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Katie Kissel, master of science, registered dietitian, certified specialist in sports dietetics

Collagen consists of amino acids, are intertwined and form the hard and durable connective tissue (skin, cartilage, ligaments and bones), accounting for about a third of the total number of proteins in animals. Collagen is considered to be beneficial for the skin, intestines and joints, and it is believed that it can improve the results of training.

Many forms of collagen supplements involve the use of enzymes, high temperature or water to convert the collagen in the collagen peptides or collagen hydrolysates. Collagen supplements are usually in one of two forms, either it is non-denatured collagen or denatured. In humans there are several types of collagen, the most common is the I, II and III types. Collagen type I is most common, and it is considered the most effective. Collagen type II is a popular ingredient included in the composition of additives, it is a peptide and is a major component of articular cartilage. Collagen type III is included in our organs and skin and gives it elasticity.

What are the benefits of collagen?

Many people do not get collagen from food on a regular basis due to modern methods of meat processing and demand for boneless meat and meat without the skin. In the past people ate a variety of animal parts including bone marrow and connective tissue. This is one reason for the growing popularity of bone broth and other supplements that contain collagen. In addition to reducing the number of products containing collagen, there are other contributing factors to the breakdown of collagen is the age of heavy workouts and excess weight.

A study on collagen and mechanisms of recovery after workouts, consider its effects on muscle tissue. Of studies involving elderly participants with age-related loss of muscle mass showed that the group who took supplements containing collagen peptide in combination with endurance training, was able to significantly improve body composition than the control group who received a placebo. Another study on the impact of hydrolyzed collagen on elderly women diet with a moderate or a small amount of protein, showed the relationship between nitrogen balance (protein) and maintaining lean muscle mass.

The study also showed that supplementation with collagen has a positive effect on cartilage tissue and may contribute to reducing functional pain in the knee. Review for 2016 showed that there is a significant number of laboratory studies and studies on living organisms, confirming that collagen peptides promote healing of bone tissue.

A separate study showed that taking gelatin (vitamin C) before exercise can improve the synthesis of collagen and help in preventing injuries and recovering from them. Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen in the body. It is important to note that the study was conducted both in the laboratory and in living organisms, while the laboratory part of the study, cells were taken only from one participant.

Can the collagen to replace other types of protein supplements?

It is important to remember that collagen is not a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. The collagen is missing in essential amino acid tryptophan. Collagen contains a large number of such amino acids as glycine, Proline, hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine. Glycine is a major structural component of collagen, has anti-inflammatory properties. This is another possible advantage of the supplements with collagen content.

Is it possible to replace your post-workout complex with collagen?

Post-workout complex should consist of three components:

  • Proteins help rebuild muscles.
  • The carbs to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles and stimulate the recovery process.
  • Electrolytes to replenish losses during training.

The inclusion of collagen in post-workout complex can have a positive impact on muscle and connective tissue, including bone, tendons, and ligaments. In many post-workout complexes lacking any of these essential recovery ingredients, so collagen can be a great alternative or additive to them.

If your post-workout complex contains no protein, it is likely that it will be useful to add collagen. If you want to replace your post-workout complex with collagen, try to mix whey or any other protein containing a sufficient amount of all nine essential amino acids, and collagen to get more complete protein. There are ready-made mixture consisting of whey protein and collagen. In most cases, collagen can not be a full replacement for the traditional post-workout complex, but it can strengthen it.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26353786
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19465192
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28177710
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940902
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5183725
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5183735
  • This article was written by Katie Kissane (MS, RD, CSSD), a certified nutritionist and specialist in sports nutrition with extensive experience in the field of nutrition, including diet for diabetes, allergies/food intolerances and eating disorders. Katie received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in science of nutrition at the University of Colorado. Kathy is the owner of NoCo Sports Nutrition and works with many athletes, including youth athletes, collegiate and professional athletes. She is currently included in the register of dieticians of the United state Olympic Committee. As an athlete, she has a unique understanding of the many issues facing athletes.

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