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There is a lot of noise around collagen supplements right now and it can be quite confusing to know whether there are any benefits of collagen supplements or not. Opinion is certainly divided largely due to the fact that some formulas have not been scientifically tested or proven to survive the digestion process in order to help build new collagen in our skin, joints and connective tissue.

Why does a collagen supplement need to be vegan?

Collagen peptides come only from animal sources, mainly from cows (bovine collagen) and fish, (marine collagen) making them out of bounds to vegans. Any vegan collagen supplements (sometimes called 'collagyn' in the same way that plant milk is 'mylk') have contained the building blocks to make collagen rather than collagen peptides or amino acids themselves. 

But now one supplement, Revive Collagen Vegan, £37.99 for 14 sachets,  is claiming to be the first truly vegan collagen alternative, with a plant-based compound said to mimic human type 1 collagen (the most common kind of collagen in the body) with an identical amino acid profile (collagen peptides are made up of amino acids). 

One of the co-founders of the brand is Sam Faiers (yes the former TOWIE star).  Now celebrity involvement in collagen brands is nothing new - Jennifer Aniston is the Chief Creative Officer for Vital Proteins, an organic US collagen supplement and Khloe Kardashian is the global spokesperson for Dose, a New Zealand-based powdered collagen supplement. 

But we're interested in the science. Does Revive Vegan Collagen work and is it worth your money?  Well, it does come with clinical trials and has the backing of trusted experts. Let's dig deeper.  

Vegan collagen supplement: what is the science behind it? 

The new vegan collagen ingredient in question is Vecollal, a 'vegan collagen alternative' formulated and developed in collaboration with Dr Josué Jiménez Vázquez, PhD a skin and collagen specialist in biomaterials and tissue engineering. 

In a small placebo-controlled trial (15 people) it was shown that after taking 3.88g of Vecollal per day, the participants' collagen production had increased by 134.97%. And after four weeks, participants' skin was measured using infrared technology and wrinkles were shown to have reduced by 13% and collagen density had increased by 4.6%. The results of larger clinical trials are expected later this year.

What is in Revive Vegan Collagen?

As well as 2.5g of vegan collagen that identically mimics human type 1 collagen (so not quite as much as in the Vecollal trial), one daily sachet also has many other vitamins (including vitamin C, which helps with collagen lay down)  as well as vitamin A, E and Panax ginseng, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory - all good age-proofing supplement ingredients. It is the first liquid collagen supplement which means you can drink it straight from the sachet making it very easy to take every day.

It has also got the vote of respected consultant dermatologist, Dr Alia Ahmed, who has tried it. She says. “I’m passionate about collagen as an effective and holistic approach to skincare, so it’s very encouraging to see a vegan collagen alternative that has impressive results in clinical studies, especially when more people require plant-friendly alternatives to fit within their lifestyle. The fact Revive Collagen Vegan is also packed with essential vitamins and nutrients is very positive; these alternative dietary sources are not only great for the hair and skin, but also important in complementing overall health”.

Nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr, an advocate of collagen supplements is hailing it as,  "an innovative and nutrition dense collagen supplement which is backed by research that caters to vegans - many of which struggle to obtain a sufficient amount of collagen and essential vitamins in a plant-based diet." She says she recommends it to clients as a vegan-friendly alternative to collagen.  

The vegan version follows the success of the original Revive Collagen, a marine collagen supplement, alightky pricier at  £39.99 which has become a best-seller. Will the vegan version, with added sustainability credentials follow suit? We're keeping a watchful eye and of course are going to try it for ourselves.