Sports is all about maintaining, or improving, our level of performance and fitness. In order to do this, we must keep our bodies in good condition in terms of strength and muscle mass. We should be aware that an intensive training program with short recovery times raises the risk of injury, while strengthening the joints, bones, tendons and ligaments – to prevent injury. Collagen is a type of protein and the most abundant protein in the human body. It provides a lot of the structure and elasticity in muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, blood vessels, and connective tissues. Collagen is a key protein that provides the elasticity and regeneration of these connective tissues. As we age, collagen levels drop, which contributes to several signs of aging, like wrinkles and saggy skin, joint pain, stiffer tendons and ligaments, and weaker muscles.
Collagen levels drop naturally as we age, but it’s also possible to have too little collagen as a result of a poor diet. Supplements can make up for some of this loss or deficiency. Collagen products have mostly been marketed for improving skin condition and bone strength, but as evidence from research grows we’re beginning to see collagen used for fitness and athletic performance. Can you really see fitness improvements from increasing your collagen intake?
Collagen is an important component of cartilage, the tissue that cushions and support joints. As we get older this tissue wears down, and the process occurs more rapidly in athletes. As cartilage wears away we experience joint pain and even arthritis. Studies have shown that using collagen supplements can reduce joint pain and specific symptoms of osteoarthritis. One study looked at a group of 147 athletes over the course of 24 weeks. All had pain in their joints related to athletic activities.
Collagen provide specific sport nutritional benefits. In short, they offer multiple benefits linked to recovery and connective tissue support. Protein loss occurs in muscles during and after long periods of exercise due to oxidation, inflammatory reactions, and muscle microlesions. Research shows that protein synthesis decreases during exercise, then immediately increases after exercise for an extended period of time. The high amino acid content of collagen makes it useful for muscle repair and recovery. Supplementing with collagen may help muscle repair, making it essential post workout nutrition.
The key to healing torn or ruptured muscles is collagen formation. In a study measuring the rates of collagen production for 3 weeks after a muscle rupture, scientists found collagen synthesis rates to be heightened in muscle cells during this time. Collagen synthesis reached a maximum during the first week of wound healing and is linked to the development of flexibility/plasticity of the connective tissue. Type 1 collagen formation began later during the healing process and was linked to increasing the strength of the new muscle fibers and connective tissue.
Another study that measured effects of daily intake of collagen peptides on the structure of the Achilles tendon, “found a significant increase in collagen fiber diameter, suggesting improved strength of the tendon as a result of collagen supplementation,” according to the British nutrition journal. “Clinical trials have shown supplementation with collagen may reduce activity and exercise-related joint pain. High impact activities and high intensity sports exert stress on joints that can lead to pain and injury.” In a study among subjects who experienced activity-related joint pain, “supplementation with collagen for 120 days resulted in improved joint function and flexibility while exercising, and subjects were able to exercise longer before experiencing joint pain,” written in the Gatorade science institution.
Curious as to the unique benefits of collagen supplements, and how you can incorporate them into your diet? Sipnutri offers collagen drinks with pomegranate extract, grape seed extract, and is created with the highest of quality ingredients.