If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you should know that it takes much more to build muscle than just lifting heavy weights. That’s why many gym goers turn to supplements to help them achieve their fitness goals.
Collagen makes up between 1–10% of your muscle tissue. Collagen protein is critical for keeping your muscles strong and helping them function properly. Some researchers have also suggested that taking collagen may boost the synthesis of muscle proteins like creatine, as well as promote muscle growth after exercise.
Yet, taking collagen supplements daily without following a healthy, clean diet and good workout regimen won’t help you wake up looking jacked. So, how does collagen work for muscle building and growth? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What Is Collagen Protein?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body, aka primary structural protein. It can be found in bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, the GI system, and the vasculature. Apart from being a crucial building block for your body, it also contributes to healthier skin, nails, and hair.
“I genuinely feel collagen should be labelled as a superfood! Want to build lean, solid muscle? Take Collagen! Incorporating collagen in your everyday life promotes the proper synthesis of muscle proteins like creatine and subsequently stimulates muscle growth. There are many reasons why I love collagen. Here are a few: if you have dairy/gluten/nut allergies, you're in the clear!
Collagen [powder] mixes wonderfully in your AM coffee or beverage of choice. If you don't want to mix anything in your drinks, there are pill options as well. A few other benefits of collagen are: it boosts heart health, gut health, brain health, hair and nails, and increases metabolism. When to take it? Anytime! Ideally, I take it after my kuudose workouts or gym sessions to ensure my muscles are replenished with all the proper nutrients.”
Sarah Gillette, Fitness Expert at Kuudose
Collagen consists of 19 amino acids and 8 essential amino acids, including the main ones such as glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine.
Glycine is a nonessential amino acid that is believed to be effective in boosting the health and strength of both humans and animals.
Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that is needed if your body undergoes regular physical stress from heavy training. That’s why it’s a pretty common supplement among fitness professionals. Arginine is vital for improving blood flow to active muscles and controlling blood pressure. It can also help heal wounds and injuries faster.
Hydroxyproline and Proline are considered to be the essential amino-acids for whole-body protein synthesis. So, if you want to build muscle, proline has to be present to use protein properly. Also, just like arginine, proline contributes to wound and injury healing.
Collagen Protein and Fitness
Collagen levels in your body decrease with age, and it can also happen due to a poor diet. That’s when supplements come in to help replenish collagen stores.
Here’s how collagen peptides can contribute to boosting fitness and athletic performance.
“Collagen aids fitness recovery. Collagen can help you recover from exercise by helping to fuel your muscles with a high-quality protein source. During your workout, your body breaks down muscle tissue, and protein helps to repair this tissue. Grow those muscles and go back to the gym, feeling stronger!
Collagen supports joint and ligament health as well. It helps to ease joint pain and reduce the risk of deterioration. Besides, collagen protein is an easy way to get that added protection.”
Latoya Warner, Fitness Specialist & CEO at Lacey Warner Fitness
Collagen May Improve Muscle Mass
Since collagen is one of the main parts of your muscles, as its amounts decrease, so do your muscles. A German study suggests that post-workout collagen supplement can promote muscle growth if combined with exercising.
There’s still not enough research to prove that collagen can help increase muscle mass in younger and healthier people. Yet, considering that collagen plays such an important role in muscle building, it has significant potential.
As we mentioned earlier, collagen consists of such vital amino-acids as arginine and glycine, which are critical building blocks for creatine. And there is already enough research data proving that creatine helps increase muscle mass, build strength, and enhance athletic performance.
Collagen May Alleviate Joint Pain
Collagen is one of the key components of cartilage, which cushions and supports your joints. As you get older, this tissue becomes weaker, especially if you’re an athlete. This can lead to joint pain and even arthritis.
Using collagen hydrolysate supplements can help reduce joint pain and specific symptoms of osteoarthritis, according to the 24-week study.
Joint pain can be very unpleasant and limit your ability to exercise. Daily use of collagen peptides may help reduce joint pain, enhance mobility, and make your workouts more effective.
Collagen May Prevent Sports Injuries and Speed Up Recovery
No one likes injuries. Period. Not only sports injuries are painful, but they also prevent you from keeping a stable workout routine. Collagen might help you reduce the risk of injury and thus prevent you from losing precious training time.
According to one of the studies, collagen supplementation can contribute to increasing the diameter of tendons in joints. As a result, it can help lower the rates of ankle injuries in athletes.
And if you do get injured during a workout, your muscles recovery will depend on restoring muscle fibres and building scar tissue. As you might have already guessed, both of these processes require collagen to help you heal quicker.
How to Properly Consume Collagen to Achieve Best Results?
Honestly, there’s no magic time nor way that is believed to be the best to consume collagen. Whether you decide to add it into your morning coffee, blend it into a protein shake or smoothie, or make colourful gummy bears out of it, it’s ultimately up to you. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what works better for your body.
And, speaking about gummies, here’s how you can make delicious protein-rich rosewater gummies at home:
Recipe by Henry Nankivell
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) of gelatin powder
- 90ml water
- 1 tsp beetroot powder
- 425ml water
- 125g honey
- 6 tablespoons (90ml) of rose water
- Grease and line a 20 x 20 cm baking tin with parchment paper. Alternatively use silicon moulds.
- In a bowl, stir the gelatin into the 90ml water. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add the water and beetroot powder and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the honey and stir until the honey is completely dissolved.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the rose water.
- Add the bloomed gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
- Pour the mixture into the tin/mould, and place into the fridge to set.
Can Collagen Supplementation Help Maintain Muscle Mass?
Even though more research is still needed to unravel the full potential of collagen hydrolysate for muscle growth, the existing data suggest that collagen peptides can help reduce joint pain, speed up recovery after sports injuries, and contribute to muscle building.
However, to benefit from the consumption of collagen supplements, you need to maintain a healthy, clean and protein-rich diet as well as exercise regularly.
Besides, since collagen is one of the most commonly found proteins in your body, it contributes to your total protein intake and thus can help you maintain the desired muscle mass.
So, depending on your workout goals, you can try introducing collagen together with other sources of protein into your diet to enhance your fitness performance. However, always remember to consult your doctor before starting a new supplementation regimen.
If you’re looking for high-quality collagen protein, feel free to check out the entire range of Gelpro organic protein products. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.