Episode 10 – Collagen Supplementation for Injury Recovery

Key Topics Covered

Research Looking Mixed

  • When looked at from a broad perspective, collagen supplementation does not look that promising for injury recovery. The research is mixed.
  • But when you account for the variables mentioned in the protocol below it is overwhelmingly positive.
  • Relevant for musculoskeletal injuries – which account for ~70% of injuries.

Protocol:

  • Timing 40-60 minutes before rehab sessions – this is how long it takes for the amino acids to peak in the blood
  • Dose – 15-25g
  • Vitamin C – any amount – 50mg if you want a number – vitamin C is necessary as part of the enzymatic processes involved in collagen synthesis. Probably only needs to be supplemented if you do not happen to be consuming it through food at a similar time.
  • Most standard collagen supplements will only have 2.5-10g of collagen which is not enough for injury recovery.
Collagen Supplements Rehab Protocol

Mechanism

  • Collagen is high in proline, lysine, glycine and arginine. The amino acid profile of collagen is poor for muscle growth. But these specific amino acids are more useful for collagen synthesis in the body.
  • These amino acids peak in the blood 40-60 minutes after consumption (Rebekah Alcock Study).
  • Ideally you do rehab and get blood flow to the area e.g. tendon during this timeframe.
  • Research shows utilising collagen in this way does actually increase collagen synthesis in the body.

Case Study

  • With tendinopathy there is a concept of “treat the donut, not the hole.” This is based on the understanding that the “hole” (injured area) will probably not heal anytime soon, and it makes sense to focus on the healthy tendon around the injured area instead.
  • Keith Baar case studies have shown complete healing of these “holes” using combinations of isometrics and collagen supplementation. MRI evidence of this.

Bone Broth

  • Bone broth contains collagen, but the amount is too inconsistent to use in practice. Probably not going to have 15g on a consistent basis.
Bone Broth

Relevant Links/Resources

Studies Mentioned

  • Alcock et al 2019 – Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations After the Ingestion of Dairy and Collagen Proteins, in Healthy Active Males
  • Shaw et al 2017 – Vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis.
  • Keith Baar 2019 – Stress Relaxation and Targeted Nutrition to Treat Patellar Tendinopathy
  • Alcock et al 2019 – Bone Broth Unlikely to Provide Reliable Concentrations of Collagen Precursors Compared With Supplemental Sources of Collagen Used in Collagen Research

Useful Blog Posts

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