Going vegan can be challenging and often, to make life easier, it’s recommended that you take supplements such as collagen on a plant-based diet.
But does plant-based collagen actually work or is this a new cottage industry trying to take advantage of the good nature of vegans?
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a form of protein and it’s especially important in the human body where, by weight, it makes up about 33% of all of our protein. Don’t confuse it with our best vegan protein powders though, it’s a different kind of protein.
It’s also important in animals and traditionally, humans have sourced much of their collagen from animals.
If we don’t get enough collagen we end up with poor quality skin, wrinkles, it takes longer for our wounds to heal up and it can even result in osteoporosis!
What’s Wrong With Animal Collagen?
Nothing is inherently wrong with animal collagen when it comes to making us healthy.
In fact, without animal collagen, it’s fair to say that until recently, the human race would have been in serious trouble without it as there is no plant that naturally makes collagen.
However, for vegans and those opting for plant-based lifestyles the problem with animal collagen is obvious – it comes from animals and they don’t eat animals.
Does Plant-Based Collagen Work?
Plant-based collagen is a bit of a cheat.
As we’ve already acknowledged, you can’t grow a plant and produce collagen but what scientists have done, instead, is to genetically engineer a bacteria (P pastoris) to produce collagen.
This is not chemically identical to animal collagen but it is close enough and it is treated in the same way in the body as animal collagen is.
What Is Vegan Collagen?
Vegan collagen can be the result of plant-based collagen and if it is, then it’s safe to say that this is an effective replacement for collagen in the human body.
In fact, it ought to show exactly the same benefits as animal collagen, though we should stress at this point that collagen of this nature is relatively new and there is not enough research to say this with complete certainty.
The Other Vegan Collagen
However, you may also find vegan collagen which is not bacterially produced collagen but instead a collection of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. from plants that have been put together to simulate collagen.
The jury is out on these kinds of collagen, they are substantially different from animal collagen in every way and while they may promote the production of collagen in our bodies using these ingredients, it’s also entirely possible that they may not.
We are a long way away from having categoric answers when it comes to this mix and match approach to stimulating collagen production and you should allow your body to guide you as to whether these supplements add value to your life or not.
You can find vegan collagen easily in these excellent vegan collagen supplements which can be bought online.
Vegan collagen has plenty of potential benefits according to medical experts too.
Our Experience With Plant-Based Collagen
We’ve tried both vegan collagen boosters (the mix and match approach) and bacterially produced collagen.
We found that for us, the bacterially produced collagen was truly excellent and really made us feel better and we looked noticeably better too.
When it came to the “boosters”, we had more mixed results, some of the products we tried certainly had real benefits to mood and skin, but others simply didn’t.
We think that it’s worth remembering that we all react differently to different things and that dietary science is in its infancy.
The best way to tell what will work for you is to try it and see. The good news is that no vegan collagen booster or supplement can do you any harm, so you have nothing to fear by experimenting.
Plant-based collagen is a relatively new product and the initial signs are very promising that it will bring benefits to vegans. However, it’s going to be worth keeping an eye on developments in research in the future to have this confirmed 100%. For now, we’re taking plant-based collage ourselves as even if it isn’t essential, it makes us feel better.