In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular — and for good reason, too. As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen gives structure to our connective tissues, including our skin, muscles, and bones. And while the body can make its own collagen, production naturally slows down as we age. In turn, you might be thinking about taking a collagen supplement to keep your levels in check.
The only catch? Currently, collagen supplements on the market contain animal-derived collagen. They’re sourced from the bones, cartilage, and skin of animals, like beef (bovine) and fish.
Luckily, there are options for vegan collagen supplements. But instead of providing actual collagen, these products contain nutrients that support collagen synthesis instead.
We recommend checking with your healthcare provider before taking a new supplement. This is especially important if you’re taking prescription medication, pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a pre-existing medical condition. If your provider gives you the green light, consider our top picks for vegan collagen supplements, below.
Our Picks at At a Glance
- Best Overall: FutureKind+ Vegan Collagen Booster
- Best Powder: Sunwarrior Collagen Building Protein Peptides
- Best Flavors: Ora Organic Vegan Collagen-Boosting Supplement Powder
- Best Capsule: Garden of Life Organic Plant Collagen Builder
- Best Gummies: MaryRuth’s Vegan Collagen Boosting Gummies
- Best Budget: Rae Vegan Collagen Boost Capsules
What is Vegan Collagen?
Vegan collagen is collagen that’s created by yeast or bacteria. However, it’s still being developed, so it isn’t widely available. For example, a biodesign company called Geltor is currently working on the first true vegan collagen (1, 2).
Until then, there are collagen builders and boosters on the market. According to registered dietitian Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD, these products offer nutrients that may help support the body’s natural collagen synthesis, rather than providing collagen itself. This includes nutrients like “vitamin C, silica, and biotin, which are generally main components of vegan collagen-boosting supplements,” says Panoff. Zinc, copper, vitamin A, and lysine (an amino acid) also lend a hand (3, 4, 5).
What to Look For in a Vegan Collagen Supplement
Since true vegan collagen is still in the works, be wary of any supplement claiming to contain real vegan collagen. Reputable brands will refer to their supplement as a “collagen booster” or “collagen builder.”
A quality vegan collagen supplement should contain some combination of the collagen-boosting nutrients mentioned above. You might choose a supplement with higher levels of certain nutrients if you have a hard time getting them in your diet. Your primary care doctor or dietitian is the best person to determine if you need more of a certain nutrient.
If you want an extra boost, look for supplements with antioxidants, which might be listed as “polyphenols.” Vegan collagen supplements “often contain antioxidants that may offer additional benefits to [the] skin, hair, and nails,” says Panoff.
The Best Vegan Collagen Supplements
1. Best Overall: FutureKind+ Vegan Collagen Booster
FutureKind+ is a nutritionist-owned, third-party tested vegan supplement company that prioritizes sustainable packaging. Their supplements come in glass bottles, which is hard to find in the supplement industry.
Their vegan collagen booster offers an impressive roster of collagen-building ingredients. It contains 16 nutrients that support collagen production. This includes at least 100% of the daily value for vitamins A, C, and E. It also offers silica, biotin, and zinc, along with antioxidant-rich amla berry extract.
The supplement also features three collagen-building amino acids: L-Glycine, L-lysine, and L-proline. It’s also non-GMO, gluten-free, sugar-free, and free of preservatives and artificial colors.
2. Best Powder: Sunwarrior Collagen Building Protein Peptides
Sunwarrior is a company that specializes in superfood and plant-based protein supplements. Their vegan collagen-building protein peptides are available in a convenient, easy-to-use powder form.
The product offers 100% of the daily value for both biotin and vitamin C. It also contains silica and hyaluronic acid, which is essential for skin hydration. When it comes to amino acids, the supplement offers L-glycine, L-proline, and L-hydroxyproline, which are needed for the production of collagen. It also has copper and is free of soy, gluten, and sugar. (6)
If you’re not a fan of capsules or gummies, you might enjoy this powder supplement. It’s also extremely versatile, as it can be mixed into smoothies or vegan treats. The powder is available in four flavors — unflavored, vanilla, chocolate, and salted caramel — so there’s something for everyone. The unflavored version might be especially useful for collagen green smoothies.
Sunwarrior’s powder lacks other collagen-boosting ingredients, like vitamin A and zinc. This might be a drawback depending on the nutrients you’re looking for and other supplements in your regimen.
3. Best Flavors: Ora Organic Vegan Collagen-Boosting Powder Supplement
Ora Organic is a brand that creates vegan, third-party tested supplements with ethically-sourced ingredients. All their products are non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, and soy-free.
Made with silica and vitamins C and E, their vegan collagen-building powder is designed to support natural production of collagen. It even contains aloe vera gel powder and pea protein, which aren’t usually found in other supplements. Aloe vera gel offers vitamins C, A, and E, and other antioxidants, while pea protein offers amino acids like L-lysine. (7, 8)
The powder is available in vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate flavors. Like the Sunwarrior powder, this product can be mixed into drinks or baked goods for a collagen-rich treat.
Unlike some supplements, Ora Organic’s powder doesn’t have biotin or zinc. You may want to consider other supplements if you’re looking for these nutrients.
4. Best Capsule: Garden of Life Organic Plant Collagen Builder
Garden of Life is well-known for creating organic, third-party-tested wellness products. This includes a vegan collagen booster, which is recommended by Panoff.
It contains a rich mixture of collagen-building nutrients, including zinc, biotin, vitamin C, and silica, which is sourced from organic bamboo extract. The supplement also features not one, but two organic antioxidant blends. The antioxidants are derived from ingredients like green tea, amla berry, and guava. It also offers small amounts of many other nutrients, including niacin and folate.
Needless to say, the supplement packs quite the punch. But if you’re taking other supplements, including multi-vitamins, be sure to check with your healthcare provider first. They can help you avoid taking too much of certain nutrients. (Yes, it’s possible!)
5. Best Gummies: MaryRuth’s Vegan Collagen Boosting Gummies
MaryRuth’s is a small, family-owned company that produces organic and plant-based supplements. They create a wide range of products, from multi-vitamins to digestive enzymes.
If you’re looking for a vegan collagen building supplement without the bells and whistles, you might like their collagen boosting gummies. As Panoff notes, “the formulation is simple and the product is convenient to use,” thanks to its gummy form. “[It’s] formulated with vitamins A and C, the amino acid L-lysine, and amla fruit, which may support collagen synthesis and help protect the skin from UV damage,” she adds.
The gummy form might be easier to take if you have a hard time swallowing capsules or tablets. They’re made with pectin, so they’re vegan-friendly. The gummies are also non-GMO, gluten-free, sugar-free, and naturally colored.
One potential drawback of MaryRuth’s vegan collagen boosters is that it doesn’t contain other collagen-building nutrients, like biotin or silica.
6. Best Budget: Rae Wellness Vegan Collagen Boost
Rae Wellness is a women-led, socially-conscious vegan wellness brand. They produce affordable high-quality supplements that are non-GMO, gluten-free, and preservative-free.
With a price tag of $15 per one-month supply, Rae Wellness’ collagen boost capsules are the best budget-friendly vegan collagen supplement. They contain vitamin C and L-glycine, L-lysine, and L-proline to support collagen synthesis and skin health. Each capsule also has bamboo, which offers minerals and vitamins A, B, and E.
Unlike other collagen builders, this option lacks biotin and zinc. You may need to take additional supplements or work with a dietitian to ensure you’re getting enough of these nutrients in your diet.
Vegan Collagen FAQ
“Collagen is an essential component of your connective tissues, but it’s not an essential nutrient,” says Panoff. This means there’s no recommended daily amount and we don’t need to get it from our diet. However, if you’re seeking the benefits of collagen but don’t want to take an animal-derived supplement, Panoff recommends focusing on nutrients (like vitamin C) that may help support your body’s natural collagen synthesis.
Vegan collagen peptides are still being developed. “There are currently no vegan collagen peptides on the market,” says Panoff. However, “there are vegan supplements intended to help your body produce more of its own collagen.”
True vegan collagen is produced from microbes (specifically, yeast or bacteria) that have been genetically modified. Scientists are still developing vegan collagen for use in foods and drinks.
“I haven’t seen any [specific] studies on vegan collagen supplements,” says Panoff. However, she notes that nutrients like vitamin C, biotin, and silica (which are the main ingredients in vegan collagen-building supplements) might help support the body’s formation of collagen.
“Any supplement could have unwanted reactions or effects on the skin, including acne, and may impact individuals differently,” explains Panoff. “There may be anecdotal reports of people experiencing more acne after taking certain collagen supplements, but this doesn’t mean there’s a cause-effect relationship.”
“While more research is needed on vegan collagen supplements, they may be more cost-effective than their animal-derived counterparts, depending on their quality,” says Panoff. “Of course, they also come with the benefits of being made from plant ingredients, which are better for the planet and animals.”