Collagen holds the body together and is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is produced naturally in your body, but you can also boost your collagen via various foods and supplements. To date, collagen foods and supplements have been derived from animal sources, and can be classified into bovine collagen (the most common) and marine collagen.
Is vegan collagen possible?
The answer is that vegan collagen may be possible — but it’s not available on the market yet. If you search Amazon for vegan collagen, you’ll see hundreds of products return with ‘vegan collagen’ in the title. But don’t be fooled: these products are just collagen “boosters” or “builders” to help your body produce collagen, not actual collagen. If you are buying actual collagen pills or powder, it’s 100% guaranteed it was sourced from animals.
How could vegan collagen potentially by created?
OK, so no company has actual vegan collagen just yet… but how might they in future?
According to a 2005 study (Recombinant microbial systems for the production of human collagen and gelatin), a certain bacteria (P. pastoris) can effectively engineer collagen. By using genetically modified bacteria and yeast and applying a certain process, it’s feasible for collagen to be produced in the lab (source: Healthline).
What you can do now if you’re a vegan who wants vegan collagen
While there is no vegan collagen yet, there are vegan-friendly ways to help your body produce collagen naturally. Make sure you get plenty of the following:
- Amino acids (sources of amino acids include nuts, peanut butter, seeds and grains)
- Vitamin C (fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C: source)
- Vitamin E (through oils, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables: source)
If you are following a healthy and balanced vegan diet (eating the rainbow), your body should be producing healthy amounts of collagen. And until vegan collagen is available, a healthy diet that facilitates the natural production of collagen in the body is the next best thing.