Vital Proteins vs Great Lakes: The Great Collagen Showdown

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Vital Proteins vs. Great Lakes is quite the collagen company showdown. Both look excellent and are packed with benefits. Which one is best? Is one actually better than the other? Read on to find out. But let’s just say I was a little surprised.

About Vital Proteins

The protein for Vital Proteins is from pasture-raised cows in Brazil and New Zealand and wild-caught fish in Hawaii.

The founder of the company was inspired to create the products because of knee pain he experienced one day while he was out running. He wanted to heal and protect his body so he wouldn’t have to give up one of the things he loved to do.

It’s designed for all types of people, from those who just enjoy getting a little extra exercise on the weekends to serious athletes.

What They Offer

This is a long list!

About Great Lakes

The company started in 1922, so you know they’re doing something right. Back then they were called Grayslake Gelatin, but they became Great Lakes Gelatin® Company in 1988.

Their products didn’t start out as a collagen supplement for clearer skin, better-functioning joints, or great hair. Instead, they were making gelatin for use in desserts and vitamin capsules.

Great Lakes gelatin and collagen products come from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows in Brazil and Argentina. They’re focused on animal welfare, food safety, and quality.

What They Offer

Collagen Hydrolysate (the main event and main thing I’m comparing to a Vital Proteins product here)

  • Single can
  • Two cans with free shipping
  • Three cans with free shipping
  • 8-lb bag with free shipping
  • Convenience packs (20 packs)
  • Set of two convenience packs (40 packs total) with free shipping

Collagen Endurance (1-lb can), with B vitamins for energy and stamina

Collagen Endurance Plus (1-lb can), with B vitamins for energy and stamina

Flavors

Well, if you’re looking for a brand you can stick with and you love variety, Vital Proteins is a no-brainer. You need that one and all the things they have to offer, in all the flavors.

If you’re pretty set on just using plain collagen that can come with additional ingredients that will give you energy, Great Lakes is worth checking out. They do have some flavored options within the Endurance line, but they don’t have the range that Vital Proteins does.

Otherwise, these are pretty much the same. Both claim to be flavorless and odorless. Most reviewers seem to agree. However, there are reviewers in both camps who beg to differ.

Variety of Products

When we look at Vital Proteins vs Great Lakes in terms of what’s available from the line as a whole, Vital Proteins is the winner. They don’t just have plain collagen powder. There are capsules, creamers, blends with veggies and probiotics, and even different types of collagen (marine, for example). If you want to be able to shop for several things in one place, Vital Proteins might be the one to try first.

How Do The Collagens Differ?

There’s a pretty big difference in the options these companies offer, but they both do plain, unflavored collagen. For the sake of an apples-to-apples review, I’m going to compare the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (bovine) and the Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate (also bovine). Same thing, different names.

Vital ProteinsGreat Lakes
Container sizes20oz, 10oz, 20 stick packs, 360 capsules16oz can, 8lb bag, a pack of 20 sticks,
Amount of protein20g11g
ClaimsBioavailability, able to dissolve in hot or cold liquids, and helpful for hair, skin, nails, joints, ligaments, and tendons, helps IBS, and contributes to weight managementSoluble in hot or cold drinks, even beneficial for pets, better health, better performance, bioavailability, and healthier skin and nails
Price$25.00 (10oz) to $43.00 (20oz)$23.99 (16oz can) to $129.00 (8-lb bag)
Additional ingredientsNoneNone
TasteNoneNone
How well does it mix into beverages?Better in hot beverages than iced, but several reviewers say it dissolves in their cold beverages just fine (some users urge people to order straight from Vital Proteins for best results)It’s better in hot and some users claim it won’t mix at all in their cold beverages. However, others have no trouble.
Serving size2 scoops (20g) (Note: The sticks are listed as a serving size but only contain 10g of collagen, 9g of protein.)12g (2 rounded Tablespoons) or one stick (also 12g)
ProsMost reviewers report improvements in hair, skin, nails, and/or joint pain. They also say the product is odorless and flavorless. It has a 4.2 rating on Amazon with almost 3000 reviews.Users report clearer skin, weight loss, less joint pain, improved digestion, and thicker hair and lashes. It does dissolve in hot and cold beverages, but does best in hot liquids. No flavor or smell. It has a 4.4 rating on Amazon with over 550 reviews.
ConsSome reviewers reported more joint pain, elevated blood pressure, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and/or acneMay clump a little in cold beverages (some users said it wouldn’t dissolve at all in them), some felt no difference, and some people DO detect an unpleasant flavor and smell. Some reviewers mentioned stomach cramps, rashes, headaches, and bloating.

Vital Proteins vs Great Lakes: Which One Should You Take?

When I first started writing this, I thought Vital Proteins would be the hands-down winner, no contest. I love their variety and there’s a ton of hype around the product that seems well-deserved.

However, as I was reading, one thing stuck out to me: Great Lakes seems to be easier on the digestive system for some reason. If you have trouble with IBS or certain autoimmune diseases and you want to give collagen a try, I would start with the Great Lakes one.

The price of the Great Lakes product is better and I saw fewer comments about how the product purchased on other sites isn’t the same as what you get straight from Great Lakes. I don’t know why there would be so much variation in the Vital Proteins products, but enough people mentioned it in their reviews for me to take it seriously.

If you want to use collagen-like a protein powder and consume as many grams of protein possible when you do it, first glance says you should choose Vital Proteins because there are nine more grams of protein per serving. This could be looked at as a non-issue, though, since there’s a difference in serving size: 12g vs. 20g. If you want to be a rebel and have more than the serving size listed on the back of the Great Lakes can, you can use 20g of it and achieve about the same result.

To branch out from the basic collagen and experiment with flavors and extra benefits from additional ingredients, Vital Proteins is the way to go. However, Great Lakes isn’t completely lacking in that department if you just want your collagen to give you extra energy with a touch of flavor.

These are both solid products and either will probably work well for most people. There’s no clear winner to me, since both can help your hair, skin, nails, and joints. The concerns are largely the same for both, with a few variations (headaches and rashes came up more with Great Lakes, while stomach upset seemed to show up more often with Vital Proteins).

Other Collagen Supplements to Try

Vital Proteins vs Great Lakes is a wonderful place to start when you’re trying to find the perfect collagen powder for you. They’re highly rated, shown to work, and not too hard to get your hands on. However, there are other collagen products on the market, like:

  • Trim Healthy Mama Integral Collagen (I’ve tried this one and love it, but I wouldn’t use it in cold drinks because it can clump sometimes in hot coffee.)
  • Neocell Super Collagen (I tried this one and it gave me headaches, but lots of people love it.)
  • HUM Nutrition Collagen POP (These are dissolvable tablets with marine collagen, vitamin C, and they turn your water into a “rose and lemon beauty tonic.”)
  • Sports Research Collagen Peptides (This one has great reviews and comes in unflavored, vanilla bean, and chocolate flavors.)

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