BodySense

Collagen is a protein produced in the human body. It is in the bones, tendons, muscles and skin. It is also found in the cornea of the eyes, blood vessels, gut lining, teeth, and nails. The word collagen is derived from the Greek word “kolla” meaning glue. So basically collagen is the “glue” that holds the entire body together.

Collagen is made up of building blocks called amino acids, which are properly structured with the help of vitamin C. When the body makes collagen, it joins amino acids (like glycine, proline and hydroxyproline from our Collagen Peptides) with vitamin C, which adds a hydroxyl group (oxygen and hydrogen) to the amino acids, allowing the acids to turn into a well-formed, strong helix shape. Essentially, vitamin C helps to strengthen the formation of collagen.

The body produces collagen naturally and it is in abundance when young, but unfortunately production starts to decline at about age 25, and continues. It decreases even more in women after menopause. Collagen also decreases with other factors such as smoking, sugar and ultraviolet rays. This decrease leads to wrinkles and sagging skin. There is no way to prevent collagen decreases in the body.

Don’t panic you are NOT doomed! While there is no way to completely stop aging, there are ways to do so more gracefully. You can help your body maintain and build collagen, once you have some of the basic information.

LET’S FIRST UNDERSTAND WHAT IS INGESTIBLE COLLAGEN-

Collagen is sourced from animals because natural collagen is only found in the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin of animals.

So now that we have an idea of what collagen is and what it does for us, let’s lay out the two main types.

Bovine Collagen

Bovine collagen comes from cows. Not to get too graphic, but more specifically from the discarded skin, bones, and muscles of cows. That’s why it’s especially important to choose pasture-raised and grass-fed for the best quality.

Marine Collagen

Marine collagen comes from fish–either the skin, bones, or scales. If you’re a pescetarian and want to eat collagen, this is the type for you. Not to mention Marine Collagen is Halal while we can’t be sure about the bovine one.

Taking collagen in your diet has a variety of benefits from improving muscle mass and preventing bone loss, to relieving joint pain, improving skin, hair, and nails, promoting digestion, and supporting overall heart health.

DO I NEED TO TAKE COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS?

The fact that your body reduces its natural production of collagen means this isn’t just a vegan issue. Vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians, and omnivores can all benefit from collagen protein support. 

In today’s world, people don’t eat all the nutrient-rich parts of animals, such as liver or bone broth, the way that they used to. Instead, most people are focusing on only or mostly muscle meat. Even if you enjoy bone broth or organ meats, chances are you are still not eating enough to boost your collagen levels through diet alone. 

There is a reason skin care experts consider collagen as the fountain of youth. Besides making your skin look plumper, firmer and giving it elasticity, collagen offers incredible benefits, It support your health, overall performance, and recovery, you may certainly benefit from a boost of collagen in your diet.

IS THERE VEGAN COLLAGEN?

To understand whether a plant-based form of collagen is possible, we need to nerd out on protein chemistry for a minute. Basically, protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids, and different types of protein (whether its egg-derived protein, pea protein, or bovine protein) all contain a different mix of amino acids. Turns out that collagen protein has a unique set of amino acids found only within the skin and tissue of animals, and this amino acid combination does not naturally occur in plants.

So, No, collagen is not vegan, and there is no natural vegan collagen.

Collagen is made from animals. It is derived from connective animal tissues, including the bones, cartilage, and hides of cows, pigs, chicken, and fish.

So next time you read “VEGAN COLLAGEN” on any label don’t be fooled.

ARE THERE VEGAN COLLAGEN ALTERNATIVES?

If you are a strict ethical vegan, there are some vegan collagen alternatives aka collagen boosters/builders out there for you. However, they are not the same as collagen and don’t have the same benefits. Rather, they are merely a supplement that promotes your body’s natural collagen production.

They promote collagen production in your body with the help of a variety of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and plant extracts to stimulate your natural collagen production. While the ingredients of vegan collagen boosters may vary, they often include vitamin C, zinc, manganese, copper, silica, proline, glycine, lysine, and arginine from plant sources.

It is very important to consume adequate amounts of protein so your body has the amino acids it needs to produce collagen. It’s also very important to consume a diet rich in antioxidants (vitamins E, C and beta-carotene) B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and zinc also play an important role. Foods like blueberries, dark leafy greens, mango, eggs, are also great collagen boosters. You should also consider switching your current oil to avocado oil. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found that avocado oil “significantly increased type ll collagen.

You may also boost your body’s collagen production with the help of some plant-based foods that are high in proline, glycine, lysine, the main amino acids in collagen. Some of the plant foods include soy products, kidney beans, black beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

These collagen boosters are vegan, yes. However, they don’t contain collagen protein.

There are plenty of collagen boosters available in the market. They might simply help promote collagen production. It is not the same – and may not have the same benefits either. Vegan collagen boosters are a great option for strict vegans but others may consider taking an actual collagen supplement for its benefits.

OTHER ALTERNATIVES-

1.There are other ways that collagen production can be stimulated in the skin (specifically the face) by visiting a plastic surgeon or medical spa. Fillers such as Radiesse and Sculptra both make claims to increase collagen production in the skin. There is also Microneedling which is a technique to increase the body’s collagen and elastin. The procedure uses micro needles (hence the name) and is minimally invasive. A trained professional makes thousands of minuscule needle puncture marks on the skin stimulating your body to make more collagen in that area.


2. Some vegans may be happy to learn that scientists have discovered a way to make vegan collagen without animal products. Instead of sourcing collagen from animal ligaments and tissues, it can be made from genetically modified yeast and bacteria. Researchers discovered a way to genetically engineer high-quality collagen from a specific bacteria called P. pastoris. To make this vegan collagen, they add four human genes to the genetic microbe structure that code for collagen. Once it’s done, with the help of pepsin, a digestive enzyme, they are able to start producing building blocks of human collagen.

While this is certainly an exciting development for vegans, unfortunately, vegan collagen made from genetically modified bacteria is not yet available on the market and needs further research. Until then, vegan or not, you’ll only find collagen protein that is sourced from animals. And the answer to the “Is collagen vegan?” question, is a hard ‘no’.

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