We get asked a lot of questions about nutrition, collagen and the science behind our collagen formulations here at U Perform and we make it our mission to answer every single one. But sometimes, a few lines just doesn’t quite cut it.
One of the most popular questions or concerns really is all about how collagen is absorbed by the body in particular how ingestible collagen supplements are affected by all the complex things that happen in our gut and digestive system.
In today’s blog article we are going to put rest to those fears and discuss:
- What is collagen? And why is it so important for human performance and recovery.
- Why we need to supplement our diet with collagen and why collagen supplements are the right choice for you?
- How is collagen absorbed by the body?
So what is collagen? Well collagen is the single most abundant structural protein in the human body. What surprises most people is that collagen is present in almost all of the structural parts of the body and not just the skin as most people assume. It is quite literally the clue that holds us together!
For example, collagen makes up to…
90% of the protein in the skin.
60% of the protein in connective tissue. This is our muscles, ligaments, tendons and even bones.
50% of the protein in hyaline cartilage. This is the cartilage that we find in all our joints.
Once you learn all of the above it becomes pretty clear why collagen plays such a vital role in performance and recovery. Our musculoskeletal system needs COLLAGEN to function and repair!
When we exercise, we damage our body – in a good way – to stimulate adaptation. Every time we go for a run, bike ride or lift some weights in the gym we are breaking down all the fibres in our muscles and connective tissues.
Why collagen supplements?
Using collagen supplements as part of our recovery routine ensures we are delivering our body with the correct building blocks it needs to rebuild stronger so that we can perform in our next workout, whenever that might be.
We are all familiar with whey protein and protein in general as being an important and popular food supplement for the active lifestyle; but collagen should absolutely be on this list too. This is because, as we age, our bodies lose their natural ability to produce enough collagen on its own. Therefore collagen supplementation is perfectly placed to not only replace what we are losing but also to kick start our body to start producing more collagen again.
From as early our 20s we start to lose our natural store of collagen by 1.5% per year… every year. With this slowing down, combined with the continued wear and tear that will continue to build up every day, we will all see an overall loss of collagen (the glue that holds us together) which unfortunately means less collagen available to facilitate recovery and repair!
There are a lot of collagen products to choose from out there, all making claims on supple joints and healthy, glowing. But how do you know which ones to choose? Surely collagen is collagen right?
Sorry everyone, we can 100% confirm that not all collagen OR collagen supplements are made equal. Keep reading to find out why and what makes our collagen technology so unique and effective.
Here at U Perform we are science-led & performance-driven in everything we do. That means we only use ingredients and formulations that deliver real results and provide excellent value for money for YOU, our U Perform family.
We use only the very best collagen formulations available on the market today. Utilising premium grade bovine collagen peptides that offer specific functionality in the human body, clinically proven results and maximum value for money. These are the only collagen peptides that bring clinically proven results for our connective tissues, cartilage, even our hair, skin and nails too!
Better yet our entire collagen sports nutrition range is Informed Sport tested and approved. That means every single batch is pre market tested and checked before we are even allowed to start selling it.
Not only does this mean that you are getting a product free from banned substances and contamination but an Informed Sport sticker is also a hallmark for a product that contains only quality ingredients that deliver real results. What we say is in the packet actually is!
You might be sitting now and thinking that’s all well and good, but how is collagen actually absorbed by the body. Surely it gets broken down in the gut just like everything else and making for an expensive and useless supplement.
And this is still correct. Every source of natural protein goes through the exact same process when ingested and collagen is no exception. The most effective collagen products use specific collagen peptides made by hydrolysing native collagen protein into short, bioactive chains of amino acids that are able to partially survive digestion and remain intact when passing through the gut barrier.
This means not only will they be easily absorbed, but also made more effective, compared with native collagen protein and other proteins too.
U Perform utilise specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides® which stand out against other polypeptides. One reason being that these Bioactive Collagen Peptides® exhibit a high concentration of proline and glycine, amino acids which form strong peptide bonds that are more resistant to being broken down by digestive enzymes.
Intact Bioactive Collagen Peptides® are put to work to stimulate the target cells to produce new collagen, whereas the digested parts deliver the necessary building materials (amino acids) that the body can put to work where needed. This means that virtually all of the nutrients are used to improve the health and function of our body.
Interestingly, recent science has also revealed that, depending on the chain length, collagen peptides are particularly effective at promoting specific benefits. During the production process, for example, the peptide chains can be targeted to promote cartilage growth, firmer skin or even stronger bones.
Research is still ongoing on how exactly collagen peptides pass the gut barrier but already the science shows that as a result of the narrow shape of the Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, paracellular transport seems to be the preferred route. Most interesting for you and me, physical activity seems to increase the overall permeability of the gut, so it would make perfect sense to take Bioactive Collagen Peptides® before, during or after exercise.
Got a question you want to ask us about sport, fitness and nutrition? Feel free to leave them in the comments below and we will be sure to answer them as soon as possible. Don’t forget to share this article with a friend who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other!