Collagen and whey are both essential proteins. And without enough protein, we cannot function as human beings. Both collagen and whey can be taken as supplements to boost our levels of each. But which should we choose? Or can we use collagen and whey at the same time?

The importance of protein

Protein is the foremost building block of the human body. Proteins are molecules that do the lion’s share of the work needed in our cells. They are vital to the functioning of our organs and tissues. Amino acids are the smaller building blocks that make up proteins.

Losing collagen and body mass as we age

As we age, we begin to lose collagen. Collagen deficiency starts from the age of 20-25. From 40, we lose roughly 5% of our muscle mass each decade. We can limit the effects of ageing through exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and sufficient protein intake.

Animal versus plant-based protein

In terms of our diets, protein comes from animal-based or plant-based proteins.

Animal proteins include:

  • whey
  • beef
  • chicken
  • egg
  • casein
  • fish

Plant-based proteins include:

  • rice
  • chickpeas
  • soy

Collagen versus whey protein

What is collagen?

Like whey, collagen is also a protein. But the difference between the two is that collagen is one of life’s most essential building blocks. Collagen is in our skin, hair, joints and cartilage. Collagen levels remain around optimum levels throughout our teenage and early adult years. However, in our 20s, collagen begins to degrade.  Once you are over 25, you begin to notice your skin is ageing. Aside from factors such as sun damage, collagen loss causes this degradation. Fortuitously, collagen supplements are available to help replenish our collagen levels. The best kind of collagen to use as a supplement is pure peptides marine collagen. Used for three months, you can expect to see significant health benefits.

What are the benefits of using collagen?

There are many reasons why anyone should consider adding collagen to your daily routine.

Improved skin health

Collagen can improve texture, skin elasticity, and overall hydration.

Collagen can boost your muscle mass

Like whey, collagen helps boost muscle mass. For bodybuilders, whey is better, although you can consider using both.

Collagen is scientifically proven to help relieve joint pain

As we age, joint pain becomes a problem, especially for those who play regular sports. Collagen supplements can help an individual to overcome this. The earlier in life you switch to collagen, the better.

Collagen can help build bone density

Avoiding bone loss is something we should all actively attempt to do. Why?  Because many over 70s suffer from osteoporosis and, unfortunately, the depletion of bone density is something we all face as we age.

Healthier, stronger and more beautiful hair and nails

We are constantly bombarded by advertisements promising us more beautiful hair if we use certain brands of shampoo or conditioner. Ultimately, healthier, stronger and more beautiful hair and nails are possible when we boost our collagen levels.

Improved gut health

It is early days in studies, but many doctors believe that patients using collagen supplements experience an improvement in their overall gut health.

What are the possible adverse effects of using collagen?

The good news is that collagen supplements are not detrimental to our health. They are a win-win for almost everyone. In rare cases, people may be allergic or feel nauseous after taking the supplement. However, this tends to only happen with the cheaper, poor-quality brands.

What is whey protein?

We hear a lot about whey protein, but many people - even those who use it as a supplement - don’t fully understand it. Whey protein is a mixture of proteins sourced and isolated from whey. In short, this comes from milk. Milk consists of 80% casein and 20% whey, the watery part we are familiar with. If you enjoy a high-quality natural yoghurt, you will regularly see whey whenever you peel off the top of the container! The liquid you sometimes see on the top of natural yoghurt is whey!

Whey protein is available as a powder supplement and offers an effortless and effective way of adding protein to an individual’s diet.

Who should use whey protein?

Whey protein is very popular with bodybuilders and regular gym members. But with many of us not getting enough protein into our diets, whey is a good protein supplement to add to your daily regimen. Using whey protein supplements can also help promote weight loss.

What are the benefits of using whey?

Nutrients boost

As well as boosting protein, whey also contains many nutrients.

Good for the blood

Whey helps lower blood pressure.

Fights osteoporosis

Whey is good for bone density. Optimum protein levels can help protect against osteoporosis.

Helps fight cancer

Studies suggest that whey can help fight cancer.

Stronger arms and core

Consuming whey supplements has been shown to promote muscle growth.

Don’t forget diabetes!

Using whey protein helps fight type 2 diabetes. According to Diabetes UK, 5.5 million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2030.


Inflammation is a killer. Scientific studies suggest whey helps fight inflammation.

What are the risks of taking whey?

Like many things, consuming too much of something can be detrimental. If you ingest too much whey, you might experience diarrhoea or nausea. Some people should not consume whey if they are allergic to it.  If you have kidney or liver problems, consult your doctor and ask whether you should use whey protein supplements.

Should I use collagen or whey?

The answer to this question depends on what you want from your protein supplement. Bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts favour whey supplements. Collagen tends to be used much more by those wanting improved hair, nails, skin and bone health.

Can I use whey and collagen together?


Conclusion: Collagen versus whey protein

The positive news is that you can use collagen and whey proteins together. Both proteins bring many different benefits to the human body. Utilising the two proteins in combination is neither dangerous nor detrimental. Nor does using both supplements lessen the positive benefits of each. While whey benefits muscle growth and exercise, collagen is ‘the supplement of choice’ for those who want to improve the health of their skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, hair and nails.

And who wouldn’t want all of those things?

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