Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis.
Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common complaint in active populations. More than 50% of all injuries in sports can be classified as sprains, strains, ruptures, or breaks of musculoskeletal tissues. Nutritional and/or exercise interventions that increase collagen synthesis and strengthen these tissues could have an important effect on injury rates.
This study was designed to determine whether gelatin supplementation could increase collagen synthesis.
Eight healthy male subjects completed a randomized, double-blinded, crossover-design study in which they consumed either 5 or 15 g of vitamin C-enriched gelatin or a placebo control. After the initial drink, blood was taken every 30 min to determine amino acid content in the blood. A larger blood sample was taken before and 1 h after consumption of gelatin for treatment of engineered ligaments. One hour after the initial supplement, the subjects completed 6 min of rope-skipping to stimulate collagen synthesis. This pattern of supplementation was repeated 3 times/d with ≥6 h between exercise bouts for 3 d. Blood was drawn before and 4, 24, 48, and 72 h after the first exercise bout for determination of amino-terminal propeptide of collagen I content.
Supplementation with increasing amounts of gelatin increased circulating glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine, peaking 1 h after the supplement was given. Engineered ligaments treated for 6 d with serum from samples collected before or 1 h after subjects consumed a placebo or 5 or 15 g gelatin showed increased collagen content and improved mechanics. Subjects who took 15 g gelatin 1 h before exercise showed double the amino-terminal propeptide of collagen I in their blood, indicating increased collagen synthesis.
These data suggest that adding gelatin to an intermittent exercise program improves collagen synthesis and could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair. This trial was registered at the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry as ACTRN12616001092482.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jan;105(1):136-143. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.138594. Epub 2016 Nov 16.