There are a lot of different health supplements, vitamins, and minerals that are all included in a well-rounded and nutritious diet. Some of these same ingredients have also found themselves taking on a main role in the creation of a variety of cosmetic products. One of the most widely discussed being collagen. Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that humans and a variety of other animals produce. It has also long been known to improve skin health significantly.
Collagen does more than that though. Collagen is also heavily discussed among the vegan community because no plants naturally produce collagen. So, let’s look at what exactly collagen is, and how vegan collagen could become one of the next big things in the cosmetics and beauty community.
What is Collagen?
As mentioned above, collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the human body. It is also produced by several other animals as well. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. As such, its function extends far beyond improving skin health. Collagen also acts as a connective tissue for muscles, tendons and bones. Not only that, but it’s also found in the nails and the hair.
It’s also important to note that natural collagen levels begin to decline with age. Therefore, it makes plenty of sense why the beauty and cosmetic product industry would want to create collagen-based supplements in order to help individuals boost their internal collagen levels, and in turn, the health of their skin, nails, hair, joints, muscles, and bones.
Beef and fish products are the most common foods to contain collagen levels. Therefore non-vegans who want to improve their collagen production can focus on integrating fish and beef-based dishes into their diet.
However, beef and fish aren’t really options for those who follow a plant-based diet. This is where vegan collagen comes into play.
How is Vegan Collagen Made?
While there are a variety of vegan collagen supplements on the marketplace, these products don’t actually contain any collagen. Instead, they contain a variety of plant-based ingredients that are rich in the amino acids, lysine, proline, and glycine because it is thought that these ingredients can boost collagen production within the human body. There is also some evidence that certain antioxidants like Vitamin C may also help us boost our collagen production.
The plant-based ingredients high in these three amino acids include soy protein, black beans, kidney beans, tofu, tempeh, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and a variety of nuts like peanuts, pistachios, and cashews.
Depending on the supplement, any number of these ingredients can be ground up into a powder or capsule form, and ingested orally.
Are Vegan Collagen Supplements Worthwhile?
However, research on the efficacy of vegan collagen supplements is relatively infantile. This means that a lot more research into vegan collagen needs to be conducted before they can truly be recommendable.
Rather than trusting vegan collagen supplements, experts suggest creating a diet that is conducive to natural collagen production. That is, until further advancements are made in the way of synthesizing a vegan collagen that can be delivered in the form of a supplement.
How to Boost Collagen as a Vegan
In other words, if you’re following a plant-based diet, your best chance at boosting the natural collagen your body produces is through consuming a highly nutritious diet. Specifically, eat a well-rounded plant-based diet and make sure to include foods that are high in amino acids like glycine, lysine, and proline.
This will provide your body with the nutrients needed to elevate and boost collagen production, in turn keeping your joints and muscles feeling young, while keeping your skin smooth, healthy, and soft.
The Future of Collagen
Hinted at above is the development of synthetic collagen. Synthetic ingredients are lab-grown and are therefore vegan. Recently, there have been experiments on creating yeast microbes that produce collagen. While none of these products or processes are consumer-available, the science is being worked on.
Theoretically, a breakthrough in the field of synthetic collagen could create an entirely new line of products that both contain real collagen and are 100% vegan. This could also potentially reduce the amount of animal byproduct the cosmetic industry sourced by a significant volume, which would effectively reduce the carbon footprint of the beauty product industry as well.
Final Thoughts on Vegan Collagen
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as truly vegan collagen in the sense of a dietary supplement. That being said, there are plant-based collagen-boosting-formulas that even vegan cosmetic brands are embracing. Additionally, the modern era of science and technology is working on creating a synthetic version of collagen that will be truly vegan. This could be a game-changing innovation in the health and beauty industries and lead to a whole new generation of products on the shelf.