Evaluation of the Effects of BioCell Collagen, a Novel Cartilage Extract, on Connective Tissue Support and Functional Recovery From Exercise

Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015 Jun;14(3):30-8.


Context: Little is known about the effect of nutritional supplementation on metabolic optimization for enhancing adaptation and recovery of the connective tissue elements that support musculoskeletal function.

Objective: The study aimed to determine the potential effect of supplementation with a novel, hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract-called BioCell Collagen-on biomarkers and functional indices of recovery from intense exercise.

Design: The research team designed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study.

Setting: The study was conducted at the Center for Applied Health Sciences in Stow, OH, USA.

Participants: Participants were 8 healthy, recreationally active individuals, with a mean age of 29.3 y.

Intervention: Participants ingested either 3 g of a novel, hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract called BioCell Collagen ("supplement") or 3 g of a placebo daily for 6 wk prior to challenge with an upper-body, muscle-damaging resistance exercise (UBC) on day 43 and a rechallenge on day 46 to assess functional recovery.

Outcome measures: Primary endpoints were levels of 3 blood biomarkers-creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and C-reactive protein (CRP)- and scores on a clinical pain scale and a perceived recovery scale (PRS).

Results: The extract attenuated the post-UBC increase in serum markers for muscle tissue damage: CK, LDH, and CRP. For the intervention group vs the placebo group, the mean changes were as follows: (1) an increase in CK of 20 U/L vs 4726 U/L, respectively; (2) a decrease in LDH of 3.5 U/L vs an increase of 82.9 U/L, respectively; and (3) an increase in CRP of 0.07 mg/L vs an increase of 0.7 mg/L, respectively. The performance decrement in bench press repetitions to failure was 57.9% on day 43 and 57.8% on day 46 for the intervention group vs 72.2% on day 43 and 65% on day 46 for the placebo group. The overall trend for the performance decrement, together with the results for the PRS, suggested that a more robust muscular recovery and adaptive response occurred with use of the extract. The supplement was well tolerated.

Conclusions: The study's preliminary data are promising with regard to the beneficial effects of the extract on connective tissue protection and recovery in those engaged in routine resistance training and cardiovascular exercise. A larger study is warranted to confirm and refine these findings.