You’ve probably heard of it, but have no idea of the benefits it can provide. Could collagen be the missing link in your health and fitness regime?
Connective tissue holds our tissues together, providing structural meshwork or scaffolding to house and hold our muscles, bones, ligaments, and membranes together. Collagen adds strength and integrity to our body tissues.
Where do I get it?
There are many ways to increase your collagen intake. They are all so very different, so it is important to understand the different supplement products and dietary sources of collagen and how they are digested and absorbed.
Collagen has a unique amino acid profile compared to other sources of protein. It is a rich source of hydroxyproline, which is an essential building block for collagen and connective tissue and is only found in collagen.
There are no known vegan or vegetarian sources of this amino acid. If not sourced directly from collagen, it must be made in the body from proline. This is one of the unique features of collagen over other protein sources.
It is also an excellent source of arginine and glycine in particular. Arginine opens up the blood vessels in the muscle and aids recovery and regeneration of muscle.
Glycine works with arginine for regenerating energy levels and fuelling exercise. Glycine also works with the hydroxyproline for connective tissue synthesis. Glycine is the simplest amino acid building block/precursor for several pathways involved in antioxidant defence systems, glycogen replenishment, and neurotransmitter function.
However, compared to other proteins, collagen is lacking in the main amino acids associated with building muscle and burning fat (that is, BCAAs, leucine, isoleucine, and valine). For this reason, hydrolysed collagen as a source of amino acids is inferior to whey and many plant-based proteins due to the lack of these particular amino acids.
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