When I became vegan I worked with many nutritionist who guided me through all the changes that I made in my diet. We talked about replacing protein, calcium and collagen was something we also talked in depth about. Natural collagen production slows down significantly as women reach the young age of 25 and it continues to slow down as we age. It is a tricky subject at first because all direct sources of collagen are animal- based and it takes a little research to understand just how to work around it so that collagen is acquired within our diet. There is a huge myth on vegans and collagen. A lot of people believe vegans are collagen and vitamin deficient. In reality collagen production for us is obtained differently but I can assure you we obtain collagen through the purest and most organic of ways. The idea of animal- based collagen is stomach churning. I wanted an ethical way to nurture my body without harming animals. It’s estimated that by 2050 our ocean will be wiped out of fish. Our ocean is polluted and we are at the moment already experiencing the extinction of many species including fish. I can’t imagine an ocean without fish and an ecosystem. It’s so important to save the fish and at the same time reduce the ocean pollution . Fish are not given any credit for having feelings and they aren’t viewed at or looked at with compassion. The family dog or cat is viewed differently and cared for with compassion vs sea creatures. Sea creatures endure pain and suffering from the moment they are pulled out of the ocean. They are rounded up and jammed together is nets while they suffocate and desperately gasp for air. Lobsters are tortured and boiled alive while still making their last attempts to crawl out of boiling pots of water. When you see these things being done it’s hard to turn your back and not connect with their pain. I don’t want to contribute to the pain and suffering of animals for a plate of food or supplements. There are so many ways in which we can replace our protein, minerals and calcium. We don’t need to include animals on our plates. All we need is a little research to create a well balanced vegan diet.
WHAT IS COLLAGEN ?
Collagen is a vital protein found in connective tissue that is responsible for promoting healthy bones and joints. Collagen is found in our skin, bones, digestive system, tendons, blood vessels, joints and muscles. It’s an amino acid protein and the most abundant within our body. Collagen acts like a “glue” that holds the body together and has many complex jobs it carries out throughout our body. Collagen replaces dead skin cells, provides skin with elasticity and strengthens skin.
5 TYPES OF COLLAGEN
- Type 1: tendons, ligaments, organ capsules, fascia, teeth, bones and connective tissue of skin
- Type 2: cartilage
- Type 3: connective tissue of organs ( kidneys, spleen and liver)
- Type 4 & 5: the separating layer between endothelial and epithelial cells. Between smooth muscle cells and skeletal. Lense capsule and glial cells of the nervous system.
HOW TO GET COLLAGEN ON A PLANT BASED DIET
The answer is vitamin C. Vitamin C helps make up 18 types of collagen found in the body. As vitamin C enters the body’s cells it hydroxylates (adds hydrogen + oxygen) to two amino acids: lysine + proline. Through this process a precursor molecule called pro- collagen is formed. Pro- collagen is packed and at the same time modified into collagen outside of the cell. This explains why vitamin C is so important for your health, immunity and skin. Vitamin C will go and target skin that is need of a collagen production boost and the same time it preserves existing collagen from damage. Vitamin C doesn’t do all this alone. Our bodies require a sufficient supply of lysine, proline and glycine in order to synthesis collagen. Our body is able to create proline and glycine naturally so they are considered “ conditional” amino acids but not everyone is producing the right amounts of it. Vitamin C is the most important because without it collagen can’t be synthesized within the body.
I incorporate foods rich in vitamin C, glycine, proline and lysine into my diet daily in order to keep collagen production going. Collagen building supplements and a healthy diet are key for vegans in order to keep a healthy collagen production. I play around with all my options and create healthy fruit bowls and dishes with these specific foods. It’s such a common myth we hear when people say vegans are low on collagen and vitamins. As we have seen animal- based collaged isn’t the only way to get our collagen. We just have to understand the natural way our body synthesis collagen naturally with the help of certain foods and our body easily absorbs them making it even more beneficial.
TIPS AND FOODS THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
I would recommend also adding in a vegan/ gluten free collagen builder supplement such as
- mykind organics ORGANIC PLANT COLLAGEN BUILDER
- Reservage Plant- Based Collagen Builder
FOODS HIGHEST IN VITAMIN C
- Bell peppers
- Kiwi fruit
- Snow peas
GLYCINE- RICH FOODS
PROLINE- RICH FOODS
- Alfalfa sprouts
- White mustard seeds
LYSINE- RICH FOODS
- Black beans
- Lima Beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Kidney beans
- Ryan Carey. What Is Collagen and Why Is It So Important? Retrieved from https://www.puori.com/blog/2015/09/30/what-is-collagen# 2015.
- Jennifer Kurdyla. Ageless Goddess Alicia Silverstone Proves Vegan Vegan Collagen Supplements Do Work. Retrieved from https://www.peacefuldumpling.com/vegan-collagen-supplements 2018.
- AlgeaCal. A Vegetarian’s Guide to Collagen and Healthy Bones. Retrived from https://www.algaecal.com/expert-insights/vegetarians-guide-protein-collagen-healthy-bones/ 2017.
- Maggie McCraken. How Can Vegan’s Boost Their Collagen? REtrieved from https://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-can-vegans-boost-their-collagen.html 2018.
- Rachel Wayfaring. Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives to Collagen Supplements. Retrieved from http://wayfaringrachel.com/vegetarian-collagen/ 2016.