Collagen is a major structural protein in the body, we are all made up of 25-35% collagen. Everyone naturally produces collagen at a rate that is necessary for general health and recovery from physical activity. Once the age of 25 is reached though the body’s natural production of collagen begins to decline, which means recovery time from injury and training is extended due to the inadequate levels of collagen available (2).
WHY ITS IMPORTANT
Collagen is essential for recovery because it is what makes up our skin, bones, tendons, connective tissue, and muscles. Meaning it is very important for our muscles and joints athletic performance and resiliency (the ability to withstand injury). It also speeds up recovery of strains/sprains and other minor soft tissue injuries.
Collagen contains the amino acids proline and glycine. Both of these amino acids are natural anti-inflammatories and immune system boosters, which aid in the speeding up of the recovery process (2).
In a study performed on 147 Penn State University athletes over a 24-week training period it was found that the use of supplemental collagen hydroslate supported joint health and reduced the risk of joint deterioration in this high-risk athletic population. The parameters this study tested for were shoulder and knee joint pain while: running, carrying objects, lilting objects, change of direction, and walking. There was a significant difference between the subjects who used the collagen supplement and those who used the placebo, showing a large decrease in pain for those who used the supplement (1).
ADDING IT TO YOUR DIET
Collagen can either be consumed through whole foods or supplements. The best whole food sources for collagen are either beef or chicken bone broth and gelatin. The top supplements containing collagen are those that contain collagen peptides, specifically Type II Collagen Peptides. These Type II Peptides provide the building blocks of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and bones.