Collagen – What’s The Evidence

Collagen is a protein found in large quantities in your body. It helps to form parts of your skin, bone, ligaments, and tendons, and by providing support to these tissues, they remain strong and robust.

We produce collagen naturally in the body, however as we age production of collagen reduces.

Supplementation increases the amount of collagen amino acids available for production of collagen and the supplementation of collagen has been linked to faster recovery time from tendon/ligament injuries. It has also been suggested that supplementation may help in prevention of such injuries.

But, what does the evidence tell us?


Evidence For Use In Sports Nutrition

  • Helps in managing pain of inflammatory conditions like tendonitis (along with rehab specific exercises)
  • Reduces activity-related joint pain
  • Helps minimise risk of developing degenerative diseases (e.g., osteoarthritis)
  • Improves bone strength which in turn reduces risk of fractures
  • Supports production of collagen during high turnover
  • Helps in the repair of tissues (e.g., bone, skin, ligaments/tendons) during rehabilitation

Sources of Collagen


This may be a preferential option, especially if made into more palatable jellies or jubes. Gelatin is considered as a food choice for athletes meaning this form of collagen does not require batch testing for use in sport.

Bone Broth

Good rich source of collagen and may have other potential benefits. However, studies have indicated amino acid content widely varies and so is not recommended to be used as a therapeutic source of collagen for injury rehab due to its inconsistency.

Hydrolysed Collagen and Collagen Peptide Formulae’s

Found in either powder or pill form, from pigs, beef and fish. Studies suggest neither source as favourable over the other regarding influencing collagens effectiveness.

Vegan/Vegetarian Alternatives

At present there is insufficient evidence to support use of non-animal-based collagen alternatives.

When and How To Take Collagen

  • Recommended to be taken 40-60 minutes pre-workout. This helps enhance the delivery of amino acids to specific areas
  • Take 15-20g of collagen (usually in powder or pill form). Powder form can be easily added to water, hot drinks or smoothies
  • Vitamin C is a cofactor for collagen and some supplements may contain vitamin C. There is no evidence to date to suggest exceeding daily RDA (recommended daily allowance) vitamin C will enhance absorption of collagen.

What Do We Still Need to Consider?

  • Insufficient evidence for use with those following vegan/vegetarian diet. More research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of plant-derived sources claiming to mimic animal-based collagen
  • Insufficient evidence in the added benefit of exceeding RDA Vitamin C for collagen synthesis
  • For injury rehabilitation – Injury/pain specific exercise remains key to adequate rehab with or without collagen supplementation
  • Individual variations in protein intake, weight, gender and physical activity may impact one’s ability to enhance their collagen synthesis with supplementation
  • Other supplements like protein powder (whey-based) have shown similar effects of collagen synthesis
  • May be beneficial for older athletes due to the natural decline in collagen synthesis as we age

Where Does it Fall Under the AIS Sports Supplement Framework?

AIS Sports Supplement Framework uses ABCD Classification ranking system. They research sports supplements which are currently on the market and present the most up-to-date research regarding its safety of use, pros and cons of use, effectiveness in sports performance and permission for use in sports.

Collagen falls under Category B of the AIS Sports Supplement Framework. This suggests an evidence level of emerging scientific support, but in need and deserving of further research. AIS suggest considerations of use with athletes when under or by a case-to-case basis.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Physio for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help! Online consultations would be especially effective for Nutrition and Diet based session.

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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