June 10, 2024 7 min read

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    A frequent debate in the fitness community circles is creatine versus collagen. You’ll often hear people speculating whether you need one or the other, which offers a greater range of benefits, and what would be the better overall choice. If you’ve come here to settle this dispute, you may be surprised to learn that our final verdict is that there is no winner here. There is, however, a winning combination, which is taking both creatine and collagen - and not just for fitness-related benefits.

    Creatine and collagen offer many similar benefits, which is why people might believe that investing in both may be a waste of money. There is, however, a plethora of positive effects associated with combining the two. Instead of pitting them against each other, we’ll dive deep into the true potential of this powerful duo. If you’re more interested in their joined forces than the Clash of Titans, keep reading to learn more.

    Let’s Talk about Creatine

    Creatine consists of three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine. In addition to these amino acids, three enzymes are necessary for natural creatine production, including lycine amidinotransferase, guanidinoacetate methyltransferase, and methionine adenosyltransferase. While the amino acid content may lead you to conclude that creatine is a protein, it is, in fact, a non-protein compound.[1]

    While creatine is synthesized endogenously, the amount produced through this natural process (~1g a day) is insufficient to fully experience all its benefits. Creatine is mainly produced in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas, but most creatine is obtained from diet - predominantly meat products. While around 95% of creatine is stored in the skeletal muscles, the remainder is found in the liver, kidneys, and brain.[1]

    Creatine is an affordable, widely available oral supplement, known to support hypertrophy, enhance physical performance, and boost neuropsychological functions.[1] While creatine monohydrate represents the most popular and researched type, creatine HCL is rapidly gaining much-deserved recognition. The hydrochloride form of creatine promises improved bioavailability, as this format is easily broken down and absorbed by the body.

    Why Is Collagen the Glue that Holds the Body Together?

    King of the protein realm and the primary structural protein in the body, collagen also has an amino-acid composition, and it is produced naturally. Collagen is an incredibly flexible, yet strong protein, providing structure and stability to connective tissues. It is widely present in skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons. While there are numerous collagen types, the most common are types I through IV - type I being the most abundant (accounting for 90% of all bodily collagen).[2]

    Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides

    Collagen has a unique triple helix structure, meaning that the collagen molecule consists of three amino acid chains - every third amino acid being glycine. Collagen is naturally manufactured in fibroblast cells, both intracellularly and extracellularly. However, the inevitable aging process, as well as environmental stressors, greatly affect this process, and the production gradually decreases, especially after the age of 30. This is precisely why collagen supplementation represents a staple in a wellness-optimizing routine.[2]

    Collagen peptides, a hydrolyzed form of collagen, represent the most popular and effective choice of collagen supplementation on the market. The purpose of hydrolyzation is to enhance collagen’s bioavailability and ensure that the collagen is not only absorbed but also utilized by the cells in need.

    Allies, Not Enemies: Why Combine Creatine and Collagen

    As promised, we will keep our focus on the joined benefits of this duo, rather than speculating about the superiority of one over the other (which, truth be told, would be nearly impossible to decide). Let’s take a look at the benefits the creatine and collagen combo offers.

    Collagen in Creatine Synthesis

    Not only is collagen a protein that is produced naturally in the body, it is simultaneously an important factor in the synthesis of other important nutrients. Due to its high levels of amino acids glycine and arginine, collagen plays a significant role in the natural synthesis of creatine. 

    Needless to say, quality collagen supplementation promotes natural collagen production in the body, as well. Therefore, by supplementing with collagen, you’re essentially supporting both processes.[3]

    Creatine in Collagen Secretion

    More proof that creatine and collagen are two peas in a pod is that creatine also plays an important role in collagen secretion. Supplementing with creatine has been found to promote collagen type I cellular secretion, increasing bone mineral density and strength while also reducing bone resorption.[4]

    Lean Muscle Building

    Creatine is a staple in building lean muscle - and with good reason. When combined with adequate training, creatine supplementation can enhance muscle mass as well as muscle strength.[5] By improving these factors, creatine also boosts performance levels in both experts and beginners, increases overall strength, and reduces body fat.

    Similarly to creatine, collagen is a crucial factor in hypertrophy, especially when paired with resistance training. A 2019 study found that 12 weeks of resistance training, in combination with a collagen peptides supplement, resulted in significant improvement in lean body mass.[6] Both creatine and collagen are largely present in muscles - hence their irreplaceable role in muscle health.

    Collagen and Creatine for Muscle Building and Recovery

    Recovery

    Creatine is a known vessel for recovery enhancement, especially after strenuous, intensive exercise. Creatine supplementation has been found to shorten recovery time between intense exercise bouts, mostly by reducing muscle damage. It also does wonders for force-production potential recovery, hence its popularity among athletes.[7]

    Collagen, on the other hand, is a go-to solution when it comes to recovery - especially in joint, tendon, ligament, and bone injuries. It is also highly efficient in exercise recovery, as well as decreasing muscle soreness after intense workouts.[8]

    Brain Health

    A lesser-known benefit of creatine supplementation is its effect on cognitive health. Creatine has been found to support recovery from trauma, cognitive processing, as well as overall brain function. Creatine is also recognized as an important element in self-care, behavior, personality, and communication ability.[9]

    The main structural protein collagen doesn’t fall far behind, either. Collagen boasts powerful neuroprotective properties, with the potential of protecting neurons in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.[10]

    Glycine Intake

    Glycine is often referred to as the most impactful nonessential amino acid, as it is a key factor in protein building, as well as hormone maintenance. It has powerful antioxidant properties; it can improve sleep quality, aid in liver regeneration, and protect the muscles.

    Both collagen and creatine are some of the most abundant sources of glycine, a protective agent with a strong positive effect on immunological reactions, oxygen supply, and blood circulation.[11]

    Skin Health and Graceful Aging

    Aside from promoting youthfulness through fat loss, muscle gain, and neuroprotective mechanisms, creatine also acts as an antioxidant. It positively affects the dermis' energy status and protects the skin against stressors such as UV-induced damage and oxidative stress.[12]

    Since creatine is also involved in collagen synthesis, it boosts the production of the most important protein in skin health.[12] Collagen is a praised skin-loving supplement, known to boost skin elasticity and hydration. By improving these important parameters, collagen reinforces its role in skin aging management - specifically wrinkle prevention and reduction.[13]

    FAQ

    What are the benefits of creatine and collagen for women?

    The joined benefits of this duo are quite universal, and highly coveted by everyone, regardless of age or gender. The somewhat overlooked, surprising benefits of the creatine and collagen combo for skin may take the victory here, even though the cognitive health and lean muscle mass building leading to fat loss may come in a close second.

    Can I have creatine and collagen in coffee?

    Collagen coffee is already a huge hit! We recommend giving our collagen coffee recipes a go. Just like collagen, creatine in powder form can also be added to your coffee, which makes staying on top of your supplementation much easier. Of course, tracking your reaction and ensuring that the combo isn’t causing any digestive issues for you is necessary. Creatine HCI, on the other hand, comes in a convenient pill form, so you can just take it on the go and not think about mixing it into your beverages.

    Dissolving Collagen in Beverages

    What cancels out creatine?

    While some studies suggest that caffeine and creatine should not be mixed, other recent findings support the combination of the two, especially given their mutual benefits. Other than that, there haven’t been any indications about supplements and beverages that would jeopardize the effects of creatine.

    In Summary

    While others are still caught up on the creatine vs. collagen battle, we choose to embrace the joined power of this duo. They undoubtedly share many roles, but it is simply another reason to combine them instead of excluding one from your routine. 

    Whether your goal is to enhance performance, trigger hypertrophy, boost mental function, shorten recovery time, or enjoy a glowing complexion for years to come, this unexpected pair may be the answer. Check out more all-natural, non-GMO products and create your own unbeatable combo.

    Article References:

    1. Cooper, Robert et al. “Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 9,1 33. 20 Jul. 2012, doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-33
    2. Wu M, Cronin K, Crane JS. Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. [Updated 2023 Sep 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507709/
    3. Zdzieblik, Denise et al. “Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 114,8 (2015): 1237-45. doi:10.1017/S0007114515002810
    4. ---. “Creatine Supplementation Stimulates Collagen Type I and Osteoprotegerin Secretion of Healthy and Osoteopenic Primary Human Osteoblast-like Cells in Vitro.” Bone, vol. 42, Mar. 2008, pp. S21–S22, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2007.12.021.
    5. Wu, Shih-Hao, et al. “Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021.” Nutrients, vol. 14, no. 6, 1 Jan. 2022, p. 1255.
    6. Oertzen-Hagemann, Vanessa, et al. “Effects of 12 Weeks of Hypertrophy Resistance Exercise Training Combined with Collagen Peptide Supplementation on the Skeletal Muscle Proteome in Recreationally Active Men.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 5, 14 May 2019, p. 1072, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051072.
    7. Wax, Benjamin, et al. “Creatine for Exercise and Sports Performance, with Recovery Considerations for Healthy Populations.” Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 6, 2 June 2021, p. 1915, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8228369/, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061915.
    8. Khatri, Mishti, et al. “The Effects of Collagen Peptide Supplementation on Body Composition, Collagen Synthesis, and Recovery from Joint Injury and Exercise: A Systematic Review.” Amino Acids, vol. 53, no. 10, 2021, pp. 1493–1506, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8521576/, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-021-03072-x.
    9. Roschel, Hamilton, et al. “Creatine Supplementation and Brain Health.” Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 2, 10 Feb. 2021, p. 586, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020586.
    10. Ucar, Buket, and Christian Humpel. “Collagen for brain repair: therapeutic perspectives.” Neural regeneration research vol. 13,4 (2018): 595-598. doi:10.4103/1673-5374.230273
    11. Razak, Meerza Abdul et al. “Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2017 (2017): 1716701. doi:10.1155/2017/1716701
    12. Kreider, Richard B, and Jeffery R Stout. “Creatine in Health and Disease.” Nutrients vol. 13,2 447. 29 Jan. 2021, doi:10.3390/nu13020447
    13. Al-Atif, Hend. “Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics.” Dermatology practical & conceptual vol. 12,1 e2022018. 1 Jan. 2022, doi:10.5826/dpc.1201a18



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