It would be no surprise if you have already heard of the vegan supplements for your skin and joints. But do the hype of the plant-based alternatives live up to it? Research, indeed, shows both the pros and cons of collagen supplements.
If you are beauty-conscious, you must be informed that collagen is not plant-based because collagen is nothing but a protein that is majorly found in ligaments, bones, nails, skin, and hair. And the source is unfortunately animals like fish or beef. But, with the progression of science, we have been introduced to the methods of vegan collagen.
Let us talk about how collagen can be vegan
Since a majority of the consumers of beauty & personal care products refuse to use collagen produced by the exploitation of animals, a new type of collagen has been introduced to the market, which is procured by genetically altered bacteria and yeast.
It is found by researchers that the P. pastoris bacteria, in particular, are most commonly and effectively used for engineering collagen that is of high quality and is made genetically.
To formulate the plant-based collagen, manufactures are the collagen’s code of four human genes to the microbe’s genetic framework. After the genes are placed properly, the bacteria or yeast begins to make the human collagen’s blocks of the building.
To aid in the structuring of the building blocks into the molecules of the collagen, with the precise framework of human collagen, a digestive enzyme called pepsin is added. After the completion of this method, you will have the perfect plant-based collagen.
The Different Types of Collagen
As such, there are as many as 16 different categories of collagen known. However, at least 90% of them belong to 3 broad categories – namely Category I, II and III, named in the order in which they were discovered. As we already know, almost for all tissues, the function of collagen is identical i.e. to accommodate the function of their stretching.
However, the shape of the collagen depends on the type of tissue. Nonetheless, irrespective of what the type is and where they are placed, all types of collages are known to have very high tensile strength. Here are some more details about the few major types of collagen:
- Type I – This can be considered as the most important type of collagen and is a very important constituent of teeth, bones, skin, ligament, cartilage, and scar tissues as well. Even our tendons are made up of 85% of Type 1 collagen and the remaining 15% being Type III collagen. In fact, in most of the cases, Types I and III are often found working together, whereby Type I happens to be the most common one.
- Type II – This is more like the strong collagen used as a source of support. Its main function is to provide tensile strength to hyaline as well as the articular cartilage, including the eyes. Articular cartilages include the nose, ears, larynx, trachea, and other respiratory tubes. On the other hand, hyaline refers to the covering of the articular surfaces of the bones that are found in the synovial joints.
- Type III-A deficiency of Type III collagen can increase your risk of rupture of blood vessels as it is usually found in the tissues which are found lining the walls of the blood vessels, the intestine, and the muscles. It is usually found with Type I collagen.
- Type IV – This is a type of collagen, which plays an important role in the formation of the basal lamina i.e. the gelatin-like fluid, which the epithelial cells secrete.
- Type V – This type of collagen is often referred to as the misunderstood collagen and is usually often found along with Types I and III. It is usually found in the matrix within tissues like bone along with the interstitial matrix of the tissue of the muscle, lung tissue, hepatic tissue, and in the case of pregnant women, the placenta.
- Type X – Research is still being conducted on the exact functions of Type X collagen. However, whatever has been known to have some role in the formation of bones and cartilage. It has also been found helpful in healing fractured bones.
What are the benefits of these plant-based supplements?
You will be surprised to find out the promising applications of safe and inexpensive collagen that is sourced not from animals, but microbes, for human health. So, let us look into the range of advantages.
1. The potential minimized price for consumers
In general, the collagen that is produced using bacteria or yeast is not extremely scalable in the environment of a laboratory and is cost-effective. Although indeed, these products are yet to be popularized, they have the power to reduce the price of collagen for the customers, and consequently, make it vastly producible and available for multiple usages from supplements to medical treatments.
2. Reduced risk of allergies
The most popular benefit of using plant-based supplements for joints and skin is that no animal has to suffer in the process. But let us be real here for a moment. Not all consumers are concerned or bothered about harming animals.
Some are simply looking for vegan alternatives to avoid and prevent their allergic reaction to collagen. For instance, when you are using collagen that is sourced from animals, there is always the risk of getting viruses and illnesses through the products.
However, if you use collagen that is made from microbes, it automatically removes the potential risk of virus transmission. It is due to the production-based in a properly maintained environment where harmful substances or common allergens can be eliminated.
3. The higher profile of safety for products
During the production of vegan collagen, the setting is controlled by the laboratory. This gives the manufacturers the potential to enhance the profile of safety for these products. Since the source of the production can effortlessly be traced, it allows them to ensure a more secure form of product to the consumers.
4. Cheaper and more accessibility for medical procedures
If you read more about collagen substitutes, you will find out their use as dietary supplements. There are manifold potential uses of the technology on medical grounds.
We can easily say that the capability to effectively and safely engineer collagen via genetic methods can make them useful for various procedures of medicine. Let us state some areas in which they use collagen.
- To promote the healing of wounds and injuries
- To stimulate the growth of tissue and skin
- For sutures in dermatology
People can also use them for certain treatments of a tumor, or as a transport for the delivery of drugs.
5. Beauty advantages for vegans
It is no secret that the vast majority of collagen substitutes that we come across in the market of beauty products are made from animals. Therefore, the consumers who choose to live a lifestyle that is vegan-friendly or environment friendly, cannot use the products on their skin. Therefore, it is important to produce vegan products for these consumers.
Now that they have manufactured and released vegan options in the market, it can be used by all kinds of customers, Vegans now have the opportunity to use collagen to minimize the formation of wrinkles and help their bodies to naturally make collagen, and support their digestive health and joints.
The advancement in the grounds of science is on its way to build around these applications and products. Therefore, the hype about these plant-based supplements is perhaps true to its nature.
Alternatives in case of absence of vegan collagen
The following are some examples of vegan foods that are high in proline, lysine, and glycine amino acids:
- Nuts, like cashew, peanut, and pistachio
- Seeds, especially those of chia, sunflower, squash, and pumpkin
- Black beans
- Many types of legumes
- Kidney beans
- Soy products, like soy protein, tofu, and tempeh
Presently, it is challenging to find actual plant-based collagen. The majority of companies are selling boosters of collagen as substitutes. The collagen boosters are made of numerous minerals and vitamins, for instance, zinc and vitamin C, which our body requires to produce collagen.
Some boosters may consist of extracts of herbs and plants that are popularly known for stimulating the production of collagen.
Instead of taking a supplement, we can take these minerals and vitamins via our diet. It can assist us in meeting our needs for amino acids. Proline, lysine, and glycine are the amino acids found in abundance in collagen.
Another alternative to enjoy the pros of collagen for a vegan is to consume individual supplements of amino acid, in place of pure supplements of collagen. Today, we will come across many companies that are vegan-friendly and eco-friendly. The world is changing to a better place for new lives.