Whey enhances the effect of strength training on muscle mass, collagen does not
Although supplementation with collagen may have positive effects on biosynthesis of muscle tissue, replacing high-quality protein foods such as whey with gelatin or collagen will have a negative effect on muscle mass. This is evident from a humane study of sports scientists at McMaster University in Canada.Study
The researchers divided a group of 22 women, with an average age of 68, into 2 groups. During 6 days the women drank 2 shakes daily. Each shake contained 30 grams of protein. The women in one group used shakes with whey isolate, the women in the other group used hydrolyzed collagen shakes.

The women consumed about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight every day through their regular diet. The shakes increased this to about 1.7-1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
The researchers determined how much muscle tissue the women built up in their leg muscles before the experiment started and after 5 days of supplementation. Before and after 5 days of supplementation, they had the women train their thighs on a leg-extension machine, and again measured the build-up of muscle protein in the leg muscles in the following hours.
The women who received whey shakes built up more muscle tissue than the women in the other group.


"Our findings show that consumption of supplemental whey protein, but not collagen protein, enhanced skeletal muscle protein anabolism", write the researchers."Consumption of whey protein when consumed in conjunction with resistance exercise resulted in a further stimulation of muscle protein synthesis, reinforcing the importance of resistance exercise in the maintenance of skeletal muscle health."
"Importantly, we also show that resistance exercise in combination with low-quality collagen protein was not sufficient to elevate rates of myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis above baseline in healthy older women indicating that the selection of protein sources for older women may be of great significance."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Mar 1;111(3):708-18.