Collagen for Recovery/Injury Prevention
Collagen is one of the most buzzed-about topics among health and fitness devotees in the last several years. Partly fueled by the popular paleo/ketogenic diet, interest in collagen peptide dietary supplements is at an all-time high regardless of one's diet/lifestyle.
Now there is another reason, for athletes in particular, to get on board with this versatile substance. In March of this year, the International Olympic Committee, the governing body of the Olympics, released a consensus statement on dietary supplements and high-performance athletes. The IOC in general cautions athletes to exercise great care in choosing/choosing to supplement(s). It is interesting to note that the tone of the statement overall is that dietary supplements of any kind offer little benefits to athletes. The IOC concluded that from the many thousands of different products on the market, only a few may provide performance or health related benefits to athletes, and on a situation-specific basis. However, in their words, "some supplements, when used appropriately, may help athletes to meet sports nutrition goals, train hard, and stay healthy and injury free." They have released a small list of only science-backed supplements, including curcumin, tart cherry juice, and collagen.
How Does Collagen Help?
Collagen is a type of fibrous protein which forms the base for all the connective tissues in the body. It comprises 30% of the body's proteins and is therefore the most abundant protein in the body. In the musculoskeletal system, it forms or is an essential component of muscles, cartilage, joints, tendons, ligaments, and intervertebral disks of the back. In an elite athlete, obviously these are important body parts to be held in peak condition.
There are multiple collagen forms in the body comprising different tissues. Types I and III are found in skin, while type II is unique to cartilage and is the principal structural protein in cartilage providing tensile strength and toughness, providing flexibility and support to bone joints. Seventeen amino acids in various combinations make up these collagen proteins, including glycine, proline, lysine, and hydroxyproline.
IOC Signs Off
Collagen is listed by the IOC as a supplement specifically in the category of supplements that may assist with training capacity, recovery, muscle soreness and injury management. They cite multiple published studies on collagen peptides. The studies' proposed mechanism of actions were: increased collagen production; thickened cartilage; decreased joint pain. The IOC's conclusion regarding efficacy of collagen supplementation, which they arrived at only after exhaustive review of medical journals and published studies, was that "increased collagen production and decreased pain seem possible."
One clinical study of 24 weeks duration showed improvement in (knee) joint pain in athletes with no evidence of joint disease who were treated with collagen hydrolysate. The results have implications for the use of collagen hydrolysate to support joint health and possibly reduce the risk of joint deterioration in a high-risk group (elite athletes). This translates to the conclusion that athletes consuming collagen hydrolysate can reduce parameters (such as pain) that have a negative impact on athletic performance. Other clinical data going back decades have established that hydrolyzed collagen preparations are safe and effective for the treatment of osteoarthritic cartilage and that supplementation with them can bring about improvement and curing of degenerative joint conditions.
"Hydrolyzed" essentially means broken down, as in predigested by enzymatic activity to make the substance more bioavailable. Hydrolyzed collagen supplements are powders soluble in water and are quite absorbable in the body, as has been proven by many studies. Sources of these can be bovine or marine (fish).
Evergreen Nutrition carries several powder options for people looking to support their active lifestyle. Eugene's Nu-Naturals has a Collagen Peptides powder derived from pasture-raised cattle. It is gluten free and paleo/keto friendly. Evergreen Nutrition's Pure Collagen Peptides comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows and is unflavored, with no gluten or GMO ingredients.
We even have a collagen-enhancing alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Organic Plant Collagen Builder from Garden of Life's mykind line is certified organic and non-GMO and made only from plants.
Whether you are a world-class athlete, a weekend warrior, or simply want to maintain healthy joints you can aid your connective tissue, prevent injury, and recover faster with collagen supplements.
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The information provided here is for educational purposes only. None of the research or evidence presented here is intended as a substitute for consulting an appropriate healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you believe that you may have a disease condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using this or any other dietary supplement.
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