The Difference Between Collagen & Paleo Protein
November 9th, 2017
One of the most commonly asked questions my team and I get is, “What’s the difference between Paleo Protein and Collagen Protein?” That question is almost always followed by, “Is one better than the other? Which one should I purchase?”
These are excellent questions, and when I was asked this question again in an appointment just the other day, I knew it was time to sit down and shed some light on the subject! My Paleo Protein and my Collagen Protein are both types of protein, yes, however they are exceedingly different products, each with their own health benefits and purpose!
Protein – You Can’t Live Without It!
Proteins are long chains of amino acids, folded into three dimensional molecules that determine their activity in nature, as well as their roles in your body. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of types of protein in the world. Various types of proteins are responsible for synthesizing your DNA, hormones and enzymes. Your muscles, heart, eyes, stomach, and lungs are made up of protein. Veins and arteries, your skin, fingernails, your hair, your bones, intestines, and stomach lining are also all built from protein!
Protein is found in all manner of foods, however we most often think of animal foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy when we think of dietary protein. Today, I want to focus in on just two varieties of protein; specifically, complete protein and collagen protein.
The Difference Between a Complete Protein and Collagen
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. Complete protein can be found in a wide variety of animal foods and some plant foods.
Collagen, however, is a unique type of protein. It is not complete, meaning, it does not have all 9 essential amino acids that a complete protein requires. Instead, collagen is made up of very specific amino acids that are often lacking in our modern diets. The amino acids primarily responsible for forming collagen are glycine, proline, alanine and hydroxyproline.
Why is it Important to Supplement with a Complete Protein?
Protein is critical in order to sustain human life. You require the amino acids in complete protein to help build and repair every single structure in your body. Your body is constantly breaking these structures down, and building them back up again which requires a great deal of dietary protein every day in order to be done correctly and efficiently.
Lean muscle is made entirely of complete protein as well, and is key for optimal well being. Lean muscle improves metabolism, helps burn body fat, regulates body temperature, as well as keeps you strong, healthy, and supported. Not everyone always has a good grass fed, pasture raised, or wild caught source of protein on hand, so a high-quality protein supplement can fill in the gaps and help deliver the essential amino acids your body needs, that your diet may be lacking in.
Why is a Collagen Supplement So Important?
Your body can make collagen, but it is an intensive process requiring the requisite amino acids we discussed above that many of us tend to be lacking in, as well as adequate vitamin C, healthy fibroblasts (the cells that make collagen), and much more. Collagen production also rapidly declines after the age of 40, resulting in wrinkles, thinning bones, weaker joints, thinning hair, and other consequences to our health and vitality.
Collagen is the most important and abundant structural protein in your body. Think of collagen as the ‘glue’ that hold your body together. Your skin, gut barrier, bones, connective tissue, cartilage, and joints all depend on ample collagen to be healthy, strong and flexible.
It plays an important role in gut, hair, skin, nails, and joint health. Plus, it supports weight management and bone health, protects your heart, and optimizes liver function.
Furthermore, most of us cannot get enough collagen from our diets alone. Even those of us eating a clean, healthy, paleo-inspired diet have trouble getting as much collagen as our distant ancestors did, let alone enough for optimal health. Unless you’ve got an 8 quart crock pot simmering bone broth from grass-fed, antibiotic-free cow bones all day, every day, then you are very likely in need of a high-quality collagen supplement!
Why I Recommend Both Complete Protein AND Collagen Protein
It’s likely apparent by now that complete protein and collagen protein are very different supplements, each offering a wide variety of differing health benefits. That’s why, if you want to support healthy weight loss, lean muscle mass, hair, skin, nails, and strong bones, as well as gut health, joint health, DNA synthesis, enzyme production, and more, I recommend adding both into your daily routine.
Supplementing daily with a complete protein, as well as a collagen protein, is a great way to ensure you reap all of the fantastic benefits of both of these whole-body, health-promoting protein types.
How to Choose a High-Quality Complete Protein
There are many different types of protein supplements on the market, many of them low quality, processed with solvents and harmful chemicals, or made with ingredients that can be inflammatory to your digestive tract.
Oftentimes the source of the protein in these powders is from genetically modified soybeans, or whey protein processed out of milk using acidic solvents, such as hexane. When the protein is derived from animal protein, it’s often coming from conventionally raised animals that were given antibiotics, hormones, and fed GMO corn.
When looking for a high-quality complete protein supplement to fuel your body and promote well being, look for:
- Grass-fed, GMO-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free protein source (if choosing animal protein)
- Free of inflammatory ingredients (gluten, dairy, whey, corn, soy, grains, legumes)
- No sugar or artificial sweeteners
- No colors, additives, preservatives, dyes or other toxic ingredients
When I was first looking for a protein powder that met all of the criteria above, I found that there just wasn’t anything out there that I felt comfortable using. In fact, I actually had to give up protein smoothies altogether for a number of years! My husband Xavier and I would come home from the gym and he would enjoy his delicious whey protein smoothie while I made a green smoothie (which was still delicious, but didn’t fill that need like a protein shake would!).
After years spent missing my protein smoothie, I decided to formulate my own protein powder that would be free of all inflammatory ingredients, sourced from clean protein, and approved for myself, my patients, and all of you.
The Myers Way® Paleo Protein is gluten, dairy, and sugar-free, and sourced from non-GMO, hormone- and antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef (don’t worry, you would never know it from the delicious taste!). You also won’t find any other The Myer’s Way® ‘no-no’s’ including grains, soy, eggs, milk, corn, or legumes. It’s perfect for everyone, especially those following an autoimmune protocol or simply avoiding inflammatory foods!
My Paleo Protein also contains a full 21 grams of complete protein per serving, tastes fantastic, and is incredibly easy to add to your daily routine. It’s great as a quick morning shake or added into a delicious smoothie. Fast, easy, convenient, and fabulous for you. Kids absolutely love it too! And when you purchase it, you’ll receive a FREE recipes eBook with mine and my team’s favorite smoothie recipes!
What to Look for in a Collagen Protein
With the rise in popularity of Paleo, “ancestral”, and “caveman” diets, collagen has also seen a spike in popularity, and the market has been flooded with collagen pills, powders, and even liquids and fortified drinks.
While it’s great that more and more people are taking advantage of the gut-repairing and skin, hair, and nail-boosting benefits of collagen, the downside is that many of these products are extremely problematic and very low in the amino acids that give collagen its health benefits.
Many of these collagen products are anything but ‘natural.’ They are overly processed, and too often denatured by high heat and other processing methods, destroying the delicate peptides contained within.
They also often come from factory farmed cattle raised in high intensity GMO feedlots, given excessive and constant doses of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones for fattening, and arsenic based drugs to promote muscle growth.
When looking for a collagen supplement, be sure to look for:
- Sourced from grass-fed animals, free of GMOs, antibiotics, and hormones
- Processed at low heat
- No inflammatory ingredients (gluten, dairy, corn, soy, grains, legumes)
- Free of binders, fillers, and other unnecessary ingredients
Because I enjoy collagen at least once a day, whether in my morning smoothie or an evening cup of tea, I wanted to be absolutely certain that the collagen I use personally is clean, high-quality, and rich in the peptides that provide all of collagen’s amazing health benefits.
That’s why, like with my protein powder, I decided to source and formulate my own!
The Myers Way® Collagen Protein comes from grass-fed cows that are never given antibiotics, hormones, or GMO feed. It is pure Type I & III collagen. These types of collagen are the most abundant in the body, and lend all the great benefits to your gut health, intestinal barrier, skin, bones, hair, nails, and connective tissue.
It is fantastic for those concerned with leaky gut because it’s full of amino acids and peptides that help maintain and promote optimal gut lining health. The cells lining your intestinal tract absolutely love this stuff; using it to promote tissue repair and a healthy intestinal barrier. Supporting the gut lining is absolutely paramount for those concerned with autoimmunity, healthy thyroid function, and a balanced and normal immune and inflammatory response.
The Myers Way® Collagen Protein is tasteless and mixes easily into any hot or cold beverage. You can add it to your favorite soup or even mix it in baked goods. Many of my patients mix into into their children’s baby food and desserts! And when you purchase it from my store, you will receive a FREE recipe eBook with smoothies, hot drinks, and sweet treats so you can give your meals a collagen-boost!