Vegan Collagen: What Is Vegan Collagen And How Does It Work?


Embarking on a journey into the world of skincare and wellness, we’re delving into the concept of vegan collagen — a new approach to nurturing your skin and body that leverages scientific research and thousands of years of traditional medical knowledge. 

Unlike traditional collagen sourced from animal products, vegan collagen represents a compassionate and sustainable alternative. Join us as we unravel the secrets behind this plant-based elixir, exploring its benefits, sources, and the transformative impact it can have on your health and beauty regimen. 

Get ready to discover a new era in collagen care that aligns with both your well-being and ethical values.

Let’s start with the basics…

What does collagen do in our bodies?

All of our bodies contain collagen naturally. In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. So – it’s important! 

Collagen is sometimes called the glue that holds your body together. Collagen is primarily made up of three amino acids: glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. 

Collagen is responsible for providing structure to the skin, hair, nails, and various connective tissues. It is part of what makes tissues strong and able to withstand stretching. 

Why might we want to increase collagen production?

A number of factors can decrease collagen production in our body. Both age and environmental factors can negatively impact your collagen production.

For example:

  • Lack of sleep 
  • Exercise
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption

The collagen in your skin can go from being a tightly organized network of fibers to something more disorganized. And these other environmental factors can damage collagen fibers, leading to wrinkles on the skin. 

This decrease in collagen production in our bodies can have a negative impact on our skin, joins, hair, etc. Doing what you can to increase collagen production, especially as you age can help you stay healthier. 

So, supplementing with animal-based or plant-based collagen can help your body produce more collagen and slow down the aging process.

What is Vegan Collagen?

Vegan collagen refers to a plant-based alternative to traditional collagen supplements, which is typically derived from animal sources such as bones, skin, and connective tissues. 

In the context of vegan collagen, plant-based ingredients are used to replicate the structure and/or function of collagen. 

Common sources for plant-based collagen alternatives include algae, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and plant based protein sources. 

These sources are rich in nutrients and amino acids that can support the body's natural collagen production and also directly improve skin, hair, nail and joint health in other ways.

Vegan collagen products aim to offer individuals an ethical and cruelty-free option for promoting skin health and overall well-being without relying on animal-derived ingredients. It's important to note that while these products may provide certain nutrients that support collagen production, they don’t collagen but rather ingredients that support the body's collagen synthesis.

What are the sources of vegan collagen?

Vegan collagen products do not contain actual collagen but rather include plant-based ingredients that are believed to support the body's natural collagen production. Some common sources of nutrients found in vegan collagen supplements include:

Amino Acids:

  • Glycine: Often sourced from plants like soy, legumes, and grains.
  • Proline: Found in plant sources such as wheat germ, cabbage, and asparagus.
  • Hydroxyproline: Produced in the body from proline, but plant-based sources can contribute.


  • Vitamin C: Essential for collagen synthesis; sourced from fruits like oranges, strawberries, and kiwi, as well as vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli.
  • Biotin: Supports the skin, nails, and hair.
  • Copper: Important for collagen cross-linking; found in nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.
    Plant Proteins:
    • Soy Protein: Contains essential amino acids that contribute to overall protein intake.
    • Wheat Protein: A source of amino acids like glycine and proline.
    • Pea Protein: This contains essential amino acids and is often used in vegan protein blends.
    • Rice Protein: Also contains essential amino acids and is often used in vegan protein blends. Often paired with pea protein for an optimal ratio of amino acids.
      • Polyphenols: Found in fruits, vegetables, and teas; they can have antioxidant properties that may support skin health.
        • Bamboo Extract: This contains silica, which is involved in the body's production of collagen.
          • Nettles, scientifically known as Urtica dioica, have gained attention as a potential source of vegan collagen due to their nutrient-rich composition. 
          • For individuals following a vegan lifestyle, biotin can be obtained from various plant-based sources such as nuts, seeds, and legumes, and leafy green vegetables. Additionally, vegan-friendly biotin supplements are available, providing an easy way to ensure sufficient intake for supporting overall skin health and potentially aiding in the maintenance of collagen-rich tissues.
          Tremella mushroom
          • In traditional Chinese medicine, Tremella has been used for its believed ability to nourish the skin and support overall health.In the context of vegan collagen alternatives, Tremella mushroom is sometimes included in skincare formulations  aimed at promoting skin elasticity and hydration. While more research is needed to fully understand its collagen-boosting effects, Tremella mushroom is valued for its potential to support skin health in a vegan-friendly manner.
        • Tocos - rice bran solubles
          • Tocos contain potent antioxidants and is a great source of vitamin E. Exceptional for connective tissue and protecting the skin.
          It's important to note that while these sources provide nutrients associated with collagen synthesis, vegan collagen supplements may vary in their formulations. Always check the product label for specific ingredients and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to ensure that the supplement aligns with your nutritional needs and health goals. Additionally, the efficacy of these supplements may vary, and more research is needed to fully understand their benefits.

            Health benefits of vegan collagen

            While the term "vegan collagen" is a bit of a misnomer, as it doesn't contain actual collagen but rather ingredients that support collagen production, certain components found in vegan collagen supplements may offer health benefits. 

            Here are some potential health benefits associated with the key components of vegan collagen supplements:

            • Skin: healthier and tighter skin, reducing wrinkles
            • Joints: improving joint strength and reducing pain
            • Hair and nails: increasing hair and nail growth, improving overall appearance
            • Muscles: increasing protein intake, improving muscle growth 
            • Overall health: by taking in more nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants

            As always, keep in mind that the research on these benefits is still evolving, and individual responses can vary. 

            Ways you can take vegan collagen

            Incorporating vegan collagen into your daily routine is simple and diverse. 

            One popular method is through supplements, available in various forms like capsules, powders, or gummies, providing a convenient way to enhance collagen intake. 

            Additionally, adopting a diet rich in collagen-boosting nutrients is key. Include foods like berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, which are abundant in vitamins C and E, as well as amino acids. 

            Plant-based collagen-boosting beverages, such as fortified plant milks or collagen-infused smoothies, offer tasty alternatives.

            The versatility of vegan collagen allows individuals to choose a method that best fits their preferences and lifestyle, ensuring a cruelty-free approach to supporting skin health and collagen production.

            How does vegan collagen compare to animal-based collagen?

            Vegan collagen alternatives differ from animal-based collagen as they do not contain actual collagen but instead incorporate plant-based ingredients intended to support the body's natural collagen production. 

            Animal-based collagen:

            • Contains the amino acids in a way very similar to how our bodies' collagen is formed.
            • Amino acids may be more bioavailable for this specific purpose and easier for our body to use. 
            • Is animal based, and is generally accepted to be less sustainable. 

            Vegan collagen

            • Can offer a combination of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins through plant based sources to mimic animal-based collagen AND help the bodies natural processes of collagen production.
            • In general, research is limited. We rely more on the research for individual vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs to understand how they work and how they can work together.
            • May provide health benefits beyond just collagen support because of more complex, natural formulations.
            • Is generally considered more sustainable. 

            Nutritionally, both vegan and animal-based collagens share the common goal of promoting skin elasticity, joint health, and overall wellness. 

            While some argue that animal-based collagen may have a closer structural resemblance to human collagen, vegan collagen supplements aim to stimulate the body's natural collagen production by providing essential building blocks like amino acids and promoting a holistic approach to skincare. 

            The choice between vegan and animal-based collagen ultimately depends on individual preferences, values, and dietary restrictions, and even how they work for your body.

            Frequently Asked Questions

            Q: What is vegan collagen?

            • A: Vegan collagen refers to collagen alternatives derived from plant-based sources, as opposed to traditional collagen, which is often sourced from animals. These alternatives aim to support collagen production or provide similar benefits in a cruelty-free and plant-friendly manner.

            Q: How is vegan collagen produced?

            • A: Vegan collagen is typically produced from plant sources rich in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that support collagen synthesis. Common plant-based collagen sources include soy, pea protein, algae, mushrooms, and herbs.

            Q: Can vegan collagen supplements provide the same benefits as animal-derived collagen?

            • A: While vegan collagen supplements may support collagen production and skin health, they may not be identical to animal-derived collagen in terms of amino acid composition. However, they offer a cruelty-free option for individuals who prefer plant-based alternatives.

            Q: Are there specific foods that can help boost vegan collagen production?

            • A: Yes, certain plant-based foods can support collagen production. These include fruits rich in vitamin C (such as citrus fruits and berries), vegetables with antioxidants, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods provide essential nutrients for collagen synthesis.

            Q: Are vegan collagen supplements suitable for everyone?

            • A: Vegan collagen supplements are generally safe for most people. However, individuals with specific dietary restrictions or medical conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating supplements into their routine.

            Q: Can vegan collagen improve skin health?

            • A: Vegan collagen supplements may contribute to skin health by providing essential nutrients for collagen synthesis. However, individual responses vary, and factors like overall diet, lifestyle, and genetics also play a role in skin health.

            Q: Can a vegan diet alone provide sufficient collagen for the body?

            • A: A vegan diet can provide many of the nutrients necessary for collagen production, but some individuals may want to complement their diet with vegan collagen supplements to ensure they meet their specific needs.

            Q: Are there any potential side effects of vegan collagen supplements?

            • A: Side effects can vary among individuals, and also depending on the specific formulation. Most are generally considered safe when consumed as directed. But, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions, or while pregnant or nursing.


            In conclusion, vegan collagen represents an innovative approach to supporting skin health and overall wellness without relying on animal-derived sources. 

            While vegan collagen alternatives may not precisely replicate the structure of animal-derived collagen, they offer plant-based solutions rich in essential nutrients that contribute to collagen synthesis. 

            Plant-based foods, supplements, and skincare products, incorporating ingredients like Tremella mushroom, tocos, and vitamin-rich plant sources, provide cruelty-free options for those seeking ethical and sustainable choices. 

            As research in this field progresses, vegan collagen products continue to evolve, offering a promising avenue for individuals embracing plant-based lifestyles to enhance their skin health in a compassionate and environmentally friendly manner.


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            Disclaimer: We are not doctors and we don’t pretend to be. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions, or while pregnant or nursing.


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