collagen instead.
Otherwise, you may want to consider taking vegan collagen to provide you with nutrients for healthy collagen production.
When it comes to effectiveness, there’s no solid evidence to prove that vegan collagen boosters truly work or are better than their animal-based counterparts and eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts to support collagen. However, you’ll be able to find plenty of research on vitamin C, zinc, copper, and the amino acids that make up collagen. For example, two preclinical studies found that type 1 collagen fibers significantly increased with vitamin C (*).
In addition, it helps to read what customers are saying about a vegan collagen supplement. What changes did they notice after starting it? Did they notice an improvement in skin and joint problems, if any?
Compared to animal collagen, vegan collagen is not an immediate source of collagen for your body. As we’ve learned, vegan collagen simply combines ingredients (which contain micronutrients like vitamin C and amino acids) that will serve as building blocks for collagen.
However, an added advantage of vegan collagen is that it may support other aspects of your health, thanks to its plant-based ingredients.
All things considered, animal-based collagen and animal-based foods are superior to plant-based options. This is because animal proteins are more digestible and richer in amino acids (*).
When choosing collagen for vegans, you need to check the ingredients list to know what’s really inside a product. Look out for added sugars, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Furthermore, if you’re on a very low-carb ketogenic diet, note the number of total carbs or net carbs in each vegan collagen serving.
Learning how to read food labels is an important strategy to stay on track with your macronutrient goals and health.
Some vegan collagen booster supplements are deficient or low in protein, meaning that they’re not the best supplements for helping meet your protein needs on any diet. Protein plays many vital roles, including cellular repair and muscle mass preservation during weight loss (*).
If one of your goals is optimizing your protein intake with the help of vegan collagen, be sure to check the number of grams of protein per serving.
There’s also a concern regarding the safety and effectiveness of vegan collagen products. You can always try them, but before you do, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider.
Firstly, keep in mind that vegan collagen peptides do not exist (for those who are specifically looking for this product). Collagen peptides are, in reality, short protein chains from animal collagen produced via enzymatic hydrolysis (*).
Apart from that, you should be able to find vegan collagen (which are actually collagen boosters or collagen builders) at various online shops, including Amazon. Below are some examples:
- Tablets: Garden of Life Vegan Collagen Builder
- Capsules: Rae Vegan Collagen Boost
- Gummies: MaryRuth Organics Collagen Boosting Gummies
- Powder: Amazing Grass Vegan Collagen Support
Whether you choose to supplement with a tablet, capsule, gummy, or powder — always read the label. Vegan powders provide the benefit of enjoying a flavored drink while the rest offer convenience if you’re always on the go.
Can collagen be vegan? No. Plant-based collagen isn’t collagen, but rather nutrients (coming from plants) that support collagen production in your body like vitamin C.
Also, plant foods like vegetables and nuts contain these collagen-boosting nutrients and small amounts of proline and glycine, the amino acids that are common in collagen.
On the other hand, all these nutrients and amino acids can be obtained in animal foods and animal-based collagen — plus they’re available in greater amounts.
In summary, you may benefit by supplementing with vegan collagen, although animal-derived collagen is the superior choice.
Interested in grass-fed bovine collagen that contains energy-boosting MCTs and comes in various flavors you’ll love? Check out our Perfect Keto Collagen Powder.