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Here’s What You Need to Know About Vegan Collagen
By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
You've probably heard the buzz around collagen supplements and your skin by now. But is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements — and for many beauty-conscious folk, collagen isn't vegan.
That's because collagen, a protein found mostly in hair, skin, nails, bones and ligaments, comes mostly from animal sources, such as beef or fish.
But science has discovered a way to make vegan collagen. We're here to answer exactly how that works and how it competes.
How Can Collagen Be Vegan?
Instead of being sourced from animals, collagen can now be made by using genetically modified yeast and bacteria.
Researchers have found that the bacteria P. pastoris, in particular, is the most effective and commonly used for genetically engineering high-quality collagen.
To produce collagen, four human genes that code for collagen are added to the genetic structure of the microbes. Once the genes are in place, the yeast or bacteria then start to produce building blocks of human collagen.
Pepsin, a digestive enzyme, is added to help structure the building blocks into collagen molecules with the exact structure of human collagen.
Once this process is complete, you have yourself vegan collagen!
Benefits of Vegan Collagen
The ability to make inexpensive, safe collagen sourced from microbes instead of animals has many promising applications for human health.
1. Potential Lower Cost for Consumers
Using yeast or bacteria to produce collagen is cost effective and highly scalable in a lab environment. While it hasn't rolled out as a mass-produced product yet, this has potential to lower the cost of collagen for all consumers and make it widely available for various uses from medical treatments to supplements.
2. Lower Risk of Allergies
While the biggest benefit is that no animals are harmed, there are other pros to vegan collagen, especially for folks who may have allergies.
For example, there's some concern over the risk of transmission of illness through animal-sourced collagen. Collagen via microbes would eliminate this potential issue because it's produced in a controlled environment where common allergens or other harmful substances can be removed.
3. Higher Safety Profile for Products
The lab-controlled setting gives manufacturers the ability to improve the safety profile. If the source is easily traceable, it makes it a safer product for all consumers.
4. More and Cheaper Availability for Medical Procedures
There are many potential medical benefits to this technology, as collagen is used for much more than just dietary supplements.
The ability to genetically engineer collagen safely and effectively may be beneficial for many medical procedures. Collagen is commonly used:
- in dermatology for sutures
- to stimulate skin and tissue growth
- to promote wound healing
It can also serve as a vehicle for drug delivery, or for certain tumor treatments.
5. Beauty Benefits for Vegans
The majority of collagen supplements on the market are animal-based, which means people who live an environmentally-friendly or vegan-friendly lifestyle can't access these products.
With vegan options available, they can now take collagen to potentially help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and stimulate their body to produce more collagen naturally as well as support joint and digestive health.
But, science is still building around these products and applications, so at this time, most of the promises around supplements can still be considered hype.
If Vegan Collagen Isn’t Easily Accessible, You Can Turn to These Alternatives
Currently, actual vegan collagen is hard to come by. Most companies sell "collagen boosters" as supplements.
These boosters contain various vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and zinc that the body needs to make collagen.
Some may also include plant extracts and herbs that are also found to help stimulate collagen production.
You can add these vitamins and minerals through your diet, instead of a supplement, to help you meet your amino acids needs. The most abundant amino acids in collagen are glycine, lysine, and proline.
Plant-based foods high in all three amino acids include:
- soy products: tempeh, tofu, and soy protein
- black beans
- kidney beans
- many other legumes
- seeds: especially pumpkin, squash, sunflower, and chia
- nuts: pistachio, peanut, and cashew
Another way to get the benefits of collagen as a vegan is to take individual amino acid supplements. These are what many vegan-friendly companies sell instead of pure collagen supplements.
Vegan Collagen Options
- myKind Organics Plant Collagen Builder by Garden of Life, includes: biotin, silica, antioxidants, and several vitamins and minerals. Price: $27.19
- Reserveage Vegan Plant-based Collagen Builder, includes: vitamin C, amino acids, and white tea extract. Price: $39.99
- Genius Liquid Collagen by Algenist, face cream that contains vegan collagen and microalgae. Price; $115
True vegan collagen is still a ways coming, but like the Impossible burger, we have a feeling it's going to roll out in stores near us, faster than we think.
Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD.Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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Telehealth Versus Traditional Therapy<p><a href="https://www.cigna.com/hcpemails/telehealth/telehealth-flyer.pdf" target="_blank">Private insurance companies</a> like Cigna and Aetna, have come around; they now provide coverage for what they see as a "legitimate" service. And <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-wells-2019-consumer-survey-finds-majority-of-consumers-open-to-telehealth-adoption-continues-to-grow-300906438.html" target="_blank">surveys show</a> consumers are receptive to telehealth counseling: no driving to an appointment, no searching for a parking space, no worries about childcare while they're away, no need to switch providers if they move, and no problem if the specialist happens to be far away.</p><p>Online therapy opens doors for clients who wouldn't otherwise seek help, <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/empirical-examination-of-the-influence-of-personality-gender-role-conflict-and-self-stigma-on-attitudes-and-intentions-to-seek-online-counseling-in-college-students/oclc/941976505" target="_blank">particularly patients</a> who feel stigmatized by therapy or intimidated by a stranger sitting across the room from them. Often, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/1094931041291295" target="_blank">people open up</a> more easily in telehealth sessions. Firsthand accounts have detailed <a href="https://www.romper.com/p/i-tried-online-therapy-for-a-month-this-is-what-happened-13630" target="_blank">positive experiences from consumers</a>.</p>
Overcoming Prejudices About Online Counseling<p>Now COVID-19 is forcing most traditional psychotherapists to adapt their practice to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/expressive-trauma-integration/202003/covid-19-etherapy-in-times-isolation" target="_blank">online counseling</a>. After experiencing the medium, they are <a href="https://www.wecounsel.com/blog/why-every-therapist-in-private-practice-needs-a-telehealth-option/" target="_blank">overcoming their prejudices</a>. Many will convert some or all of their caseloads to telehealth after the pandemic ends. Most of our clients seem to be good with it: responding to a satisfaction survey, 85% of USF students strongly or somewhat agreed their telehealth experience was comparable to an in-person visit.</p><p>All this allows a continuity of care for clients that before was impossible; there is, however, a caveat. Because of the coronavirus, some of my clients at USF who live out-of-state have moved back home. That means, legally, I can no longer serve them. Even though they are still USF students, my license is valid only in Florida.</p><p>For telehealth to work effectively, our national system of licensing and regulation law needs to adapt. Although the federal government temporarily halted HIPAA regulations to promote telehealth during this time, not all states are allowing out-of-state practice. The coronavirus may not be here forever, but spring break and Christmas holidays always will. We need seamless telehealth across state lines.</p>
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Southeast Asia is one of the biggest sources of plastic waste from land to the ocean, and Thailand is among the top five contributors. In January, Thailand placed a ban on single-use plastic, and was looking to reduce its plastic waste by 30% this year.
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Widespread<p>Some say the pandemic has merely brought to the surface an already existing problem for the country. Experts believe that greater awareness and lifestyle changes among the masses could help address this issue.</p><p>The effects of plastic waste are long term. The pollution affects the oceans, aquatic life and also humans.</p><p>"Plastic pollution may also be contaminating the air that we breathe every day. Plastics do not biodegrade, therefore once they are introduced into an animal's system, they will stay there for a long time. Therefore, consuming these plastics leads to malnutrition, digestive blockage and slow poisoning effects due to plastic's heightened toxicity," Simachaya told DW.</p><p>While the pandemic may have been a setback to Thailand's struggle to eliminate plastic waste, Simachaya believes a change in awareness and habits will lead to a gradual decrease in plastic waste.</p><p>Thailand is slowly starting to ease lockdown rules. While it is too premature to say whether the plastic waste levels are expected to go down, some delivery outlets have started offering bio-degradable containers and cutlery. Some online shopping companies are also giving the option of receiving packages without the use of plastic.</p>
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