Background: Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common complaint in active populations. More than 50% of all injuries in sports can be classified as sprains, strains, ruptures, or breaks of musculoskeletal tissues. Nutritional and/or exercise interventions that increase collagen synthesis and strengthen these tissues could have an important effect on injury rates.
Objective: This study was designed to determine whether gelatin supplementation could increase collagen synthesis.
Design: Eight healthy male subjects completed a randomized, double-blinded, crossover-design study in which they consumed either 5 or 15 g of vitamin C-enriched gelatin or a placebo control. After the initial drink, blood was taken every 30 min to determine amino acid content in the blood. A larger blood sample was taken before and 1 h after consumption of gelatin for 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.
Results: Supplementation with increasing amounts of gelatin increased circulating glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine, peaking 1 h after the supplement was given. 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 showed increased collagen content and improved mechanics. Subjects who took 15 g gelatin 1 h before exercise showed double the amino-terminal propeptide of collagen I in their blood, indicating increased collagen synthesis.
Conclusion: These data suggest that adding gelatin to an intermittent exercise program improves collagen synthesis and could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair. This trial was registered at the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry as ACTRN12616001092482.
Keywords: bone; exercise; inury prevention; ligament; return to play; tendon.
© 2017 American Society for Nutrition.