100% Increase in Exercise-Induced Collagen Synthesis With Cheap, Yet Effective 15g Gelatin + 200mg Vitamin C Stack

If you premix it with vitamin C, I would guess that this dosage form of gelatin will work just as well as the mix the scientists used in the study at hand. And if it contains 15g + of gelatin, consuming this stuff before a workout could indeed make a significant difference for your tendon health and stability/resilience.
The deterioration of collagen is at the bottom of many musculoskeletal injuries. More than 50% of all injuries in sports can be classified as sprains, strains, ruptures, or breaks of musculoskeletal tissues. As the authors of a new paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition point out, there's hope that "[n]utritional and/or exercise interventions that increase collagen synthesis and strengthen these tissues could have an important effect on injury rates" (Shaw. 2016).

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).
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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.

Schematic timeline of the study. PINP, N-terminal peptide of pro-collagen I.
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.

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).
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.
Figure 1: Collagen concentration in ligaments treated with PRE or serum isolated 1 h after ingestion of 5 or 15 g vitamin C–enriched gelatin or a placebo. The (A) content of collagen and the (B) concentration of collagen were determined after 6 d of treatment with media that were supplemented with 10% of the subject-derived serum (Shaw. 2016).
As the scientists had suspected, "supplementation with increasing amounts of gelatin increased circulating glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine, peaking 1 h after the supplement was given" (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. 
Figure 2: Collagen synthesis after exercise and ingestion of placebo or 5 or 15 g gelatin. (A) PINP concentration in the blood of subjects 4, 24, 48, and 72 h after the first exercise bout together with (B) the AUC for PINP concentrations from the placebo or 5- or 15-g gelatin groups (Shaw. 2016).
In that, it is remarkable that the effect was clearly dose-dependent - a fact that becomes even more evident if we take a look at the amino-terminal propeptide of collagen I in the subjects' blood (compared to placebo). Now that's only a marker of collagen synthesis, which may not translate 1:1 into an actual 100% increase collagen synthesis, but alas: it is unambiguous evidence of a significant increase in collagen synthesis.
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So what do I do? Easy, get some gelatin (preferably the higher dosage 15g) and a vitamin C tablet that contains ~200-300mg of ascorbic acid (that's low enough not to impair other exercise-induced adaptation processes | learn more) and consume it before your workouts.

Cool? Well, what's not so cool is that the study at hand may suggest that adding gelatin and vitamin C to an intermittent exercise program "could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair" and does not prove that these effects will occur in the long-run. As usually, further research is thus warranted | Comment on Facebook
  • 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.
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