When it comes to food, there is a vegan alternative for pretty much everything you can imagine nowadays. While the vegan cosmetics market is quickly growing, finding vegan counterparts of your favourite products can sometimes be a challenge.
Vegan collagen is one of those challenging products to find. As an animal-derived ingredient, vegan collagen technically don’t exist. Luckily, you don’t actually need to consume collagen in order to promote your body’s natural collagen production. Keep reading to learn more about vegan collagen boosters.
In this article
What is Vegan Collagen?
Since collagen is a protein in the body, vegan collagen doesn’t technically exist. For that reason, vegan collagen supplements take a different approach. Instead of containing collagen, vegan collagen supplements contain plant-based ingredients that help boost your body’s natural collagen production. Vegan collagen supplements are commonly referred to as vegan collagen boosters. Collagen boosters will help your body produce more collagen naturally and provide the antioxidants your skin needs to thrive. Some vegan collagen supplements will also help decrease the rate at which your skin loses collagen.
Vegan collagen supplements commonly include vitamins A and C. Vitamin A helps stimulate collagen production, while vitamin C helps synthesize and maintain your body’s collagen levels. You’ll also find silica in a lot of vegan collagen products. Silica is an essential trace mineral that’s commonly extracted from bamboo. It helps support your body’s natural ability to produce collagen. Amino acids such as lysine, glycine, and proline may also be found. These are the three essential amino acids that our body requires to produce collagen.
The Best Vegan Collagen in Canada in 2023
There are several vegan collagen supplements available on the market in Canada. Here are our favourite:
Made from a mix of 30 organic fruits and vegetables, Garden of Life’s vegan collagen builder is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients. The supplement contains ample amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, as well as Biotin (vitamin B7). Compared to other vegan collagen supplements on the market, Garden of Life is widely available and budget-friendly.
Unlike other collagen supplements in this list, BioSil’s active ingredient is a patented formula referred to as ch-OSA®. The formula contains a mix of orthosilicic acid and pharmaceutical-grade choline. BioSil activates your body’s collagen production and protects your existing collagen levels from degradation. In addition to their patented formula, the supplement contains purified water and plant fiber.
Derived from bamboo, silica is a trace mineral known to boost our body’s collagen production. It also improves the skin’s strength and elasticity while improving circulation and blood flow. The Living Silica Collagen Booster contains 22.5 mg of silica per serving and no other ingredients asides from reverse osmosis water. With picometer particle sizes, the silica gets much better absorbed into your bloodstream. While it’s not organic, the supplement is made from non-GMO ingredients.
Organika’s plant-basd collagen booster is made from a mix of synergistic antioxidant-rich fruit, vitamin C, and silica. It’s in powder form so it can be added to your smoothies, fresh juices, and even mixed into yogurt or acai bowls. The first three ingredients are dragon fruit powder, west indian cherry fruit powder, and carrot powder. The only downside is that the product contains just 150 grams, but is packaged in a deceivingly large plastic container.
Herbaland’s Vegan Collagen Booster Gummies are a tasty way to get your daily collagen boost. The gummies contain a mix of Vitamin C, L-Lysine, Vitamin A, and Amla Fruit, in order to boost your body’s natural collagen production. Amla fruit extract is a beloved ingredient in the anti-aging industry, known for its potent antioxidant concentration. The gummies are watermelon flavor but contain no sugar or undesirable additives. Herbaland’s supplements are also all made in Canada!
Hyaluronic acid is responsible for our skin’s smoothness and ability to repair itself. Just like collagen, our body produces hyaluronic acid on its own, but its ability to do so declines as we age. Organika’s vegan supplement combines vitamin C with hyaluronic acid, in order to help boost your body’s natural collagen production while also reducing its loss of collagen over time. In addition to benefiting your skin, Organika’s supplement also helps support healthy joints.
What is Collagen, Anyways?
Collagen is a protein that our body naturally produces with the help of vitamin C. It essentially makes up the structure of our body’s cells and tissues. There are three types of collagen, but type 1 is the collagen most people are concerned about.
Type 1 collagen makes up about 80% of our skin’s protein. It’s what gives our skin its structure and plumpness. After our mid-twenties, our body’s ability to replenish collagen decreases by up to 1.5% per year, which explains why our skin appears thinner as we age.
With collagen supplements, the aim is to replenish the collagen as we lose it. The majority of collagen supplements on the market are made from animal-derived collagen. The most common forms of collagen are bovine collagen (from cows) and marine collagen (from fish). It’s presumed that the animal-based collagen you consume will end up in your skin.
Why Use Vegan Collagen Instead of Animal-based Collagen?
Whether you’re vegan or not, there are many reasons why choosing a plant-based collagen booster is preferable to an animal-based collagen supplement.
Animal collagen is highly contaminated
Animal collagen is essentially made from ground-up skin, hooves, and bones of dead farm animals. If that’s not disturbing enough for you, these animal scraps are commonly contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and chemicals. So unless the collagen is derived from organic raised farm animals or fish, there is a high chance that it contains contaminants.
Animal collagen is unlikely to actually produce collagen
There is a lack of research that supports the idea that by consuming collagen, our skin will contain more of it. It’s unclear what happens to the collagen after we ingest it. What we do know, however, is that our body produces collagen naturally with the help of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
How to Increase Collagen on a Vegan Diet
Our body produces collagen on its own with the help of certain vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. Here is a list of natural collagen boosters and how you can easily reap their benefits on a plant-based diet.
Vegan Sources of Vitamin C
Lucky for us vegans, vitamin C is widespread in the plant kingdom. Some of the best sources of vitamin C are kiwis, bell peppers, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, tomato, and cabbage. Less accessible to Canadians, guava and papaya fruit are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Vegan Sources of Zinc
Zinc plays an import role in the production of collagen. Some vegan zinc-rich foods include cacao, spinach, nuts (almonds, cashews), legumes (lentils, beans, and chickpeas), oats, and a variety of seeds (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds).
Vegan Sources of Proline
Some of the best vegan sources of the amino acid proline are soy, peanuts, asparagus, cabbage, and mushrooms. Vitamin C helps increase the effectiveness of proline, so consuming them together is recommended. There are many other plant-based sources of proline.
Vegan Sources of Glycine
The amino acid glycine can be found in vegetables such as carrots and pumpkin, and in nuts and seeds such as hazelnuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds. There are many other plant-based sources of glycine.
Vegan Sources of Lysine
The amino acid lysine can be found in quinoa, lentils, beans, soy, and even certain nuts and seeds. In addition to promoting collagen production, lysine helps the body absorb and retain calcium.