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What are the best vegan collagen supplements UK?

OC by Olivia Coleman
20 October 2022

What are the best vegan collagen supplements UK buyers can find?

→ Before we get into this post, we just want to be clear about one important thing: right now, there is no such thing as a true collagen supplement that is vegan. Collagen comes from the bodies of animals, so vegan collagen supplements never contain any actual collagen. Read on to learn more. ←

So you're seeking the best vegan collagen supplements UK buyers can take. One of the first things you will discover is that there is a difference between vegan collagen and bovine or marine collagen. The root of this is that the collagen protein comes from the bodies of animals with skin and bones – it is not present in plants. So it is not currently possible to bring a fully vegan or vegetarian supplement to market that contains actual collagen.

Instead, the supplements contain various plant-based ingredients. These nutrients play a role in the natural collagen synthesis of our bodies.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is abundant in the human body, composed of a number of amino acids. Collagen plays a fundamental role in the structure of the skin, bones, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments and more in our bodies. As we age, our natural collagen production declines – this starts as early as our twenties. Thus, as the years go by, this collagen deficit is one of the reasons we experience the signs of ageing. Think fine lines and wrinkles, brittle bones, stiff and aching joints, thinning hair and more.

Our body synthesises collagen using a variety of amino acids like proline, glycine and hydroxyproline. There are many types of collagen, each of which plays a different role in preserving the health and youthfulness of different body parts. To fight the decline in collagen, we can take supplements that are abundant in the amino acids our bodies need to produce it. Currently, the most effective way to do this is to break down collagen taken from animals and add it to a supplement. This enables the body to ingest those ingredients and stimulate collagen production.

The main sources of dietary collagen

The most effective collagen supplements on the market use certain sources for their collagen. These include the bones of cows (bovine collagen) or the skin and scales of fish (marine collagen). Kollo uses high-quality marine collagen extracted using a process called hydrolysis. This breaks down the large collagen molecules into smaller peptides that can be easily absorbed into the body.

Of course, these products are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans. They are therefore not suitable for a list of the best vegan collagen supplements UK consumers can take.

Does vegan collagen exist?

For a long time, the only way to include actual collagen in a supplement has been to extract it from the bodies of animals. As such, vegan collagen supplements contain nutrients known to help promote natural collagen production. However, this is not as effective as if you were ingesting the amino acids that make up actual collagen.

These nutrients include:

  • Zinc

  • Manganese

  • Copper

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin B5

  • Various amino acids (sometimes creating artificial collagen peptides) 

Why the best vegan collagen supplements in the UK are not comparable to animal collagen supplements

Collagen boosters promise the same amazing benefits as naturally occurring collagen. But there are various reasons why they cannot deliver on this. Here are a few of them: 

Synthesis of collagen from nutrients is significantly less efficient than using readymade collagen

Studies have demonstrated many biological barriers to efficient collagen production from nutrients alone. When the body uses vitamin C, protein and minerals, the resulting molecules knit together to form fibrils. These must then form connections to make actual collagen molecules. This process is slow. The bioavailability of collagen peptides, however, means the production of collagen molecules happens far quicker.

The same nutrients in collagen boosters can come from your diet

Vegan collagen boosters tend to contain things you can easily get from a normal diet. Though most people’s diets lack animal collagen, they probably include protein and vitamin C. So our bodies can break down the amino acids and use the vitamin C to produce collagen. Again, this process is far slower than taking a supplement with real collagen peptides. Moreover, it is far cheaper to get those nutrients from food rather than buying a collagen booster. 

Vegan collagen boosters often contain various artificial ingredients and fillers

Many vegan collagen supplements use fillers, binders and chemicals to pad them out. This is because no plant contains all the nutrients they need. Instead, they must combine the plant ingredients with artificial nutrients and agents that help different things bind together. Hydrolysed collagen, on the other hand, is always extracted from the original source. It contains 100% collagen peptides with no artificial additives.

How sustainable are Kollo marine collagen supplements?

The marine collagen that goes into every sachet of Kollo comes from aquaculture-farmed fish. Breeding is very sustainable and their habitats are not polluted with harmful chemicals. Collagen is a by-product of the fishing industry, extracted from the skin and scales. These usually constitute waste and companies would discard them during production of food. In other words, no fish die for the express purpose of extracting collagen for supplements.

Now, of course, we are not trying to suggest that marine collagen is suitable for people seeking the best vegan collagen supplements in the UK. It is still an animal product. But the process of obtaining the marine collagen in Kollo is highly sustainable. Thus, if you are an ecotarian, it may not be against your principles. Likewise, if you are a pescatarian, marine collagen is suitable for you, whereas bovine collagen is not.

Why should I consider marine collagen?

The benefits of a daily collagen intake via supplementation are many. There is a wealth of research that shows collagen peptides are effective at triggering collagen production. The meaning of this is simple. If you take a collagen supplement that contains actual collagen, you are more likely to experience the benefits you want.

These benefits include:

  • Firmer and more youthful skin

  • A reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines

  • Relief from joint pain and discomfort

  • A boost to bone density

  • More keratin, meaning thicker, fuller hair and less brittle nails

Your natural collagen synthesis will inevitably decline as you get older and you will experience the signs of ageing. The amino acids required for collagen synthesis are very difficult to get in diet alone. If you take no supplements, you are unlikely to slow the decline in collagen. Vegan collagen boosters, in their current form, may help a little with your body’s natural collagen synthesis. But if you take marine or bovine collagen supplements, you have a stronger chance of slowing or even reversing some of the signs of ageing.

In a nutshell, collagen supplements can help you look and feel younger as you age. The benefits can be particularly useful for women in menopause or people with certain conditions like eczema. Have you not yet tried a collagen supplement? Are you experiencing difficulties that may stem from low collagen levels? If yes, it is definitely worth thinking about.

Final thoughts

At the time of writing, there is no true vegan collagen supplement. There are only vegan food supplements containing nutrients that may help boost your collagen. Even the very best vegan collagen supplements UK stores currently supply are unlikely to be very effective for your collagen synthesis. A collagen supplement that contains bovine or marine collagen is a stronger option. There are still benefits there, but the science tells us that vegan collagen boosters are not currently as powerful.

There is hope for change on this front, with lab-grown collagen using bacteria and yeast showing great promise. This is definitely something to look out for in the future. For the time being, however, your best source of collagen is a supplement like Kollo. We use high-quality, sustainable collagen sourced as a by-product of the fishing industry. If you are on a vegan diet, you may want to consider the nutrients that help with collagen synthesis. Try making lifestyle choices that are likely to help minimise the decline in your collagen levels.

We hope this article has been helpful. If you would like to learn more about Kollo, please feel free to look at our blog and explore elsewhere on our website. If you have any questions, you can always contact us and we will be happy to help.

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