Collagen is the ‘new black’ when it comes to health and wellness supplements. It seems like everyone is jumping on the collagen bandwagon these days. And why not – it’s good for your skin, your nails, your joints, and some even say your gut.

With its growing popularity, I regularly get asked a variety of questions about collagen. One of the main and most important questions is, “Can my collagen supplement replace my protein powder?” So I thought I would break down the difference between the two and how to take each of them effectively to get their full benefits.

What is Protein?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients that make up our diet. Commonly found in animal products (meat and dairy), you can also obtain protein from other sources, such as nuts and legumes.

A complete protein is made up of 9 essential amino acids. They are deemed ‘essential’ because they can only be obtained from our diet, our body can’t create them on its own.  Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Why is Protein so Important?

A complete protein is comprised of at least the 9 essential amino acids. They are deemed ‘essential’ because you must obtain them from your diet; your body cannot synthesize them on its own.

Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet. It helps our immune systems stay strong and when it comes to weight loss and body composition, it is hands down, the most important macronutrient. Why? Because it not only helps to fuel and grow our lean muscle mass, but it boosts metabolism, reduces our appetite and helps to improve a number of weight-regulating hormones.

How Much Protein Do We Need?

The amount of protein each person needs will differ based on their age, weight, and activity level. However, a safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (2.2 lbs.), up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram.

To consume a sufficient amount of protein, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 20-30 grams of protein per meal. However, most people, especially women aren’t getting anywhere close to adequate amounts of protein in their diets. This could be a hindering their muscle mass, metabolism and hormone levels and as a bi-product their weight loss goals.

This is where protein powders and supplements can be quiet effective. Meals like breakfast typically lack the required amount of protein, and products like protein powders, offer an easy, simple solution to ensure you’re getting your daily requirements.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein that forms connective tissue throughout our bodies, from our bones to our skin. It binds our tissues and essentially holds us together. Collagen products are often marketed as containing “collagen peptides” which is a term that simply refers to short chains of amino acids. The amino acids contained in collagen are glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine, all of which help to improve our health.

Collagen’s popularity has grown in recent years due to the fact that, although our bodies produce collagen naturally, as we get older, our bodies begin to break it down, faster than we can replace it. This is why as we age, we start to see fine lines and wrinkles and begin to experience joint pain. By taking a collagen supplement we are able to help our bodies replenish the collagen that is lost over time, and as a bi-product, reap the benefits of healthy muscle growth and joint health, support overall skin health, and combat the effects of aging.

Different Forms of Collagen

There are a number of ways you can increase your collagen intake. Foods like bone broth and organ meats are great sources of collagen. However, if consuming it in those forms isn’t ideal, collagen supplements offer a simple, convenient way to get the same benefits. As always, it’s important to consult with your doctor on recommended doses, but generally speaking, collagen can be taken in doses of around 10g a day.

The difference between a collagen supplement and a protein supplement

As noted above, a complete protein is comprised of the 9 essential amino acids. Due to collagen’s amino acid profile (which lacks the complete amino acids), it’s not considered a complete protein, and therefore cannot be taken as ‘protein supplement’. It is most effective when taken with a meal that contains a complete protein. Collagen is an important supplement to include as part of your diet – but it should not be considered a protein supplement.

Curious as to where you can find high-quality collagen and protein supplements? Below are a few of my favourite sold at Healthy Planet! Don’t forget to use code LindseyHealth online at checkout for orders over $150 or more!

Progressive proteins are amazing quality and have no fillers! They also make one of my favourite Vegan Proteins!

Garden of Life protein powders are also a great product! They offer a wide variety of protein powders and nutritional shakes (which are not a protein powder as they contain a higher amount of fats and carbohydrates) that are so nutritious and taste great!

Bulletproof collagen is one of my favourites and is a high-quality collagen.

Another one of my favourite collagen’s is made by Organika they have a variety of options to choose from and are a great bang for your buck!

As always, if you have any other questions, feel free to email me at lindsey@thenourishcompany.ca.

With love and nut butter,

Lindsey Xx