Does Vegetarian collagen exist?
The benefits of collagen are scientifically proven to help keep skin youthful, support a healthy gut and help to maintain a healthy weight. The best sources of collagen are from fish and meat sources but if you are vegetarian is it possible to get the benefits of conventional collagen.
To understand more about collagen and how to gain benefits from other sources it is important to understand what collagen is made up from. The youth-boosting components are amino acid proteins and the key amino acid proteins are glycine, proline and hydroxyproline with some lysine also. When we are fully rested and eating an optimised balanced diet our body can create this proline and glycine internally. However, due to our fast pace of life and modern-day stresses, we tend not to make enough of these two amino acids to gain maximum benefits.
This means that we need to eat certain foods or take a vegetarian collagen supplement. It is important to point out that it is difficult to access the amino acid hydroxyproline from plant sources in your diet as it is found predominantly in meat and fish.
Do eggs have collagen?
One excellent source for vegetarians to find their collagen is in eggs. Egg whites are rich in amino acids, containing 18 amino acids in total which makes them an excellent source to support collagen levels in the skin, joints, nails and cartilage. Eggs naturally contain collagen with an abundance of amino acids in the white and also the yolk
As you might expect eggs also contain many other nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin E and sulphur which all work to support healthy skin.
Once we cook eggs, we lose many of the benefits of the collagen they contain, however taking an egg-based collagen supplement will give you all the gains.
Is there collagen in eggshells?
Eggs have an inner and outer membrane between the white of the egg and the shell. Collagen has been found in these membranes and also the shell. A new system has been developed to separate the eggshell from the collagen-rich membrane. Eggshells contain valuable raw materials combined in a way that has made processing the nutrients difficult. A delicate multi-bladed knife has been created to gently scrape away the membranes. The delicate membrane may include rare collagen which helps to prevent the mineralisation of human tissue. This rare collagen may be suitable for use in surgical implants such as heart valves, it is opening up new opportunities for an ingredient that was previously considered to be waste. There are many other nutrients to be found in the shell including up to 500 different proteins along with desmosine, isodesmosine, glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid.
As we don’t eat the shell or membranes of eggs, the best source to get this collagen from is a supplement. Studies have been carried out on supplements created from the collagen of eggs to show that it has numerous benefits including joint flexibility, skin quality, improved digestion.
Clinical studies have shown that the collagen from eggs may be beneficial for joint pain and sporting injuries.
Is there plant-based collagen?
Plants cannot provide a complete source of collagen, it is essential to get a wide variety of plants to include all the amino acids necessary for collagen supplementation. While some plants produce a rich supply of proline to get a rich source of glycine you need to top up elsewhere. Lysine is predominantly in pulses and seeds.
Can you get collagen from vegetables?
Individual vegetables do not have collagen in them, but they do contain amino acids. These amino acids help to support collagen formation
What vegetables have collagen?
Best sources of glycine:
Best sources of proline:
- Alfalfa sprouts
- White mustard seeds
Best sources of lysine
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Lima beans
- Pumpkin seeds
Does Vitamin C play a part in collagen formation?
It isn’t just a case of eating plants rich in amino acids, the other important factor is that you have a consistent supply of vitamin C*, either in your food or by supplementation. Vitamin C actually makes the collagen more bioavailable and helps the body to increase its natural collagen levels. There are many foods which are rich in vitamin C, so it is important that you combine these with the amino acids within your diet to optimise the absorption of them.
Remember to eat a diet that is full of fresh, vibrant and colourful fruits and vegetables. This will give you a range of vitamins and nutrients.
What is type 1 and type 3 collagen?
There are at least 16 different types of collagen but the most abundant in our body are types I, II and III. These collagens form long chains of amino acids into thin fibrils, tightly packed together.
The collagen in skin predominantly types I with some III. Type I was the first to be identified and it is approximately 300-nm long and 1.5-nm in diameter). It is a protein that is made up of three coils, each of these chains has precisely 1050 amino acids which wind around each other into a characteristic right-handed triple helix.
It was subsequently discovered that all other collagens consist of this triple helix formation but can be individually identified by sections that interrupt the triple helix.
This triple helix formation is created by the presence of 3 amino acids, proline, glycine and hydroxyproline.
Collagen type III is still a right-handed triple helix, but it is comprised of only on collagen. Type III is created by fibroblasts and mesenchymal cell types and along with type I collagen, it is the main constituent of the interstitial matrix. Type III collagen mutations are associated with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and some vascular problems.
What factors help in collagen production?
Nourishing your body with nutrient-rich foods is just a start in collagen production and protection. Your daily lifestyle is also important.
Stress plays havoc by generating oxidative stress and causing inflammation which can break down and damage collagen fibres. Try to create peaceful moments throughout your day to allow time for meditation, take a relaxing bath or read a book.
Another big factor is getting enough sleep to give your body time to repair and regenerate collagen. Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, going to bed early to allow time in the morning to plan your day.
The great news is that there is an easy way for vegetarians to get the collagen you need with Rejuvenated's own Veggiecol.