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Whey Protein or Collagen Protein Which is Best? 

Whey Protein or Collagen Protein Which is Best? 

A few years back it seemed as though everyone was jumping on the protein shake bandwagon and the market soon became flooded with different types of whey protein. Protein powders, once marketed towards body builders sold in sports stores, began to flood the shelves of the supermarket touting everything from increased immunity to weight loss. Fast forward a few years and collagen became the new kid on the block. Collagen provides joint health, makes us look younger and fuels the body. So, should you toss aside your whey for good? Not so fast. Here’s why you might need both.

Whey vs Collagen

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant source of protein in our bodies, and one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen provides structure and support, like the glue that holds us together.  (The word collagen actually comes from the Greek word “kólla,” which means glue). It’s no secret that we lose collagen as we age. That’s why you might want to supplement with collagen protein.

What are the benefits of collagen protein powder?

Benefits include:

  • Easy to digest
  • Nourishes skin, hair and nails and may improve appearance of it
  • Heals the lining of the digestive tract and can improve leaky gut
  • Reduces Inflammation- improves joint pain
  • Prevents Bone Loss- stimulates bone forming cells, prevents bone loss, and improves calcium absorption (a study in Nutrients in January 2018 found that post-menopausal women who had age-related reduction in bone mineral density benefited from increased bone formation in the spine and hip after taking 5 G daily for a year)
  • Rich in L-Glycine an amino acid that balances excess methionine from high animal protein diets which can lead to increased blood levels of homocysteine, a chemical that may cause heart disease. Methionine might also promote the growth of some tumors.
  • Weight loss- can help with weight loss by balancing blood sugar and helping break down fats
  • Detoxification- helps the liver to produce bile and aids in detoxification.
  • Better sleep

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is one of the primary proteins found in sources of dairy. Produced in the cheese-making process, whey protein provides substantial amounts of the essential amino acids that are needed to carry out the functions that proteins perform in the body.

Wheying in on Whey

Whey protein was originally used by body builders. And while it does build muscle it has other benefits as well.

What are the benefits of whey protein?

Whey provides:

  •  Superior source of protein- proteins that supply all nine essential amino acids are the best, and whey protein is loaded with them. Unlike other high protein sources like meat, it is easy to digest.
  • BCAA’s- necessary for immunity and muscle growth
  • Minerals and nutrients that improve bone density
  • Detoxification- Promotes the production of glutathione with helps with detoxification and cellular renewal 
  • Weight loss tools- Balancing blood sugar, reducing cravings and keeping you full
  • Healing- Easy to digest, it can give your digestive system a break and you can still get the nutrients you need
  • Muscle growth 

Now that we’ve outlined which the benefits of collagen and whey, let’s look at the different types.

Whey too Many Choices

Choice is good. Too much choice can be overwhelming. It seems like there are dozens of products lining the shelves, but not all whey is created equally. Let’s look at the different types of whey protein and how to choose the best protein powder.

Different types of Whey:

  • Concentrate- 70-80 percent protein, superior taste, cheaper, retains more of the beneficial nutrients found in whey, cheaper than isolate.
  • Isolate- Higher protein 90 percent, less lactose for those who can’t tolerate it, lower in carbs. More processed which may take away benefits of the nutritional profile and makes it more expensive.
  • Hydrolysate- Pre-digested, easy on digestive system absorbed into body faster which can be good for those with digestive issues, but causes a higher spike in insulin (40 percent higher than isolate) so may not be appropriate for those with blood sugar issues.

What other factors do I need to consider when choosing a whey protein powder?

Always consider the source. Choose a powder without fillers, sugar and artificial flavours or sweeteners (ideally choose stevia or monk fruit) that is grass fed and hormone free such as products sourced from New Zealand cattle. Overall, I recommend whey concentrate as it tastes better, is cheaper and is less processed, retaining beneficial healing nutrients.

What are the main types of collagen? 

Though the body has many types of collagen (over 28!) the main three found in supplements are:

  • Type I- Makes up more than 70 % of your skin- anti-aging benefits
  • Type II – Is only found in cartilage- good for joint pain, strengthening bones
  • Type III- In arterial walls- Good for heart health, blocking endotoxins

Type IV and V are also worth mentioning, but since they are easier to get from a balanced diet, many supplements don’t contain them.

The sources that provide this collagen include:

  • Marine Collagen- Sourced from algae, or fish this type of collagen is usually higher in type 1 collagen.
  • Bovine Collagen- Sourced from cows, rich in type 1 and 3.

What are collagen peptides?

Collagen peptides is another name for hydrolyzed collagen and is the way the collagen is processed. Whatever source you choose, this form is the easiest for your body to utilize and provides the most benefits. 

Which protein source is best, collagen or whey?

Both whey and collagen protein supplements can be beneficial as a part of a healthy regime, but if you’re looking to only use one as a protein source than whey is best. If you have joint issues and are looking for the fountain of youth, collagen isn’t a cure, but it may help. Ideally if you have the budget adding both to your diet will help protect your bones, build muscle, aid in weight loss, relieve joint pain and make you look younger.