Vital Stem Review: Effectiveness, Side Effects, Cost

By HighYa Research Team
Published on: Nov 24, 2015

Vital Stem is a nutritional supplement that promises to boost stem cell levels in your body and reverse many of the side effects of aging. And by working at the cellular level, the company tells us that Vital Stem could help you experience improved cognitive function, enhanced joint and muscle strength, and increased longevity.

According to the manufacturer, all you have to do is mix one scoop of Vital Stem with a 12-oz glass of water and drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. From there, we’re told the supplement’s blend of five potent, fully bioavailable ingredients will get to work, without any known side effects.

You probably noticed that there are a whole lot of science-y words floating around on the Vital Stem website, so let’s make things easy by breaking it all down into everyday language. This way, you can make as informed a decision as possible.

First? Let’s lay a solid foundation by talking about stem cells.

Stem Cell Basics

If there was ever a “holy grail” of aging, stem cells would probably fit the bill. But why?

In humans, these cells possess the amazing ability to “develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth,” and well as to “serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive.”

However, not all stem cells are created equal. Embryonic stem cells can become any other type of cell within the body (a state known as pluripotent), while adult stem cells are limited to their original tissue type. Also, embryonic stem cells can be grown in the lab fairly easily, while adult ones still can’t be grown in a culture.

Here are a couple simplistic examples: A pluripotent stem cell remains undifferentiated and can turn into anything; a heart cell, a liver cell, a red blood cell, and so forth. On the other hand, an adult stem cell—from the lungs, for instance—can only become a cell of the same tissue type.

The Problem With Stem Cells

Despite the potential held by stem cells, they’re not perfect. How?

First, although embryonic stem cells could have the potential to massively improve modern medicine (including anti-aging), there’s a big ethical debate going on. After all, these cells are obtained from 3-5-day old embryos (technically called blastocysts, which are a collection of about 150 individual cells), destroying the embryo in the process.

Second, even if this ethical dilemma was removed by focusing only on adult stem cells (more about this next), the next problem becomes the delivery method. In other words, stem cells are extraordinarily fragile and can’t survive for long outside of a very controlled environment. On top of this, even if these cells were engineered to be hardier, simply taking a stem cell contained supplement wouldn’t translate into any meaningful benefits.

With all of this said, is it possible to boost stem cell production in the body, but without using any stem cells in the first place?

The Big Question: Is It Possible to Boost Stem Cell Production—Without Stem Cells?

According to Live Cell Research, the ingredients contained in Vital Stem will help boost the “proliferation of adult stem cells, the “master cells” of your body that repair damage to your muscles, skin, organs and brain.” We’re also told they “have been shown to boost proliferation of human CD34+ and CD133+ cells, which are essential to your body’s cellular function.”

What does the available clinical evidence have to say about this?

Although the science is new, based on our own online research, it does appear that some types of drugs can stimulate the human body to increase stem cell production, versus the old method of “injecting patients with stem cells from donors, embryos or stem cell banks.” After all, even the CD34 and CD133 referenced on the Vital Stem website, while only used in bone marrow transplants and treating some types of brain tumors, still require injection.

Outside of these very specific drugs, however, there seems to be limited publically available clinical evidence (see also NIH’s PubMed) indicating that stem cell levels can be reliably boosted using natural ingredients commonly found in supplements.

What about Vital Stem, though? Does it contain a unique blend of ingredients shown to meaningfully boost stem cell levels and deliver other real-world results? And if so, does the manufacturer provide any evidence to support their claims? Let’s take a look.

Will Vital Stem’s Ingredients Boost Stem Cell Levels?

Reading through the product label on Vital Stem’s website, the supplement contains the following ingredients:

According to Wikipedia, l-leucine is an amino acid that has the “capacity to directly stimulate muscle protein synthesis” and to “slow the degradation of muscle tissue by increasing the synthesis of muscle proteins in aged rats.”

However, they go on to note that, “comparative studies are conflicted.” In other words, until more clinical evidence is available, we can’t say for sure that it can regularly provide these benefits. But one thing we can say is that we didn’t encounter any clinical evidence during our research indicating l-leucine can boost stem cell production in the human body.

As far as green tea, it contains a substance known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that’s been widely studied for dozens (perhaps even hundreds) of medical conditions.

According to WebMD, after analyzing much of the available clinical evidence, they list green tea as “likely effective” for genital warts and high cholesterol, and “possibly effective” for things like clogged arteries, high/low blood pressure, osteoporosis, and more. On the other hand, they don’t indicate anything related to stem cells.

WebMD also notes there isn’t enough evidence showing carnosine can provide any benefits in humans and the blueberry powder is only for taste.

Despite what we just learned, the Vital Stem website references 3 different studies to support their claims:

A 2010 study conducted by Moscow State University that found carnosine might reduce oxidative stress without side effects, and was even “successfully used to treat patients after brain stroke or patients with Parkinson disease.”

A 1999 Finnish study that found leucine supplementation might stimulate muscle protein synthesis and prevent degradation (similar to what we discussed above). However, the study only referenced leucine’s benefits in relation to “exhaustive aerobic exercise” and “those participating in intensive training”—not for aging.

Even then, the study concludes by noting: “Caution must be paid when interpreting the limited number of studies in this area since, in many studies, leucine has been supplemented as part of a mixture of BCAA. Consequently, further research into the effects of leucine supplementation alone is needed.”

A 1999 Australian study that showed the longevity of cultured human fibroblasts was extended when exposed to l-carnosine.

As the second study noted, one (or even a handful) of clinical trials doesn’t necessarily mean that a supplement is “proven” to work. In other words, it takes an entire body of repeatable, peer-reviewed clinical evidence before something can be classified as proven.

For more about this topic, be sure to read How to Tell the Difference Between Legit and Fake Clinical Studies.

But here’s the thing: Even if Vital Stem’s ingredients were proven to be effective, all but one are part of a proprietary formulation, so we don’t know exactly how much of each it contains or if it’s enough to provide any results.

While WebMD indicates that none of these ingredients will boost stem cells, do they mention anything about side effects?

Are There Any Potential Side Effects from Taking Vital Stem?

The positive news is that, if you experience any side effects at all from using Vital Stem, they probably won’t be any worse than mild digestive upset.

However, green tea contains a relatively small amount of natural caffeine, which could cause rapid heartbeat, nervousness, and other side effects if you’re especially sensitive to stimulants.

Finally, WebMD notes that there isn’t enough known about some ingredients—such as l-carnosine—to fully understand any potential side effects you might experience.

Now, how much will a bottle of Vital Stem cost you?

How Much You’ll Pay for Vital Stem

Vital Stem is available in the following quantities:

  • 1 Bottle: $46.99 plus $3.95 S&H
  • 3 Bottles: $117 plus free S&H
  • 6 Bottles: $214.27 plus free S&H

All Live Cell Research products, including Vital Stem, come with a 90-day refund policy, less S&H charges. In order to request one, you’ll need to call (844)-650-5933.

Given the seemingly low amount of clinical evidence supporting its ingredients, are Vital Stem’s customers finding that it provides a solid value?

What’s Everyone Saying in Their Vital Stem Reviews?

Since originally researching the supplement, four HighYa readers have left their feedback for Vital Stem, giving it an average rating of 4.3 stars. Here, most common compliments seem to revolve around reduced pain; improved energy, stamina, and sleep, and boosted recovery.

In fact, the only complaint listed was that one customer didn’t really care for the taste.

From a company perspective, Live Cell Research had an average rating of 2.8 stars here on HighYa, based on 33 reader reviews (as of 9/23/16). These were split almost evenly between 1 and 5-star ratings. What can we learn from them?

While some customers claimed to have experienced results from their products and appreciated the helpfulness of their service department, common complaints about the company seemed to revolve around failure to work, difficult customer service (primarily problems obtaining refunds and long response times), as well as long shipping times.

What about some of the company’s other supplements? Niagen, arguably the company’s most popular product, had a similar 3-star rating here on HighYa, with 77 reader reviews. Midogen had a higher 4.3-star average rating and LA-3 a 2.5-star rating, while Cerastim and Advanced Adult Probiotic didn’t have any reviews at the time of our research.

Considering all of this, is Live Cell Research’s Vital Stem supplement right for you?

The Bottom Line About Vital Stem

We had to cover a lot of ground to get to this point, but the reality is that when it comes to Vital Stem, the bottom line is fairly simple: With the exception of leucine, WebMD tells us that there isn’t sufficient clinical evidence supporting the company’s claims.

So, in our opinion (after all, we’re consumers too!), if you’re looking to get most of the same benefits as Vital Stem but without the relatively high price, your money might be better spent purchasing a standalone leucine supplement, many of which can be found for as little as $10. As always, just be sure to speak with your doctor first!

But if you feel like rolling the dice on Vital Stem, it’s positive that Live Cell Research provides a 90-day refund policy. Just keep in mind that you might be out a few bucks in S&H charges if you’re dissatisfied and decide to process a return.


Read 78 Vital Stem Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 4.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 39 4 star: 30 3 star: 3 2 star: 3 1 star:  3
Bottom Line: 91% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 78
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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Taste and mixing

    • Florida,
    • Aug 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'd like to respond to those who say they are having trouble dissolving this and about the taste. From the 1st time I used it, I mixed it with blueberry pomegranate juice. I have no trouble dissolving it; I just stir very vigorously and it dissolves fine. As for the leftover in the bottom, I swirl it as I drink it and, if there is some in the bottom, I add a touch of water and swirl and then drink it down, no problem. Being as it is blueberry, the juice just adds to the flavor. I don't use ice, I just keep the juice in the fridge so it is cold.

    I have had foot surgery since I began taking this, it has only been 5 weeks and I am back in shoes already. I have noticed better health and a big change in chronic back pain, due to a fall 16 and 1/2 years ago, that has kept me in bed 90% of the time, due to fibromyalgia that came with the injury. I find that I am having less pain and more "good" days and, believe me, that's saying something.

    I started taking this without any real expectation of much change. I have been pleasantly surprised.

    I would definitely recommend to a friend.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Noticeable memory improvement!

    • Boerne, TX,
    • Mar 31, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Before using Vital Stem, I was getting embarrassed by forgetting words I wanted to use. After maybe a week or two of using the Vital Stem, I realized that was not happening anymore or seldom. After I ran out and hadn’t re-ordered for awhile, I once again was often struggling for the right words! I hate that!

    When I started back, I noticed the improvement again. I like it very much, because I definitely see a positive change when using it.

    I like the tangy taste of it, and often drink it at the end of the day and skip the wine or margarita that I might otherwise want. That’s a good thing!

    I hope others will have similar results. For me, it has been a very good thing!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Vital Stem saved my sanity

    Thank you for your Vital Stem. I was having serious cognitive problems but I did not notice this, however, my husband did. His concerns led him to the internet and your company. My mind is clear, and my thoughts are once again organized. I no longer get confused, and I thank you for that. I would recommend this product wholeheartedly.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 15 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Feeling stronger

    I have been drinking Vital Stem for over a month now. I am 94 years old. I will be 95 in February. I have noticed that I have an inner strength that has been lost for years. I have more energy now and feel much stronger. My fingernails are looking much better and the hair on my head is more manageable. I am improving each day and my inner strength is stronger. I feel GREAT. Thank you for this GREAT product!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 30 out 33 people found this review helpful

    Hoped against hope-toxic ingredients

    • Newbury Park, CA,
    • Sep 1, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was introduced to this product by a friend, bought three tubs, and haven't noticed a thing in over a month. Upon closer inspection, I see that Silica is one of the ingredients. As I understand it, Silica is not consumable, and so I've stooped taking it.

    Too ineffectual to use, too expensive to toss, and the rest of the ingredients are all common/available in any grocery store, albeit those are generally in a much more palatable. This product mixes and tastes like chalk, can't say I'll be recommending it. Live and learn it appears.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 7, 2017

      Company Response from The Living Cell Research, LLC

      Hi Joanne, Aurora from Live Cell Research here. Thank you for leaving us a valuable review on your experience with Vital Stem so far. While most of our customers see results in the first 30 days, it may take a bit longer for others, which is why we always honor our 90-day money back guarantee.

      Regarding Silica, it is very much consumable. Silica is an important compound in human ligaments, cartilage, and muscle and naturally occurs in foods, particularly vegetables. It is made of silicon and oxygen which are two essential substances for the human body to function at its optimum levels. We take pride in the ingredients used in Vital Stem, and wouldn't create a product that we didn't believe in!

      I would be more than happy to offer you a full refund, just for giving our product a fair try. Please feel free to email me directly at aurora@livecellresearch.com and I can begin the refund process immediately. Thank you!


  • 24 out 31 people found this review helpful

    Vital Stem

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Jul 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I haven't noticed any change, and the taste is horrible. After taking the product, on three different occasions, I got terrible stomach pains then threw up.

    Most supplements on the market are scams. I was really hoping Vital Stem was legit.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 24, 2017

      Company Response from The Living Cell Research, LLC

      Hi Allen, Aurora from Live Cell Research here. I appreciate your valuable review of our Vital Stem! I am so sorry that you did not experience the full benefits of Vital Stem. Since you are experiencing a side effect that is out of the ordinary, I would recommend that you consult your primary physician to ensure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients in Vital Stem.

      If you are interested, I would love to issue you a full refund just for giving our product a fair try. Please email me directly at aurora@livecellresearch.com and I will begin the refund process. Thank you, Allen!


  • 18 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Easy way to get the powder to mix

    I had the same problem as some others mentioned with the powder still floating on top after stirring and stirring. I discovered that if I used 2 or 3 oz of hot coffee, the powder dissolved easily and stayed dissolved after I added cold water to fill the glass. No more floating powder on top but just a small amount of grit left in the bottom of the glass with the last swallow. You could probably use HOT water instead of hot coffee and dissolve the powder also before adding the cold water.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 28 out 31 people found this review helpful

    Contains sugar substitute

    I have used one whole jar of this, and all I've noticed is more pain in my joints and just found out it contains sugar substitute. I am on my second jar of the three I bought. Should I continue using this? How long does it take to see a difference?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • May 3, 2017

      Company Response from The Living Cell Research, LLC

      Hello Patricia,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave valuable feedback on your experience with Vital Stem. I am sorry to hear that you are not experiencing the benefits that you were expecting so far. While most of our customers see results in the first 30 days, it may take a bit longer for others, which is why we always honor our 90-day money back guarantee. If you are experiencing anything out of the ordinary, we always recommend that you consult your primary physician to ensure that you are not reacting to any of the ingredients. Please email me at aurora@livecellresearch.com if you have any further questions or comments.

      Thank you!


  • 51 out 54 people found this review helpful

    Very exhausted and sleepy since I started taking this

    • Tennessee,
    • Apr 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had very high hopes for this product. I ordered a six-month supply. Before starting, my energy level was very reasonable for my age, and my activity level was great.

    I am so very disappointed! I have been taking it for two weeks now, and I cannot believe the exhaustion that I am experiencing. This made me go back and read the ingredients label on the jar. It has SUCRALOSE. My body reacts very extremely to any artificial sweetener (especially Sucralose), and we all know that it is "rat poison."

    At one point way back a few years ago, I had so much joint pain and muscle aches that lasted for six months, not knowing why until I researched it and read about what artificial sweeteners can do to you. As soon as I stopped drinking diet products, all my pains were resolved. That is how I know that Sucralose is hampering this product's ability to make a positive change for me.

    Frankly, I am quite shocked that a company that is geared toward health is adding this inferior substance to their product. This is, in my opinion, an INFERIOR product due to this fact. I have stopped using it, and surprise, surprise, all my exhaustion is gone almost immediately! And I am not dragging around like a zombie.

    I was going to buy this for the rest of my life and be a loyal client, but unless they substitute SUCRALOSE for perhaps Stevia, they are not worthy of my business.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 24, 2017

      Company Response from The Living Cell Research, LLC

      Hello Natalie, thank you for your feedback on Vital Stem. I am happy to announce that all of our products have been changed, and now contain stevia in replacement of sucralose. We were likely in transition when you purchased the product, meaning you received one of the last batches still using sucralose. I would be more than happy to issue you a refund for your product. Please email me at aurora@livecellresearch.com so that I can go ahead and expedite that for you. Thank you Natalie, I look forward to hearing from you.


  • 24 out 29 people found this review helpful

    Do not like the taste

    • Ontario, Canada,
    • Mar 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I bought a 6-month supply, and I've had them for about two weeks and maybe tried it four times.

    Please, someone, tell me how to get this stuff to dissolve. I stir and stir, but it just floats on top, so the first mouthful isn't too bad, but the rest gags me, so there must be a better way to drink this. Any suggestions would be helpful because I could really benefit from this if it works like everyone is saying.

    I cannot say if I would recommend this product at this time.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Mar 21, 2017

      Company Response from The Living Cell Research, LLC

      Hello Michelle, Aurora here with Live Cell Research. Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review of your experience with Vital Stem. We always recommend stirring the product for at least 1 minute to give it enough time to fully dissolve in the liquid. If you are still having difficulty getting the product to mix in after that, I would recommend using a blender bottle to help the powder fully dissolve. If you are unhappy with the product in anyway, we always stand by our 90-day money back guarantee, so I would be more than happy to issue you a full refund of the product. Please feel free to email me at aurora@livecellresearch.com with any other comments or questions you may have. Thank you Michelle.


  • 23 out 27 people found this review helpful

    How I like Vital Stem

    I have been using it now for a month, and I have more energy during the day and am sleeping better at night. I mix one level scoop in 12 oz. of water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. To me, it has a pleasant taste (it tastes like a grape drink). I have noticed that my memory is sharper and not as foggy as it was.

    I have told a few people about it, but I am going to finish up the three-month supply that I ordered so I can really get a good reading on the improvements. I will order it again.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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