Gelatin has long been touted as the "protein of choice" to provide your body with the raw material for collagen resynthesis. Moreover, findings from engineered tissues show that the presence of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and the amino acid proline can increase collagen production and engineered ligament mechanics (Viera. 2015).
It is thus only logical that Shaw et al. suspected that the provision of 5 or 15 g of vitamin C–enriched gelatin would promote the already significant effect of a standardized intermittent exercise program on collagen synthesis. To test their hypothesis, the authors recruited eight healthy, recreationally active young men (mean 6 SEM: 27 +/- 6 y, 79.6 +/- 12 kg).
"Subjects were provided with 0, 5, 15 g gelatin (Ward McKenzie Pty Ltd.) in an isocaloric beverage. Maltodextrin (Polyjoule) was used to weight- and calorie-match the placebo and gelatin treatments. Subjects were provided with 9 single doses of the dry treatment ingredients sealed in separate envelopes.A larger blood sample was taken before and 1 h after consumption of gelatin for the 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.
Subjects were instructed to make the treatment beverage by emptying the contents of each packet into the vitamin C con centrate (low-calorie blackcurrant cordial 80 mL; Ribena light, Lucozade Ribena Suntory Limited; 48 mg vitamin C/80 mL) mixed with 400 mL water in an opaque drink bottle that was provided. Subjects were instructed to consume the beverage as quickly as possible 1 h before exercise.
Schematic timeline of the study. PINP, N-terminal peptide of pro-collagen I.
Treatments were randomly assigned to avoid an order effect and were separated by a washout period of 4 d to minimize the effect of the previous treatment. All subjects completed all treatments. Washout was successful because PINP levels were not different in the baseline samples between trials" (Shaw. 2016).
Within the 5-15g range tested in the study at hand, the effects are dose-dependent
The scientists were also able to confirm this effect in 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. In this ex-vivo study, the scientists found significant increases in collagen content and improved mechanics of which the former are plotted in Figure 1.
- Shaw, Gregory, et al. "Vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2016): ajcn138594.
- Vieira, Cristiano Pedrozo, et al. "Glycine improves biochemical and biomechanical properties following inflammation of the Achilles' tendon." The Anatomical Record 298.3 (2015): 538-545.