Whether you’re an elite athlete or simply looking to focus a little more on your everyday health, ensuring an adequate protein intake should be high on your list of priorities.
Whey protein powder has traditionally been the most common way to supplement your protein intake. But recently, collagen powder has gained popularity as a form of protein supplement due to its ability to not only boost protein levels and help build muscle, but also reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
While both collagen protein (also known as hydrolysed collagen peptides) and whey protein are helpful supplements to incorporate into your daily routine, these two very different products are not one in the same. Here, we'll break down the difference and help you choose which one is right for you.
What is Collagen Protein?
Collagen is a structural protein that is naturally produced by humans and mammals. It’s the main building block in muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons as well as other body parts like skin, nails and hair. Collagen is made up of a range of amino acids, with the main ones being proline, hydroxyproline, glycine and arginine.
Collagen supplements can be derived from a range of sources including cows, pigs, fish and poultry, however, the protein levels vary depending on the source. When looking for a supplement specifically as a protein boost, a great choice is a bovine collagen like Gelpro’s Peptipro Original Collagen, which is made up of 97% protein and contains 14.6 grams of protein in each 15g serve. And unlike whey protein, Peptipro collagen protein is more versatile as a flavourless and odourless supplement that can be added to not only drinks but also used in food recipes.
Collagen protein also provides a multitude of health and wellness benefits beyond its impressive protein content. While collagen is a naturally occurring protein within our bodies, the rate of production slows as we age. Therefore, by incorporating a daily collagen supplement, you’re boosting that production in your body that supports muscle and joint health, promotes skin elasticity, assists with gut health and digestion and keeps your hair and nails in top condition.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein, on the other hand, is a protein found in milk, and is traditionally leftover after being removed during the cheese or yoghurt-making process. Whey is popularly used as a protein supplement as it is a complete protein source containing 20 amino acids, including all 9 essential amino acids which can’t be made by the body.
While whey is generally lower in lactose than milk or cheese, it isn’t dairy free, so it’s not suitable for those who are sensitive to dairy products.
A key ingredient in whey protein is leucine, which is an important BCAA that increases muscle protein synthesis and helps reduce muscle breakdown, which is why whey has become a popular post-exercise choice.
Collagen Protein vs Whey: What's the difference?
When comparing collagen protein vs whey protein, there are a few things to consider.
Firstly, what are your specific health and fitness goals? If your primary goal is muscle and mass growth and recovery, Whey Protein might be right for you. If you’re looking for more of an all-rounder protein supplement with a multitude of health benefits, collagen could be your best bet.
Other factors to take into account when comparing collagen vs whey protein are:
Whey protein takes about 1.5 hours to digest a 15g serving, as the body can only digest 8-10 grams of whey per hour. On the other hand, all hydrolysed collagen from Gelpro Australia is already broken down so it can be easily absorbed and utilised within an hour of entering the body.
Whey protein has been shown to increase rates of protein synthesis and muscle building due to its high concentration of leucine. The amino acids in collagen, in comparison, work more to strengthen the extracellular matrix of the muscle cells, allowing for more load to be distributed with more force without adding much size.
While collagen aids in digestion and gut health, whey protein may cause gastrointestinal problems in some people with sensitive stomachs.
Because of the high glycine content in collagen, it can provide useful anti-inflammatory benefits for active people and accelerate the healing process in relation to joint pain, tendonitis and osteoarthritis. Whey protein, while assisting with muscle recovery, does little for inflammation or joint support.
Final thoughts: Collagen Protein Powder vs Whey Protein Powder
Combined with a balanced diet, both collagen and whey are beneficial supplements for those working towards fitness or health goals. Depending on your goals, one might be more suited to you than the other.
Our best-selling Peptipro Collagen is Australia's first, and only collagen produced exclusively from Australian and New Zealand hides. This hydrolyzed collagen powder contains a unique profile of 18 different amino acids, including eight of the nine essential amino acids. If you’re looking to optimise your protein intake, take a look at our best collagen recipes packed with protein.