Most of us are aware that getting enough protein is an essential component of any exercise regimen. Protein is the macronutrient that is responsible for building muscle tissue, synthesizing DNA, and creating enzymes and chemical messengers throughout the body. Protein is made up of something called amino acids, which act as building blocks for the body.
During exercise, the fibers in our muscles are put under tension and these fibers tear, split, and break down. In order to repair these damaged muscle fibers, protein works to rebuild those filaments, but this time - they are a bit stronger and a bit larger! This is how muscle growth is achieved.
What is Collagen?
Indeed, we know how important it is to consume adequate protein before and after exercising, but where does collagen fit into this? Well, collagen is the main structural protein and is found to be the most abundant protein in our body, estimated to be around 25-30%! Collagen is what makes up our connective tissues, such as ligaments, bones, tendons, skin, and muscles.
Collagen plays a role in many bodily functions, some of the main ones being:
- Skin elasticity and hydration
- Bone density
- Muscle growth and repair
- Joint health
Uses of Collagen
In recent years, the use of collagen through supplementation has become increasingly popular. This is likely due to the wide array of benefits that collagen offers. It is especially important for healthy skin and exercise recovery. Let’s review how collagen can assist with anti-aging, as well as exercise.
A recent study has found that a whopping $11.6 billion was spent in the United States on anti-aging products in 2020 alone. There are so many different anti-aging face creams, lotions, and serums on the market, but we really don’t know the true effectiveness of these products. On the other hand, studies have found that collagen through supplementation improves skin elasticity and hydration.
Naturally, with age, collagen production weakens and declines. This is what leads to wrinkles, osteoporosis, and joint problems in older individuals. Collagen improves skin health by replacing dead skin cells with new ones. It is also extremely beneficial for the healing of burns and wounds.
For those who exercise regularly and suffer from extreme soreness, collagen may be the key in helping to relieve some of that post-workout soreness. As mentioned earlier, collagen is a protein that helps to build and repair connective tissue, like the muscles and joints. Collagen is considered to be highly bioavailable, meaning that it is absorbed quickly by the body. Supplementing with collagen after exercise can help to restore those strained muscle fibers and begin synthesizing new ones. This will help the body to speed up the recovery time between workouts.
Collagen may also help to reduce the risk of injuries and strains from exercise. There have been studies done that show that collagen supplementation can help synthesize cartilage. Cartilage is extremely important because it helps keep joint motions fluid and cushions the bones. In turn, this can help prevent common injuries from physical activity, especially in the knees and shoulders. Not to mention, collagen is also a component of bones, keeping them dense and strong. The stronger your bones are, the less you are at risk for stress fractures and bone spurs.
With a decrease in collagen production as we grow older, it is especially important to get an adequate intake. A few foods that promote collagen production include bone broth, chicken, berries, leafy greens, beans, soy, peppers, and tomatoes.
However, including a collagen supplement in your daily routine may be the best option for enhancing your body’s natural collagen levels. I highly recommend Proteinex because it contains 18g of protein per 1 ounce serving, which is 18,000mg of collagen. There has been extensive research done that shows how collagen supplementation may help with exercise recovery, anti-aging, and bone-health.
A simple way to include Proteinex into your diet is by blending it into your post-workout smoothie, mixing it with yogurt, or just drinking it on its own! There are numerous delicious flavors available.
Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz ML, Mesinkovsk NA. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(1):9-16.
Global Industry Analysts, I. (2021, May 12). Global anti-aging products market to reach $47.8 billion by 2027. Global Anti-Aging Products Market to Reach $47.8 Billion by 2027.
Kirsten Nunez, M. S. (2021, September 21). 5 science-backed ways collagen can support your workout. Mindbodygreen.
The Enso. (2021). Here's how collagen can supercharge your workout. Mindbody.