Collagen is a great way to boost your skin and joint health, but it has several benefits for physically active people, too.
Lots of people are taking collagen supplements, but you may not be aware of the many benefits of collagen beyond skin health.
Surprisingly, collagen may provide a number of benefits that will help you get the most out of your workouts. This article reviews the benefits of collagen for people who regularly exercise or lift weights.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that’s found in your skin, joints, muscles, and bones. Collagen is flexible but firm, so it provides structure and cushioning to soft tissues like your skin and joints. It’s also part of the bone matrix and a component of muscle as well.
For these reasons, many people supplement with collagen to promote skin health, decrease wrinkles, and provide extra cushioning and support to the joints.
However, you should know that collagen is not considered a complete protein. Only about one-third of the collagen you take daily should be counted towards your protein intake. Instead, use collagen in addition to a healthy protein intake.
Benefits of collagen while working out
In addition to its more commonly known advantages, collagen may provide some unique benefits for those athletes, physically active people, or those who work out regularly. Here are some of these potential benefits:
- Muscle recovery: In one high-quality study, researchers found that vitamin C-enriched gelatin (which contains collagen) given between workouts helped increase circulating levels of amino acids, which could result in faster muscle recovery and repair. This can promote muscle growth and more rapid recovery from injuries.
- Muscle growth: Another study found that supplementing with 15 grams of collagen daily for 12-weeks, along with resistance training three times weekly, resulted in increased muscle growth and strength. This was compared to people who received a placebo but still did resistance training three times each week.
- Bone strengthening: According to a study in postmenopausal women, who are at increased risk of osteoporosis, collagen supplementation of five grams per day for a year can improve bone mineral density—resulting in stronger, healthier bones.
- Fat loss: Collagen supplementation paired with exercise can have other positive effects on body composition, too—like increasing fat loss. One study in premenopausal women found that those who supplemented with 15 grams of collagen daily and did resistance training three days per week had a much lower fat mass after 12 weeks than those who only did resistance training three days weekly.
- Joint support: Finally, collagen supplementation can increase your body’s collagen synthesis. This helps not only to support the bones and muscles but also to provide more cushion for joints and more protection against the “wear and tear” damage that can lead to osteoarthritis.
In addition to supplementing with collagen, you may also want to supplement with vitamin C—which can promote collagen synthesis. Alternatively, include plenty of high vitamin C foods in your diet, like fruits and vegetables.
If you’re looking for a high-quality collagen supplement, check out Medlixr’s chocolate or vanilla collagen. These hydrolyzed powders are easy to mix, made with high-quality ingredients, and contain added vitamin C boost to promote collagen synthesis.