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Collagen is a protein made up of specific amino acids and represents roughly 30% of the proteins in your body. It is incredibly tough and the major component of connective tissues in your body, aptly supporting your tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.
The major reason people seek collagen supplements is because they can promote skin health. In fact, several studies support the notion that taking collagen may help slow down the aging of skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness, which is attributed to a decrease in collagen production.
However, regular collagen supplements typically contain collagen extracted from animal-based sources such as beef or fish. That’s a no-no for vegans.
To help you find a great vegan collagen supplement, I’ve researched and narrowed down the choices to the four supplements below.
4 Best Vegan Collagen Supplements
Future Kind Vegan Collagen Booster (Editor’s Choice)
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If you want to purchase vegan supplements, Future Kind is a 100% vegan brand that creates supplements that cater to the nutritional needs of vegans.
What I highly appreciate about their supplements, including their vegan collagen booster, is that they don’t hide the ingredients and dosages behind a proprietary blend, so you can easily find out whether the supplement is as effective as they claim.
Future Kind is transparent, which is an additional reason I like this brand.
Amazing Grass Vegan Collagen Supplement
Amazing Grass Glow is an organic collagen supplement packed with skin nourishing superfoods that will leave you feeling radiant and your skin revitalized.
Through synergistic blends, Amazing Grass has created a formula designed to hydrate the skin, rebuild damaged skin, and support collagen production for a more youthful look.
This vegan collagen supplement is certified organic by the USDA, it’s free from major allergens, and it’s a highly affordable solution that won’t break the bank.
Ora Organic Vegan Collagen Supplement
Even though it doesn’t contain as many skin-nourishing ingredients as the Amazing Grass Glow formula, this collagen booster by Ora Organic is an exceptional solution.
With ingredients such as aloe vera, silica, pea protein, vitamins C and E, this vegan-friendly powder is bound to boost your body’s natural production of collagen.
In each Ora Organic cannister you can find 20 servings — it’s comparatively more than the Amazing Grass Glow formula, but it’s still a tad more expensive
Mykind Organics Collagen Supplement
Mykind Organics is an organic and non-GMO formula made from over 30 powdered organic fruits, vegetables, and botanicals.
It’s rich in several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, C, and E, as well as nutrients like biotin and silica that play a crucial role in collagen production.
One bottle comes with 60 tablets, which is the equivalent of 30 servings since you must take two tablets per day to reap the full benefits.
If you don’t like to take tablets, then this supplement is not as convenient.
What is Vegan Collagen?
The majority of collagen supplements in the market are animal-based.
That’s because collagen is a protein found mostly in hair, skin, nails, bones, and ligaments of animal sources such as beef or fish. However, because of technological and scientific advancement, it’s now possible to make vegan collagen.
Instead of sourcing collagen from animals, collagen can now be made using genetically modified yeast and bacteria. It’s been found through research that the bacteria P. pastoris is commonly used in the production of high-quality vegan-friendly collagen.
To create collagen, four human genes that code for collagen are added to the genetic structure of the microbes, and once the genes are in place, the yeast or bacteria start producing the building blocks for human collagen.
A digestive enzyme called pepsin is added to help structure the building blocks into collagen molecules that share the same structure as human collagen. This is basically how vegan collagen is made.
However, it’s important to point out that most vegan collagen supplements on the market do not contain actual collagen – they contain nutrients that support the natural production of collagen.
If you pay close attention to the name of the supplements, you’ll see that many are named “collagen builders” rather than actual “collagen supplements”.
What Are The Benefits And Uses Of Vegan Collagen?
Vegan collagen has several benefits, besides the fact that one isn’t sacrificing a living being for the sake of extracting animal-based collagen. Here are some of the benefits:
1. Less expensive
Using yeast and bacteria instead of animal products to create collagen is more cost-effective and easier to scale in a lab environment.
Even though this is true, we’re still not seeing vegan-friendly collagen being massively produced, however, the potential to lower existing prices and make collagen more widely available and present in medicines and supplements is a matter of time.
2. Lower risk of allergies
There’s an existing concern over the risk of illness transmission via animal-based collagen.
Collagen created using yeast or bacteria could potentially eliminate this concern because it’s produced in a controlled environment where allergens and other harmful substances could be easily removed before going into supplements or medication.
3. Higher availability for medical procedures
Vegan collagen has a ton of potential that goes beyond supplementation, mainly because it can be genetically modified to be safe and effective, which can be useful for medical procedures.
For instance, collagen can be used:
- to stimulate skin and tissue growth
- to promote wound healing
- in surgical sutures
And it can also be used as a drug delivery vehicle for issues like cancer or tumor treatment.
4. Higher safety profile
Because it can be controlled in a lab-environment, manufacturers can improve upon its safety profile. Additionally, it’s an easily traceable source, which makes it a safer product.
5. Collagen Has Promising Health Benefits
According to most manufacturers, collagen helps support your joints, ligaments, bones, tendons, skin, hair, and nails.
In fact, bones aren’t just made of minerals, they’re also made of collagen, which is why collagen is also important for bone strength and health.
In clinical trials, collagen has shown a lot of promising benefits in tackling different health concerns, however, for some of these benefits, science is still attempting to catch up.
Here are some of the claimed benefits:
Skin health: Collagen levels decline with age, which supposedly leads to the appearance of wrinkles, dry skin, and other issues. In a randomized control trial, researchers found that collagen may have beneficial effects on human skin health, particularly in people over 35 years old.
Hair and nails: As a protein, collagen is mostly found in skin, hair, and nails. As we age, our collagen levels drop, which may lead to the weakening of our hair and nails. Two small studies found that perhaps supplementing collagen may help support the body’s hair building proteins and reduce the risk of brittle nails in aging individuals.
Joint health: Collagen provides us with a cushioning layer between our bones, which enhances our flexibility, and reduces joint pain and stiffness. Some evidence suggests that supplementing with collagen may help improve joint mobility and reduce joint pain in aging individuals.
Arthritis: In rheumatoid arthritis patients, collagen may help reduce the swelling in tender joints and reduce some uncomfortable symptoms common to RA. Additionally, collagen has also proven to be useful to aid patients with osteoarthritis in their mobility and overall quality of life.
Gut health: Patients suffering from leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gut health disorders may benefit from taking collagen. Many patients with inflammatory bowel disease reveal lower than average serum concentrations of collagen, and it’s believed that increasing those levels may prove helpful. Collagen is believed to help with overall gut health, but more research is required to comfortably affirm these benefits.
Metabolism: Collagen also plays an important role in the development of lean muscle mass by helping convert glucose into energy used for muscle cell development. Having more lean muscle mass means you have a faster metabolism, which means you can burn fat and lose weight more rapidly. Researchers measured the effects of collagen supplementation in combination with resistance training and the results showed that collagen can improve body composition and increase lean muscle mass.
Who Can Benefit From Taking Collagen?
Three groups could most benefit from taking collagen: aging adults, those with joint problems, and weak bones.
As we age, we lose collagen in our skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones. The loss of collagen in the skin, as it’s understood, can be noticed by the appearance of wrinkles.
And as we’ve learned earlier, some studies support supplementing with collagen because it can reduce the swelling in tender joints, as well as some of the pain. Additionally, it may help provide you with additional mobility, and hence, a better quality of life.
Finally, a 2016 review of the medical literature found that hydrolyzed collagen had positive therapeutic effects on osteoporosis—a degenerative bone disease. The effects included a potential increase in mineral bone density (which is what they use to measure osteoporosis) and also a protective effect on articular cartilage, and pain relief.
What Are The Side Effects Of Collagen?
Collagen supplements, in general, are not known to cause any negative side effects, and thus are well-tolerated and considered safe as long as you respect the instructed dosages.
However, as we’ve briefly mentioned in the section where we lay out the benefits of vegan collagen, there is a slim possibility that may have an allergic reaction, which is reduced because no animal-based products are used.
How To Choose A Good Vegan Collagen Supplement
A good vegan collagen supplement must be manufactured by a reputed company that is honest and transparent about every ingredient used in their product.
That being said, actual vegan collagen is very difficult to find, and what you will find is companies sell what’s called “collagen boosters” as supplements. These boosters typically contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and zinc that the body needs to create collagen.
Some companies may also include plant extracts and herbs that have also been found to help in the production of collagen.
In this article, we’ve included a list of three vegan collagen supplements because they offer the best combination of ingredients to ramp up the production of collagen.
Authentic vegan collagen is hard to come by in supplements, that’s why most vegan collagen supplements contain alternative ingredients that are known to increase collagen production.
These are hands down, some of the most effective vegan collagen supplements on the market, and are certainly the best choice following the adjustment of your diet.
Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.