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Collagen Protein vs. Whey Protein: What's the Difference?

As collagen is becoming more popular, you might be asking yourself what the difference is between collagen and whey protein. Do you need to be taking both? Can one replace the other? Is one better for you than the other? What type of collagen are they?

To explain the difference, it’s important to note that one isn’t necessarily better for you than the other, but rather, they serve different purposes in your body. In order to understand each protein, we’re going to go over a few key differences to help you understand their uses.

collagen vs whey

Collagen Protein vs. Whey Protein: What's the Best Collagen Supplement?


First and foremost, the proteins come from different sources. Whey protein is derived from milk, while collagen protein is derived from bovine hide. Every protein you consume contains different amino acids, which are the building blocks of the protein. Since collagen and whey are proteins derived from different sources, they contain different amino acid profiles, which gives them different functions in our body.


What are these functions, you ask? Whey protein is a fast-digesting, complete protein that’s great for building muscle and is typically used before or after exercise because it is quickly absorbed by the body and contains Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are key amino acids that your body needs for muscle synthesis. Proteins like meat, fish, eggs and dairy are the best sources of BCAAs, so for most people eating a well-balanced diet, they are already getting enough of these amino acids and don’t need to supplement with a whey protein powder.

Collagen, on the other hand, is high in three amino acids that are lacking in your plant protein, whey protein and muscle meat proteins. These amino acids are glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. By consuming collagen, you are getting the amino acids your body needs to properly build collagen, which is a fibrous protein that provides the strength and structure to our body. It is the protein that keeps our skin firm, hair and nails strong, and our bones and joints healthy.**

Collagen Protein vs. Whey: What's the Difference?

Why Collagen Is Important

Collagen is the main protein making up our body. Our bodies naturally produce collagen; however, as we get older, our collagen production declines. This is why as we get older we often experience less joint mobility, have brittle bones and wrinkling skin, as well as weaker hair and nails. If our bodies are less efficient at producing collagen, then we need to consume it through our diet. Unfortunately, collagen has typically been removed from today’s diet since we no longer consume all body parts of animals through homemade bone broths or eat organ meats like our ancestors once did. That’s why Vital Proteins' collagen supplements are an easy way to get this healthy protein in your diet to help you look and feel your best as you get older!

When to Take Collagen Protein vs. Whey Protein?

Vital Proteins’ collagen supplements can be taken any time of the day. The number one and two uses of our products are adding collagen to coffee/tea or smoothies, but since collagen is a stable protein, it can be cooked up to high temperatures without destroying the nutrients. This makes our collagen, especially our Collagen Peptides, an easy protein boost to add to any baking recipe without changing the flavor. Really, sky is the limit!

If you’re looking to enhance your exercise performance, put on more lean body mass as well as recover from your workouts faster, Vital Proteins Collagen Whey Protein is a great option. This will provide you with both the BCAAs your body needs to help with muscle synthesis as well as provide your body with collagen to improve your joint, hair, skin, and nail health.** This product is best taken before, during or after exercise to help preserve your muscles and reap the most benefits from your efforts at the gym.

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