Collagen is misunderstood. The thing is, Collagen’s claim to fame, is within the realm of health and beauty, when really it should be marketed for athletes. Tell any of your girlfriends about a new magic elixir that will help in reducing fine lines, wrinkles and reverse the aging process, and the credit cards will start swiping. Our culture is obsessed, with anti-aging treatments. Once word hit the street that Collagen supports anti-aging, hair, nails, and glowing skin the other venerable benefits fell by the wayside. The good news for you is that I’m here to reveal the real reasons why athletes like you should be with supplementing with collagen, and how the performance benefits of Collagen far outweigh the beauty benefits.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is commonly referred to as the glue that holds your body together. The word Collagen itself is derived from the Greek word kollla which means “glue”. Collagen is a structural protein engrained within the connective tissue of animals and humans, specifically found in the cartilage, tendons, muscles, and bones. Collagen peptides have a unique mixture of amino acids, with a rather abundant amount of glycine, hydroxyproline, proline, and alanine. These peptides are important signal molecules in the rebuilding of connective tissues and musculoskeletal structures.
What Are The Benefits Of Collagen For Athletes?
Several studies have shown that Collagen supports healthier skin, specifically by improving elasticity and moisture. The skin and connective tissues contain cells called fibroblasts that help manufacture collagen. And as long as the fibroblasts have enough of the amino acids they need such as glycine, and proline from Collagen supplementation, then your skin is going to be glowing and taut [R]. Beauty aside though there is a growing body of evidence, that shows Collagen promotes an anabolic effect on cartilage tissue and rebuilding supporting ligament fibers, improving workout performance and recovery for athletes. Recovery, not in the traditional sense of muscle soreness, but rather, joint health.
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Collagen Reduces Joint Pain/Promotes Joint Health
Demanding training schedules and high-impact training modalities can create chronic joint pain, acute aches, and disrupt the recovery process. In a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study [the gold standard in clinical studies] conducted at Penn State University 147 collegiate athletes, (72 male, 75 female) were randomly administered 10g of hydrolyzed collagen or a placebo. After 24 weeks, the results showed a significant improvement of joint pain, joint strength, and resilience in athletes who were treated with the collagen hydrolysate [R]. This study provides ample evidence, that Collagen supplementation can have a significant benefit for athletes, reducing joint pain and stiffness, resulting in improved athletic performance.
Collagen Improves Bone Health
Bone fractures, due to high-impact stress, and over-training is a common occurrence, which can result in injury due to over-pressure on the skeletal system, in order to perform at high levels.
Research has shown that collagen has an effect on bone mineral density and bone formation. This can be extremely beneficial especially for athletes to help prevent injury from potential bone degradation. In a recent randomized, controlled, double-blind, published in the journal Nutrients, 131 women were given either 5g of collagen or a placebo for a trial period of 12-months [a study this long in duration, is very rare in the world of supplements] The results indicated an increase in bone density and a favorable shift in bone markers [R].
Collagen Increases Strength
In a recent study conducted at Cologne Sports University in Germany, 57 male participants were administered 15g of collagen peptides per day or placebo for a period of twelve weeks. The results concluded that study participants using Collagen, showed a more pronounced difference in strength with a significant increase in fat-free mass, resulting in improved body composition [R].
Collagen is protein and contains some essential amino acids [EAA] to facilitate muscle protein synthesis otherwise known as the muscle-building process. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body and consists of nearly one-third or 30% of total human protein [R]. It’s important to note, that although essential amino acids are vital for building and rebuilding muscle tissue, collagen contains only a fraction of EAAs as compared to Whey protein [R]. It's really apples to oranges.
Collagen is not a complete protein, meaning it does not have all of the essential amino acids necessary for stimulating muscle protein synthesis and building muscle mass. Collagen can help increase strength more from a structural point of view.
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Collagen is made up of very specific amino acids, glycine, proline, alanine, and hydroxyproline, which are severely lacking in modern diets. Collagen can contain up to 19 different types of amino acids, of which, only 10 of the 20 can humans synthesize . Think of supplementing with a CP as providing your body with the glue that holds it together. Your body depends on collagen, and ample amounts of it, to remain strong, healthy, and flexible by building ligament and connective tissue.
Collagen For Athletes: Takeaway
Collagen is much more than just beauty aid. Collagen is comprised of unique amino acids, that are rare in the modern-day diet, which support joint health, mobility, and strength. The great thing about Collagen is that it’s unflavored and virtually tasteless so you can mix it in practically anything, to get an extra boost of protein to improve joint health and performance. By increasing collagen production, your body will strengthen it’s connective tissues, such as your joint cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. The stronger those connective tissues are, the lower your risk of injury.
Thinking about adding Collagen to your post-workout supplement routine?
SWOLVERINE Collagen Protein is made with pure hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Unflavored and virtually tasteless, you can add it to your coffee, smoothies, shakes, and even to your baking recipes to get an added boost of protein whenever you may need it. Collagen can help replenish your body with the vital protein you need to build lean muscle mass, strength, and help support healthy joints and glowing skin. Click the Image to learn more!
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We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.
Kirmse, Marius et al. “Prolonged Collagen Peptide Supplementation and Resistance Exercise Training Affects Body Composition in Recreationally Active Men.” Nutrients vol. 11,5 1154. 23 May. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11051154
Oikawa SY, Kamal MJ, Webb EK, Mcglory C, Baker SK, Phillips SM. Whey protein but not collagen peptides stimulate acute and longer-term muscle protein synthesis with and without resistance exercise in healthy older women: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020;111(3):708-718.
Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, et al. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008;24(5):1485-96.
König, Daniel et al. “Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study.” Nutrients1 (2018): 97. PMC. Web. 21 Aug. 2018.