• Whey protein and collagen are two popular supplements that are promoted with various benefits for the body, we review which one would be better for building muscle mass

Dietary supplements are very popular. One category of dietary supplements are exercise supplements such as those that help improve muscle development, there are also supplements that also offer to reduce inflammation and even improve skin and hair. We review which are the most appropriate according to health objectives

Whey protein supplements are popularly known to aid in the development and maintenance of muscle mass. The trend of collagen is on the rise as it is not only promoted to improve hair, skin and nails, but also to improve joint mobility and reduce joint pain, as in the case of osteoarthritis or in athletes; and to build muscle.

Protein is the king of muscle foods. The Harvard Nutrition Source explains that when we exercise, our bodies use three main sources of fuel: carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Harvard reports that a review by the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that protein supplementation in the presence of adequate carbohydrate intake does not appear to improve endurance performance, but may reduce markers of muscle damage and soreness.

Higher protein intake may benefit those who perform high-intensity resistance training for muscle growth and recovery. Whether supplements help endurance athletes depends on several factors, including intensity and duration of training, age, dietary energy intake, and quality of protein intake.

“For people who engage in strenuous exercise to build and maintain muscle mass, the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends a daily protein intake of 1.4 g to 2 g per kg of body weight.

Whey protein is water soluble and rapidly metabolized into amino acids.
Live Science shares that whey protein contains more branched chain amino acids, like leucine, than collagen. Some studies have shown that leucine can help increase muscle mass and strength.


Collagen is a protein, the most abundant in the body. It is used to make connective tissue and is an important component of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Harvard notes that collagen helps make tissues strong and resilient, able to resist stretching.

“When digested in the stomach, collagen breaks down into amino acids, which are then distributed where the body needs protein most,” shares Harvard.

The body produces collagen, although production decreases as we age. Some studies find that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity and joint mobility, although some studies are funded by the supplement industry or have ties to the authors.

People can also consume foods that support collagen production as part of a healthy eating plan.

Analyzes examining protein supplementation for resistance training suggest that the faster digestion of whey might be beneficial for gaining skeletal muscle mass.

Collagen is absorbed more slowly than whey protein. Collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen are broken down forms of collagen that are more easily absorbed.

Collagen may have an advantage over whey protein in terms of digestion, as the latter can cause gastrointestinal problems in people who have trouble digesting dairy.

Collagen supplements also contain building blocks of protein, and may also contain nutrients related to skin and hair health, such as vitamin C, biotin, or zinc.

Most people can get enough protein from a healthy and varied diet.

Supplements would not be necessary when enough protein is consumed through food. “Protein powders and supplements are great for convenience, but aren’t necessary, even for elite athletic performance,” states the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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