As performance specialists, we have to stay on top of our nutritional supplementation game. Atlhough we cannot recommend all fads, we encourage athletes who are interested in trying natural non-harmful supplements that have been tested in the medical literature, such as beet juice or tart cherry juice, to try them if they are interested. Many of the outcomes are subjective.
However, we were a little shocked when recently a client inquired about gelatin! Turns out in a recent study in Australia, gelatin and vitamin C were combined and tested on humans. The goal was to detemine if this combination would increase collagen synthesis. They hypothesized that increasing collagen synthesis would decrease injury risk to tendons and increase tissue repair.
They found through blood draw that supplementation with increasing amounts of gelatin increased circulating glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine, peaking 1 hour after the supplement was given. Subjects who took 15 g gelatin 1 hour before exercise showed double the amino-terminal propeptide of collagen in their blood, indicating increased collagen synthesis.
There are many synthetic and natural gelatine supplements on the market. We always recommend whole foods versus pills. Tara Mardigan, MS, RD, MPH recommends bone broth.
Does gelatin and viatmin C “work” to prevent injury? Thats a big leap in my mind. But, there’s compelling evidence linking gelatin and collagen synthesis!
Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jan;105(1):136-143. Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. Shaw et al.
Wendy Winn, PT, OCS