More and more athletes are switching to dairy-free protein to meet their performance goals. While the reasoning behind that switch may vary from person to person, there are many valid reasons for doing so.
So why should someone switch to dairy-free protein? And what is the best dairy-free protein option for athletes?
Today we will explain why dairy-free protein is a better option for a growing number of athletes, and why we think collagen is the best dairy-free protein – hands down.
Why to switch to dairy-free protein
Whey protein is still the most popular choice of protein supplement among athletes. But is it really serving your body the best?
If you want to achieve peak performance, and feel your best during your workouts, games, or races, whey protein may not be the best option.
What is that?
Well, for starters, whey is derived from milk products. It is the liquid that remains after cheese curds have been made. For people who are lactose intolerant, this can spell disaster.
It is estimated that 68% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, which means there is a good chance that you are too. (Even if you don’t realize it.) What’s more, many people develop lactose intolerance as they age. So even if you could digest it easily before, that doesn’t mean you can now.
Have you ever gotten bloating or stomach upset from your protein supplement? That’s a good sign that you should examine your diet and switch to dairy-free protein shakes.
Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, when you compare collagen protein vs whey protein, whey is much harder for your stomach to digest. So, if you have a sensitive stomach at all, whey protein could be causing you indigestion.
Lastly, more and more athletes are switching to dairy-free protein because they are taking up vegetarian or vegan diets. If you have a plant-based diet, then switching to a dairy-free protein is a no-brainer for you.
Unfortunately, most plant-based proteins are even harder to digest than whey, and the majority of them aren’t even complete proteins. This means you aren’t getting as much out of your protein supplement. So what should you do?
Making the most of your protein supplement as a vegan
If you aren’t vegan, you can skip this section. If you are, read on!
As we said above, we think collagen is the very best dairy-free protein. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as vegan collagen. That’s because collagen comes from the connective tissues of animals.
It’s really important for you to get enough collagen in your diet, because our natural collagen stores deplete as we age – starting in our mid-20s. This is why we get more wrinkles, get injured more easily, take longer to heal, and get more aches and pains in our joints.
You can thank your collagen deficiency.
But if you are vegan, if you are opposed to taking collagen, what are you supposed to do?
The best thing you can do for your body (besides taking a collagen supplement) is to ensure you are getting ample vitamins and minerals that can boost your natural collagen synthesis.
Some vegan collagen boosters include:
- Vitamin C
You also need to consider if your dairy-free protein supplement is truly helping your performance as much as it should. It’s important to see if your supplement options are complete vs incomplete proteins, as most plant-based proteins are incomplete.
This means you will need to supplement with the missing amino acids in order to help your body function to its fullest potential.
If you aren’t getting the results you want, you may decide that it’s worth it to you to add a collagen supplement into your routine. If you do, there are so many benefits that you will open yourself up to.
8 reasons why collagen is the best dairy-free protein
There are so many collagen benefits for men and women alike that other protein supplements simply don’t provide. Here are 8 reasons to choose collagen for your dairy-free protein:
1. Collagen may aid in injury prevention
One of the very best reasons to choose collagen as your dairy-free protein of choice is that collagen can aid in injury prevention.
Collagen fibers make up a large percentage of your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, and other tissues. When you take a collagen supplement, you are actively giving your body the building blocks it needs to make new tissue fibers in any of these areas of your body.
So, if you have a partially torn ligament, or a muscle that is super fatigued, your body can send the amino acids from your collagen supplement straight to the site to repair it. Not only that, your body can use its collagen stores for general upkeep and strengthening.
One of the greatest things about collagen is its tensile strength. Collagen fibers are just as elastic as they are strong, which means that tissues with ample collagen levels are more likely to stretch instead of tear when exposed to trauma or sudden forces.
Tendon and ligament tears are some of the most common sports injuries, but taking a daily collagen supplement may help prevent some of these tears by making your connective tissues more strong and flexible.
2. Collagen can speed up wound healing
Collagen plays a vital role in your body’s natural healing process. When you sustain an injury or undergo a surgery, it’s collagen protein that is used to create new tissue cells and knit your body back together again.
Collagen is used in medical facilities across the nation to aid in the healing process. Whether it's through collagen wound dressing, or oral collagen supplements, doctors regularly use collagen to speed up healing.
If you are recovering from an injury or a surgery, and you want to get back on the track, field, or gym floor as soon as possible, a regular collagen supplement can help you to do that. That’s not something all protein supplements can say!
3. Collagen can improve joint health
As we get older, our joints don’t work quite like they used to. We may start feeling more aches and pains, and even develop dreaded osteoarthritis. But even arthritis doesn’t need to be a death sentence for your athletic career. Not with the help of collagen.
If you make collagen your dairy-free protein of choice, your joints will thank you. Collagen is one of the very few supplements that have actually been shown to regrow cartilage. That’s because 60% of the dry weight of cartilage is made up of (you guessed it) collagen.
Collagen is crucial to the health of your cartilage, and cartilage is notoriously difficult to heal since it doesn’t really contain the blood vessels necessary to transport healing nutrients.
A collagen supplement may be able to drastically reduce arthritis symptoms of stiffness, inflammation, and pain. And, as we already mentioned, it can keep the tendons and ligaments in your joints healthy too.
4. Collagen can reduce recovery times
We rotate upper body and leg days for a reason – our muscles need time to recover in between hard workouts. But did you know you can drastically reduce your recovery time needed with a simple collagen supplement?
As we mentioned above, collagen is critical in the body’s healing process, and that includes healing the micro-tears created in your muscles during exercise.
Studies have found that people who supplement with collagen experience far less muscle soreness after 48 hours than people who don’t take collagen, and that they are able to bounce back more quickly after exercise.
5. Collagen may increase endurance
There is a reason why collagen is one of the most popular supplements for endurance athletes. An easy-to-digest collagen supplement is convenient to take before, during, or after endurance events like marathons.
In fact, Frog Fuel offers single-serving protein shots that you can carry in your pocket and toss back during events or big games to give you a much-needed boost of nutrients and energy. Having easy access to collagen allows you to work harder for longer.
6. Collagen can strengthen bones
Studies have found that collagen can improve bone density and other bone markers – turning back the clock on osteoporosis and helping to protect your bones against trauma.
Bone health is important for athletes, especially if you are partaking in high-impact activities or heavy lifting. Taking a collagen supplement can set your bones up for success in your sport or workout routine.
7. Collagen may improve gut health
Collagen may just be the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs. Not only are high-quality collagen supplements super easy to digest, they can even improve the health of your digestive tract.
One study found that 93% of people taking a daily collagen supplement saw a reduction in bloating and other digestion issues. Collagen has been shown to help leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other problems with digestion.
8. Collagen can boost muscle mass
Last but not least, collagen protein has been shown to be effective in building muscle. Using collagen alongside your workouts can improve muscle strength and size. That means it can benefit you just as well as popular whey protein – without the digestive side effects.
So, if you’ve been taking a protein powder to bulk up, collagen can help you do that AND give you all the other benefits on this list. Making collagen the stand out star in the protein supplement world.
Of course, not all supplements are the same, and you want to make sure you truly are taking the best dairy-free protein supplement. So let’s discuss what to look for when choosing your collagen supplement.
The most effective collagen supplement
The very top dairy-free protein is a hydrolyzed collagen supplement.
Also known as “collagen peptides,” hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has gone through a chemical process called hydrolysis that breaks the protein molecules down into easily digestible pieces.
This is really important, not just for issues with digestion, but for getting the most out of your supplement too. If your protein supplement has molecules that are too large to fit through your stomach pores, then it doesn’t matter how many grams of protein you’re trying to take – a lot of it will simply pass through your digestive system without being absorbed.
That’s why you want to look for a hydrolyzed (or better yet, nano-hydrolyzed) collagen supplement that is easier to digest.
You also want to ensure that your collagen supplement doesn’t contain any sugars or harmful additives, since the majority of supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, and don’t need to back up claims.
Frog Fuel liquid collagen shots are made from nano-hydrolyzed collagen that is proven to digest fully in just 15 minutes. Our dairy-free protein supplement is fortified with tryptophan to make our collagen a complete protein supplement. The reviews don’t lie - this hydrolyzed collagen protein is the best dairy-free protein supplement for athletes on the market.