Collagen has gained popularity recently because of its wondrous effects on the body. While it has been used in anti-aging creams and beauty products to protect the skin and provide elasticity, it has now become popular even in the fitness industry.
Collagen supplements are hitting the market because it can help you achieve your fitness goals better by providing strength, support, and flexibility to the muscles, bones, and tendons that are involved in the exercises.
Let’s learn more about collagen and how important it is to the body and why it has gained popularity in the fitness industry.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein present in the human body that is found in the bones, muscles, skins, and tendons. This protein provides structure and form to parts of the body. Collagen found in the skin provides elasticity and prevents it from wrinkles. Collagen also protects the delicate organs like kidneys in the body.
It is possible for the collagen in the body to wear out when you age. Wearing collagen can cause the flexibility of your muscles and bones to deteriorate. Therefore, it is important to include foods in your diet to improve your collagen production as you age.
Today, collagen supplements are also available and can be taken under the supervision of a health professional. In addition, normal stresses including exercises and daily activities can improve collagen synthesis and strengthen connective tissues present in the body. This is one of the most important aspects of fitness, especially for the elderly.1
How Can Collagen Help Your Fitness Routine?
As mentioned earlier, collagen provides strength, support, and form to structures in the body. However, with age and strenuous exercises and daily activities can cause strain in the bodies, especially the muscles, ligaments, and joints. This can also cause the collagen in the bodies to deplete which can affect how your body reacts to exercises and other daily physical activities.
A study reports how adding vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation to an exercise routine can improve the synthesis of collagen in the body that can help with the muscle and bone flexibility and, at the same time, protect the body from any physical injury and help in tissue repair.2
Another study showed how collagen supplementation along with resistance-training exercises improved body composition and increased muscle mass for elderly men with sarcopenia (a condition that causes low muscle mass and low muscular strength or physical performance).3
In addition to improving the body’s performance during exercise or other strenuous activities, collagen has also been found to help the body recover from injuries. A study shows how the inclusion of collagen hydrolysate (a nutritional supplement) in the diet of athletes improved their joint pain that had a negative impact on their athletic performance.4
How Can You Boost Collagen Production?
It is always best to stick to natural sources to boost your collagen production. You can include certain foods in your diet like fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids that can help improve your collagen production. Similarly, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale that contains antioxidants and other vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes that contain vitamin A can increase collagen and repair damaged collagen as well. Incorporating soy and its products can also help boost collagen in the body. Vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits like oranges and even vegetables like red peppers and broccoli can help increase the collagen in your body.5
However, sometimes, natural sources may not be sufficient to increase your collagen. Today, collagen supplements are available in the market. These should be taken only under the supervision of a healthcare provider. The studies that reported the impact of collagen supplementation used 15 grams of collagen per day on their subjects.6 However, before taking any supplements make sure you consult your doctor for effective results.
|↑1||Fritz, Sandy. Sports & Exercise Massage-E-Book: Comprehensive Care in Athletics, Fitness, & Rehabilitation. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012.|
|↑2||Shaw, Gregory, Ann Lee-Barthel, Megan LR Ross, Bing Wang, and Keith Baar. “Vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 105, no. 1 (2017): 136-143.|
|↑3, ↑6||Zdzieblik, Denise, Steffen Oesser, Manfred W. Baumstark, Albert Gollhofer, and Daniel König. “Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial.” British Journal of Nutrition 114, no. 8 (2015): 1237-1245.|
|↑4||Clark, Kristine L., Wayne Sebastianelli, Klaus R. Flechsenhar, Douglas F. Aukermann, Felix Meza, Roberta L. Millard, John R. Deitch, Paul S. Sherbondy, and Ann Albert. “24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.” Current medical research and opinion 24, no. 5 (2008): 1485-1496.|
|↑5||Boyera, N., I. Galey, and B. A. Bernard. “Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross‐linking by normal human fibroblasts.” International Journal of Cosmetic Science 20, no. 3 (1998): 151-158.|