Does Collagen Count As Protein? Here's What You Should Know
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.
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.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health 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 skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.