Last year’s London Marathon proved that endurance running has become increasingly popular with participants topping 42,900. Preparation for this year’s marathon is most likely well and truly underway and for many this means more injuries. For the serious athlete, running at this level more regularly can be punishing to the body and increases the susceptibility to joint related injuries. Thankfully, there is a supplement one can take that will mean fast recovery and quicker muscle repair.
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Dr Eva Carneiro, consultant in sports and exercise medicine and more than 15 years experience of working with elite sportsmen including the Chelsea Football Club, said: “A decline in collagen production is observed from the mid-twenties.
“Clinically in elite sport we observe human athletes to perhaps become more susceptible to certain injuries or experience longer recovery/return to competition after injury in their late twenties to early thirties.
“In endurance athletes optimal recovery is dependent on meeting their daily protein requirement which assists muscle growth and recovery from the structural damage.
“The interest in collagen supplementation as part of a nutritional strategy of prevention and aiding repair is therefore increasing.”
Collagen is produced naturally in the body. It’s a protein and the main component of connective tissue, ligaments, muscle, blood, bones and the skin.
Collagen has many important functions, including providing the skin with structure and strengthening the bones.
In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular.
Most are hydrolysed, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for a person to absorb.
There is evidence to suggest that ingesting a protein supplement like collagen can help repair muscles and increase recovery after exercise, but there have also been various studies conducted to look at the further benefits of athletes, taking a collagen supplement.
Dr Carneiro added: “There is still limited data available in this field and there is a need for larger and longer clinical term studies particularly on the use of higher doses of collagen and its effect on degenerative joint condition, injury prevention and performance.
“There are no reported adverse effects of collagen supplementation particularly if ingested with food.”
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A study conducted at Penn State University saw a significant improvement in activity-related joint pain among athletes that were supplementing with 10g of collagen daily.
The study from the California at Davis suggests that collagen with a small amount of vitamin C might support the body’s natural ability to produce collagen, critical to the structure of many of the tissues essential to sports performance.
Certainly, when the body is being pushed to its limits like a marathon paying heed to the right fuel is paramount for the body to both cope and recover, so it would seem that the inclusion of a supplemental collagen boost in the marathon build-up would be highly beneficial and easily accepted by the body.
Dr Carneiro said: “Our digestive system recognises collagen hydrolysate as containing the necessary composite building blocks that maintain the integrity of its tissues.
“If price considerations are tolerable, adding nutrients at a time of high physical stress and demand like marathon training would be advisable.”
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