In this article:
- Benefits of collagen protein
- Why is collagen an ideal supplement to add into your workout regime?
- Repair muscle strains with collagen
- How to get the most out of your collagen supplement
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen protein constitutes about 90% of the total protein content in our bodies and accounts for roughly 6% of the total weight of strong muscles. It is a key component in the body's blood vessels and connective tissues including your cartilage, muscle tissues, bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. When our collagen levels are healthy and high, our muscles are lean, flexible, and the skin is plump and clear. However, as we age, our collagen production begins to steadily decrease and the collagen that's already in our bodies becomes damaged with exposure to UV rays and free radicals. Though we can get collagen from our diets, not even bone broth is as effective as a collagen supplementation.
Collagen supplements have been found effective at fighting the skin's signs of aging including wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and sagging. Collagen has incredible anti-aging benefits for our skin health, hair, muscles, and joints, but collagen supplementation is a young person's game too! Just by adding a dash (or more like a scoop) of collagen into your daily diet can help to grow shiny, healthy hair and strengthen your nails. It's also a key player in muscle growth, making it the ideal protein supplement for any fitness plan.
Collagen truly is the best workout buddy; it is a building block for your entire body composition and is an essential muscle protein. To drive the point home, the word "collagen" even gets its name from the Greek word for "glue". During a workout, the muscles contract and use up a stored form of energy called creatine. Creatine is made up of amino acids glycine, methionine, and arginine. Without these amino acids, your muscles won't have enough energy to pull from, dampening your muscle growth and workout times. Collagen, however, is made of a combination of essential amino acids that are necessary for building muscle strength and repairing damaged muscle cells. Specifically, collagen contains amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine, and glutamine, which the body puts to work for creatine and collagen synthesis. One study found that arginine, one of the amino acids in collagen, even increases muscle strength. In short, more energy and protein as a result of collagen peptide supplementation may increase muscle strength, muscle mass, and set you up for future protein synthesis (aka gains).
What many athletes don't realize, however, is that while supplementing with collagen protein powder can help them to bulk up and build lean body mass, it can also help to restore strained muscles and reduce recovery times from injuries. Studies have shown that having adequate protein levels is crucial to gaining and retaining muscle mass and preventing future injuries. As we workout, our bodies are eating up creatine and our protein synthesis is decreasing due to oxidation, inflammatory reactions, and muscle microlesions; our muscle tissues develop microscopic tears (which sound scary but are perfectly normal) and cause soreness.
What makes collagen a great recovery protein is its amino acid profile. When you take a collagen supplement after exercise, its amino acids get to work all throughout the body. Proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline, which have been found to be particularly important for both muscle and joint health and repair, work their wound-healing powers, decreasing your recovery time and soothing joint pain. One particular 24-week study on collegiate athletes found that a dietary supplement of collagen helped to relieve joint pain and protect against joint deterioration. These amino acids also combine to produce more creatine to help your workouts last longer.
There are over 30 different types of collagen. With that said, the first three types comprise the majority of your protein content and are key players in the "muscle gain and retain" journey. Type I collagen is the most abundant by far at about 90% and can be found in scar tissues all throughout the human body. Type II collagen makes up 50% of all the protein in your cartilage. Type III follows behind type I in abundance, but is the hero of muscle, tendon, ligament, and bone repair. One study attributes its success as a healing protein to "its ability to form rapid crosslinks and precariously stabilize the repair site".
All supplements are not created equally. Due to collagen making the headlines of fitness and skincare blogs and magazines, plenty of products claim to deliver the benefits of collagen whether they can or not.
Marine collagen is an ally for athletes of all levels and fits into pescatarian, Bulletproof, keto, paleo, and gluten-free diets. Typically, collagen supplements don't carry any side effects. With that said, the most sure-fire way to see if collagen supplements are right for your nutritional and fitness needs, check in with your physician, consult the label on the back of the jar, and reach out to one of the experts at Amandean.
A muscle injury or joint pain can keep anybody from getting to the gym or meeting their fitness goals. The first step to a healthy recovery is to honor your body's pain and allow healing. After consulting with your doctor about the severity of your injury or pain, collagen supplementation may boost your road to recovery.