In recent times, collagen supplements have gained increasing popularity, capturing the attention of both beauty enthusiasts interested in their skin benefits and sportsmen intrigued by their muscle recovery properties.
Many individuals, however, remain unfamiliar with the extensive health advantages collagen offers and may question its value for money. In this blog, we will explain what collagen is and how it can be helpful in various ways.
What is Collagen?
It is a protein composed of amino acids and is the most abundant protein in the human body. You can find it in bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and skin. It provides structure and support to these tissues, and it is also important for wound healing and muscle repair.
A total of 28 distinct forms of collagen are recognized, with type I collagen taking the lead by constituting around 90% of the collagen present in the human body.
The structure primarily centers on three key amino acids: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids intertwine, forming three strands that ultimately result in the distinctive triple-helix configuration.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements for Sportsmen
Whether you’re a dedicated athlete or someone who frequently goes to the gym, collagen is a remarkable recovery protein that plays a pivotal role in repairing ligaments, muscles, tendons, and cartilage that undergo strain during training or workouts.
Functioning as a fundamental pillar of our body’s structural strength, collagen makes up a significant 90% of our connective tissue, which includes components like tendons, ligaments, joints, and fascia.
1. BOOST JOINT HEALTH AND RECOVERY
A standout benefit for athletes lies in its positive impact on joint health. The peptides can potentially alleviate pain and inflammation arising from cartilage degeneration and joint wear and tear.
Research also underscores the connection between the peptides and the condition of ligaments and tendons. It comes from animal tendons and ligaments and helps make our own tendons and ligaments when we eat it.
Recent studies suggest that incorporating 10-15g of collagen or collagen supplements alongside a dose of vitamin C (about 50mg, equivalent to an orange) during workouts can effectively double its production in joints.
2. ENHANCE MUSCLE MASS
Collagen plays a vital role in maintaining muscle mass. As we age, declining collagen and testosterone levels can lead to muscle loss. Notably, research indicates that collagen supplements can counteract this age-related muscle decline, even for individuals diagnosed with sarcopenia, a condition linked to muscle loss in older individuals.
The study results showed that individuals who combined exercise with collagen supplements following their workouts experienced increased muscle mass compared to those who exercised and received a placebo.
Furthermore, collagen includes essential amino acids such as glycine and arginine, which serve as vital components for creating creatine. Multiple studies emphasize the contribution of creatine to boosting strength, muscle size, and overall athletic capabilities.
Athletes who want to keep or build muscles might find collagen supplements helpful, especially when they’re worried about losing muscle during certain times of the year.
3. SUPPORT CONNECTIVE TISSUE AND INJURY PREVENTION
Given collagen’s relevance to all connective tissue and muscles, hydrolyzed collagen emerges as a safeguard against injuries.
As collagen levels diminish, tendons and ligaments become less flexible, increasing the risk of sports-related injuries. This phenomenon partly explains why individuals over 30 are more susceptible to knee, shoulder, and disc-related injuries.
While several factors contribute to injuries, collagen levels play a crucial role in prevention. Research highlights the importance of elevated collagen levels in connective tissue to avert injuries. Additionally, studies suggest collagen aids in injury recovery by curbing the accumulation of scar tissue.
4. ENHANCE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
The process of muscle contraction during exercise relies on creatine, which is a compound formed from three amino acids: arginine, methionine, and glycine. Collagen, with its significant 20% glycine and 8% arginine content, plays a role in the production of creatine within our body. Furthermore, collagen has the potential to improve athletic performance in situations involving short bursts of muscle contraction.
Recent studies emphasize that a five-week routine involving the intake of 1g of arginine and ornithine can increase strength by triggering the release of growth hormone.
In summary, collagen’s multifaceted benefits make it a valuable addition to the toolkit of athletes, promising improved joint health, muscle maintenance, injury prevention, enhanced protein support, and a potential boost in athletic performance.