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How Much Collagen Counts Toward Protein Needs?

The Flipping 50 Show

Release Date: 09/19/2023

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How much does collagen count toward your protein needs? It’s an excellent question. There are  a couple things to keep in mind with protein. It’s like a prescription med in that if you don’t have enough of it, you don’t get the benefit. You’d never take an Rx med just half now and half later if it is supposed to be taken 3x a day in the full dose. 

Likewise with protein. If you don’t get enough for the muscle protein synthesis, that is, the ability to boost an anabolic reaction in the muscle, you may support satiety and blood sugar stabilization but not preserve your lean muscle mass. 

Second, all protein is not created equal. Animal protein per calorie has a far higher level of essential amino acids than does plant. All animal protein is not even the same. 

And though collagen protein is animal, it’s a lower level than plant. Not all collagen protein is a complete essential amino acid source. But even so, it can be deceptive if you’re thinking, adding that scoop to your coffee covers your protein needs for morning. 

So, let’s unpack this in today’s episode and a lesser known fact that a Protein Digestibility-corrected Amino Acid Score could also have an effect on your ability to use what you consume. 

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More than 20 strains of collagen have been identified. These 5 are most common in those on the shelves you may be staring at literally or virtually. 

Type I – present in bones and muscles

Type II – cartilage and bones 

Type III – blood vessels (and other “hollow” organs)

Type VI – skin 

Type V – prime protein in skeletal muscle and corneal stroma

Type I represents 90% of total collagen content of the body.

How Much Collagen for Best Results May Depend on This

PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility-corrected Amino Acid Score), collagen protein lacks one indispensable amino acid (tryptophan) and is therefore categorized as an incomplete protein source. Collagen protein displays a low indispensable amino acid profile, yet as a functional food, collagen is a source of physiologically active peptides and conditionally indispensable amino acids that have the potential to optimize health and address physiological needs posed by aging and exercise. 

“36% of collagen peptides can be used as protein substitution in the daily diet while ensuring indispensable amino acid requirements are met. This study suggests that the effective amounts of functional collagen peptides (2.5 to 15 g per day) observed in the literature are below the maximum level of collagen that may be incorporated in the standard American diet.”

Numerous Studies on Collagen Have Shown:   

·      improvement in skin elasticity 

·      recovery of lost cartilage tissue 

·      reduced activity-related joint pain  

·      strengthened tendons and ligaments 

·      increased lean body mass in elderly men and premenopausal women 

·      increased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women

“These studies have investigated supplementation with doses of 2.5 to 15 g of bioactive collagen peptides over periods of three to 18 months. The benefits are reportedly due to bioactive collagen peptides to upregulate the synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins in various tissues via a stimulatory cell effect while providing the specific amino acid building blocks for body collagens.”

Ideally, the amino acid scores (AAS) of a protein or protein mixture should not exceed 1.0, i.e., fulfill 100% of the indispensable amino acid requirements while minimizing excess. 

This is due to the fact that the body’s metabolic needs include both indispensable and dispensable amino acids.  As a consequence, if one or more of the indispensable amino acids are present in excess of requirements, the diet becomes limited in dispensable amino acids, thus unbalanced, even though the PDCAAS remains equal to 1.0. 

So, How Much Collagen Based on SAD

A level as high as 36% of collagen peptides may be used as protein substitution while maintaining the indispensable amino acid balance and the high protein quality score of the standard American diet (PDCAAS equals to 1.0). The PDCAAS calculation of the daily protein mixture contained 36% collagen peptides and 64% mixed proteins from the standard American diet.

More Collagen to Consider: Peptides vs Powders

Considering the two, peptides are short strings of amino acids – two or three joined together – making them even easier to digest and absorb. For regeneration of connective tissue in joints, ligaments, bone and skin, or gut collagen peptides are what you want. 

Without getting too much into “other” subjects here there are also creatine peptides that support muscle strength, recovery, short bursts of power and supports ATP (energy central). 





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Other Episodes You Might Like: 

What to know about CREATINE Supplementation Over 50: https://www.flippingfifty.com/?s=creatine

Collagen or Protein Shakes for Lean Muscles After 50?: https://www.flippingfifty.com/?s=collagen

Protein Supplements for Muscle Building: What, When & Why to Exercise for Women 40+: https://www.flippingfifty.com/?s=protein