Is There a Vegan Alternative to Collagen?

Wait, people are drinking collagen in their smoothies now? What a world! Supplemental collagen, both topical and powdered, is becoming more and more popular, so let’s clear up the basics.

What is collagen?

Collagen is actually the most abundant animal protein. It can be found in our hair, skin, nails, cartilage and muscles. Its purpose is to help tissues stretch with elasticity, rather than stretching and sagging. As you age, your body begins to produce less and less collagen, which is why we develop looser skin and wrinkles, especially on the face.

Related: Health Benefits of Ingested Collagen

Why is it beneficial to supplement with collagen?

After the age of 20, your skin makes 1 percent less collagen each year—an unfortunate side effect of aging. It is believed that supplementing with collagen, topically or internally, supports abundant collagen production.

Collagen powders have become especially popular for adding to morning smoothies or coffee, and it is a trend that actually has science on its side. Collagen hydrolysate has been shown to be highly absorbable in the digestive tract, where it is transported to the bloodstream to be delivered and absorbed where it is most needed. That means healthier and more youthful skin, hair and nails, but also reduced joint pain, since cartilage also contains collagen. Collagen supplementation can even support a healthy microbiome and bone health. Sign me up!

Is there a vegan alternative?

Unfortunately, collagen is an animal product, so there is no direct vegan equivalent. However, there are some vegan options that may be as effective at promoting collagen health. Vegans can try supplementing with the plant-based building blocks of collagen that support the body’s natural production:

  • vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, mango, broccoli, Brussels sprouts)
  • vitamin A (carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, broccoli)
  • glycine (spinach, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin, banana, kiwi)
  • proline (asparagus, avocados, alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, legumes, watercress, buckwheat, seeds, soy)
  • lysine (soy, nuts, seeds, legumes)
  • anthocyanidins (an antioxidant found in black, blue, and red berries)

While these don’t work in the same way as direct collagen supplementation, a diet rich in these vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids will decrease inflammation and support the body in producing its own collagen throughout the years.

If you are not vegan, always look for ethically-sourced, grass-fed collagen powder for supplementation, or make homemade bone broth, which is collagen-rich. So far, there are no scientifically-confirmed downsides of collagen supplementation, so it is generally considered safe to experiment with collagen powder for a period of time to see how your body reacts. You may be surprised; most people give it glowing reviews.

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77 comments

Tabot T
Tabot T19 days ago

Thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B19 days ago

tyfs

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Carole R
Carole R22 days ago

Good to know.

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Caitlin L
Caitlin L24 days ago

thanks for posting

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD4 months ago

tyfs

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 months ago

Thanks.

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JoAnn P
JoAnn Paris5 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Danuta W
Danuta W5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith6 months ago

thanks

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