Vegan collagen: are plant-based alternatives just as effective?

Natural collagen, a protein of animal origin, is not available to vegans. So how can they supplement its levels in the body? There is growing interest in vegan collagen as an alternative to traditional supplements. Find out what plant-based collagen is, where to find it and whether it is as effective as its animal-based counterpart.
wegańśki kolagen

What is vegan collagen?

Collagen is a protein made exclusively in animal organisms by combining amino acids that animals synthesise in the body from food. Vegan collagen is an alternative preparation for those on a plant-based diet – it provides the essential amino acids for the production of natural collagen in the body by stimulating fibroblasts, the cells responsible for collagen production. As a result, it supports the condition and appearance of skin, hair, nails and the strength of bones and joints. Vegan collagen is produced through the hydrolysis of plant proteins such as soya, rice, pea or wheat, using advanced biotechnology technologies. It is an excellent substitute for those avoiding animal products for ethical, health or dietary reasons.

What are the differences between vegan and animal collagen?

The two types of collagen differ primarily in their origin and production process. Animal collagen is extracted from the connective tissue of animals such as cattle, pigs or fish. Plant collagen, on the other hand, is produced from plants, making it free of animal components, providing a suitable alternative for those following a vegan diet.

Both plant and animal collagen aim to improve the condition of skin, hair, nails and support joint and bone health. Animal collagen is a direct source of collagen, while vegan collagen works indirectly by providing ingredients that stimulate the body to produce its own collagen. As a result, although they both have similar purposes, the effectiveness of their action may differ.

The element that differentiates the two collagens is how they are sourced. For some consumers, the production of animal collagen raises questions about animal welfare and environmental impact. Vegan collagen, on the other hand, offers an alternative devoid of such controversies, being an entirely plant-based and ethically responsible product.

How to supplement collagen in a vegan diet?

When following a vegan diet, the body is at risk of deficiencies in many nutrients, one of which is collagen. To ensure an adequate supply, collagen must be provided through supplements and products that support collagen production in the body.

Vegan collagen supplementation

Vegan collagen supplements are products based on plant proteins such as soya, wheat or marine algae. Although they differ in origin from their animal-based counterparts, they have similar properties in their effects on the body. The availability of vegan collagen supplements in different forms, such as powder, capsules, liquid or cream, allows you to choose the right method of consumption for you.

Products to support collagen production in the body

To increase collagen production in the body, it is important to consume the right nutrients. It is worth focusing on foods rich in the protein amino acids, genistin, which slows down the disappearance of collagen and elastin; proline and lysine, which can be found in protein products; and vitamin C, zinc and copper. Regular consumption of products rich in these ingredients, combined with a healthy lifestyle, can significantly support the body’s natural collagen production.

What products are sources of vegan collagen?

In a vegan diet, products rich in genistein, found in legumes, among others, should be included. Protein amino acids can also be found in algae, rice and oatmeal. To take care of collagen levels, it is also worth including products rich in vitamin C, which supports collagen synthesis.

Products to include in a vegan diet include:

  • Citrus fruits, berries, peppers, leafy greens, broccoli and strawberries,
  • Legume seeds,
  • Tofu, tempeh, soya milk and fermented soya products,
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, flaxseed,
  • Marine algae,
  • Rice and oatmeal.

In order to increase collagen production in the body, do not forget to adopt a healthy lifestyle and limit factors that are harmful to the skin, such as sunbathing for too long or smoking. Avoiding stressful situations that release cortisol, which affects the breakdown of collagen, will also be an effective step.

What does the research say?

The latest scientific research on the effects of plant collagen on the body suggests its impact on improving the condition and appearance of the skin, providing a sustainable and effective option for those avoiding animal products.

A recent study on a vegan alternative to collagen has shown significant benefits for skin health. The experiment, conducted in Taiwan, involved 90 participants divided into three groups: a group taking placebo, plant collagen and fish collagen. The participants used the supplements daily for eight weeks. The vegan formulation showed an increase in skin collagen density by 4.7 per cent, elasticity by 5.1 per cent and a reduction in wrinkles, skin texture and pore problems by 27.5 per cent, 20.1 per cent and 12.3 per cent, respectively. In addition, participants noticed an improvement in skin hydration. Importantly, its effect was comparable to that of marine collagen[1].

Another study focused on the effectiveness of plant-based collagen supplements in the context of collagen synthesis. The study showed that vegan collagen, containing plant extracts such as asiaticoside and ginsenosides, could stimulate type I collagen production. After four weeks of supplementation, participants in the experiment experienced an increase in skin density and elasticity, manifesting as a noticeable improvement in skin appearance and texture[2].

Is vegan collagen in supplement form effective?

Let us emphasise again – collagen supplements designed for vegans do not provide collagen. They contain blends of ingredients that only stimulate and motivate the body to produce collagen. Consequently, plant collagen is not able to provide the same benefits as animal collagen. Nevertheless, it represents a promising alternative to it. It offers a solution that is ethically compatible with vegans and vegetarians and safe for allergy sufferers. To confirm the effectiveness of plant collagen, further research is still needed. For the moment, if you are not following a diet that eliminates animal products, fish collagen, with its studied properties and effects on the body, is the best choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *