We’ve been looking into myths surrounding collagen, and this is perhaps one of the biggest! If you thought whey, or even plant protein was superior to collagen protein, then read on. If anything, collagen protein powder is far superior, and here’s why…
Different types of protein
Collagen is a protein. Head over to our Frequently Asked Questions if you want to find out a lot more detail. In short, however, it’s comprised of protein peptides, which are themselves formed by amino acids. Glycine, arginine, proline and hydroxyproline are the most prevalent amino acids in collagen. Sources commonly come from bovine (cow) and marine (fish), but can also come from porcine (pig), ovine (sheep) and eggshell membrane sources.
Traditional protein powders, however, typically come from sources such as whey, peas, soybeans, rice, eggs or hemp. In many cases, they contain less amino acids, but (more often than not) they are also much larger protein molecules and often contain additional additives, flavourings and sweeteners that can be quite unhealthy or even harmful. More on this later.
Why are collagen peptides a superior source of protein?
We aren’t here to shame anyone for their diet or lifestyle choices, but we do want to help people to make informed choices. Here are four compelling reasons why collagen peptides are a better protein source than traditional protein powders, no matter what your health or fitness goals may be:
1. Collagen protein is absorbed faster.
We know that bioavailable sounds like a really science-y word, but it’s actually super important when talking about supplements. “Bioavailability” refers to how easily a substance can be absorbed and used by the body. When talking about protein supplements, bioavailability is a good thing. It means that our bodies can quickly access what they need without using a lot of extra energy. So, you want to be using a protein supplement with high bioavailability in order to maximise its benefits.
Traditional protein powders like whey require all sorts of bodily processes and a lot of energy to break the molecules down into usable building blocks of protein – the amino acids. In fact, whey protein in particular is absorbed at a fairly weak rate of 8-10 grams per hour, although adding enzymes can help boost this.
In contrast, hydrolysed collagen peptides are already broken down into their smallest molecular structure and are ready to be channelled where the body needs them. This means that collagen is an easy and efficient source of protein, which can enhance energy and stamina and improve health more quickly. Collagen protein peptides have been found in the bloodstream as quickly as 15 minutes after consumption. Just what you need to boost that workout, expedite recovery or reduce DOMs.
2. Collagen protein is both allergen + gut health friendly.
Compared to traditional protein powders, which are often formulated from whey or casein and contain all sorts of artificial sweeteners, flavourings and/or gums, collagen is much more gut friendly. The proteins in whey and casein can bother sensitive digestive systems, especially for those who are lactose intolerant. Artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, aspartame, stevia and even erythritol, can alter the bacteria of the microbiome and cause both short and long-term digestive distress.
Collagen peptides, however, are free of all of the most common allergens, including gluten, dairy, soy and nuts. If you choose a high quality brand, the collagen will also be sugar, hormone, steroid and antibiotic free. It will also be BSE safe and (for those elite athletes) WADA approved. In terms of Edible Health, you’ll never find us adding artificial sweeteners or additives to our products either. We prefer them au natural!
3. Collagen better aids recovery from injury.
Thanks to its glycine content and its inherent anti-inflammatory properties, collagen protein may help in the recovery from injury. This is particularly compelling given whey, in contrast, has been suggested to actually exacerbate inflammation.
4. Collagen assists in maintaining nitrogen balance.
Nitrogen balance is the term used to describe the measuring of nitrogen output subtracted from nitrogen input. If we have a negative nitrogen balance, our bodies are malnourished and/or over-exerting themselves (through, for instance, training). Conversely, a positive nitrogen balance is measured when the body is performing more optimally and nutrition is sufficient (although sometimes it might be excessive). Studies have shown hydrolysed collagen protein helps to maintain nitrogen balance and preserve lean body mass.
So, if you’re a body-builder, an athlete training hard, or a gym-lover who likes a session on the weights, then don’t automatically turn to whey as your pre or post-workout protein. Not when collagen can, and will, work more effectively for you! We all know that you get out what you put in, so make sure you’re putting in the best possible protein.
The information we have provided herewith, and all linked materials, are not intended nor should they be construed as medical advice. Moreover, the information herewith should not be used as a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions and consult your General Practitioner for advice specific for you.