Collagen is one of the most promoted beauty supplements out there.
It’s quite popular as a booster for healthy-looking skin, hair, and nails, stronger bones, and joints.
But if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’re probably avoiding any sort of collagen supplements since they’re animal-based.
Don’t let that discourage you! Your body is capable of producing collagen, and there are natural supplements that can help you generate more of it.
All you have to do is make sure you get all the nutrients you need to stimulate the collagen production in your body.
So, read on to find out:
- What is collagen?
- How to boost collagen with plant-based sources?
- 13+ collagen booster supplements
Let’s dive in!
What is Collagen?
Your whole body has connective tissues. These are your skin, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons.
Collagen is the main structural protein that builds your connective tissues. Collagen proteins are fibrous strands made of amino acids and are insoluble in water.
But how vital is collagen?
Well, about 70% of the proteins in your skin are collagen, and hence roughly one-third of your body. So, collagen is essential for many of your body’s functions, such as supporting skin elasticity, bone strength, and joint health.
The good news is that your body can produce collagen by itself.
And the bad news is that after the age of 25, your body produces about 1.5% less collagen each year.
The result? You start noticing some wrinkles, experience joint pain, and intestinal problems.
But don’t worry! You always have the option to reach out for a collagen-boosting supplement and get back on track.
So, what are your options?
Where Does Collagen Come From?
As you probably already know, the most popular sources of collagen are animals.
It usually comes from the skin, bones, and cartilage of animals like cattle or fish. And these are animal parts that most people don’t often eat.
So, to make things easier, there are lots of animal-sourced supplements on the market that provide you with readily-made collagen.
Your body can’t absorb the collagen from such supplements easily. The collagen molecules are too big and have to be broken down into smaller parts to be absorbed. And from there on, it’s very unclear how many of these molecules get through.
Since collagen is only produced in the body, you can’t source it directly from plants, even though some scientists have discovered how to synthesize collagen from bacteria and yeast. But that’s not going to be readily available on the market for a while.
However, there are plant-based collagen boosters that can give your body all the nutrients and vitamins it needs to produce its collagen.
So, if you don’t want to put heavily-synthesized animal collagen in your body, plant-based collagen boosters are the most natural way to boost your collagen levels.
But how does that work, exactly?
How Does Your Body Make its Own Collagen?
To kick start the process, your body needs vitamin C and amino acids.
The main amino acids that participate in collagen construction are proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline.
When these ingredients come together, your body produces procollagen molecules.
Then the procollagen molecules start bundling up together into bigger structures called fibrils, which make up collagen fibers.
And that’s the collagen in all of your connective tissues.
But with age, you start producing less collagen. So, you have to get a good amount of collagen-building nutrients for an extra boost.
Let’s take a look at the essential collagen-building blocks and how to supply your body with them naturally!
How to Boost Collagen With Plant-Based Sources
There are a few essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to make collagen.
Luckily, these vitamins come from plant-based sources, and including them in your daily diet can help you get back your healthy glow in no time.
#1. Amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and they’re also important components of the collagen synthesis process.
Since your body can’t produce amino acids, you get them from your food. Incorporating a healthy source of protein in your diet is crucial not only for the collagen-building process but for many other bodily functions.
Many plant-based protein-rich foods contain all 9 amino acids. Such foods are:
#2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another important building block in the collagen synthesis. So vitamin C does much more than just protect you from the common cold.
Without it, your body won’t be able to build or store collagen properly. Vitamin C deficiency is sometimes the cause of joint pain, saggy skin, brittle nails, and hair. Vitamin C also protects your skin from dangerous UV light waves and free radicals.
You can get vitamin C from fresh vegetables and fruits, including:
Silica is an excellent collagen-booster found in many plant-based foods like:
- Bell peppers
Silica supports the collagen molecule structure which in turn leads to stronger hair, nails, and reduced hair loss.
Zinc plays the role of the activator in certain proteins that are part of the collagen synthesis. This mineral also reduces the collagen degradation in your body and helps in the wound- healing process.
Vegan sources of zinc are:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
#5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A stimulates the production of collagen and smooths your skin, giving you a healthy glow.
But you can source only the vitamin A precursors from plant-based foods. These are phytonutrients called carotenoids. Then your body will convert these nutrients into vitamin A.
Foods rich in carotenoids are:
- Sweet potatoes
#6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known as the anti-aging vitamin because it helps you get back your skin health and elasticity.
But vitamin E also has antioxidant effects that improve the firmness of your skin and prevents collagen degradation in your body.
Vegan sources of vitamin E are:
- Sunflower seeds
10 Best Collagen Booster Supplements
Sometimes, regularly getting all these essential nutrients is hard. You might be on the go or have a busy day at work.
So, to make sure you don’t trail behind and your body doesn’t run into deficiency, you can turn to natural supplements. This way, you’ll always have optimal levels of all the ingredients needed for the collagen production in your body.
These are our top 10 choices for natural vegan collagen boosters!
#1. Vegan Collagen Builder
This vegan collagen builder will bring back the shiny hair, strong nails, and glowing skin in no time.
It contains 30 high-quality pure ingredients that provide your body with all the essential nutrients and vitamins.
Among them are antioxidant fruit and vegetable extracts, silica, white tea, hyaluronic acid, and L-Lysine, which naturally increase the collagen in your body.
Apart from promoting collagen production, this supplement also stimulates the synthesis of keratin and elastin. Altogether, these three beauty-building blocks will boost your vitality, youthful glow, stronger bones, and joints.
Proline is an amino acid contained in different proteins. However, if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you might be struggling to get all the proteins (and hence amino acids) you need daily.
So, to make sure you’re getting enough of the amino acids that are vital for the natural collagen production, you can get a little boost from supplements like L-Proline. That’s one of the main amino acids that actively participates in the collagen-building activities in your body.
That’s what makes L-Proline essential for connective tissue building activities, injury support, muscle, skin, and joint health.
#3. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a key anti-aging ingredient and an important compound for collagen.
It also helps to retain more moisture in your skin. But with age, hyaluronic acid levels decrease, and your skin starts looking more dry and wrinkly.
Hyaluronic acid helps keep the freshness of your skin and promotes the healthy levels of collagen in your body.
It’s also a good solution if you have weak bones and joints since it speeds the healing of skin injuries, relieves joint pain, and strengthens your bones.
#4. Vitamin C
Apart from being a great immune system booster, vitamin C is an essential compound for the building of collagen in your body. Vitamin C is the ingredient that kicks off the collagen-building process. So, if you suffer from vitamin C deficiency, you’re not producing enough collagen.
It also boosts the hyaluronic acid levels and has antioxidant effects. That’s why vitamin C is famous for giving you a radiant glow and healthier nails and hair. So, if you think that you’re not getting enough vitamin C from your diet, this supplement’s got you covered.
#5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a popular solution for sunburns and is also known to soothe the skin when applied as a cream. If you take it as an oral supplement or a powder, you can get many other benefits.
Aloe vera plays an active role in the production of collagen since it promotes the building of longer and stronger collagen strands. It also smoothes wrinkles and promotes the production of hyaluronic acid. The result is silky hair, strong nails, and glowing skin.
And it contains nutrients that speed up the time your skin needs to heal from different injuries.
Omega-3 fatty acids promote natural collagen formation. But the most popular omega-3 supplements are made of fish oil.
The vegan alternative? Algae-sourced omega-3. It boosts your collagen levels and improves your skin elasticity.
Algae is a marine plant that gained a lot of popularity for its numerous health benefits. It has antioxidant effects that protect your skin from free radicals and toxins that come from the surrounding environment. And it promotes bone and joint health, muscle strength, and healthy brain functions.
Ginseng is widely known for its anti-aging benefits. It hydrates your skin and improves its firmness. It also stimulates collagen growth and protects your skin from UVB ray damage.
When you take ginseng as a supplement or as tea, it releases antioxidants in your bloodstream and protects your cells. This, in turn, gives you a long-term healthy glow and smoother skin.
#8. Green tea extract
Green tea has powerful antioxidant properties that protect you from skin cancer and early signs of aging like wrinkles and saggy skin.
The green tea extract strengthens the already existing collagen and elastin structures. The result? Smoother and more youthful-looking skin. The green tea leaf fibers also promote hair growth, and the caffeine and tannins remove eye puffiness.
Green tea is also famous for its anti-inflammatory effects. So if you suffer from skin irritations, green tea will soothe them down.
Green tea extract is also a great source of vitamin B2 and vitamin E, which are vital for your skin health and skin cell growth.
The citrate form of zinc will help your body optimally absorb this vital mineral. Every capsule contains about 273% of the recommended daily value, so you will never run into a zinc deficiency with this supplement.
Zinc plays an essential role in collagen formation by activating the amino acids responsible for collagen synthesis. It also promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails. Zinc is also an immune system booster and stimulates cell growth and DNA formation in your body.
Silica is an ingredient found in some vegetables and has a higher concentration in bamboo. If you have silica deficiency in your body, you’ll notice your nails breaking often and your hair falling out more than usual.
This supplement can give you a sufficient amount of silica, which will support the collagen and elastin structures in your body. This way, you’ll have healthy-looking skin, strong nails, and long hair in no time.
Vegan Collagen Sources FAQ
#1. How does vegan collagen compare to animal collagen?
As of right now, there’s no known source of a natural vegan collagen. Collagen is a 100% animal-based product, found in meat, fish, eggs, and other dairy.
However, scientists have been working on ways to combine yeast and bacteria to form a laboratory-made source of collagen that's completely vegan. The concept is still under development, though, and highly unavailable and expensive for the regular customer.
With this being said, theoretically, it’s believed that in the future vegan collagen will be a healthier, and safer alternative to animal collagen, because it will be made in a supervised lab environment.
#2. Is vegan collagen good enough?
As mentioned above, we’ve yet to discover a completely vegan collagen source/product.
But the good news is, there are plenty of vegan collagen-boosting supplements and vegan foods that support the body’s natural production of collagen. And they’ve shown to be highly effective by promoting healthier skin, stronger bones and muscles, higher energy levels, and overall less signs of aging.
#3. What are the benefits of vegan collagen?
First and foremost, vegan collagen helps boost the body’s natural collagen production. Other, additional benefits include:
- Stronger bones, joints, and muscles
- Healthier hair growth
- Boost in energy levels and overall endurance
- Fighting off stress & anxiety
- Supporting digestive health
- Decreasing signs of aging, such as wrinkles
- A better cellular function of the immune system
- Liver protection
Getting enough collagen-boosting nutrients only from your food can be challenging. And the animal-sourced collagen usually goes through lots of heavy processing before it reaches you.
So, if you want a natural and cruelty-free way of stimulating the collagen production in your body, consider the vegan supplements that will fit you best and will provide you with all the nutrients you’re missing from your diet.
This way, you will feel healthy and strong again in no time.