You hear so much about collagen now, particularly in relation to its importance in the ageing process. However, most collagen supplements are derived from animals, so until recently, true collagen supplements have been a no-go area for vegans, or anyone wishing to maintain a plant-based diet.
But not any more! There are an increasing number of vegan collagen products on the market, as well as supplements which support and ‘boost’ your own body’s production of collagen.
That might sound a tad confusing. So, as well as recommending some of the best vegan products available, this guide also aims to provide you with a top-level explanation of the differences between them.
We will look at:
- what collagen is and why it’s important
- why people consider collagen supplements
- the claimed benefits of taking collagen supplements
- whether vegan collagen actually exists
- the differences between vegan and non-vegan collagen
- whether vegan collagen is effective
Already know all this and don’t want to read my musings? Go straight to Vegan Mum’s Top Picks for the Best Vegan Collagen.
Vegan Mum’s Top Picks for the Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK
- Best for replicating human collagen: Feel Pro Collagen Gels
- Best for Hyaluronic Acid: Dr Vegan Skin Saviour
- Best for adding to smoothies: Feel Pro Collagen Powder
- Best for broad spectrum of supporting nutrients: Dr Seaweed’s Natural Glow
- Best value liquid collagen: Arella Vegan Liquid Collagen
- Best budget: Miravvi Skin Glow
What is collagen, and why is it important?
Collagen is a strong, fibrous protein in the body that contributes to the healthy maintenance of things like your skin, joints and even your cardiovascular system. It’s a protein that is normally in plentiful supply in the human body.
If it helps, you can imagine it as the scaffolding that gives structure to all these different elements. Some of that structure is visible in the elasticity of your skin, some of it can be felt in your joints and muscles, and some you won’t even be aware of. Basically, it holds everything together! Knowing that the Greek word ‘kólla’ means ‘glue’, it makes even more sense…
Your body actually makes (synthesises) its own collagen, and requires a good supply of certain amino acids to do so, namely:
Why should I consider taking collagen supplements?
You may well ask why you should bother taking supplements if your body makes its own collagen?
That’s a good question, and unless you are advised to take it by a medical professional to treat a specific medical condition, you probably don’t need to.
However, you may want to because there are benefits to supplementing it. And it is also known that collagen production in the body starts to diminish, perhaps even as early as your mid-20s, so the aging process starts earlier than you think!
Certain factors can impact on your body’s ability to synthesise its own collagen as well, and there is plenty of genuine research out there that supports supplementation.
Don’t forget though that it is advisable to seek advice from a trained medical professional before taking any form of supplement.
Factors that may affect collagen production include:
- sun exposure
- excessive alcohol consumption
- lack of sleep and exercise
- poor nutrition
- diets high in ultra-processed foods
The potential benefits of taking collagen supplements
I did find evidence that collagen can be very helpful. For example, in independent research, there was a meaningful increase in bone density observed in a study group of postmenopausal women following a course of collagen supplementation. This is an incredibly important study for older women, a group that can so often be seen as a lower priority.
Other research findings include:
- increases in skin elasticity
- reduction of facial wrinkles
- improvements in joint pain
These improvements are often backed up by anecdotal evidence too.
However, there are many more claims made about the benefits of collagen supplements and creams, and it should be remembered that some of the research is funded by…well, interested parties like cosmetic companies!
On that note, it’s important to know that I found very little evidence to support claims that collagen cream applied to the body externally has much impact. Furthermore, it seems to be widely accepted that any topical application is unlikely to be absorbed deep enough into the skin to derive any benefits from the collagen.
However, that might change presumably if they make the collagen molecules small enough to get through your skin layers – who knows?
So if you want to increase your collagen levels and production, all the findings I have researched suggest you should use a supplement rather than an external cream…at the moment. I will update this Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK guide as and when appropriate.
In conclusion then, there are known benefits to effective collagen supplementation, so when you read about all those celebrities out there who swear by it, they are probably onto something.
Unfortunately, many of them are drinking bone broth to get it, which brings us nicely on to our next point…
Does vegan collagen exist?
Until recently, it did not. However, there is now apparently a real vegan collagen alternative called VeCollal® which is available in a limited number of products.
There are nearly 30 different forms of collagen, 3 of which are particularly important, and VeCollal® mimics Type 1. This is the most common one and is particularly important for your skin, bones and teeth.
So, it appears that we now have a plant-based replica of human collagen.
Not only that, it better replicates human collagen than the supplements derived from animals, and doesn’t carry any of the known risks associated with animal-based products either (see the section on non-vegan collagen below).
However, you can’t buy VeCollal® directly; it is sold to brands who then create their own supplements that contain it.
So, there are 3 products in my list below – UK based – which contain this vegan collagen alternative. I haven’t found it to be more widely available at the moment (when publishing this Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK guide) although I’m sure that will change.
But the upshot is that there are now vegan collagen supplements containing exactly the right profile of amino acids, that mimic the collagen in your body, and that stimulate its synthesis – so no more excuses for people who are trying to save their own skins by using dead animals.
The differences between vegan and non-vegan collagen
Most non-vegan collagen is either bovine or marine, so obtained from animal bones and hides, fish and other sea creatures. Hence the popularity of bone broths amongst some of the rich and famous (and probably some of the not so rich or so famous!)
In non-vegan supplements, collagen is normally present, although being from creatures other than humans, the collagen doesn’t actually match our own.
There is also an inherent risk with animal sources in that some supplements have been found to contain traces of toxic heavy metals. Other than that, there is no known risk from taking animal-sourced collagen supplements, other than to the animal which has had to die in order to provide you with it.
So, here’s hoping those people hooked on drinking bone broth read this Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK guide!
Vegan collagen boosters
Until recently, there was no true form of vegan collagen, so many vegan supplements are ‘boosters’, providing some of the key ingredients known to support the production of collagen in the body. These include aloe vera, vitamin C, ginseng and others.
However, these boosters still have great value, actively encouraging collagen production, and therefore have a place in this Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK guide – I have included the best products.
There is now a true vegan collagen alternative available – see VeCollal® above.
How effective are vegan collagen supplements?
The results from supplements containing VeCollal® vegan collagen are getting some very good reviews. And results, both from their own research, and now from independent studies, are substantiating those.
Scientific studies have long ago proven that there can be benefits from taking animal-derived collagen supplements. So now, with the new vegan collagen products like this hitting the market that so closely mimic human collagen to stimulate its production, those benefits should only get better.
Certainly VeCollal® has been proven to have some significant results in just 28 days, claims which are now being backed up by independent studies too.
These results include:
- smoother, more hydrated skin
- reduced redness
- reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
- increased density of collagen
More traditional vegan collagen ‘boosters’ can doubtless help in certain circumstances too, although I have found less research to support this.
However, reliable vegan collagen boosters that contain appropriate levels of things like hyaluronic acid, zinc, aloe vera, ginseng and vitamin C will almost certainly help if you are lacking in those areas.
I have found them to be useful for my general health and wellbeing, and by supporting Vitamin C and Zinc levels, they can help you to fight off seasonal coughs and colds too.
They also help to support your diet and often contain ingredients like ginseng which are known to boost collagen production in the body. I have found these can improve the condition of both my hair and my nails, and anecdotal evidence from many other users of these products concur with my experience.
However, I have found the best results from those products containing the new vegan collagen.
Here are the 6 Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK compiled by Vegan Mum
Price range is indicated by the £ symbol, ranging from budget to most expensive.
Feel Pro-Collagen Gel
These handy, travel-friendly sachets of vegan collagen contain VeCollal®, the new vegan collagen alternative that replicates Type 1 human collagen.
You can just rip the top off the sachet wherever you are, so no measuring out or dilution required – very handy!
Research and independent studies have shown tangible results in just 28 days from using this bio-available product which contains VeCollal®, and other supporting ingredients like Ginseng, Gotu Kola and Vitamins A, C & E.
Note that some research suggests you should only take supplements with Gotu Kola for 4-6 weeks at a time, and then take a 2 week break. That works perfectly well with the increase in collagen production, so may well be advice worth following.
Price is the only downside, although Feel offer (easy to cancel) subscription discounts and other benefits.
You can use code PARTNER20 for an exclusive 20% discount using the link below:
Dr Vegan Skin Saviour
Another high-quality product from the trusted Dr Vegan range of supplements, this vegan collagen booster with hyaluronic acid is full of impressive ingredients that go towards supporting your body’s production of collagen.
Designed to support your nails, hair and skin, this Dr Vegan supplement contains nourishing ingredients like grapeseed and bilberry extracts, an array of relevant vitamins, inulin, as well as pro and pre-biotics.
As with all their packaging, this supplement comes in plastic-free compostable pouches, so has more eco-credentials than many supplement ranges.
The price for Dr Vegan’s Skin Saviour is mid-range, and you are getting a high-quality product. You can also benefit from subscription discounts, and free UK delivery too – a charge that I know I can sometimes forget to add when costing products I buy online.
You can read more about this brand in my full Dr Vegan Review
You can use code DR15 for an exclusive 15% discount using the link below:
Feel Pro-Collagen Powder
The 2nd product in this list that contains VeCollal®, this collagen supplement in powder form enjoys the same results as the Feel Pro Collagen Gels above.
It’s very easy to use and tastes pleasant, but doesn’t have the convenience of the gel sachets – probably more environmentally-friendly though because of that!
It also contains calcium, so a handy boost to your calcium levels.
The powder form is also cheaper than the gel sachets, and again, you can benefit from Feel’s subscription offers.
The same advice applies as above about taking this supplement for more than 6 weeks at a time because this powder form also contains Gotu Kola. The great thing about vegan collagen though is that you are not going to get any of the heavy metal contamination so often seen in animal-derived versions.
Please note that this supplement contains sweeteners including Stevia and Erythritol.
You can use code PARTNER20 for an exclusive 20% discount using the link below:
Dr Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful Natural Glow
I love Dr Seaweed products, and just the fact that they all contain that fabulous Hebridean seaweed makes me feel healthier!
So along with that, this supplement also contains all the other ingredients you’d expect that will help you to feel good and boost your collagen production into the bargain, including: B vitamins, vitamins A, C & E, selenium and zinc.
Again, price is mid-range, but like all the supplements in this list, you are paying for high quality products. There is a subscription service available that offers a discount.
Only gripe? Why are these supplements still packaged in blister packs?
You can use code VEGANMUM20 for an exclusive 20% discount (only available when using the link to Dr Seaweed below):
Arella Vegan Liquid Collagen
This good value liquid vegan collagen from Arella Beauty is the 3rd product in this list that contains VeCollal® (which replicates Type 1 human collagen).
It’s full of lots of other collagen supporting goodies, including ginseng, retinol, biotin and hyaluronic acid, and is infused with Japanese Plum, giving it a rich, sweet taste.
Arella decided on creating their collagen in liquid form because of its apparent higher bio-availability than powder. The sachets that it comes in are also very handy for travelling and carrying around with you.
Like most other brands, Arella Beauty also offer a subscription service which comes with a discount, giving you a 20% saving on the one-off price.
You can also use code WELCOME10 at checkout for an additional, exclusive 10% discount if you buy direct
Miravvi Ultimate Skin Glow Complex
This lovely organic, plant-based supplement from female-owned Miravvi contains ingredients including seaweed and Camu Camu combined with Vitamin C to help support collagen production.
With all ingredients certified as organic, and in glass bottles, you really feel that you are taking a trusted, quality product.
There is no subscription option that I can see, but the product is more reasonably priced than many, although there will be a delivery charge.
Discount codes for Vegan Collagen Supplements
Important to know
It’s worth noting at this point that I am no scientist, but I am someone who is very interested and therefore wanted to write this Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK guide.
I hope that it persuades at least some people currently using animal-derived collagen supplements that there is now a very real and effective vegan alternative.
And just to reassure you, I did carry out a lot of research before writing it. My references for this article can be found in the FAQs below.
However, please note that it is always advisable to speak to a trained medical professional if you are considering any form of dietary or nutritional supplement. This is of particular importance if you are on medication, pregnant, or planning a pregnancy.
We hope you have enjoyed this Vegan Mum Candid Guide to Vegan Collagen Supplements UK.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know via the comments option below.
Other Vegan Mum posts related to this topic are below should you wish to read more:
You can also find guides and reviews on other topics on Vegan Mum’s Lifestyle pages.
In the meantime, please find answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about vegan collagen in my FAQ below.
There are no known significant side effects of taking vegan collagen.
Very small numbers of people anecdotally have mentioned a bit of a bloating at first, but this normally passes with continued use.
Fortunately, unlike many animal-derived collagen supplements, there have been no reports of vegan equivalents containing any traces of heavy metals. This toxic contamination is almost certainly due to the presence of these contaminants in the animals used to make bovine and marine-based collagen.
There are no reported negatives to taking vegan collagen other than anecdotal comments about occasional bloating.
If you stop taking the collagen supplement, your body simply adapts to its normal collagen production with no ill effects.
Results from studies conducted by VeCollal® and from independent research are certainly indicating definite benefits from taking their vegan supplements, but you need to take them for at least 28 days before really seeing the results. The benefits can include:
- smoother, more hydrated skin
- reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
- reduction in redness
What you eat, as well as your lifestyle choices, can have a significant impact on your body’s collagen production.
Your body needs 3 amino acids in particular to synthesise collagen – glycine, proline and hydroxyproline.
Collagen production also benefits from Zinc and Vitamin C, so to support and encourage that collagen production, try to include some of the foods below:
- protein sources like tofu and tempeh
- legumes like lentils
- fresh fruit and vegetables, including berries
There are also preventative measures that you can take to avoid activities that slow down collagen production:
- limit sun exposure
- don’t smoke
- drink alcohol sensibly
- get enough sleep
- take regular exercise
- eat a nutritious, balanced diet and limit your intake of ultra-processed foods
Yes, for so many reasons.
Both boosters, and supplements containing VeCollal® collagen, have the following advantages over animal-derived collagen:
- they do not contain any heavy metal contaminants
- they are cruelty-free
- VeCollal® is a better match for human collagen
- they are much more environmentally-friendly than any product which relies on intensive animal farming
That’s a summary, but please read the full guide to the best vegan collagen supplements UK for more detail.
All the vegan collagen supplements in my list are consistently more sustainable than any animal-derived collagen in my opinion.
Before including any of the products listed in this Best Vegan Collagen Supplements UK Guide, I have looked at their sustainability credentials and commitment to environmentally-friendly practices.
With the over-fishing of our seas, and the intensive rearing of cattle and other animals destined for human consumption, animal-derived collagen comes at a huge environmental cost.