I Drank Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer for Better Skin—Here’s My Review
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Drinking collagen is believed to help improve skin health and provide anti-aging benefits.
Collagen creamer products to look and feel better
Getting through 2020 in one piece took a lot of self-care, sleep, and coffee. For stress relief, I was willing to try anything and everything that might make me feel or look better, or provide an energy boost.
One silver lining of the year: I finally had the time to try pretty much any trend or product that caught my fancy. I reached out to friends, did online reading, and obsessively searched for wellness, fitness, and dietary products to help get me through the day.
Some of the experiments ended up being a waste of time and money—like making homemade bread. (I remembered I’m just not a bread person to begin with.)
But some of the wellness experiments were a huge success. As part of what I’m calling my very own 15 days of feeling better, I’m sharing the results. (Here’s my YogaToes review and my Bearaby weighted blanket review.)
To improve my complexion, I decided to try drinking collagen with my coffee. I love coffee and I figured if it could boost my skin health, why not? Here’s what I learned from drinking Vital Proteins collagen creamer ($29) almost every day for six months.
(If you’re curious, here are the surprising health benefits of drinking coffee.)
What is collagen creamer?
Vital Proteins collagen creamer made its way into my orbit via my cousin, a registered dietician, who encouraged me to try consuming collagen for better gut health. (Some preliminary research suggests people with a form of irritable bowel syndrome may have low collagen levels.)
She specifically suggested Vital Proteins collagen creamer, citing its pleasant taste and easy drinkability. I sort of ignored her, but when I heard about the possible beauty benefits of consuming collagen, I couldn’t order a jar of collagen creamer fast enough. A plus: Jennifer Aniston drinks it! (She’s Chief Creative Officer of Vital Proteins.)
I’ve been a daily coffee drinker pretty much my whole adult life. I usually drink it with a splash of cream, or get a lavender latte if I’m out and about and feeling fancy.
Black coffee in moderation isn’t a bad habit, but I realized that I might be missing out on an easy way to add nutritional value and beauty benefits to my regular cup of Joe. (Want to know if coffee is bad for you?)
Let’s back up and find out what collagen actually is.
“Collagen is a protein, and a major building block of connective tissues in the body which include ligaments, cartilage, tendons, muscles, skin, and bone,” says Malina Linkas Malkani, RDN in Westchester, New York.
“Food sources of collagen include the connective tissues of animals; when consumed, these are broken down in the body into individual amino acids and peptides that are then reassembled to meet the body’s needs,” explains Malkani.
(These are the foods that naturally boost collagen.)
So collagen is a protein made of animal parts. How does that translate into my daily scoop of collagen creamer? “Collagen peptides (such as collagen hydrolysate) are dietary supplements that are thought to be more readily absorbed in the body than the collagen found in foods,” says Malkani.
“Collagen creamers are products that contain collagen peptides as well as additional ingredients that contribute flavor and texture,” she explains.
What’s in collagen creamer?
In addition to collagen peptides, the Vital Proteins creamer adds a few simple ingredients to improve (and I guess, hide) the otherwise gamey taste of collagen. It’s made up of a few ingredients that you can actually pronounce—organic coconut milk powder, collagen peptides, natural vanilla, organic bamboo shoot extract, and organic acacia fiber.
When it comes to nutritional value, it’s similar to bone broth, says Molly Devine, a North Carolina-based registered dietitian. “Collagen does have nutritional value. A scoop of collagen powder is roughly equivalent to drinking a cup of bone broth.”
What are the benefits of collagen coffee creamer?
Turns out that Devine uses collagen for gut health: “It’s a really good high-quality protein source,” she says, and it may help repair and heal the gut lining. (Here are the best foods and recipes for gut health.)
“Collagen may also be helpful for joint pain and injury healing. A lot of people like to include collagen in their diet to improve the elasticity of skin, such as wrinkle prevention, and to help with hair, skin, and nails.” The human body does naturally create collagen, but it slows production as we get older, leading to dry skin, loss of elasticity, and more wrinkles.
(These are the anti-aging supplements worth buying.)
Vital Proteins creamer delivers about 10 grams of collagen peptides per serving, and that’s an amount that some research suggests may actually help with skin aging: A 2019 review of 11 studies published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that people who took up to 10 grams a day had improved skin elasticity and wound healing.
What are the negatives of collagen coffee creamer?
Since collagen is made from animal parts, if you’re a vegetarian or pescatarian, collagen probably isn’t for you. Malkani explains, “It’s important to note for people with food allergies that fish, shellfish, and eggs are sometimes used as a source of collagen in collagen supplements.”
Devine adds, “For people who don’t eat land animals, but do eat fish, Vital Proteins makes a Marine Collagen Peptides supplement.” But before starting any new supplement, it’s smart to check with your doctor or a registered dietician.
How to use collagen coffee creamer
Essentially, collagen coffee creamer is well-blended and emulsified collagen mixed with other high-quality ingredients to improve the texture and taste. It’s hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for the body to absorb.
I’ve been drinking a scoop of the Vital Proteins coconut coffee creamer almost every morning for six months. Here’s how I do it.
Though the creamer is dissolvable in hot and cold water, I’ve found it mixes much easier in hot liquids. It’s also important to pour the coffee on top of the creamer. If you try to mix the creamer into already poured coffee, you’ll end up with lumps—yuck.
How does Vital Proteins collagen coffee creamer taste? Like coconut! I started drinking it before I truly understood how much collagen is animal parts and I’ve never detected a gamey or animal taste.
While the creamer is made for coffee lovers, it can also be scooped into oatmeal, baking recipes, or matcha. Really, it’s good anytime you want to use a dairy-free milk substitute, thanks to the organic coconut milk powder. Jennifer Aniston adds collagen to green smoothies. (Try these healthy fruit smoothies for breakfast.)
Did drinking collagen coffee creamer help me feel better?
Without a doubt, yes. I should have listened to my cousin from the start. Adding a scoop to the coffee I’m already drinking is an easy way to add protein and nutritional benefits to my morning. And since collagen is really protein, I feel more satiated.
I don’t quite look like Jennifer Aniston, but I have noticed my nails are stronger and don’t peel at the tips. Drinking collagen coffee creamer makes me feel healthy and it tastes good. It’s an easy choice.
- Malina Linkas Malkani, MS, RDN, CDN, Westchester, New York
- Molly Devine, RD, Durham, North Carolina
- Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics: "Misbalance in type III collagen formation/degradation as a novel serological biomarker for penetrating (Montreal B3) Crohn's disease"
- Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: "Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications"