There are hordes of plant-based collagen supplements in the market that claims anti-aging properties and skin benefits. Collagen has a far more significant role in the human body. It is the most profuse protein present in your body. Collagen acts as the vital component of the connective tissue in our skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels, carriage, tendons as well as the gut.
As collagen is abundantly found throughout the body, our quality of life greatly depends on our body’s ability to synthesize adequate collagen. The more efficient collagen production, the better the state of your body tissues, connoting to better skin and healthy joints.
While collagen production can go down in your body due to the aging process, this is not the only factor that affects collagen synthesis. Some other factors that play an integral role in the down-regulation of collagen production in your body include poor lifestyle choices, unhealthy dietary habits, irregular sleeping patterns, etc. This not only reveals signs of early aging but also has an adverse impact on your joints, mobility, and performance as a whole.
On the other hand, good dietary habits and healthy lifestyle practices can increase collagen production. If you consume foods rich in minerals, vitamins, and protein, it can help enhance collagen production in your body.
Thus, it is important to facilitate your body in synthesizing collagen. This can be done by eating foods, plants, and herbs that promote collagen production or taking vegan collagen supplements.
Best Foods That Can Help Collagen Synthesis to Reduce Joint Pain
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is widely known for its unmatched skin benefits. It is used to treat abrasions, acne, scars, and helps rejuvenate the skin. People also consume aloe vera for various health benefits such as controlling sugar level, relief of heartburn, and laxative effect. You can use aloe vera in multiple forms, such as gel, pills, and powder.
A study has shown that aloe vera, when taken orally, is beneficial in treating chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP), particularly in osteoarthritis (OA). Not only that, aloe vera is shown to have potential anti-inflammatory effects and acts as a preventive concoction against the gastrointestinal irritant effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for arthritic pain.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) reports that the use of aloe vera is potentially safe. However, some people may experience minor side effects when taken in excess quantity by mouth.
Ginger is the most commonly used ingredient in cooking, but it also has many therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that the active components of ginger give it a strong flavor and the characteristic anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, the anti-arthritic effects of ginger essential oils (GEO) are comparable to those of 17-β estradiol.
Some researchers go as far as anticipating ginger to replace nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Ginger has been used as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of nausea. However, it is also potentially beneficial for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and pain in the joints and muscles.
Another review in 2016 stated that components of ginger have a promising future as a remedial therapy for pharmaceutical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It not only helps to treat the symptoms of RA but also prevents bone damage.
Some of the ways you can use ginger are as follows:
- Ginger tea – Boil fresh ginger in water for 5 minutes to make tea or use ginger tea bags.
- Pour the ginger powder onto baked items.
- Add fresh ginger or ginger powder to flavorful meals.
- Add grated ginger to salads.
It is important to consult your doctor consuming ginger, specifically if you are taking other medicines like warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner, with which ginger may interfere.
Eucalyptus is an abundantly available remedy for the treatment of various medical conditions. The extract of eucalyptus leaves is one of the main components of the topical treatments used for arthritis pain. Eucalyptus leaves contain tannins, which help in reducing swelling and pain caused by arthritis. Eucalyptus leaves, if accompanied with heat pads, are known to exponentiate the pain-relieving effects. The aromatherapy of eucalyptus may also alleviate the symptoms of RA.
You can use eucalyptus essential oil diluted in a carrier oil before use. For example, 12-15 drops of eucalyptus oil can be used with 2 tablespoons of another carrier oil like almond oil.
It is important to confirm that you are non-allergic to eucalyptus by doing a patch test before applying to a bigger surface area. A patch test can be done using a minute amount of the topical product on your arm or hand. If no reaction or irritation is experienced after 24 to 48 hours, it is safe to use eucalyptus.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is a very popular and well-known drink among the masses. It is rich in antioxidants, which enables it to scavenge the free radicals and curb the inflammation that occurs in the body with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Green tea can be consumed in the following forms:
- Boiled and strained to drink as a beverage
- Matcha powder to be sprinkled on food or added over smoothies
Although scientists have shown that green tea extracts or specific green tea ingredients have relieving effects on arthritis, it is not clearly understood if the concentration of green tea in a cup of tea will alleviate the symptoms. Thus, its lower concentration makes it safe for daily use. In fact, green tea is a healthier beverage than sodas, coffees, and sugar-added drinks, as far as sugar is not added.
Turmeric is a flowering plant that is widely used throughout the world. Not only it adds flavor to the food, but it has immense benefits for your health. It is an orange-colored food which is a rich source of collagen.
The active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, is mainly responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also long known for its therapeutic potential in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Turmeric has been the favorite food of elderly people, who typically used it as an ailment for many problems, including infections and other health conditions. It is considered to be beneficial for joint pain conditions such as RA and OA.
You can take turmeric as:
- Powder form added to meals
- Gold milk – a few pinches added to milk
- As oral supplements such as Organic Turmeric Curcumin Pills
According to NCCIH, turmeric is safe for most people, although long-term use might cause stomach disturbance. Consult your doctor for professional advice on how much quantity is safe for you.
Boswellia serrata, also called frankincense, is widely known for its use in traditional medicine, particularly for its anti-inflammatory properties. Native to India, Boswelia comes from the gum of Boswellia trees. Research has shown that the anti-inflammatory properties of Boswellia help people with severe joint pains.
It improves the condition of the pain, stiffness, and functioning of the joint in patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Boswellia can be used orally as tablets or as topical creams. Doses of up to 1 gram per day are considered safe; however, higher doses can be harmful to the liver.
7. Cat’s Claw
Another herb that provides plant-based collagen is the cat’s claw. It helps to reduce swelling and inflammation in people suffering from arthritis. Indigenous to Central and South America, the cat’s claw is obtained from the bark and root of a tropical vine.
Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, the cat’s claw is traditionally used as an immune system boosting aid. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the cat’s claw possesses tumor necrosis factor (TNF) that helps fight cancer.
However, the cat’s claw is associated with some side effects, including nausea, headache, dizziness, and low blood pressure. Before using this vegan collagen herb, talk to your doctor, particularly if you take blood thinners, use immunosuppressive medications, or have a history of tuberculosis.
8. Thunder God Vine
Thunder god vine, also called Tripterygium wilfordii, provides the plant-based collagen that replenishes your body stores. It has been in use by locals in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicine since ancient times to reduce inflammation and enhance immune activity. This property makes thunder god vine a useful herb for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other joint conditions. You can use this herb topically on your skin or orally as a dietary supplement.
However, make sure to seek advice from your physician before taking this herb as it may have numerous side effects if not used appropriately:
- Hair loss
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Menstrual disturbance
- Respiratory infections
- Skin rash
It can also interact with certain medicines, particularly those used for RA. Also, its extracts from the erroneous part can have potential toxic effects. Furthermore, vine herb is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for production or sale as part of the natural remedies.
9. Willow Bark
The use of willow bark dates back to ancient times for treating pain and inflammation. Nowadays, it can be taken as a tea or in tablet form.
Studies have found that willow bark offers a pain-relieving effect on the joints, particularly in RA and OA.
However, it can have some side effects, which include stomach upset, allergic reaction, high blood pressure, as well as overdose-related stomach ulcers, and bleeding.
Ask your doctor when considering to use willow bark, especially if you are on blood thinners or have a stomach ulcer. Avoid taking this plant-based collagen source if you are allergic to aspirin.
Collagen Supplements Are an Efficient Option
There are numerous natural reserves of plant-based collagen that you can use to enhance collagen formation to help soothe joint pain. However, supplements can also serve as an efficient alternative. By using high-quality supplements like Advance Joint Support Complex, your body is enabled to meet the optimal levels of collagen.
It is very important to avoid supplements containing added sugars, preservatives, or artificial flavors to avoid their untoward health effects. Because these ingredients can damage your body’s collagen, taking such supplements will harm your body instead of helping you heal. Always consult your doctor and ensure that the supplement you’re using is safe for you.
- Fodstad M. 10 Foods That Increase Collagen Production. Mauer. Jan, 2018. https://medium.com/mauer-sports-nutrition/10-foods-that-increase-collagen-production-532255796ff4
- Atherton M. Arthritis Pain? Eating These 75p Nuts Could Get Rid of Your Joint Pain. Express. Feb, 2018. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/924127/arthritis-pain-uk-symptoms-nuts-joint-diet
- Harris ED, Rayton JK, Balthrop JE, DiSilvestro RA, Garcia-de-Quevedo M. Copper And The Synthesis Of Elastin And Collagen. Ciba Found Symp. 1980;79:163-182. doi:10.1002/9780470720622.ch9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6110524/
- Maret G. Traber & Jan F. Stevens. Vitamins C and E: Beneficial Effects from A Mechanistic Perspective. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2011;51(5):1000-1013. Doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.05.017. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584911003194