Have you ever had one of those moments where you wonder ‘is this person pulling my leg?’ when you’ve been told something that sounds almost untrue. I can recall having that same feeling when a close friend of mine told me that you can get collagen in plants.

From what I understood, collagen only came from animals. Where typically, collagen type 1 and collagen type 3 were sourced from the bovine family of animals, which includes cows and in some cases, apparently buffalo.

At the time we were having this discussion the thought of not having meat constantly in my diet was one that was completely foreign. I was taking this side in the discussion, or argument, depending upon how you perceived the exchange, that meat was the only source of some things. Collagen being one of them.

I was of the understanding that a thing needed to have the ability to process amino acids and protein to form collagen. There was no way that a plant could possibly do this, or anything like it, in my opinion.

Marine collagen sources

I knew that there was a growing source of marine collagen being extracted from fish, but getting collagen in plants simply made no sense. The research that I did into marine collagen, that is typically used in the cosmetics industry, uncovered some information that was troubling.

It turns out that collagen can be extracted from fish. Specifically, fish guts, bones, and scales as the primary source. As glamorous as that sounds, it’s not the cringe worthy bit. Fish that are starved produce higher collagen content when compared to fish that are well fed.

Join the dots with that thought… It’s cheaper to not feed fish you are farming for their collagen. And, if you don’t feed them, they make more collagen. What’s that I can smell? Potentially fishy exploitation?

The thought of consuming fish guts and bones kind of put me off ‘marine collagen’ from that point. But, as the discussion with my friend uncovered, there are other sources of collagen, including the possibility of finding collagen in plants.

But which plants have collagen?

We’re going to go back to the fish for a moment here. Not, they are not the source of collagen we are talking about. And I’m not going to play some smoke and mirrors trick to form a point that makes fish sound like they are a part of the process for finding collagen in plants. But they can benefit from this.

Some types of seaweed produce collagen type 1 and collagen type 3, with a molecular structure that is uncannily like our own collagen type 1 and collagen type 3. And there’s been research conducted that shows the effects of collagen in plants, specifically seaweed, of humans.

So there’s little need, if any at all, for animal collagen. In fact, seaweed is a perfect source of collagen for Vegans and Vegetarians.

Oh, and the fish benefit from this too! Seaweed is a primary food source for many marine life, so with responsible seaweed farming, there’s more food out there to support the life in the oceans.

While we’re on the topic of the ocean, you may have heard the expression ‘the forests of the sea’? Kelp forests, and other seaweed that occurs naturally in our waters do a lot to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, and bring balance back to waters that are acidic.

The impacts of industry and land based agriculture are seen in areas of coastline. This can take the form of waters having lower oxygen levels and not being as alkaline as it naturally should be.

Seaweed, as a farmable source of collagen in plants harvested from the ocean, does a lot to help address these types of problems. It’s amazing to think that by changing the source of the collagen that there ae so many inherent benefits, almost as a type of side effect.

Real collagen in plants

Did you know that sea moss has long been used for a wide range of applications in many cultures. My Grandmother used sea moss to make ice cream, which we gobbled up as children until we learned that there was seaweed in it.

Kids can be very fickle. I loved my Grandmother’s ice cream, but I associated the word ‘seaweed’ with what I knew from the beaches where I grew up in Altona. After a storm there was a lot of seaweed that washed up. In the heat of the sun it began to rot and smell. That’s what I thought seaweed was at 5 years old.

When prepared correctly, like my Grandmother did, sea moss has no smell or taste. It is a bland substance that has some amazing benefits. This is why it has been looked to for generations as a staple in many countries.

Today I make my own sea moss gel, which I use twice daily, as a part of my skincare regimen. A great way to find collagen in plants, this delivers very low cost, highly effective results. I also able to use the exact same sea moss gel, which is kept in the refrigerator, in a range of recipes.

Using essential oils to get the most out of topical applications

Topical application and consumption of sea moss gel provides the benefit of getting collagen type 1 and collagen type 3 into the body quickly. The skin is able to absorb what it needs effectively, and according to the research I’ve done, you can use essential oils to prime the skin first.

Marjoram essential oil apparently helps the collagen to be absorbed into the skin at a higher rate. I have recently been using a small amount of this first, and then the sea moss gel after it has had time to sit. I’ll provide an update in a few weeks about what I have found with using the Marjoram essential oil before the sea moss gel.

Would you have thought that the humble seaweed could be a means for us to find collagen in plants?

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