Author: James O’Sullivan • Fact checked by: Gainful Registered Dietitians • May 19, 2022
There’s no denying collagen supplementation has become mainstream. There are countless commercials, magazine articles and Instagram posts touting the beauty benefits of collagen. Collagen supplements can help give skin a youthful appearance, make your hair appear fuller, allow your nails to grow stronger — the list goes on.
But are the beauty-related benefits all that collagen is good for?
We’re here to debunk the myth that collagen supplementation is only good for beauty purposes. In fact, collagen has tons of potential performance-related benefits.
First of all: What even is collagen?
Collagen is a family of proteins that are the main structural component of the body’s connective tissues. Collagen proteins make up an entire third of all the proteins in the human body.
The body produces its own collagen naturally by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids. There are 28 different types of collagen, and each type is categorized based on the composition of its amino acids. About 90% of the collagen in the body is type 1 — the type found in the skin, tendons, internal organs and organic parts of your bones. It’s what helps give skin a youthful appearance by improving skin elasticity, as well as skin hydration and moisture. Type 1 aids the pressure put on the joints, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite, counteracts the aging effects of sun exposure, makes your hair appear healthy and fuller and allows your nails to grow stronger.
It’s true collagen is typically marketed toward people looking for its beauty benefits; however, collagen also has a wide range of fitness-related benefits as well.
Collagen supplementation is very effective for post-workout recovery because collagen supports joint health and the elasticity, strength and regeneration of connective tissue, such as skin, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. As noted in a study titled “24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain” published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, these are parts of the body that are particularly vulnerable to damage when a person regularly engages in physical activity. Between 1–10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen, which is why getting a proper amount of collagen is so vital for athletes.
If you’re someone who works out often, collagen supplementation can help relieve joint inflammation and ease the extra pressure put on cartilage and bones during intense workouts. This helps you avoid the risk of injury and reduce muscle soreness. Performance-based supplement companies like Gainful offer collagen supplements, like the Collagen Performance Boost, that are geared toward athletes looking for specific performance-related benefits: promoting elasticity, strengthening connective tissues and supporting muscle recovery.
Those aren’t the only performance-related benefits of collagen supplementation. Collagen can also assist in wound healing as well as age-related bone loss prevention, especially when it is combined with calcium. Conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are characterized by low bone density, and collagen helps prevent the bone breakdown that leads to these types of conditions.
Collagen can also help reduce risk for several heart-related conditions, including atherosclerosis. This is a disease that involves the narrowing of the arteries and can lead to heart attack or stroke. Collagen helps provide structure to your arteries, which helps reduce the risk for these types of conditions. (Do note that collagen is not a “cure” for any of these conditions. Talk with your doctor before adding collagen as part of your treatment plan).
Collagen’s effects on brain health haven't been widely studied, but individuals have reported that collagen supplementation has led to improved moods and reduced feelings of anxiety.
These are just a few of the many benefits of collagen that the body enjoys — but unfortunately, collagen production in the body actually starts to decline around age 25. Given collagen’s reputation and seemingly endless benefits, collagen supplementation has become a popular way to make up for any collagen loss once a person reaches his or her late 20s.
Typically, oral collagen supplements come in powdered or pill forms. (You can also find collagen added to topical creams or serums.) The collagen in oral supplements generally comes from an animal source, such as cow bones or fish skin, as collagen is found naturally in foods like bone broth, chicken, fish and seafood. Of the different oral collagen supplement forms, collagen powder tends to be the most popular.
A collagen powder supplement is created by processing the collagen from animal tissues and breaking down the amino acid chains. The breaking-down process is called “hydrolyzation,” and this makes the nutrients in collagen — glycine, arginine, proline and hydroxyproline — easier and faster to digest. When collagen is easier to digest, your body is able to receive and use its benefits more efficiently.
Non-hydrolyzed collagen is gelatin that does not blend well into liquid. Due to its digestibility, hydrolyzed collagen supplements are the type of collagen supplement that most people (especially athletes) seek out. A scoop of hydrolyzed collagen powder can easily be added to beverages or smoothies, making it easy to incorporate a collagen supplement into an everyday routine.
Gainful’s Collagen Performance Boost is a hydrolyzed collagen powder. This easy-to-digest, easy-to-mix form of collagen effectively promotes elasticity, strengthens the connective tissues and supports muscle recovery.
Because Gainful is a sports nutrition company dedicated to personalized supplementation, the Collagen Performance Boost is formulated so subscribers have the perfect daily dose that’s safe to take every day.
In general, collagen is considered to be a safe daily supplement (though some people do have reported side effects, such as stomach complaints, when they take more than their recommended dose.) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consulting with a healthcare professional before using any dietary supplement, including collagen.
That said, according to a 2019 review of clinical studies published in the journal Nutrients, taking between 2.5 to 15 or 20 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides daily is both safe and effective. Postmenopausal women may benefit from getting closer to 15-20 grams of collagen every day, per a 2019 study titled “Specific Collagen Peptides in Combination with Resistance Training Improve Body Composition and Regional Muscle Strength in Premenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial” published in Nutrients. Athletes looking to build muscle may also benefit from a higher collagen intake per day. In fact, effective daily values have been seen to be between 5-40 grams depending on the type and target area (joint, skin, muscle). Gainful’s Collagen Performance Boost contains 10 mg of hydrolyzed collagen per serving.
It’s important to note that collagen works best when used in combination with vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, which is what helps relieve joint pain and helps speed up recovery time. Hyaluronic acid can help boost collagen production in the human body. For optimal performance, consume 15- 20 grams of collagen with 50-100 milligrams of vitamin C from foods and drinks and/or supplements around 30-60 minutes prior to weight-bearing exercise. Gainful’s Collagen Performance Boost actually combines vitamin C and collagen into a single formula, which makes it easy to get proper amounts of both. It contains a scientist-recommended dosage of vitamin C (50mg per serving), which enhances uptake of collagen and absorption of collagen into tissue.
As you can see from the above, collagen supplementation can play a role in overall wellness. It’s been suggested via numerous studies to be “good for” a number of things — including numerous fitness and performance benefits.
To figure out the role collagen can play in your life, take Gainful’s quiz. Gainful’s team of experts review your answers and can recommend collagen based on your body, diet, fitness routine and overall lifestyle. Gainful only uses the cleanest ingredients to make the product formulas, and the Collagen Performance Boost is no exception. The Collagen Performance Boost is:
Gainful’s science-backed, natural ingredients with sports performance benefits plus vitamin C allow the Collagen Performance Boost to stand out among the other collagen supplements on the market. High in glycine, lysine, proline and protein, Gainful’s Collagen Performance Boost is a great addition to your complete sports nutrition system. If you find that the Collagen Performance Boost is the right fit for you, it can be conveniently bundled with your subscription.
Take the quiz to add the Collagen Performance Boost onto your next Gainful order. Get ready to feel all the benefits of collagen — aka, everything that collagen is “good for.”
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