What is the Difference Between Collagen Protein and Casein Protein?

Sep 10, 20
What is the Difference Between Collagen Protein and Casein Protein?

Protein supplements are rising in popularity. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, looking to gain muscle, or just want to complement your diet with extra protein, looking for a protein supplement amongst all the options available can be daunting. Always be wary about the quality, ingredients and, most importantly, the source of protein present in the supplement. It’s important to know what you put into your body and, since it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options, we’re here to help.

When deciding what protein supplements to add to your diet, it’s likely that you will wonder about these two popular sources: casein protein and collagen protein. Below we’ve broken down the basics to help you decide which one is a better fir for your diet.

Casein Protein

Casein protein is one of the two protein sources derived from milk - the other one is whey protein. Of the protein found in milk, 80% is casein and 20% is whey. When making casein, a curdling agent is added to milk to separate the solids and liquids. This causes curds to clump up and float to the top of liquid whey, where a gel-like material is made. Once the solids are removed, they are either made into cheese or dehydrated to become casein.

Although both derived from dairy, one of the main differences between whey and casein is that casein is a slow-digesting protein. When consumed, casein forms a gel in the stomach which releases slowly into the body. (We’re going to focus on casein protein in this article, but feel free to browse through our other blog posts to learn more about whey).

Casein protein is a complete protein source, meaning that it has all essential and non-essential amino acids. Casein protein is considered to be “anti-catabolic” since, as previously mentioned, it is a slow-release protein that will basically feed your cells with amino acids at a low level, over a long period of time (generally up to four hours). This constant stream of amino acids and protein supply results in delayed muscle breakdown. This is why many experts recommend taking casein protein before bed as it will protect the muscles from being broken down overnight.

Casein is a popular choice amongst bodybuilders and athletes because of its role in muscle growth. The slower breakdown period of casein allows the body, and muscles, to recover for longer periods of time. Many individuals not only consume this protein at night to prevent protein breakdown, but also to remain full for a long period of time while they’re in a calorie deficit period (or fasting). Since casein helps curb appetite, it can help prevent overeating and aid in weight loss maintenance.

On another note and completely unrelated, casein is great for dental health! Casein helps prevent cavity-causing bacteria by sticking to the tooth surface. Casein, when combined with calcium and phosphorus, can help with the remineralization of tooth enamel by providing the tooth with a protective film, which reduces the risk of decay. Dairy, in general, is great for oral health due to its antibacterial properties.

Unfortunately, casein has some notable drawbacks. Primarily, casein protein may cause digestive issues, like gas and bloating. For people with lactose or dairy intolerance it’s better to avoid this protein in general. Also, in terms of composition, casein is very similar to gluten, so individuals who are sensitive to gluten might also need to avoid this protein.

Casein is comprised of proteins called casein micelles, which include αs1-, αs2- and beta-caseins (A1 and A2). Milk that contains A1 and A2 beta caseins worsen gastrointestinal symptoms and increases inflammation markers that just A1 beta-casein milk.

Make sure to read labels to see the amount of casein you’re consuming; moderation is key. If you’re allergic to casein or have negative side effects like bloating or upset stomach, definitely discontinue its use or opt for a protein source that fits better with your diet.

Collagen Protein

If you’ve read our other posts, you might already know that we love talking about collagen protein. And of course we do, it has so many benefits to the human body that it’s really hard not to love this protein! So, let’s get into it.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body; it is found in our bones, skin, ligaments, tendons, tissues, and muscles. Collagen is actually known as the glue that holds out body together. You can thank this protein for your flexibility, elasticity, and overall skin and joint health.

How exactly do we get this protein? Your body produces it! However, collagen production starts to decline after your twenties and by that time, the collagen you’re making is not the same as the collagen produced during your youth. This is when individuals generally start to experience fine lines and wrinkles, dry skin, and achy joints. After this point, it’s essential to include collagen in our diet to try and make up for the collagen we’re losing.

Collagen supplements are a great way to replenish the collagen lost through aging. Sun exposure, smoking, and excessive sugar consumption, amongst others, can also affect collagen production.
Most collagen in supplements come from the bones, skin, and connective tissue of animals, including pigs, fish, and cattle. Plants do not produce collagen; you can only obtain it from animal sources. Aside from supplements, collagen can also be obtained from foods, specifically from bone broth.

One of the main reasons’ individuals opt for collagen supplementation is because collagen is key in producing hydrated, elastic, and moisturized skin. Its consumption is beneficial for the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen also promotes strong and healthy hair and can also reduce the frequency of brittle nails.

Aside from our appearance, collagen is also essential for joint health. Collagen helps maintain the integrity of the cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. And, since collagen is a key structural component of the cartilage, maintaining sufficient levels if essential for keeping joints healthy.
Studies show that consuming collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of bone disorders and may help lower levels of proteins in the blood that stimulate bone breakdown. Collagen is also beneficial for digestion and gut health as its combination of the amino acids Glycine, Glutamine, and Proline, helps the stomach absorb nutrients, prevent inflammation in the intestinal lining, increase metabolism, and support digestive health.

Collagen does have some drawbacks though. Although collagen protein is free of the most common allergens, it’s not suitable for individuals opting for plant-based diets as collagen comes from animal sources. Similarly, there are studies that show that excess protein can also be dangerous to our health as this may damage our kidneys. But unless you eat 60oz of meat and supplement with protein, you should be good on this aspect. Individuals with health conditions should always be careful of their diet to ensure the nutrients they are getting are beneficial to their health.

Should I Choose Collagen Protein or Casein Protein? 

Although we certainly recommend collagen protein, the best way for you to know what source works best for your diet is for you to try both. We recommend collagen protein because of its numerous benefits to the joints, skin, hair, nails, and overall body. Plus, the side effects are close to none if you’re a healthy individual and don’t have any protein limitations. In fact, collagen protein is recommended for those looking to recover from surgery, illness, or trauma as it can help maintain muscle mass and rebuild broken tissue. You can’t go wrong with this protein source!

Our liquid hydrolyzed protein, Proteinex, is a great alternative for individuals wanting to add a collagen supplement to their diet. Proteinex has 18 grams of protein, 18,000 grams of collagen, and 72 calories per serving (2 tablespoons). It’s free of fat, carbs, and sugar, as well as gluten and dairy. Its liquid form is ideal for rapid consumption.

But what is extremely beneficial about Proteinex is that its hydrolyzed, meaning that it has been broken down into its simplest form of amino acids for quick absorption. It’s pure protein, right now, without the addition of any binders or fillers. You can take it as is or mix with water or your favorite beverage. Getting in your daily dose of collagen can’t get any simpler!

If you’re looking for a collagen supplement you’ve come to the right place. Click the Proteinex products below to learn more!