Collagen supplements are trending these days for all the right reasons, and many are jumping on board to gain the benefits from this supplement, especially those related to the health of the skin. However, those following a vegan lifestyle and dietary plan may think that there is no way for them to enjoy the benefits of collagen because most collagen supplements are created from bovine and marine sources.
Primarily made from animal by-products, bovine and marine collagen supplements provide type I and type II collagen respectively. These two types alone make up approximately 90% of the collagen found in your body. While there was no vegan collagen source readily available for years, researchers have now discovered a unique new way to create this popular supplement without using any animal by-products.
Collagen Options for Vegans
Today, collagen can be genetically engineered using modified yeast and bacteria. A bacterium known as P. pastoris is most frequently used for its proven effectiveness. To make the microbes create collagen, four genes that have this role in the human body are inserted into the bacteria or yeast if that is being used instead. The microbes then start creating their own collagen. Once an enzyme known as pepsin is added, the microbes create perfectly formed human collagen.
This source of collagen is completely vegan because no animal products or by-products are used. Plus, the collagen created is an exact replica of the collagen already found in the human body.
Pros and Cons of Vegan Collagen
As with anything you put into or onto your body, it is important to understand the pros and cons of vegan collagen supplements or topical items so that you can make an informed decision that will work well for you. Although vegan collagen items are not highly available as of yet, there is great potential for them to take off widely in coming years.
Of course, the biggest positive of vegan collagen is that individuals avoiding animal by-products can finally gain the many rich benefits of this powerful supplement. Today, there are vegan collagen options for oral consumption as well as for topical application.
Numerous other benefits make vegan collagen a good option for many. For example, there is a lower risk of allergies with these products than there is with animal-based products. Vegan collagen is created in a laboratory environment that is clean and highly controlled. This also creates a safe product that can even be traced back to its source should a safety concern arise.
There are a few downsides to vegan collagen that you should be aware of before jumping on board, however. First, the price for these products is still fairly high because they are new and are not yet being mass-produced. Although this should change over time, high demand with low supply has made these products difficult to find and more expensive than you may have expected. Second, vegan collagen is made using genetic modifications, which are not yet fully understood. While genetically modified organisms are generally accepted, some worry that once modified, the substance cannot be changed back to its original form.
One final problem that is popping up in many places is dishonest advertising. Some manufacturers state that they are selling vegan collagen when they are actually only selling items designed to boost the body’s own production of this protein. It is important that you carefully read labels and ask questions before buying any new collagen products to ensure that what you are purchasing is safe and is what it says it is.
Foods That Boost Natural Collagen Production
The good news is that you can find other ways to increase collagen supplies in your body even if you are not willing to shell out the money to try vegan collagen and do not want to change your dietary habits. The human body naturally produces its own collagen. While production levels gradually decrease with advancing age, there are ways to amp up your body’s production of this vital protein and enjoy its benefits for your skin, joints and more.
Of course, common collagen-rich options, such as bone broth and egg whites, are out of the question for vegans. However, there are plenty of other foods that are rich in vitamin C, zinc and copper, which your body needs to create its own collagen. The following is a list of excellent food choices that are vegan-friendly and that can help your body do its own collagen-building work naturally.
- Citrus fruits
- Beans and other legumes
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Bell peppers
While boosting your intake of these foods, you will also want to limit your consumption of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates. Foods high in these substances can actually decrease your body’s ability to repair itself by creating new collagen.
If you have chosen to follow a vegan lifestyle, the health of your skin and joints does not have to suffer. Modern research has uncovered a new option that has the possibility of being mass-produced in the future. However, as with anything that you put on or into your body, do your research first so that you can ensure your choices are both safe and effective. Plus, supplement your health naturally with foods that fit easily into a vegan diet.