Collagen Protein vs. Whey Protein: Which one is Right for You?


It’s not easy choosing the best protein supplement, especially when there are so many options available. Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle building, or supplementing with the correct type of protein, we’ve narrowed down the pros and cons of two of the most popular protein sources: whey and collagen.

What is Whey Protein?

Milk contains two types of proteins: whey and casein. When cheese is produced, the fatty portion solidifies and whey is therefore separated as a byproduct. After separating, whey goes through multiple processing steps before being considered whey protein.  

Benefits of Whey Protein

  1. Whey is a complete protein source: Whey protein contains all essential and non essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Three of these essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are Branched Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs) and they are vital when building muscle. 
  2. Whey helps increase muscle mass and strength: Whey is so popular amongst athletes and bodybuilders because of its link to improved muscle mass. Not only does whey provide the building blocks needed for muscle growth, but it's also high in leucine which helps stimulate protein synthesis and its the most growth-promoting of all the amino acids. It also increases the release of insulin which can result in muscle growth. 
  3. Whey can help regulate blood pressure: Studies have shown that whey protein may help reduce blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure thanks in part by their bioactive peptides called lactokinins. 
  4. Whey protein can help suppress appetite: In turn, whey protein can help decrease the amount of food individuals consume. Studies demonstrate how regular consumption of whey protein leads to less overeating in subsequent meals. 

Drawbacks of Whey Protein

  1. Whey can cause digestive issues: Since lactose is the main carb in whey protein, those with lactose intolerant can experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. Additionally, whey protein can destabilize the gut bacteria and cause issues in the gut flora. This is due to an antibacterial compound found in whey that may lead to gastrointestinal issues and stomach upset. 
  2. Whey Protein may lead to excessive fat gain: Some whey protein supplements have excess carbohydrates in the form of sugars and fats. Additionally, whey protein in combination with overeating can cause an individual to gain weight. 
  3. Whey protein can lead to the development of acne: Studies have shown that the consumption of whey can lead to acne formation. Milk and dairy products are enhancers of insulin growth factor leading to acne aggravation. 

What is Collagen Protein?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body; it is found in our bones, skin, and muscles. With age, collagen in the body starts to decline, leading the way for fine lines and wrinkles, dry skin, and achy joints. Collagen provides the body with strength and elasticity, and it is actually considered as the glue that holds the body together.

Benefits of Collagen Protein

  1. Collagen protein can improve joint health: Studies show that collagen is crucial to reduce swollen joints and joint tenderness. Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your 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. 
  2. Collagen can improve the appearance of hair, skin, and nails: Collagen is popularly known as the “Fountain of Youth”. Collagen is key in producing hydrated, elastic, and moisturized skin and its consumption is beneficial for the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen promotes strong and healthy hair, and can reduce the frequency of brittle nails.
  3. Collagen can help prevent bone loss: As collagen in the body deteriorates as you age, bone mass does too. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and linked with a higher risk of bone fractures. 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. 
  4. Collagen is key for digestion and gut health: Collagen contains Glycine, Glutamine, and Proline, amino acids that help with gut and digestion. This combination can help the stomach absorb nutrients, prevent inflammation in the intestinal lining, increase metabolism, and support digestive health.  

Drawbacks of Collagen Protein

  1. Collagen is not a complete protein source: Collagen only contains 8 of the 9 essential amino acids. Nonetheless, this is why we added the additional amino acid into our Collagen Protein product formulation, to ensure that our consumer were receiving all essential and non essential amino acids and enjoying its full benefits. Note that, although our collagen protein is a complete protein source, not all collagen products are. 
  2. Collagen is not vegan: Most collagen sources come from the bones, skin, and connective tissue of animals. 
  3. Collagen may cause hypersensitivity: Since most collagen supplements are created from animal sources, individuals with allergies to shellfish or eggs may experience an allergic reaction.

In Conclusion...

Although both protein sources have their benefits and drawbacks, our protein pick is certainly collagen protein. Our organization has been formulating collagen protein for over 20 years because of its high success rate with customers, mainly because it’s rapidly absorbed, better for digestion, and easily tolerated by the vast majority. Although collagen is not a complete protein source, our collagen formulation does have the added amino acids, which makes it product a complete protein source with all essential and non essential amino acids.  

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S095869461000141X 

http://darwinian-medicine.com/10-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-whey-protein-supplements/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793325/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4293047/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5350548/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22988649 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/