What Is Collagen, and Can It Be Vegan?

Collagen supplements are currently all the rage in the beauty industry – but what even is collagen? It’s the fibrous protein constituent of bones, cartilage, tendons, and other connective tissues. It keeps our skin elastic and helps strengthen bones. When boiled, it becomes gelatine.

What is collagen (and is it vegan)?

Most collagen supplements on the market are derived from bovine connective tissue or fish. Obviously, taking collagen from animals is not vegan.

But here’s the great news: you already have collagen in your own body, and eating plant-based foods can help restore it. There’s just no need to kill animals for their collagen.

Restoring Collagen

Collagen is in our bones, muscles, tendons, skin, blood vessels, and digestive system, but as we age, we produce less of it, which is why it’s marketed as some kind of fountain of youth in the form of powder, tablets, or bone broth.

Instead of getting second-hand collagen from a dead animal, it’s possible to eat collagen-boosting foods.

Food scientist Kantha Shelke’s suggestion for restoring collagen is simple: “Eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables is ideal. Plants offer richer sources in collagen building blocks and, in addition, provide nutrients not found in sufficient quantities in meats or broth,” she says.

Meanwhile, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine notes that vitamin C from citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, and other fruits and vegetables is essential for making collagen.

Another essential building block for collagen production is zinc, which is plentiful in nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, tofu, oatmeal, and mushrooms.

Vitamin C rich foods including capsicum, kiwi fruit, tomato citrus fruits.

Vegan Collagen Supplements and Creams

There are now many vegan collagen supplements and skin creams available on the market, most of them simply containing rich antioxidants and vitamins that support collagen production. Make sure any creams you buy are certified cruelty-free to be certain they haven’t been tested on animals.

Meanwhile, vegan versions that mimic animal collagen are well on their way to market. Tech start-up Geltor is making animal-free collagen peptides using microbial fermentation.

Food First, Supplement Second

While vegan collagen supplements certainly contain many great micronutrients, a plant-rich diet is the first line of defence for healthy skin and strong bones. Let animals keep their bones while you keep yours healthy. Download a free vegan starter kit by clicking on the button below: