From where we source our collagen to whether or not vegan collagen is readily available to the public, prospective customers are rightfully curious about the key ingredient in Vital Proteins products. In short, the collagen in our products is not vegan. We have not yet found a plant-based collagen source that meets the standards of our current product lineup. Our hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides, for example, are free of dairy, gluten, and added sweeteners. It contains one singular ingredient: collagen.
Collagen is important because our body's natural collagen production begins to decline as we age. Our bodies may no longer absorb nutrients as well or synthesize them as efficiently. To ensure the body has enough of the ingredients required for collagen production, it is important to supplement with collagen and its necessary amino acids. Collagen is special because it contains an abundance of the three amino acids that you won't find in meaningful amounts in many other foods (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline). Muscular growth, joint health, and an overall glowing appearance can be partially attributed to the amino acid blend in collagen that can't be found anywhere else.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen – a major component of hair, skin, nails, and joints – but the production of collagen slows down as we age. This is why adding collagen to our diets in an attempt to continue promoting stronger and healthier skin, hair, nails, and bones has become our mission. Our famous hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides – a.k.a. the blue canister you’ve likely been seeing pop up in stores and on Instagram – are bovine-based and sourced from the hide of Brazilian grass-fed cattle, predominantly the Nelore breed. These hides are a byproduct of the cattle industry, which means that the cattle are first used for their meat.
"... The hide is constantly being regenerated over a few months," Vital Proteins founder Kurt Seidensticker says in the below video. "You end up getting a cow, from nose to tail, with a [healthier] source of collagen."
In terms of non-cattle sourcing, we also offer pescatarian-friendly Marine Collagen, which is sourced from white fish scales. It’s a sustainable, natural by-product of the seafood industry that would otherwise be lost. Just like our original Collagen Peptides, the Marine Collagen is easily soluble in hot and cold liquids and is flavorless.
Those who follow a vegan lifestyle may choose to supplement with plant-based building blocks to support the body's natural collagen production. For example, vitamin C, found in our Beauty Boost capsules and our Glow Collagen Shot, is a key nutrient involved in the formation of collagen by forming a precursor molecule called pro-collagen with the amino acids proline and lysine. In order for vitamin C to work its magic in collagen synthesis, it needs a sufficient supply of the amino acids proline, glycine and lysine. One great way to get these amino acids in your diet is by using Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, which is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
While collagen builders are available for those following plant-based diets, the best way to help support stronger hair, skin, nails, and joints is by adding collagen to your diet. And now, taking the supplement has become easier than ever with the launch of our Collagen Water, which contains 10g of collagen, and Collagen Shots, which is infused with 7g of collagen peptides. They can both be taken on the go. But if you're a loyal fan of our collagen powders, we have on-the-go options for those as well, in the form of stick packs. Enjoy the health and beauty benefits that comes with every sip.
For more information on the benefits of collagen, check out our Why Collagen page.