Is Collagen Vegan?

Overview

Collagen is taking the beauty, health, and wellness world by storm. It's an amazing supplement that can do wonders for your hair, skin, nails, and body. The best part is, the results and benefits are both internal and external. Unfortunately for vegans and some vegetarians, collagen supplements are created from animal products. For this reason, people who don't eat animal products would likely avoid consuming this supplement. While we produce collagen on our own, natural collagen production does decrease and slow down as we age. Skincare and whole food, clean diets can only do so much when it comes to the anti-aging process. Sometimes you just need a little extra boost, and that's where collagen comes in. It can help with joint health, skin health, strengthening connective tissues, strengthening hair and nails, and giving you a beautiful glow. Even those looking to lose weight or gain muscle can find collagen to be beneficial. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and therefore is a great source of fuel for those who are looking to bulk up or slim down. There are no known side effects of taking collagen, making it safe and effective. If you didn't know before, you now know that this supplement cannot be consumed by those who don't eat animal products. Animal sourced collagen is not vegan given the fact it is directly derived from animal skin, bones, and connective tissues. Vegan collagen is currently being researched and developed with the potential to be turned into a supplement in the near future. 

How can collagen be vegan?

Vegan collagen is not actually available to buy as a supplement. However, it is being worked on in labs. It's created synthetically, in order to copy the benefits of a regular collagen supplement. When it is synthetically made in a lab, we are able to modify it so that it replicates animal and human collagen, while not actually using any animal products. Vegan collagen supplements are made from bacteria and genetically modified yeast. Human genes and pepsin (an enzyme) are also added to help formulate a structure identical to human collagen. Some people may not like the fact that this form of collagen is genetically modified and engineered.

How does it compare to animal-sourced collagen?

Animal sourced collagen is made from the same collagen we have in the human body. It's formed through chains of amino acids that act as building blocks. Some of these are essential amino acids like proline, lysine, and glycine. It's basically a perfect replica of our own collagen, which is what makes it so effective as a supplement. Animal sourced collagen, when made with clean and pure ingredients, can be considered a better source than lab-produced vegan collagen because it is made naturally. It already exists within the body, and all that needs to be done to it is forming it into a supplement that is easily absorbable and digestible. Also, animal sourced collagen is available in numerous types and forms, like collagen powder, collagen peptides, collagen protein, and more. Collagen sources include bovine, marine, porcine, and chicken.

 

What are the benefits of vegan collagen?

There are a few benefits of vegan collagen. One is the potential lower cost once it is created for mass production. Creating it from yeast is much more cost effective than creating collagen supplements from animals, and therefore the retail cost will be lower as well. While animal collagen isn't too expensive to begin with, it's understandable that people would be eager to save money with a less expensive option. Another benefit is that it could be a good option for those with meat or fish allergies. Besides the fact that vegans and vegetarians can use it, those who are unable to eat animal products for any reason could also enjoy the benefits of vegan collagen. An environmental benefit is that vegan collagen can be produced in a lab, and no animals are needed for its creation. This would have a positive effect on the environment and the lives of animals as well. An additional benefit is that because of the fact it is created in a lab, it is lab-controlled. This means there's a completely minimal chance of any contamination or safety issues. It's not that the production of collagen is unsafe or unclean, but there are always risks when it comes to animal products. Lastly, vegans and those who can't consume animal products will be able to reap the numerous benefits of collagen.

What are alternatives to vegan collagen?

There are a few alternatives to vegan collagen. One is, of course, to take regular animal sourced collagen instead. If you are able to have animal products, it really is a great option for increasing your protein intake, strengthening connective tissues, and giving you glowing skin.  As we previously mentioned, there are plenty of sources of collagen for you to choose from. It's important to choose ones that are non-gmo or organic in order to ensure the best quality. Also look for unflavored versions with minimal ingredients. When a product is flavored, there are almost always additives like sugar, which prevents collagen from doing its job. Marine collagen is widely regarded as the best collagen source, because it is the most bioavailable, compatible with all diets such as keto and pescatarian, and has the least chance  of contamination compared to land mammals. A great option for this is our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars. Each bar contains 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of wild-caught marine collagen. Plus, they also contain ingredients that help promote collagen production. Your other option, if you don't want supplements or bars, is to eat food that works to increase the production of collagen naturally. Eating superfoods, foods rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, veggies like kale and other leafy greens, and foods that contain essential amino acids like beans, seeds, and nuts, will all help your body to produce more collagen. 






Where can I get vegan collagen?

As we previously mentioned, vegan collagen is hard to come by as a supplement. It is more so in the developmental and research stages. Many brands currently have products marketed as a collagen booster supplement. These are still generally good products, but don't confuse them for being actual collagen supplements. They are simply formulated with foods, vitamins, and minerals that help your body produce collagen naturally. You can easily eat more fruits, veggies, and food with amino acids in order to achieve the same benefits. Vegan collagen is developing, meaning there could soon be an option for those who don't consume animal products. At this time it's not readily available, but it looks to be ready for the mass market in the near future. 



Sources:
https://www.verywellhealth.com/best-collagen-supplements-4587056
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vegan-collagen#where-to-find-and-alternatives
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/yea.730

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