protein versus collagen powder

One of the most common nutrition questions we get from patients in the clinic is whether they should be taking protein powder or collagen to better support their health. This question is so awesome as we love when patients think critically about what’s the best choice for their individual health goals.  

First, let’s talk about the difference between protein powder and collagen powder.

Protein powder is a form of protein either from plants (e.g. soy, peas, rice, hemp, potatoes) or animals (e.g. whey or casein from dairy, hydrolyzed beef protein from cows, egg whites or yolks). Protein powders are a complete source of protein, meaning they contain all of the eight essential amino acids (the building blocks that make protein) for humans to function optimally. 

Collagen powder is a form of hydrolyzed collagen typically from animal sources, but there are some vegan collagen powders derived from plants on the market. Collagen is a type of connective tissue that’s found in your joints, ligaments, tendons, skin and hair. Collagen contains higher amounts of certain amino acids like glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, and lower or no amounts of the eight essential amino acids.

So, which one is the best to take? The answer is: it depends!

Protein Powders are great for those who need that extra bit of protein in their diet, or if they are looking to help build and repair muscles after their workout and tone their physique. Because its a complete source of protein, you can use protein powders to help improve your overall strength. Collagen powders are not great for helping with building muscle strength, but they can be wonderful for helping repair connective tissue like tendons, ligaments, and joints. As we age, we lose collagen in our tissues, which can contribute to looking older, injuries and chronic pain. 

To make things as clear as possible, we’ve created a table to highlight when to use each: 

Summary of Protein Powder Benefits

Summary of Collagen Powder Benefits

Helps build & repair muscle tissue Helps build & repair non-muscle tissue e.g. joints, skin, hair
Best for those who are looking to add protein to their nutrition plan Best for those who have chronic joint pain due to wear and tear e.g. lifting heavy weights or certain contact sports, potentially osteoarthritis
Helps to improve strength, tone and sculpt your physique Best for those who want to prevent skin aging e.g. wrinkles, elasticity, firmness, brightness

We hope you enjoyed learning about protein powder versus collagen powder and which one is the right option for you. If you want to learn more about how to optimize your diet to support your health naturally, we’d love to work with you!

Book an appointment here with Dr. Liz Dalglish, ND, who focuses part of her practice on cardiovascular care, headaches, migraines, healthy aging, perimenopause, Parkinson’s care and vestibular conditions like Ménière’s disease and vestibular migraines.