What is a vegan collagen supplement made of?
When you hear the words ‘vegan collagen supplement’ you may think it sounds like an oxymoron, right? How can collagen be vegan when it’s derived from animals? However, thanks to the wonders of modern food technology, it is now possible to take amino acids from vegan sources and turn them into a form the body can use. These vegan amino acids then help to repair collagen in the body and build collagen stores to create younger-looking skin, stronger hair, nails, joints and tissues.
Why is it important for vegans to support their collagen levels?
As difficult as it is to get adequate collagen on a typical Western diet, it is even harder to get enough collagen from vegan sources. That’s because collagen is a form of animal protein found in connective tissue and can be consumed from foods like bone broths, chicken, fish and organ meats.
So, if you’re eating a plant based diet, it is even more important to find a reliable vegan collagen supplement or vegan collagen powder to boost your body’s turnover of this essential repair substance.
What are good vegan collagen sources?
In terms of vegan collagen sources, it’s a matter of combining individual food sources that contain the right amino acids. Plant-based sources that contain all the amino acids include:
- Soya products: tempeh, tofu and soya protein
- Black beans, kidney beans and other legumes
- Nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pistachios, peanuts and cashews
If you want to increase your collagen naturally then it is a good idea to get more of the vegan collagen sources above into your daily diet.
What other methods can I use to increase my collagen naturally?
Other methods of increasing collagen in your body naturally include:
- Lift weights: strength training is a great way to build the collagen in your joints, ligaments and tendons (checklist start)
- Eat red and purple foods: fruits and vegetables such as purple carrots, blueberries, raspberries, red cabbage are rich in anthocyanins. These are antioxidants that work alongside vitamin C to create cross links that reinforce and strengthen collagen and elastin fibres in connective tissue.
- Find ways to relax and maximise your sleep: stress accelerates the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, which in turn breaks down collagen and elastin
- Limit sun exposure: frequent exposure to UV radiation via sunlight or tanning beds degrades collagen
- Take the cofactors that help to build collagen levels in the body, including: selenium, biotin, magnesium, copper, vitamin C, and zinc.
If you are looking for a single source to get all the important collagen-building amino acids in one place, then you may want to invest in an effective vegan collagen supplement.
Planet Paleo’s Vegan Collagen Nutrient Factors represents a good source of collagen-building amino acids in one convenient powder that can be added to smoothies, milk or water, or vegan breakfast bowls and yoghurt.
Is vegan collagen effective or as good as animal collagen?
The question of whether one form of collagen is superior to another is an interesting one, as technically some vegan collagen supplements contain amino acids that are bioidentical to the animal source. Is vegan collagen as effective?
Because the vegan version does not contain all the amino acids to make up the entire profile of animal collagen, it doesn’t provide the complete molecule. Rather vegan collagen supplements are described as being collagen boosters or builders, designed to increase the body’s own production of collagen.
So what are the benefits of adding vegan collagen to your diet?
From about your mid-thirties, collagen production starts to decline by about 1% a year. Once you reach your forties, the rate accelerates, outstripping your body’s ability to replace collagen levels.
By the time you reach the age of 60, you will have approximately half the collagen levels you did when you were in your twenties and thirties. So if you are following a vegan diet and lifestyle there are important benefits to adding a vegan collagen supplement to your regime, including:
- Stronger and shinier hair
- Stronger nails
- Smoother and plumper skin
- Joints and connective tissue feel more ‘lubricated’ and stronger
You should also make sure you are following a diverse whole foods plant-based diet which is rich in vitamin C and protein, which will ensure your body makes procollagen– the foundation of collagen and connective tissue.
Where can I find the best vegan collagen powder?
When you are searching for an effective vegan collagen supplement, it is important to consider the following: What form is the collagen in?
Read the small print and the ingredients closely. Some vegan collagen products might just contain the co-factors that contribute to collagen production such as vitamin C, selenium, biotin, zinc, copper and vitamin A.
These are important but they rely on the body’s absorption and conversion of these nutrients to build collagen from scratch, which can be harder when natural collagen production has already started to decline.
Make sure the collagen powder contains the main amino acids found in animal collagen. These can be synthesised from specially engineered microbes that contain the genes that code for collagen.
These will be bioidentical to the amino acids found in animal collagen. If you are searching for a vegan collagen powder in the UK then Planet Paleo has developed an effective formula which contains both vegan-derived amino acids and cofactors.
Planet Paleo’s Vegan Collagen powder features the main amino acids that make up the majority of collagen: l-glycine, l-proline, l-hydroxyproline, l-lysine and additional glutamine, a key anti-inflammatory amino acid for gut support. These amino acids are fermented in order to be better absorbed and utilised by the body once they are digested.
In addition, as well as containing vitamin C for collagen building, it contains concentrated plant sources of antioxidants for protecting against free radical damage, including pomegranate seed and rosehip berry extracts. It also includes bamboo extract as a source of silica for promoting nutrient and oxygen absorption, and gotu kola for promoting circulation. Studies have shown that gotu kola contributes to the production of collagen type 1 and 3, as well as elastin and hyaluronic acid.
The collagen powders are easy to use and go brilliantly in plant milks, or juices and water, depending which flavour you choose. Why not check out our range for yourself?