Plant-Based Diets and Collagen

Plant-Based Diets and Collagen

By Jacqui Gaibor

Plant-Based Diets and Collagen

It's interesting to see the rise in popularity of both plant-based eating and the use of collagen supplementation for their associated health promoting effects. 

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the body and is a component of connective tissue, cartilage and membranes. Functionally, collagen supports tissue and ligament strength, improves skin elasticity and plays a role in tissue development. Unfortunately, as we age our body produces less collagen and of a lower quality. Sun damage will accelerate the loss of skin collagen through increased free radical damage so this is yet another reason to regularly apply a good quality sunscreen.

Nutritional Factors

So, collagen supplementation is great, right? Yes. But if it wasn’t obvious, all collagen supplements are derived from animal parts – usually chicken and bovine cartilage and bone which leaves people following a plant based diet wondering how to support collagen production through dietary sources?

It’s quite challenging actually, particularly if you are vegan, and requires some consideration for key macro and micro nutrients. Definitely focus on a wide variety of protein-rich foods to optimise intake of the amino acids necessary for collagen synthesis (proline, lysine, glycine and leucine). These key amino acids are found in lentils, soy and kidney beans, tempeh, pistachios, mushrooms, asparagus, nuts and seeds. Key micro-nutrients include Vitamin C, Zinc, Copper and Manganese and if you consume a variety of nutrient-dense plant foods including fruits, vegetables, cereals , legumes,nuts and seeds, these foods will provide those micro-nutrients. For vegetarians who consume some dairy, eggs or fish/shellfish, the key essential amino acids and micro-nutrients necessary to support collagen production will be found in those foods.

Just as importantly, keep the diet healthy and watch excessive sugar consumption which has been shown to lead to x-linking of collagen fibres resulting in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) – basically rendering the collagen fibres incapable of repair.


Skin Care

Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid are two key topical ingredients to look for in your skin care products that support collagen synthesis. Lucky for us living in Australia, Kakadu Plum contains the highest concentration of vitamin C of any fruit! You will find this antioxidant-rich extract in the Purifying Gel Cleanser and Men's Facial Cleanser, the Clear Complexion Moisturiser and Men's Moisturising Lotion and of course, The Vitamin C Serum.