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Vegan Collagen: Why It Doesn't Exist

Athlete working out after taking non-vegan collagen

 

If you are a vegan or vegetarian athlete or fitness enthusiast, you must be aware of the current collagen craze. You may be wondering if vegan collagen exists. After all, veganizing everything from bullet coffee to MCT oil to protein shakes is something that’s on your radar.

So is collagen vegan naturally? And if not, is there a way to make vegan collagen? Today we will discuss whether you can find vegan collagen alternatives, and whether collagen is worth giving a shot for vegan and vegetarian athletes. 

We’ll also give you some vegan collagen alternatives and one of the best sources of collagen to support your health. 

So before we get into how to supplement with collagen as a vegan, let’s discuss the question we all want answered: Is collagen vegan or not? 

Is collagen vegan?

Let’s be honest. There is no such thing as vegan collagen. 

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

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It can be found in your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin. Collagen provides structural support for your body and is one of the things responsible for skin elasticity. It is also arguably the very best protein for athletes

Your body’s natural collagen production slows down by the time you’re in your late 20s. This, unfortunately, increases the risk of the breakdown of joints and can eventually lead to sagging skin, wrinkles, and greater risk of injury. 

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

Is there vegan collagen?

You may have seen some vegan collagen supplements out there on the market, but those are not true 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. There is no such thing as actual vegan collagen. 

Are there vegan collagen alternatives?

If you are a strict ethical vegan, there are some vegan collagen alternatives 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.

Some vegans may be happy to learn that scientists have discovered a way to make a “vegan collagen” product without using 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. While vegan collagen is not an option at this point, there are vegan collagen boosters on the market.

Vegan collagen boosters

Vegan collagen boosters are supplements that use 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.

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 collagen-boosting foods you can eat include soy products, kidney beans, black beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

These collagen boosters are vegan, yes. However, they don’t contain collagen protein. They simply promote collagen production. It is not the same, and may not have the same benefits either. 

Collagen boosters are a great option for strict vegans, but others may consider taking an actual collagen supplement for its benefits.

Make the most of healing collagen

Whether you’re looking to boost your performance, or heal faster after surgery or injury, a regular collagen supplement might be a good idea for you, even if you are otherwise on a plant-based diet. 

Your body uses collagen protein to heal, so if you don’t have enough collagen stores in your body, you won’t be able to heal as well or bounce back from your workouts as quickly. Ingesting collagen protein has also been proven to have anti-aging effects and increase the rate of recovery after workouts and surgeries.

If you want to try using a collagen supplement, look for one that is a complete protein source. You also want to use hydrolyzed collagen. What is hydrolyzed collagen? It is collagen that has been chemically broken down to make it more bioavailable for you. 

The best supplement for athletes to try is Frog Fuel. It has been pre-digested with a special fruit enzyme to a molecular level of 2000 daltons which is significantly smaller than most if not all competitor protein molecules. 

Frog Fuel collagen, typical collagen, and whey molecular weight comparison chart

Frog Fuel is designed for absorption and maximum bioavailability at the cellular level – and it comes in easy-to-use, portable, ready-to-drink, one-use energy packets for your convenience.

If you are ready to promote health, performance, and recovery with high-quality, medical-grade liquid protein shots created with rapidly absorbed protein and designed by Navy SEALs, check out our Frog Fuel liquid protein shots. Chances are, you will love the results so much that you will never go back to any other protein supplements. 

FAQs about vegan collagen

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about vegan collagen:

Is it worth taking vegan collagen?

If you are a strict vegan who won’t take actual collagen supplements, you can still see some benefits from collagen-boosting supplements. While you won’t see the same level of benefits as you would from a collagen supplement, collagen boosters should still improve your body’s collagen production.

Do vegans have less collagen?

This is truly dependent on your genetics and your diet. If you aren’t eating a balanced diet of complete proteins (which are harder to get on a plant-based diet) then you could certainly be more deficient in collagen protein than someone who gets collagen from their diet. 

What food naturally has collagen?

Foods that naturally contain collagen include chicken, fish, eggs, bone broth, and gelatin. 

Do I need to take collagen supplements?

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

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. To support your health, performance, and recovery, you may certainly benefit from a boost of collagen in your diet.

If you are a strict vegan who is having trouble healing during a sports injury treatment, it's possible that you don’t have enough collagen stores to promote healthy healing. You may want to talk with your doctor about using collagen for a short period of time to help you heal. 

Does avocado have collagen?

Avocado on its own does not contain any collagen, but it is one of the foods that can naturally boost your body’s collagen production.