Collagen is the most abundant structural protein, comprising around a third of the total protein in the body. It’s a fiber-like structure that makes up connective tissue and is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilageCollagen production within our bodies declines as we age, starting as early as our late 20s. There is solid research to support the benefits of supplementing collagen as you get older to support your training and recovery. Read below to learn the benefits of collagen.

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The Benefits of Collagen

Cartilage Regrowth

Tufts Medical Center researchers found that when they gave 30 people over age 49 with knee osteoarthritis 10 grams of collagen or a placebo for 24 weeks, the ones who took collagen increased cartilage thickness and growth. 

Joint Pain

A group of German nutritionists gave 139 active adults five grams of collagen daily for 12 weeks, and it reduced their knee pain.  Another study conducted at Penn State involved 97 athletes taking 10 grams of collagen every day. After six months, they experienced less joint pain during activity. 

Strengthened Ligaments and Tendons

Australian exercise scientists discovered that combining calf strengthening exercises with collagen supplementation for six months helped Achilles tendinopathy patients increase muscle strength and reduced discomfort. A paper released via the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine tested the ankle function of 50 male and female athletes with chronic ankle instability. After six months of collagen supplementation, they reported that their ankles felt more stable and had reduced their reinjury rates.

Bone Density

One hundred and two postmenopausal women participated in a study published in Nutrients. Following a year of taking five grams of collagen every day, they had greater bone mineral density, increased bone formation, and decreased degradation. 

Skin Elasticity

A group of Japanese and Korean researchers concluded that taking just one gram of collagen consistently improved skin hydration and elasticity and reduced wrinkling.  

What are the best food sources of collagen?

Bone broth: 1 cup has two to five grams of collagen, and the liquid form makes it easy to digest

Sardines or fish with the skin on: Marine collagen is found in the bones, scales, & skin

Gelatin: One packet of the Knox brand has 8 grams of gelatin. It has the same amino acid composition as collagen.

Chicken & turkey skin: It might not sound that appetizing, but poultry skin is a good source of collagen

Supplements: What to take & when to take it

Most people do not consume enough collagen through their regular diet. A collagen supplement can help you get a consistent dose of collagen. The optimal dose for most people is 10 to 15 grams, so pay attention to the serving size when comparing supplements.

RNWY is a great option for a collagen supplement, containing 10 grams of collagen, as well as vitamin C & electrolytes. Try RNWY for yourself and save 15% with code Feathers15.

Research shows that collagen works most effectively when you take it 30 minutes to an hour before training or, if you’re injured, prior to physical therapy.  A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that jumping rope doubled participants’ collagen synthesis levels and when they took collagen with vitamin C an hour beforehand, it doubled again.

PMID: 21251991, 27852613, 29081241, 29337906, 29769831, 29949887, 18416885, 30609761

Disclaimer: The content in our blog articles provides generalized nutrition guidance. The information above may not apply to everyone. For personalized recommendations, please reach out to your sports dietitian. Individuals who may chose to implement nutrition changes agree that Featherstone Nutrition is not responsible for any injury, damage or loss related to those changes or participation.