What is Collagen?
Before we dive specifically into vegan collagen supports, let’s talk about the collagen protein itself and what it does. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body. It is made up of amino acids, including glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.
Here’s a quick 101 on the science of collagen in our bodies: collagen synthesis occurs naturally in the body. In order to make collagen, the body needs amino acids, as well as vitamin C, zinc, and copper. The collagen synthesis process primarily occurs within and outside of fibroblasts, a network of collagen-producing cells. Fibroblasts are found in the skin, tendons, and other connective tissues in the body. Collagen is found throughout the body, and works as a building block for the skin, hair, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. There are 28 known types of collagen in the body, but around 80% to 90% of the collagen found in the body is type I, II, or III.
As far as the skin goes, collagen strengthens, hydrates, and helps maintain elasticity, keeping the complexion looking youthful and glowing. Collagen works in the dermis (the middle layer of skin), helping to form fibroblasts for new cells to grow. Collagen also supports stronger hair and nails, and helps maintain bone, tendon, and joint health (by way of maintaining the integrity of cartilage).
Why Might You Want Collagen Support
As we age, the natural synthesis of collagen in our body gradually decreases, and existing collagen in the body breaks down. It is believed that after the age of 20, the body produces about 1% less collagen in the skin every year. For women, after menopause, that decline becomes even more drastic.
There are also environmental factors that hinder the production of collagen. This includes exposure to the sun and damaging UV rays, lack of sleep, high levels of stress, smoking, drinking excess alcohol, a high-sugar diet, and not getting enough exercise.
With this gradual decline in collagen comes a variety of side effects. This can include wrinkles and less elastic skin, joint pain, weakening muscles, and stiffer tendons and ligaments.
So… what even is vegan collagen?
So since there isn’t actual vegan collagen, what even is it? Vegan collagen supports are made from plants that actively support your body’s natural collagen production.* Using good quality vegan collagen is a more holistic way to increase your collagen than consuming an animal-based collagen source because it helps you make more of your own collagen from within. When you see the term “vegan collagen” used on a label, think of it as a blend of collagen-boosting ingredients, rather than a direct source of collagen. This makes what is in your collagen booster incredibly important as it can help your body make more of its own collagen.*
These forms of collagen support can come in a variety of items, here at Copina Co. we have utilized the form of powders to make our collagen supports able to be used in smoothies, baked goods, drinks and lattes, and more!
Forms of Collagen Supports
As we said earlier, you can pretty much find collagen support in every form. Here are a few we have come across. What is nice is that there are many options for different lifestyles so you can find the right one that is easy for you to use.
When it comes to using any type of supplement, make sure to look at the nutritional information and the ingredient list. We can dive into what types of ingredients you might want in your collagen support supplements later.
These are often mixed into coffees, teas, smoothies, and more. Our vegan collagen support blends come in the form of powders!
This one is like other supplements, coming in a capsule to be an easy one-step process.
This is another form and very similar to the capsule style fo taking your collagen support. You’ll want to double-check the nutrition label to see if there are any unnecessary ingredients added in like sugars.
Similar to powders, collagen creamers are a blendable way to supplement your body’s natural collagen production. They might be sweeteners or made to act more like a creamer in tea or coffee which is nice. We have two collagen support creamers, sweetneded through monk fruit in our vanilla or an unsweetened original flavor. You’ll want to look at the product to make sure it still utilizes simple ingredients or natural sweeteners.
Ingredients to Look for in Your Vegan Collagen
Copper plays an important role in several steps of the collagen synthesis and stabilization of collagen in the body. It helps with enzyme activation and helping with the collagen cross-linking process which helps collagen strengthen to name two. Copper also acts as an antioxidant in the body which helps support collagen from oxidative damage.
You can provide copper to the body naturally by eating dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, legumes, and avocados.
- Bamboo silica
Silica-rich bamboo has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese herbal medicine for centuries as a remedy to heal skin ailments, relieve congestion, promote bone health, and more.* Bamboo leaf extract, which is featured in all of our blends, is extracted from the roots and leaves of the bamboo plant, where the silica is plentiful
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps support collagen synthesis through collagen formation, antioxidant protection, regeneration of Vitamin E, and is involved in the collagen cross-linking process we mentioned above. It is an important antioxidant involved in almost every aspect of our collagen production process.* Vitamin C is required to support two enzymes (prolyl hydroxylase and lysyl hydroxylase) that are essential for collagen synthesis, so having enough vitamin C is crucial for collagen support. This vitamin also plays a crucial role in protecting collagen that already exists in the body. Since vitamin C works as an antioxidant, it is able to help neutralize free radicals, which are known for causing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress degrades collagen, so antioxidant support is crucial to prevent this from happening.
Amla berry (also known as Indian gooseberry) is commonly used in ayurvedic medicine. Amla berry (which is native to Asia) is one of the richest sources of vitamin C. This vitamin is one of the most important vitamins in the synthesis of collagen.
Certain mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and important nutrients that support healthy collagen production. One of these mushrooms is the tremella mushroom. Tremella mushroom (tremella fuciformis) has a centuries-long history in traditional Chinese medicine. It has earned its nickname “the beauty mushroom” because of its ability to help improve complexion by boosting skin hydration and fighting signs of aging.
Tremella contains polysaccharides, which are carbohydrate chains. Polysaccharides have been shown to promote skin collagen synthesis, which in turn can help boost skin elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Tremella mushroom also contains amino acids, which are crucial for the production of collagen.
- Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola is an Ayurvedic herb with a history of healing the skin, which contains collagen-synthesis enhancing triterpenes such as asiaticoside.* Copina Co. uses Gotu Kola in whole plant extract form. It was selected by our herbalist partners because of its historical use treating patients with skin ailments and surface wounds. Gotu Kola has been shown to enhance the cross-linking of collagen and support increased collagen production in the body.* Several studies have shown that skin thickness, elasticity, and collagen levels all increased with the addition of Gotu Kola to a patient’s regimen.*
Biotin is a member of the vitamin B complex family. Its primary functions include turning the nutrients we ingest (i.e. proteins, fats and carbohydrates) into energy that our body can use. This is important as many of our daily functions such as metabolic, digestive and cardiovascular wouldn't happen without it.* Each Copina Co. blend (of our new formula coming out in 2022) contains 3,000mcg Biotin per serving. That amounts to over 10,000% of your daily value.* This dosage of biotin has been shown to be an effective therapy for human patients with brittle nails. A daily dose of biotin helps support strong nail health and support collagen synthesis in the body.*
Do Vegan Collagen Boosters Actually Work?
We’re so passionate about the power and effectiveness of plant-based ingredients that in May 2022, we started our first-ever consumer survey. Each participant took 2 doses of our Plant-Based Collagen Boost Blends in their diets each day for 8 weeks and reported on the results. Participants completed surveys at the 2, 4, 6, and 8-week marks, reporting if they saw any changes in their hair, skin, and nail health, as well as reporting any changes in how they feel or anything else they noticed as a result of adding the collagen support blends to their routine.
The response from the survey was overwhelmingly positive.
- 100% of respondents noticed increased skin hydration in 2 months
- 100% of respondents noticed a difference in overall skin glow in 2 months
- 92.9% of respondents noticed a difference in hair thickness in 2 months
- 92.9% of respondents noticed a difference in nail strength in 2 months
- 100% of respondents noticed a difference in overall skin vibrance and "glow"
What is important about our collagen supports or boosters is that they are working with your body to naturally support your collagen production.* Our ingredient list is simple and without added sugars to help best support your hair, skin, and nail journey.* You can read more about our consumer survey here.
How to Use our Vegan Collagen Supports
Our collagen boosts are as versatile as they are delicious. Enjoy them anywhere you like your beauty boost. Our vegan collagen support blends are a great way to naturally support your collagen production because you can get your favorite coffee or latte without the sugar. We have unsweetened blends and blends with 0g sugar that uses only monk fruit powder.
Froth, blend, or stir with 8oz hot water for a barista-quality latte
Hot Coffees & Teas
Add a scoop of our Vanilla, Original, or Cacao to your favorite morning coffee, black tea, or evening hot cocoa.
Froth with 6oz warm water, pour over ice, and enjoy
Not much of a coffee or tea drinker? No problem! Boost your morning favorite with any of our collagen boost blends*
Here are some of our easiest recipes to begin incorporating our vegan collagen supports:
- How to: Vegan Coffee Creamer
- Skin-Boosting Blueberry and Vanilla Smoothie
- Vanilla Coffee Creamer Ice Cubes
- 5 Easy and Delicious Vegan Smoothie Recipes
- Iced Turmeric Matcha Latte
If you liked this blog, you’ll love these: