Milestone for 'vegan collagen' VeCollal: Study signals skin benefits

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

© Paperboat Creative | Getty Images
© Paperboat Creative | Getty Images

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The vegan collagen alternative 'VeCollal' has reached an important milestone in scientific recognition with the publication of a study concluding it can significantly increase collagen density and elasticity, and decrease wrinkles.

Tony Van Campen, founder of Vecollal, says this is the first time that a vegan alternative to collagen has passed peer review in a leading scientific journal and his team is 'excited' by the positive results.

“The impact of this study is not to be underestimated: in a world where vegan collagen alternatives are rightfully met with sarcasm and suspicion due to lack of scientific validation, VeCollal now stands out as the most science-based option for modern consumers."

The Taiwanese study concludes that as well as increasing collagen density and elasticity by 4.7% and 5.1% and decreasing wrinkles, texture, and pores by 27.5%, 20.1%, and 12.3%, hydration and lightness increased by 4.3% and 2.3% in those receiving VeCollal for eight weeks, compared to placebo.

There was also no statistically significant difference between the results in those using VeCollal or those using a high quality marine collagen.

Van Campen adds: "There now is a real proven choice on the market for consumers looking for all the same benefits of animal collagen, in a more sustainable and animal-friendly way.

“We also offer an alternative that can relieve some of the pressure on the current supply chain of animal collagen.”

Vegan collagen alternative

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body. Its fiber-like structure is used to make connective tissue and is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Also, the amino acid composition in collagen is critical to skin moisturizing and protective functions.

With its benefits for fighting the effects of skin ageing, bovine and marine collagen supplements have long been popular across the globe but recent years have brought demand for plant-based alternatives, for environmental and ethical reasons. 

Launched in 2022, VeCollal vegan collagen​ alternative is a plant-based collagen biomimetic that contains a variety of plant extracts, including asiaticoside, ginsenoside.

Asiaticoside and ginsenosides are plant-derived bioactive ingredients that stimulate collagen secretion through TGF-β/Smad signaling pathways.

TGF-β receptor-dependent Smad3 and Smad4 activation are responsible​ for signalling to the nucleus and activating the transcription activity of the collagen gene.

This vegan collagen alternative also contains fermented amino acids that match the type I collagen's amino acids profile, to serve as readily available substrates during collagen synthesis within fibroblasts.

Thus, the ingredient aims to naturally utilise collagen-producing mechanisms, inducing the production of specific type I collagen​.

Skin health boosted

In this study, conducted by unaffiliated researchers in Taiwan, 90 subjects were recruited and divided into a placebo group (n = 30), a Vecollal (5g) group (n = 30), and a fish collagen group (n = 30).

Subjects were informed to consume 1 sachet of the sample daily for 8 weeks and skin conditions were measured at week 0, week 4 and week 8.

DermaLab Series SkinLab Combo was utilized to scan and analyse skin collagen density, Cutometer dual MPA580 measured elasticity, Corneometer CM825 analysed moisture content, Chroma Meter MM500 measured lightness, Mexameter MX18 examined melanin​ index, and the VISIA Complexion Analysis measured skin texture, wrinkle, and pores.

The results suggest that VeCollal improved skin collagen density, elasticity, texture, wrinkles, pores, hydration and lightness. In addition, there was no skin irritation or any other discomforts for subjects during the study.

Interestingly, the overall effect was almost similar to taking fish collagen. Van Campen adds: "A point of interest to notice is that the average age of the VeCollal cohort was 40.8, the marine collagens group was on average 35,5 years old, so 5 years younger. For VeCollal to perform as well with a cohort that was 15% older is quite remarkable."

The report states: "Consumers are increasingly concerned about naturalness and sustainability, and future biomimetic collagen products​ may use environmentally friendly production methods and natural ingredients to meet the demand for sustainability."

Source: Journal of Functional Foods

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2023.105955

“Oral supplementation of vegan collagen biomimetic has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study”

Authors: Yung-Kai Lin, Chia-Hua Liang, Yung-Hsiang Lin, Tai-Wen Lin, Josué Jiménez Vázquez, Anthony van Campen, Chi-Fu Chiang,

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