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Is Collagen Vegan?

Collagen is not vegan, but even the most diehard fans of plant-based foods already have collagen in their bodies. Without collagen protein, our bones, tendons, muscles, corneas, skin, and other parts of our bodies could not function.

You may read this and recall you saw vegan supplements that claim collagen benefits. Those products are different from complete collagen peptides that are thought to provide an extra boost of collagen to improve skin health and gut health, strengthen connective tissue, and provide the building blocks for body function.

woman with finger over her mouth looking up with question marks around her head - is collagen vegan?

What Is Collagen Made From?

close up of collagen powder in a wooden spoon

First, you should know that most available collagen supplements are “regular” (aka bovine) collagen. As the name implies, producers make this type of collagen from cattle, water buffalo, yak, bison, and other members of that family of mammals. While those who produce collagen don’t follow the exact same production pattern, they usually follow the same process of grinding the bones of the animal sources, drying them, and then producing the powder.

There are options for vegans who don’t want to take regular or bovine collagen. Foods including bell peppers, citrus fruits, and other staples of a plant-based diet are rich sources of collagen. Eating those foods as part of a balanced, vegan diet may boost your collagen.

There is also marine collagen. Producers use jellyfish, starfish, sharks, and even sea sponges. The majority of those marine collagen supplements are Type I collagen, which is vitally important to your health. Type I is the most plentiful in your vertebrates, skin, connective tissues, blood vessels, and bones. Some people prefer to take marine collagen for environmental reasons because it’s created from fish skin, bones, and scales, which keeps waste to a minimum.

Does Collagen Have Dairy?

collagen powder supplement jar

hand scooping out collagen powder supplement from jar

hand adding a scoop of collagen powder supplement to a glass of water

Most collagen supplements do not have dairy. However, it’s impossible to say a definitive yes or no to that question because of a lack of complete oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA doesn’t classify dietary supplements as medicines, which means they leave most of the responsibility for following production guidelines and ensuring safety to the collagen producers.

However, the FDA does monitor dietary supplements by ensuring companies don’t make false claims. Examples include claims that a collagen supplement cures or treats certain conditions or diseases. Although scientists have found collagen supplements are generally safe and may provide health benefits, no definitive proof is available.

Companies that produce collagen are also not allowed to overstate the amount of protein or other ingredients in their products. If they do, the FDA will bring action against them. Even though the FDA doesn’t monitor supplements as closely as it does medications, you can feel confidence that the ingredients and claims made on labels are valid. If not, the company can’t market the product.

When you choose a collagen supplement, take the time to read and consider the ingredients. Look at the company’s website, read user reviews, and call the company with any questions you may have. Doing this will help you in your quest to get the most complete benefits of collagen.

Is There Plant-Based Collagen?

Currently, there are no plant-based or vegan collagens on the market. You may see some products labeled “plant-based collagen” or “vegan collagen supplements,” but those are generally “boosters.”

Much like the peppers and citrus we mentioned earlier, these boosters may add vitamin C, zinc, manganese, glycine, copper, and other collagen-boosting proteins, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to your diet. However, they aren’t complete collagen supplements. Still, these boosters, combined with a balanced diet, can provide collagen building blocks.

bowl of white collagen powder on teal background surrounded by citrus fruits and ferns

What Does the Future Hold for Vegan Collagen?

green plant with glass of water and collagen supplements

Although there is currently no complete vegan or plant-based collagen, that may change in the future. Scientists are working with genetically modified yeast and bacteria to produce what they believe will be premium collagen supplements. The scientists note that genetically engineered microorganisms will provide a cost-efficient and easy way to produce complete, plant-based collagen. They also expect the resulting products will be safe, traceable, reproducible, and high-quality.

Potential Benefits of Vegan Collagen

Scientists anticipate that the genetically created collagen could be a boon for consumers in many ways. The expected ease of production and low cost could ensure that it is mass-marketed. Plus, it could be the healthiest collagen supplement yet. Here are some of the many positives that scientists believe the plant-based collagen will deliver.

  • 1. No Animals Products Are Used: 

    This is a major bonus for those concerned about animal mistreatment and slaughter. If you, too, are concerned about those same issues, make sure to choose a collagen that takes proper animal welfare into account and that uses high-quality ingredients.

  • 2. No Risk of Animal-borne Illness: 

    The use of animal-tissue in any application carries risks. Certain animal tissues can transmit infectious agents and allergies to humans. In addition, there may be variations in quality, purity, and predictability. That is another reason you should carefully analyze the ingredients in a collagen supplement.

  • 3. Easily Traceable Production: 

    Lab-produced collagen is potentially easier to trace for safety. Scientists believe they could easily refine the product to its maximum level of safety by controlling the process of production.

yellow sign that reads "animal abuse" crossed out with a red line

scientist tracing lab produced supplements for safety

Why Take Collagen Supplements?

glass of orange beverage next to a spoon of white collagen powder with a pink background

It’s normal to wonder if you should take collagen at all, especially until there’s a vegan alternative. After all, your body makes collagen when it combines amino acids found in many foods, including beans with zinc, copper, and vitamin C.

As we grow older, our body can’t maintain the same level of collagen production due to aging, sun exposure, smoking, pollution, and other factors. And while food is the best way to give your body more collagen, collagen supplements may also help you fight off wrinkles, joint pain, and other conditions.

Choose the Highest-Quality Supplement

You will be hard-pressed to find a higher-quality, more environmentally friendly protein powder than Brightcore’s Revive®. Why? Because we use wild-caught fish, cage-free chickens, grass-fed hydrolyzed bovine, and eggshell as some of the main components.

Plus, it’s infused with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. What it does not have are GMO, dairy, soybean, fillers, artificial binders, and colors. Mix this tasteless collagen supplement into your drinks and foods, and you know you are taking the highest-quality collagen supplement available.

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