Can I be honest? Besides digging up research to consistently show that running isn’t bad for our knees, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time thinking about my joints!
Until of course last year I screwed things up during a trail run and spent 10 months trying to get back to injury free running.
Suddenly I was on the hunt for ALL the information, tools, tips and tricks to get me healthy. One that surprised me was collagen, I mean isn’t that just for great skin? Nope!!
A recent clinical study showed, bioactive collagen peptide (BCP) supplementation demonstrated a positive effect on pain and mobility in osteoarthritic patients. Not only that, but in the athletic population activity-related knee pain was reduced by 37.5%! Just me, or does that sound like it’s totally worth our time to get educated about collagen peptides?!
In partnership with Vital Proteins, I’m digging in to the what, how and why.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, over 30%. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, nails, joints, digestive system and tendons. It’s what helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together.Fun fact, there are 16 types of collagen, but only 3 we really need to care about: Type 1 and 2 (skin, tendons, ligaments) and Type 3 (joints). These are what we want to ensure our body is consistently receiving enough of to prevent deterioration.
Like a lot of things, our production of collagen decreases as we age which leads to those distinguished laugh lines and yes, waning cartilage in our joints. Luckily, studies seem to indicate that we can supplement collagen!Surprise, collagen isn't just for your skin! Find out how it could help you recover from runs and prevent injuries! #runchat Click To Tweet
Why Supplement with Collagen?
If your body isn’t making enough of something and you need it to feel your best, it’s time to find it through food and supplements. I’m all about the one two punch of using both because I know I don’t eat a perfect diet of no sugar, only whole foods, never processed, yadda yadda (if you do, tell me the secret).
Not many foods contain straight collagen because it is indeed from the bones of animals, but you can use foods to enhance production and protection.
- Bone broth does actually contain collagen (I love drinking homemade broth and using the Vital Proteins bone broth powder when I travel!). Note: beef is best for skn, while chicken is best for joints!
- Eggs are one of the other few foods to contain collagen
- Wild salmon – helps with activation of collagen
- Leafy greens – the chlorophyll helps prevent breakdown by eliminating toxins and encouraging collagen production
- Oranges provide Vitamin C which helps the amino acids needed to form collagen
- Berries and tomatoes help protect the skin from damage and collagen breakdown
As you can see, there aren’t a ton of foods that directly provide collagen, which is why it’s worth finding a high quality supplement.
I love Vital Proteins because it not only dissolves well in water, but contains a high amount of protein which is an ongoing goal for me!
I can drink one of the flavors like Peach Matcha on it’s own, or combine it with 1/2 a scoop of protein after a lift to make sure I’m hitting my protein goals.
What are the benefits of Collagen for Runners?
Let’s start with the main one on my mind: joint health.
Nearly every doctor I saw last year seemed to imply that once issues start you simply can’t reverse them. But the study above proves that’s not true, as do the experiences of many others.
Under close supervision, some of the subjects did regular, moderate exercise that included cycling on a stationary bike and performing knee bends with light weights. At the end of four months, their knees were assessed, using a special test called delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, and compared with those of members of a control group.
The results: the exercisers had a significant increase in a key ingredient in knee cartilage known as “glycosaminoglycans.” That 50-cent word describes chains of sugars that contribute to the tissue’s resiliency, or ability to absorb the constant loads (walking, sitting, carrying weight) of ordinary living.
For runners the benefits are obvious and immediate:
- Reduces joint pain
- Reduces inflammation and improves healing of connective tissues
- Improves mobility by essentially lubricating the joint
- Increases bone density to reduce stress fractures
Great beyond our bones, here’s why I also use Vital Proteins daily:
- Collagen will continue to aid my knee to repair because it’s good for joints, tendons and cartilage
- 1 scoop is 8 grams of protein, no carbs 30 calories
- It maybe boost metabolism by helping to maintain muscle mass and improving digestion
- Contains Lysine which is really good for dropping cholesterol
- Contains Leucine which helps to regular blood sugar levels
- Helps to soothe the stomach, which reduces total body issues
- There is also some research indicating better muscle building results from animal proteins, since I can’t do dairy I love this option
- Totally tasteless, so it can be mixed in to just about anything.
What about Vegan Collagen?
Unfortunately, this does not exist. Collagen as noted above is created from animals. You can help your body though with some of these options:
- Vegan protein powder with all essential amino acids
- Silica (found in whole grains, mangos, spinach)
- Vitamin C
How often do you think about your joints?
Have you ever tried a collagen supplement?
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This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins, all opinions are my own.