What are the Best Collagen Sources for Vegans?

There are currently two known sources of collagen for Vegans, seaweed and algae. My preference for a reliable collagen source is found in sea moss. As a plant based source of collagen, this has fibrils that are much smaller than animal based sources.

Now that I’m in my mid-thirties, I found myself noticing the imperfections in my skin. I probably had them before. Maybe I’ve become vain with age.

Collagen has been a buzzword that has been around for a long time now, mostly with marketing cosmetic products. But, collagen is usually extracted from animals! I don’t want to use animal products to get the benefits of collagen.

So, what are the best collagen sources for Vegans?

Collagen protein is needed to keep the connective tissue in our bodies healthy and strong. It is important for your digestion and ensures that your gut lining is healthy.

And it affects all the organs of your body. It is especially noticeable on your skin. Collagen helps to keep the skin taught.

Any reduction in collagen is noticeable with age because the plump tightness of the skin reduces, and then fine lines and wrinkles become more noticeable. As we get older, our bodies stop producing collagen.

This is why older people experience looser skin, aching joints, and digestion problems.

Collagen is extracted from animal bones, hoofs, tendon, cartridge, horns, and teeth. The unused animal products are processed and then ground into a powder and sold as Bovine Collagen. You could also make your own bone broth if you really wanted to.

However, if you are anything like me, you’re trying to reduce the number of animal products that you consume. I’m pleased to tell you that there are alternatives to animal-based collagen.

What are the more common collagen sources for Vegans?

If you’re a Vegetarian or a Vegan then you’ll be pleased to know that there are a number of foods that help with the stimulation of collagen production, which include:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chia seeds
  • Citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit)
  • Goji berries
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Papaya
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Sprouted legumes

Something to keep in mind is that deficiency in Vitamin C will disrupt collagen production. Now, as these only stimulate collagen production, the challenge is; how do you get more collagen into your diet if it is lacking?

What-are-the-Best-Collagen-Sources-for-Vegans- soaking sea moss in alkaline water
We love a good looking batch of Sea Moss. Find this image on Instagram.

The Secrets of Marine Collagen

For centuries, we have been using animal collagen which has largely been a part of our meals. In more recent times, we have been applying it to our skin in the hopes of looking younger for longer.

Unfortunately, the molecular structure of animal-based collagen is too big and our bodies struggle to absorb it. There are some nutritional benefits, but unfortunately, we find ourselves coming back to the fact that the absorption of animal based collagen is a problem.


Many of the foods listed above are great options as collagen-producing vegetables. But there is one item the stands out above the rest. The humble sea vegetable. Yes, seaweed!

Marine collagen from seaweed is by far the best collagen source for Vegans, Vegetarians, and anybody that wants to stay happy and healthy.

When consumed orally, marine plant based collagen is absorbed by all the parts of the body that need it. When applied topically, it works very effectively to support the health of the skin.

Most people would be familiar with seaweed featuring in Asian recipes. Miso Soup is one of my favorite meals. It’s light and full of flavor.

If you are looking for other ways to introduce seaweed into your diet, try Wakame salad. It is juicy and the texture is chewy and the flavor is a combination of salty, sweet, and spicy.

Sushi is a common Japanese dish which varies depending on the filling. The options on how you use seaweed in your diet are almost limitless.

How Can I Eat Seaweed Everyday - www.detoxandcure.com
Seaweed is a versatile addition to any diet and is a great collagen source for Vegans

I found that there are few collagen sources for Vegans which can be applied topically. So, I started making my own Irish Sea Moss collagen gel from seaweed a little while ago.

Irish Sea Moss is the best multipurpose seaweed I can think of. I apply the gel to my face, neck, and decolletage. I don’t use a moisturizer anymore because I feel like the collagen moisturizes my skin. As the gel absorbs into my skin I can feel it tightening and once it has dried, you can’t see or feel it.

I have also been adding Irish Sea Moss gel to my diet on a daily basis in tings like smoothies, deserts, and dips. It’s a natural thickening agent, so it’s a great Vegetarian or Vegan alternative to gelatin.

It doesn’t have a flavor or smell, unlike other seaweeds which can have a strong fishy flavor.

Plant Based Collagen Alternative

For too long we have been led to believe that there are no plant-based collagen options. People have been let to believe that collagen protein is unique to animals. This is simply not true!

Seaweed is the only known plant based collagen source for Vegans and Vegetarians. But I don’t want to discriminate because omnivorous people (those who choose to eat an animal and plant based diet) obviously want to look after themselves as well.

These amazing sea vegetables have all the antioxidants, amino acids, minerals, nutrients and vitamins perfectly packaged for you.

All the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds you could possibly consume will only help with collagen production. But seaweed is different. Seaweed contains collagen protein. This means that you don’t need to eat animal based collagen if you don’t want to.

Of all the collagen sources for Vegans, I found seaweed to be the best. Superfood of the Year? I think so.

www.detoxandcure.com - Christine McBain

About the Author

Christine has long been on the path to optimal health. With a history of weight loss coaching she is driven by a passion for nutrition, health and wellness. Having grown up in Africa before migrating to New Zealand, and then Australia, she has seen very strong contrasts in quality of life and is driven to help others understand the importance of taking a holistic approach to life.

6 thoughts on “What are the Best Collagen Sources for Vegans?”

  1. Hello Karl,

    Yes, you can add sea moss to freshly pressed juices. I would make a gel from the sea moss first and then add 1 or 2 tablespoons as desired.

    Stir this through the juice, or shake it well if using a shaker. Don’t put the sea moss through your juicer, this won’t get you the best results and will waste too much of the sea moss.

  2. I had no idea that animal based collagen molecules were bigger than what humans could absorb. Wow!

  3. Hi Andree,

    I know! When I first learned about this I went looking for the proof, and this is what I found:


    The graph above shows the collagen pore sizes in frozen collagen sponges with the human pore sizes be much smaller than the bovine sizes. The images below on the top row are of human (plant based) collagen fibers taken under a microscope, while the bottom row is of bovine collagen fibers. These are clearly much bigger, and less suitable for human to assimilate.


    As far as collagen sources for Vegans is concerned, this is clearly a mute point when you look at the scientific data. Plant based collagen is closer to what we need as humans compared to animal based collagen. If you don’t embrace this from a values driven perspective, that’s fine. But the data is the data, and it doesn’t lie.

    Source: NCBI

  4. Hello Sama,

    Yes, your right. If your vitamin C levels are too low then one of the things that can happen is that your body will struggle to produce collagen. The vitamin C plays a part in adding hydrogen and oxygen to the active amino acids which play a key part in producing collagen.

    Topping up on collagen will help deal with the depreciation of collagen production that takes place naturally as you age, which is where sea moss comes in. But sea moss also has minerals in it that function better in the body when you have enough vitamin C.

    So keep eating those oranges!

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