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Does Collagen Count As Protein? Here's What You Should Know

Hannah Frye
Author:
June 16, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
June 16, 2023
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There are plenty of reasons to focus on protein intake besides the most obvious muscle gain potential. See, protein plays a role in keeping your bones, skin, muscles, and even more essential body functions in their best shape. 

And when you start looking for more ways to sneak this macronutrient into your diet, you may come across this common question: Does collagen count as protein? Below, we explain. 

Does collagen count as protein? 

The short answer: not quite. "What makes proteins different is their amino acid content," registered dietitian Albert Matheny, R.D., CSCS, previously told mbg. "Collagen has a very different set of amino acids than a typical animal- or plant-based protein powder."

Animal protein and some vegan protein powder blends contain complete proteins, which is why they count toward that daily protein intake. Collagen on the other hand, does not—even though it's technically a protein itself.

They provide very different benefits as well. So while protein powder may be helpful for muscle gains or staying full throughout the day, collagen can't exactly check those boxes. (Although, one small clinical study found those who took collagen daily while participating in an exercise program gained more muscle mass1 than those who only did the exercise program.)

What's more, collagen peptides support skin health, joint health, and bone health. In terms of the former, studies show that hydrolyzed collagen peptides are able to support skin elasticity and dermal collagen density2.

How? Well hydrolyzed collagen peptides have been shown to help promote the body's natural production of collagen3, which makes them extra helpful in preventing wrinkles and sagging. 

Should you take both collagen and protein powder? That's up to you! If you like the sound of both benefits, then you can definitely make them a part of your daily ritual. If you're not sure where to look, start here with our curated lists of the best collagen supplements and best protein powders

The takeaway

Collagen powder and protein powder contain different amino acid profiles and can't be used interchangeably. They do both provide tons of benefits, though, just in different ways. If you want to dive deeper into the difference between the two, check out the full story here

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