Is Collagen Vegan?

Collagen is a protein that makes up our skin, hair, ligaments and bones. It is typically derived from fish or bovine connective tissue. Though collagen can now be made by using genetically modified yeast and bacteria, most collagen taken in supplement form is not vegan.

Many people choose veganism for numerous reasons—to benefit their health, address moral concerns, or even reduce their environmental impact. When practicing veganism, getting essential nutrients like collagen can be challenging at times, but there are alternatives.


What Are the Sources of Collagen?

Our bodies create collagen every day by combining amino acids from the foods we eat. When we consume protein- or collagen-rich foods, the proteins are broken down into amino acids and then reassembled into collagen. Collagen comes from non-vegan food sources including:

  • Cattle: Collagen sourced from cattle is derived from bovine byproducts including bones and ligaments.

  • Fish: Marine collagen is derived from fish skin and promotes cartilage and skin health.

  • Chicken: Chicken collagen is prominent in type II collagen which may help reduce inflammation and support healthy joints.

  • Eggshell membranes: Because collagen is in chickens, it makes sense that it’s also found in eggs. Type I and V collagens have been sourced from hen eggshell membranes.

Nutrients from Vegan Sources that Boost Collagen Production

Collagen begins in the human body as procollagen. Our bodies create procollagen by blending two amino acids: proline and glycine.

As we age our bodies can no longer synthesize or absorb nutrients as efficiently as they once did. As a vegan or vegetarian, you need to ensure your body sustains the ingredients it needs to create collagen.

The best way to help collagen synthesis in your body is by ensuring you get enough of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a key component known to be involved in the formation of procollagen from proline and glycine. Plant-based foods including bell peppers, strawberries and citrus fruits provide abundant sources of vitamin C.

  • Copper: Cocoa powder, sesame seeds, lentils and cashews are great vegan sources of copper.

  • Proline: You can get proline from asparagus, mushrooms, cabbage and wheat germ.

  • Glycine: Glycine is an amino acid you can get from legumes including peanuts, tofu, peas and kidney beans. Spinach and cabbage are also excellent sources of glycine.

Non-Food Ways to Increase Collagen in Your Body

Collagen protein is vital to maintaining vibrant hair, skin and nails. When our skin loses elasticity and becomes thin, it can take on a crepe-like appearance, and cellulite becomes more obvious.

The collagen in our body supports healthy skin aging by increasing elasticity, boosting moisture retention, and giving you shinier hair, smoother skin and stronger nails. The following tips can help you increase collagen in your body whether you’re vegan or not.

Intermittent or Autophagic Fasting

Autophagic fasting is a method of intermittent fasting that causes autophagy. Autophagy is a state where your body breaks down protein, cleans up fibroblasts, and removes unwanted cell debris. The longer you remain fasting, the more your body breaks down these proteins.

Some experts believe 16-18 hours is enough to trigger autophagy. When you end your fast by eating a well-balanced meal, your body enters a period of collagen regrowth.

Get Eight Hours of Sleep at Night

You’ve probably heard of beauty sleep—and there’s truth behind it. Studies have linked the production of human growth hormone (HGH) with sleep. Studies show HGH helps stimulate the production of collagen in your tendons and muscles making sleep crucial for your body to refresh, rebuild and repair every night.


Similar to sleep, exercise encourages HGH production and collagen production. If possible, add weight training and high intensity workouts to your workouts. Women who do weight-bearing exercise have a lower incidence of osteoporosis.

The amount and frequency of your weight training will increase HGH and bone collagen levels in your body. For cardiovascular exercise, spend 15 minutes on your bike or treadmill doing 90 seconds at a higher intensity and then 60 seconds at a lower intensity. This will give you optimal HGH production.

Infrared and Red LED Therapy

Research has shown that red and near-infrared light treatment can help improve skin texture and complexion.

  • Infrared light therapy: Infrared treatments can penetrate deeply into the skin and stimulate collagen production in your bones, muscles and joints.

  • Red LED light therapy: Specific wavelengths of red light can stimulate fibroblasts in your skin to create collagen and minimize the enzymes that break it down.


Collagen Supplements Versus Collagen Booster Supplements

Though there are products on the market that are referred to as vegan collagen supplements, they are not collagen in the strict sense of the word. Instead, they are products that boost your natural collagen-producing ability. Collagen boosters incorporate nutrients from herbs and plant extracts including zinc and vitamin C.

Some also contain amino acids including glycine, proline and lysine. Collagen boosters help; however, ingesting actual collagen is the best way to help your body get the building blocks it needs.

Power Within Skin & Scalp Collagen Gummies from Better Not Younger deliver 96 mg of collagen with each serving to support skin and hair health.

Power Within collagen gummies:

  • Provide an edible source of type I and type III marine collagen.
  • Boost your body’s collagen levels to support skin and scalp elasticity and suppleness.
  • Help with follicle health for healthier and stronger-looking hair.

Our gummies are free of milk, eggs, soy, gluten and nuts.

Collagen-Boosting Vitamin Supplements from BNY

Exercise, a diet rich in healthy foods, and getting plenty of rest are a few ways you can bolster collagen levels in your body if you’re on a plant-based diet. You can also try our Significant Other Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement, which contains many collagen-boosting ingredients including vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc.

Talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new workout routine or taking a new supplement. Visit our online Shop page for our complete line of holistically designed, vegan friendly scalp and aging hair-care products.