How to Improve Your Joint Health with Collagen

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Momentous

This article was written by the Momentous team, the leading provider of Informed Sport and NSF Certified for Sport performance nutrition products, which are trusted by pro athletes and teams worldwide.

// Time to improve your health with some collagen

While many parts of the economy are still battling back from the COVID-19 slump, the supplement business is booming. The FDA estimates that there are at least 85,000 different products out there, all clamoring for our attention on Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads. Yet, while celebrity X or athlete Y might well be incentivized to promote the latest fad pill or powder, true professionals look to the science when selecting their supplements.

One such evidence-backed product is collagen. It has been marketed to older folks for quite some time, but it might surprise you to learn that your body’s collagen production capacity actually starts to diminish far earlier than expected. In fact, collagen synthesis begins to drop off significantly in athletes’ mid to late 20s, which means you might need the help of a supplement to protect your knees, hips, and other joints subjected to the impact forces of sport and heavy loads in the weight room.

Before we dive deeper into the evidence, let’s back up and look at what collagen is and what it does in the body. Collagen is a kind of protein that comprises around 70 percent of all cartilage mass. Your skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons all contain collagen, and it provides a balance of support, elasticity, and cushioning to such structures. If you search for images of collagen online, you’ll see that it’s not a single strand, but looks more like a piece of fabric that’s made up of thousands of small, interwoven fibers called macrofibrils. These are built up from many more smaller microfibrils.

In the latest Air Jordan shoes, Nike combines Zoom Air bags to cushion basketball players’ landings and a rigid Flight Plate to retain the requisite rigidity of the midsole. This is analogous to how collagen works in human joints – providing impact protection and structural integrity that’s particularly essential when handling high vector forces that act upon knees, ankles, and other joints during jumping, sprinting, Olympic lifting, and other high intensity actions.

The Skinny on Supplemental Collagen

Most high school and college athletes will be able to produce the collagen they need. But as you get into your mid-20s and beyond, your ability to both create new collagen internally and absorb it from rich dietary sources like beef, pork, and other meat diminishes. If you are aged 25+, you’d do well to try a collagen supplement, as a deficiency can elevate the risk of injury, compromise recovery, and exacerbate joint pain.

In 2018, a group of researchers combed through 69 peer-reviewed studies and found that taking supplemental collagen improves function in the knees, hips, and hands and reduces pain in those joints. Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, they concluded that collagen was particularly effective in reducing short-term pain. This is relevant to athletes because as you know, every player either has been, is, or will be injured at some stage, and so will have to confront pain. To this point, University of California, Davis physiologist Keith Baar found that two thirds of Premier League soccer players and almost 70 percent of NFL players suffer at least one soft tissue injury per season. Collagen can help athletes bounce back from such maladies faster.

What Kind of Collagen is Best?

There are an increasing number of collagen creams and powders formulated to improve skin health and marketed as beauty products. This obviously isn’t the kind of thing that can help bolster your joint health. Instead, you’d be better off looking for a supplement that’s made from the kinds of collagen that have been shown to repair cartilage damage.

Momentous has scoured the globe for such ingredients, and after consulting with Performance Engineers like Allegiate founder Tim Caron, we settled on two premium options. “Folks who are training really hard need countermeasures to help them recover at a high level,” Tim Caron said. “We’ve found that those athletes who take supplemental collagen are able to do that and build back up in a proper way.”

The first is FORTIGEL® (also referred to as collagen hydrolysate). Researchers from Tufts Medical Center utilized MRI scans to compare one group who supplemented with collagen and a second placebo group, both of which had knee osteoarthritis. They concluded that after 24 weeks, the cartilage of participants who supplemented daily with FORTIGEL® had regenerated significantly. This is just one of several peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate the efficacy of this particularly potent kind of collagen.

The other main building block of Momentous Performance Collagen is PEPTIPLUS®. Sourced from the highest grade US grass-fed bovine, this proprietary, evidence-backed formula is made up of Type I and III peptides, short amino acid chains that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream, where they quickly go to work repairing joint damage. We also added 50 mg of vitamin C, as this encourages greater collagen synthesis and absorption.

To make Momentous Performance Collagen as efficacious as possible, we suggest mixing one 15-gram scoop in six to eight ounces of your choice of liquid around an hour before you train. This timing suggestion is based on pioneering studies at Australian Institute of Sport, which demonstrated that jumping rope for as little as six minutes, three times a day boosted the body’s natural collagen synthesis by 200 percent. When participants took a collagen supplement before these workouts, collagen synthesis doubled again.

“The higher your collagen levels are, the greater your quality of training and life will be because of your greater potential to move and recover,” Caron said. Whether you’re dealing with joint injuries or want to improve their recovery and range of motion while reducing pain, Momentous Performance Collagen might be the final piece of your supplementation puzzle.

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