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. While our hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides, for example, are free of dairy, gluten, and added sweeteners. It contains one singular ingredient that, in itself, is not vegan: collagen.
Below, we explore collagen further — what is collagen, the benefits of collagen, where collagen is made from, the best ways to get collagen, as well as why, as a result, collagen is not vegan. We do however offer up vegan Vital Proteins alternatives. Scroll on to take a look.
Let's start with a refresher on the health benefits of 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.**
Note: For more information on the benefits of collagen, check out our Why Collagen page.
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 – aka 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.
"... 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."
While our products are not vegan, those who follow a vegan lifestyle may choose to supplement with plant-based building blocks, found in some of our products, 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. It forms a precursor molecule called pro-collagen, in which the amino acids proline and lysine are included. 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.
Another product to consider the does not contain collagen but still supports overall wellness, is Spirulina. One of nature’s most perfect forms of nutrition, Spirulina is an amazing superfood sourced from blue-green algae. It's a great source of vitamin A, vitamin K and other potent phytonutrients that help to aid in the body’s ability to naturally detoxify while giving our overall energy levels a huge boost. A 100% vegan product, Spirulina is a great source of nutrition anyone can benefit from.
In terms of non-cattle sourcing, we also offer pescatarian-friendly Marine Collagen. While this is also not vegan, it’s a sustainable, natural by-product of the seafood industry. We source this Pescatarian-friendly offering from our wild-caught, non-GMO white fish that’s caught off the coast of Alaska. We believe in whole animal nutrition to reduce waste and improve sustainability, so our Marine Collagen is sourced from the skin and scales of fish, natural by-products of the seafood industry that would otherwise be discarded. Just like our original Collagen Peptides, the Marine Collagen is easily soluble in hot and cold liquids and is flavorless. Prefer taking collagen pills? Reach for our Marine Collagen capsules instead.
In addition, we offer other Marine Collagen fan-favorite products. Our marine-based Collagen Beauty Glow™ contains skin-loving ingredients – like hyaluronic acid, biotin and vitamin C – and is soluble in hot and cold liquids. Additionally, it’s available in refreshing flavors (Lavender Lemon, Strawberry Lemon & Tropical Hibiscus) and is an easy way to not only boost your collagen intake but also boost the flavor profile of your tea, smoothie or cocktail.
While collagen builders are available for those following plant-based regiments, the best way to help support stronger hair, skin, nails, and joints** is by adding collagen to your diet. Luckily, taking the supplement has become easier than ever with our diverse offering of products.
Take our Collagen Waters™, which contains 10g of collagen, and Collagen Shots, which are infused with 7g of collagen peptides. Or, if you’re on the search for a better-for-you snack that’s packed with 12g of collagen per serving, check out our Collagen Bars™. All of these can both be conveniently taken wherever your day brings you.
But, if you're a loyal fan of our collagen powders, we have options for those as well in the form of stick packs, collagen capsules or if you want to add a little flavor, we recommend one of our flavored Collagen Peptides: Dark Chocolate Blackberry Collagen Peptides, Vanilla Collagen Peptides & Mixed Berry Collagen Peptides. There are so many ways to enjoy the health and beauty benefits that come with every sip. Navigate to this page to see what you should try next!