The Scoop: Collagen and Physical Health
More than just a health and beauty component, this protein rich dietary supplement ingredient has woven its way into the sports nutrition and full-body wellness scenes.
The Scoop: What are collagen and hydrolyzed collagen powder?
Without getting into too much of the science, hydrolyzed collagen (which is the kind you're most likely to find in the aisles of your local supplement store) is derived from the collagen that's naturally found in the bones, joints, and connective tissue of animals.
Thanks to a special reduction process (hydrolysis for the chemistry buffs out there), the collagen protein fibrils are broken down into smaller, easier to process peptides. In turn, peptides are nothing more than short chains of amino acids.
Supporting Physical Wellness with Collagen
Let's take a closer look at some of the potential benefits that may come from incorporating hydrolyzed collagen into nutritional routines.
Thanks in part to its high amino acid content, there have been dozens of studies on the relationship between the amino acids found in collagen peptides and the growth and performance of human muscle.
Some of those studies1-3 have suggested that collagen may...
- Aid in the natural production of creatine
- Support muscle growth
- Assist in the maintenance of lean muscle mass
Like many of the popular sports nutrition supplements on the market today, collagen's relationship to our muscles is built almost exclusively around the human body's ability to process and convert amino acids.
Just as with collagen and muscles, there have been dozens of clinical studies exploring the relationship between collagen supplements and our bones and joints. Though there currently aren't any definitive claims concerning the benefits of collagen when it comes to supporting good bone and joint health, there is a significant amount of anecdotal and scientific evidence suggesting that a link may be there.
Though there currently aren't any definitive claims concerning the benefits of collagen when it comes to supporting good bone and joint health, there is a significant amount of anecdotal and scientific evidence suggesting that a link may be there.
Here are just some of the ways that collagen supplement may be able to support bone and joint health:
- Aiding the treatment of osteoarthritis4
- Helping to reduce exercise-induced bone and joint pain5
- May improve bone health of seniors with osteopenia when paired with excersie6,7
Even though there's always room for more research, it's hard to classify the knowledge that we currently have as anything less than promising.
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- Clark, K.L. et al., 2008, 24-week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.
- Paddon-Jones, D. et al., 2004, Potential ergogenic effects of arginine and creatine supplementation, The Journal of Nutrition, 134(10): 2888S-2894S
- Campbell, B.I. et al., 2004, The ergogenic potential of arginine, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 1(2): 35-38
- Veldhorst M – A breakfast with a-lactalbumin protein Clinical Nutrition vol 28 p 147 2009
- Nomura, Y., Oohashi, K., Watanabe, M. and Kasugai, S. 2005. Increase in bone mineral density through oral administration of shark gelatine to ovariectomized rats. Nutrition, 21:1120-1126.
- Wu, J., Fujioka, M., Sugimoto, K., Mu, G. and Ishimi, Y. 2004. Assessment of effectiveness of oral administration of collagen peptide on bone metabolism in growing and mature rats. Journal of bone and mineral metabolism, 22: 547-553.