Vital Proteins is arguably the most popular collagen brand in the U.S. The brand sells a wide variety of collagen products from collagen powder to collagen bars, and their products are promoted by celebrities like Jennifer Aniston. Many consumers use Vital Proteins supplements to improve their skin.
But does collagen powder actually improve skin, or is this just a marketing claim? Do Vital Proteins products provide an effective dose of collagen? What is an effective dose of collagen? And do real users report that Vital Proteins collagen improved their skin?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we review the ingredients in some of Vital Proteins’ most popular products based on medical research to give our take on whether they're likely to improve skin, and whether we recommend them.
We'll review Vital Proteins Collagen Powder, Collagen Water, Beauty Collagen, Collagen Creamer, Protein Powder and Collagen Gummies. We'll also share a review from a real user with before-and-after images after 3 months of use, and another review from someone who taste-tested all of their most popular products. First, we'll analyze whether collagen actually does improve skin appearance.
Does Collagen Really Improve Skin Appearance?
Collagen protein has a wide variety of health benefits, but most consumers take it for improvements to skin. As we age, our natural collagen production decreases which can accelerate skin aging and increase wrinkles.
Oral collagen supplementation is proven in medical research to improve a wide variety of skin parameters, including collagen density, skin elasticity and hydration.
The dose of collagen used in medical research varies, but we recommend a dose of 10 grams (g) daily, which appears to be the maximally effective dose. A recent medical review summarized 19 clinical trials on collagen for skin and concluded that “collagen peptides can delay and improve the signs of skin aging by decreasing facial wrinkles and improving skin hydration and elasticity.”
All of the studies except one used a dosage at or under 10 g daily except for one.
Clearly research shows that collagen supplementation can improve skin quality and reduce visible effects of aging, and we recommend a daily dose of 10 g. The improvements to skin typically take weeks to months, and are not instant.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Review
Vital Proteins’ most popular product is their Collagen Peptides powder which contains two active ingredients: hydrolyzed collagen and hyaluronic acid.
Vital Proteins sources their hydrolyzed collagen from grass-fed animals, which we believe is a good decision from a health context since medical studies have shown that food sourced from grass-fed animals is nutritionally superior on average to that sourced from conventionally-raised animals. We already established in the previous section that this ingredient is effective for anti-aging.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides also contains 80 milligrams (mg) of hyaluronic acid, which is an effective ingredient for skin aging but may be slightly underdosed. We only found one study on oral hyaluronic acid's effects on skin. The researchers found that hyaluronic acid improved skin moisture, but the dosage used was 120 mg.
Vital Proteins collagen powder is free of questionable filler ingredients like artificial flavoring or added sugar, and for this reason we recommend Vital Proteins Collagen Powder. Interested consumers can check out Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides powder at this link to the product page on the brand's official Amazon store.
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Vital Proteins collagen comes from a creator called Sarah Fit who used the product for three months and shares before-and-after images:
Vital Proteins Taste Test
Since Vital Proteins sells a large number of collagen products that are naturally flavored, consumers are often curious about which ones taste the best.
A YouTube creator named Kayla Djukic published a popular video testing the taste of all of Vital Proteins' most popular products and sharing her thoughts. The video is unsponsored:
Vital Proteins Collagen Water Review
Vital Proteins sells a variety of naturally-flavored Collagen Waters. These drinks are flavored with small amounts of fruit juice like peach juice concentrate instead of added sugar or artificial flavors, which makes them a healthy option.
Each Vital Proteins Collagen Water contains 10 g of collagen which is an effective dose. They retail for $3/bottle.
From a cost perspective, this is less efficient than mixing 10 g of the collagen powder into a water, which only costs $0.96 per serving.
For consumers who can afford it, we recommend Vital Proteins Collagen Water and consider it likely effective for improving skin, given that it provides an effective dose of collagen and has no questionable additive ingredients.
Interested consumers can check out Vital Proteins Collagen Water at this link to the product page on the brand's official Amazon store.
Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer Review
Vital Proteins’ creamer is a much healthier alternative in our opinion to commercial creamers like Coffee Mate which contain added sugar, vegetable oils, artificial flavors and all sorts of questionable ingredients.
Vital Proteins offers three creamer flavors: vanilla, coconut and mocha.
We recommend the Vital Proteins Coconut Collagen Creamer flavor (ingredients shown above) because it contains no added flavoring agents. The only ingredients are: collagen peptides, organic coconut milk powder, silica and organic acacia fiber which makes for the most nutritious and non-toxic creamer we’ve come across in an Illuminate Health review.
Acacia fiber is an especially nutritious thickening ingredient that's been shown in medical research to have beneficial effects on gut health. A 2022 clinical trial found that acacia fiber supplementation helped to improve gut health and support microbial diversity in the gut.
We recommend Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer from a health perspective and it's the only creamer we've recommended on Illuminate Health to date. Interested consumers can check out Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer at this link to the product page on the brand's official Amazon store.
Vital Proteins Beauty Collagen Review
Vital Proteins sells a separate line of collagen powders specifically marketed for beauty. The formulation is very similar to the standard Collagen Peptides product, but hyaluronic acid is included at an effective dose of 120 mg instead of 80 mg.
Beauty Collagen also contains 2 billion colony-forming units (CFU) of a patented probiotic blend called “LactoSpore.” While this probiotic has been studied in medical trials, we can’t find any research proving that it benefits skin.
This supplement also contains natural flavors, which is an ingredient we recommend health-conscious consumers avoid. As documented in a medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, there are legitimate health questions about some of the flavoring agents added to foods and supplements.
We do not recommend Vital Proteins Beauty Collagen due to the inclusion of natural flavors, and would recommend using the standard collagen peptides product instead.
Vital Performance Protein Powder Review
Vital Proteins sells a protein powder called Vital Performance. While all of their collagen products are rich in protein (because collagen itself is a type of protein), this product has a higher protein dosage per serving (25 g).
This is an effective protein dose for muscle building. A medical review published in 2013 analyzed data from many individual clinical trials on protein and exercise, and concluded that 20 g to 25 g post-workout maximizes response of muscle protein synthesis.
We don't recommend this product because it contains 5 g of added sugar per serving in the form of tapioca dextrose. For elite athletes, consuming added sugar may improve power and endurance, but added sugar consumption is harmful to human health in excess, and many Americans consume too much added sugar from diet already.
Vital Performance also contains natural flavors and 230 mg sodium per serving which is relatively high for a protein powder.
We do not recommend Vital Proteins Protein Powder due to the inclusion of added sugar and flavoring agents.
Vital Proteins Collagen Gummies Review
Vital Proteins sells a variety of different gummies products, but their most popular is their Collagen Gummies (ingredients shown above).
As we explained in our review of Olly vitamins, we generally don't recommend gummy supplements because they tend to be underdosed and contain added sugar. The focus of gummy supplement formulations is typically taste first and efficacy second.
That trend holds true with Vital Proteins Collagen Gummies in our opinion.
These gummies provide 2.5 g of collagen per serving, which is still an effective dose, but it's a much less cost-efficient way to get collagen than collagen powder. The powder, as discussed above, costs $0.96 per 10 g collagen while these gummies cost $2.40 per 10 g collagen.
Vital Proteins Collagen Gummies contain 5 g added sugar per serving, and also contain natural flavors.
These gummies contain a preservative ingredient called citric acid that we recommend avoiding, as it has been shown in a series of medical case reports to cause whole-body inflammation in some patients.
This is the worst Vital Proteins formulation in our opinion, and we do not recommend Vital Proteins Collagen Gummies due to the inclusion of numerous questionable additive ingredients.
Does Vital Proteins Collagen Cause Side Effects?
Collagen is a very safe food product; it’s just a type of protein.
A thorough medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found collagen supplementation to be “generally safe with no reported adverse events.”
We don't believe that consumers need to worry about side effects from collagen consumption, especially in the case of unflavored collagen products free of questionable additive ingredients like the Vital Protein products that we've recommended.
Quick Takes on Other Popular Vital Proteins Products
Vital Proteins Marine Collagen - Clean and effective formulation. Collagen sourced from fish. Good option for pescatarians.
We haven't come across any medical evidence that collagen sourced from fish is more effective than collagen sourced from animals, and this product is more expensive than the standard collagen powder, so we wouldn't recommend this product to individuals who eat meat. Approved. Available at this link.
Vital Proteins Bone Broth Collagen - This broth is sourced from pastured animals. Bone broth is known to be a nutrient-dense food, but probably doesn’t taste good as a powder (and some reviewers have mentioned this). A good option from a health context but perhaps not the most cost-effective or tasteful way to get your daily collagen. Approved. Available at this link.
Our Clean Collagen Picks
Bulletproof Collagen Powder is our top overall collagen pick because its only ingredient is hydrolyzed collagen sourced from grass-fed animals.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen powder at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Super Youth Unflavored is our top premium collagen supplement, as it not only provides an effective collagen dose, but also contains sodium ascorbate which was described as a "potent stimulator of collagen and elastin production in the treatment of wrinkled and stretch-marked skin" in a clinical trial published in the Journal of Dermatological Science.
Interested consumers can check out Super Youth Unflavored at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Bulletproof Chocolate Collagen is our top flavored collagen powder pick.
This collagen powder is naturally flavored with organic cocoa powder and coconut creamer powder, and is the healthiest flavored collagen we've reviewed to-date.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Chocolate Collagen at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.