What’s the main protein responsible for the strength of tendons, ligaments, bones and cartilage?
They all contain collagen, therefore it might be able to help speed up the recovery of musculoskeletal injuries, or else, might help speed up the recovery of the majority of the injuries.
Food sources VS Supplements
Food sources of collagen
- Bone broth
- Chicken, pork, and salmon skin
- Egg yolk
- Foods with gelatin
Then why choose a supplement over whole foods? It is not possible to get collagen in the required amount every time. Also, the collagen in supplements is in hydrolysed, or broken down form and can be absorbed more easily in the body.
What about vegans?
Include foods rich in the amino acids glycine and proline, both crucial amino acids needed for producing collagen. These include relying on soybeans and other legumes, also spirulina and agar, both derived from algae.
Now, coming to the research analysis, it appears to be mixed due to factors like the dosage of collagen, the amount of vitamin C which is highly required for collagen synthesis and timing of the supplementation.
Reduce Joint Pain
Studies have shown that using collagen supplements might help reduce joint pain. Also, reduce specific symptoms of osteoarthritis or other bone disorders. Furthermore, one study looked at a group of 147 athletes over the course of 24 weeks. They had pain in their joints because of performing athletic activities. (Clarke et al, 2008). The results showed that those who got the actual collagen supplement experienced a greater reduction in joint pain.
Role in Burn Injury Repair
Collagen is structurally and functionally a key protein of the extracellular matrix which is also involved in scar formation during the healing of connective tissues.
A chronic wound develops when progression through the normal phases of wound healing goes awry, creating a hostile environment with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Collagen is an essential building block of the skin that when utilised as an adjunctive wound therapy stimulates and recruits immune cells and fibroblasts and thereby preserving native ECM (Extracellular Matrix) structure and promoting healing.
The burn is among the most severe forms of critical illness, associated with extensive and prolonged physical, metabolic disorders. A study was performed by Bhargeri et. al, 2020, to assess the effect of an oral hydrolysed collagen-based supplement on wound healing in patients with a burn. It was observed that supplement could significantly improve wound healing with circulating prealbumin, thus could clinically reduce hospital stay in patients with 20-30% burn.
To summarise, collagen supplementation is a nutritional intervention for problems related to tendons and ligaments. It may be helpful in certain conditions like joint pain or recovery from musculoskeletal injury.
- Clark, K.L., Sebastianelli, W., Flechsenhar, K.R., Aukermann, D.F., Meza, F., Millard, R.L., Deitch, J.R., Sherbondy, P.S., and Albert A. (2008). 24-Week Study on the Use of Collagen Hydrolysate as a Dietary Supplement in Athletes with Activity-Related Joint Pain. Curr. Med. Res. Opin. 24(5), 1485-96. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885
- Bagheri et al, 2020. The effect of a hydrolysed collagen-based supplement on wound healing in patients with burn: A randomized double-blind pilot clinical trial.