Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that is produced by our bodies to maintain healthy skin, muscles, bones and ligaments. Collagen production declines as we age, so it is therefore a common ingredient in anti-ageing skin creams and supplements. However, collagenis also a fantastic supplement for people who enjoy working out, bodybuilding or playing sports. In many ways collagen is superior to whey protein as it has a lot of the qualities normally associated with recovery drinks, as well as the potential to build muscle and boost your metabolism. Here are the top five benefits of collagen as a fitness supplement:

1) Weight Management

While you may want to build muscle bulk, you want to stay lean at the same time. This is a tricky balance, but collagen makes it that bit easier. Collagen is a natural slimming aid gently suppressing appetite and encouraging fat burn without any of the disruptive impact of some weight loss supplements. Taking collagen helps you build lean muscle and lose inches off your waist, without interrupting your body’s natural digestive rhythms.

2) Gain Muscle

Whether your main passion is cycling, rugby, cricket or weightlifting, collagen supplementscan help you gain the muscle you need to stay at the top of your game. Hydrolysed collagen contains up to 93% protein at nearly 99% purity, so gram for gram you get a lot of muscle building fuel. Collagen also contains three crucial amino acids: arginine, methionine and glycine. On its own, arginine both promotes muscle growth and inhibits fat deposits. In partnership with glycine, arginine prompts the formation of natural Creatine - one of the most important molecules for bodybuilders.

3) Healthy Digestion

Squeezing a fitness or sports diet into a busy work and social life can be a challenge. Eating large meals without sufficient digestion time can lead to problems such as IBS, stomach cramps and indigestion. Poor digestion also saps energy, making it harder for you to exercise. Collagen actively encourages healthy digestion through the amino acid glycine, which is great news for those of us who have to grab our dinner on the way to the gym! If you’ve noticed yourself feeling sluggish after a workout meal of chicken or steak this may be due to the negative effects of cysteine and tryptophan, two amino acids released as the body digests meat. This can temporarily suppress your thyroid function, causing a weakened immune system, fatigue and inflammation of the bowels. Collagen supplements are great news, as they help your body absorb these amino acids quicker, allowing digestion of vital minerals and speeding up the time it takes for your meal to ‘go down’.

4) Protects Joints And Bones

Collagen is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it protects your joints and bones during high-impact exercise, such as running or lifting weights. Weightlifting puts your body into shock, prompting the inflammation of tissue around your joints to protect the tender cartilage and ligaments. This is exactly what you don’t want when working out, as it restricts your range of motion and causes aches and pains. Collagen cushions your joints against impacts and also prevents inflammation, so you can lift more and keep going for longer.

5) Encourages Sleep

A drawback of having to work out on weekday evenings is the impact it has on your sleep. Once you’ve got back from the gym and taken your recovery drink you might be wired for hours. Sleep deprivation is a double negative: your body doesn’t get enough downtime to recover and rebuild your muscles adequately; and you’ll have less energy tomorrow when it comes to your next workout. The glycerine contained in collagen aids in natural sleep and relaxation. Using collagen protein instead of whey will help you get to sleep quicker after your workout. It also aids in gradual energy release during the day, helping you avoid a lunchtime slump. We have also been told that collagen gives a natural boost to mood and libido!

Marine Hydrolysed Collagen

The collagen we use in our fitness supplements is Marine Hydrolysed Collagen, a collagen peptide taken from sustainably farmed fish and then hydrolysed to enhance its health benefits. A growing number of gym users and sports people are turning to collagen as an alternative to whey-based protein supplements. To find out more, please download our free Guide to Collagen Supplements for Sports. Click here to claim your copy.