Collagen VS Whey Protein

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Collagen VS Whey Protein



For decades, athletes have used whey protein for protein replenishment, muscle building, and overall recovery. In the fitness industry, it's the tried-and-true protein supplement, whereas collagen is the new kid on the block. Is collagen a fad, or is it real and scientifically proven? Is it beneficial to athletes and bodybuilders? Is it primarily for beautiful hair and skin?

Today, we'll look at the facts about both supplements to help you decide which one is best for you.


Collagen is a fibrous, structural protein found in abundance in humans and other mammals. The term "collagen" comes from the Greek word for "glue." It got its name from its ability to transform into soluble gelatin when heated in water.

Collagen is a protein that is found in bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscle. It has a significant impact on the health of your hair, skin, and nails. Collagen, like all protein structures, is made up of amino acids. Collagen contains 19 amino acids, 8 of which are essential. Collagen is primarily composed of the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine.


is a nonessential amino acid that has been found to be effective in improving the health and strength of both humans and animals. It is The "most significant and basic, non-essential amino acid in humans..."


This amino acid is considered semi-essential. This means that, while it is produced and synthesized by the body, it is sometimes required from the diet (especially when the body is under regular stress, such as athletics and bodybuilding). As a result, it is a popular supplement among fitness professionals. Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, which is required for adequate blood flow to active muscles and blood pressure regulation. It also aids in wound and injury healing.

Proline and hydroxyproline are the most important amino acids for whole-body protein synthesis. This means that proline is required for your body to properly use protein for muscle building and recovery. Proline is also necessary for wound and injury repair. Proline is an amino acid that is considered semi-essential.

These three amino acids, along with eight essential amino acids and seven non-essential amino acids, form the complex triple-helical structure of collagen protein. A collagen molecule contains 1000 of these aminos on average.

Collagen molecules make up the following structures in the human body:

  • 30% of total protein in the human body
  • 65-80% of the proteins in a ligament and 70% of the proteins in a tendon
  • 60% of the proteins found in bones

Animal collagen is used to make collagen protein supplements. That is to say, there are no vegan collagen options. Most companies get their collagen from cow hides and connective tissues. These are high in high-quality collagen and help to support sustainable farming practices by allowing farmers to use the entire cow.


Whey is one of milk's two primary proteins (the other being casein). When cheese is made, milk fat coagulates, leaving whey behind. When you open a tub of yogurt, the watery film on top is whey. Until it was discovered that whey is a valuable source of protein and nutrition, cheesemakers used to discard it after making cheese.

Whey is popular due to the fact that it contains 20 amino acids, including all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.

Essential amino acids are not produced by the body and must be received from diet. Among the essential amino acids are:

Histidine protects the nervous system, aids immune response, improves digestion and sexual function, and regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

  • Isoleucine: found in high concentrations in muscle tissue, it aids in energy production and immune function.
  • Leucine is essential for protein synthesis and muscle repair, and it also aids in wound healing.
  • Lysine: aids calcium absorption, promotes collagen production, and is necessary for protein synthesis.

Methionine: aids in the absorption of minerals such as zinc and selenium, as well as improving metabolism and detoxification.

Phenylalanine: a neurotransmitter precursor that aids in the production of other amino acids.

Threonine improves fat metabolism, immune system function, and connective tissue strength.

Tryptophan is essential for mood, sleep, and appetite regulation.

Valine stimulates muscle regeneration and growth and aids the body in the production of energy.

Whey is also low in fat and lactose, making it ideal for those watching their fat intake or those who are allergic to dairy products.

Whey protein is derived from milk, as previously stated. It is, in fact, a byproduct of the cheese-making process. After making the cheese, the remaining watery liquid is filtered to remove the facts and lactose, leaving only the whey concentrate. This liquid whey is spray-dried with hot and cold air to form a powder. Various supplement companies then package this powder, which is sometimes combined with other ingredients.


Let's take a look at the research on whey protein and collagen protein to see how they compare. From an unbiased standpoint, the two proteins look like this:


While it is commonly claimed that whey protein is quickly and easily absorbed, research has shown that it takes the body approximately 1.5 hours to digest viscous liquids (such as whey protein shakes). Furthermore, the human body can only digest 8-10 grams of whey protein per hour.

This means that up to half of your protein shake may not be absorbed.

However, you CAN increase whey absorption by including digestive ENZYMES. According to research, consuming whey protein with certain enzymes can increase amino acid absorption by 127 percent. So improving absorption could be as simple as taking a digestive enzyme supplement.

Hydrolyzed collagen has already been broken down and "pre-digested," allowing it to be easily absorbed and utilized when it enters the body.

Hydrolysis of collagen was linked to increased absorption of collagen's main amino acids (proline, hydroxyproline, and glycine) 20 minutes after ingestion, according to research. A more in-depth look at how collagen is digested and used in the body.

If whey is not taken with digestive enzymes, hydrolyzed collagen clearly wins in terms of faster and more efficient absorption. Whey protein, on the other hand, may bind to collagen when combined with digestive enzymes.


Whey and collagen both help the body build muscle after strength training, but whey appears to stimulate more protein synthesis. This could be due to the high concentration of leucine in whey.

Collagen, on the other hand, aids in the maintenance of a positive nitrogen balance in the body (anabolic) better than whey. Nitrogen balance is a measurement of nitrogen output/input. A negative nitrogen balance indicates that the body is malnourished and/or has been pushed into catabolic rather than anabolic processes. This is usually due to a lack of nutrition/protein intake, which is exacerbated by overtraining.

Collagen also strengthens the extracellular matrix of muscle cells, allowing more load to be distributed with greater force without adding bulk.

Collagen has been found to improve body composition by increasing fat-free mass, decreasing fat mass, and increasing muscle strength in studies. Its benefits have primarily been studied in older adults and the elderly.


Collagen appears to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects on injuries due to its high glycine content. Several studies have found that hydrolyzed collagen reduces inflammation and pain while also hastening healing in conditions like exercise-induced joint pain, osteoarthritis, and tendonitis/ Achilles tendinopathy.

Whey protein does not appear to have any beneficial effects on circulating inflammatory markers, according to research. Whey protein appears to boost the inflammatory response during wound healing by restoring oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines levels.


According to preliminary research, consuming hydrolyzed collagen (a major structural protein) increases bone mass during growth periods. Hydrolyzed collagen supplementation may also help to prevent age-related bone loss, increase bone formation, and decrease bone degradation, according to research.

While whey protein supplementation does not appear to harm skeletal health, it also does not appear to improve it.


The main difference between whey and collagen amino acid profiles is that whey contains all nine essential amino acids, whereas collagen only has eight. Whey also has more BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), which are important for recovery and muscle synthesis.

Collagen supplements can be easily converted into a complete protein by simply adding the missing essential amino acid, as we do with our Frog Fuel products.

Collagen contains three amino acids that are typically lacking in whey and plant-based proteins, as well as in typical meat products. Collagen is a fibrous protein found in animal skin, cartilage, and bones, whereas whey is derived from milk.


Both whey protein and hydrolyzed collagen appear to have promising benefits for bodybuilders when combined with a healthy diet. Although whey protein promotes faster muscle growth than collagen, both promote muscle growth and recovery. When it comes to injury recovery and the rebuilding of connective tissues and structures in the body, collagen appears to be more effective than whey.

The trick with collagen is that it is more difficult to obtain from a modern diet than proteins found in whey. All essential amino acids are easily found in animal products such as lean meats, fish, and dairy. Collagen, on the other hand, is mostly found in animal skin, connective tissues, and bones. Historically, people would consume a lot of collagen by eating the entire animal. However, modern convenience has gradually eroded those dietary trends, and few of us now consume these animal parts.

As a result, bodybuilders and athletes in general may benefit greatly from collagen supplementation.


Did you know that in your twenties, your body's natural production of collagen protein begins to slow? According to collagen production research, after the age of 20, a person produces about 1% less collagen each year. This is why collagen has been extensively researched for its anti-aging properties in the skin, hair, and joints.

Last Word

Collagen is the better option for most people because it is less likely to cause side effects such as digestive issues and skin changes. It also doesn't hurt that it can help with a variety of health issues. If you're still undecided between collagen and whey, consult a doctor or registered dietitian for personalized advice.

"Consult your doctor before taking any supplements," Brikho advises. "It could interfere with certain medications and supplements, which could have side effects.

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