Tuesday, February 6, 2018

In Pursuit of Happy Joints

Earlier in February, I posted an informative discussion about Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Protein on Facebook Live. Check it out!

Disclaimer: Through my affiliation with Sweat Pink, I received Great Lakes Collagen products and compensation in exchange for this post as well as social media sharing. All opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

Most runners experience inflammation after a run, especially after one where you might have pushed your pace a little harder and/or ran a little farther. Sometimes you just feel sore, even if the run went well. Other times, the soreness comes a day or 2 later, aka delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. What do you do when this happens? Do you reach for the bottle of ibuprofen? Do you let it go away on its own?

In the past, I took more than my share of ibuprofen to ward off post-run soreness. You and I both know that isn't the best thing to do. As I've gotten smarter about training, I incorporate foam rolling and stretching into my post-run routine to help ward off some of that pain. But even that wasn't enough. It wasn't until last year and my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis that I began to really educate myself about inflammation--both as it relates to running and working out as well as RA. I've made changes in my diet and have incorporated more anti-inflammatory foods. I've also started using hydrolyzed collagen protein supplements.

Hydrolyzed collagen can help reduce inflammation in active people


Collagen is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. The body uses amino acids to build muscle, bone, connective tissue, skin, hair, and nails. Collagen protects our joints and is a key player in keeping the GI tract healthy. Collagen is especially important in digestive health because a healthy gut reduces inflammation throughout the body. It is well known that starting in your 20s, collagen production begins to decline.

Collagen Molecule
It seems like everyone is touting the health benefits of hydrolyzed collagen these days! There are a variety of brands on the market. There are other dietary sources of collagen as well. Not only does collagen protein come in the hydrolyzed powder form, bone broth, gelatin, and sardines are popular sources of collagen as well.

Bone broth is made like soup stock, only it is cooked for a much longer time. The benefits come from the collagen that is present in the tissues, cartilage, and bones. Most of the commercial bone broth is derived from beef, although if you make your own, you could make it from chicken or other animal bones as well. I found all kinds of tips for making your own bone broth on the interwebs.

Gelatin is made up mostly of protein. Most gelatin is made from beef bones, but other bones can be boiled down to make gelatin. Gelatin contains amino acids and is a great source of collagen. Gelatin can be added to soups, stews, and other dishes and can be used to make gravies, sauces, and smoothies. Jello™, the sweetened colored stuff that we all grew up with does contain gelatin but it also contains sugar and artificial colorings and flavorings. You'd be better off avoiding that product if you're looking to add gelatin to your diet.

Sardines are another excellent source of collagen because the entire little fish is consumed, including the bones and connective tissues. Sardines have a lot of other benefits. They are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as selenium and calcium. Think of it as your afternoon snack in a can. Sardines are considered one of the most healthy foods you can eat. That doesn't mean I will be eating them. I found plenty of websites with advice on how to make them more palatable, so if you are interested in trying sardines, let Google guide you.

Collagen hydrolysate products have been all the rage lately. Collagen protein products are mostly derived from beef sources but marine sources are also available. These products come in the form of a tasteless, easily dissolvable powder. While taking collagen protein is theoretically no different from taking a protein supplement (your body shouldn't be able to tell the difference), some studies have shown promising results in reducing inflammation and pain in athletes as well as in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and RA (source). A very promising study proved that using collagen hydrolysate products improved skin texture and nail strength.

In addition to the research, anecdotal reports are all over the internet. Users are reporting everything from less knee pain to improved skin texture and stronger nails.

For the purposes of this post, I'm going to share my experience using Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate with you.

GLG Hydrolyzed Collagen Powder helped my GI symptoms improve!
photo from GreatLakesGelatin.com
I used a different collagen product for a couple of months last year but stopped because I didn't notice much of a difference in the way I felt. In January, I started using Great Lakes Gelatin Hydrolysate Powder daily, 2 tablespoons, in my morning smoothie. Within a week or so, I noticed that my GI issues dramatically improved. Regular readers know that in addition to RA, I have IBS-irritable bowel syndrome, or as I like to refer to it, "I'll Be Stopping". I joke that I know where every bathroom and portapotty is located on all of my running routes. I'm used to it and don't even give it a second thought anymore. But I haven't had to stop as much lately, which obviously is a wonderful benefit!

I didn't even make the connection of my improved GI status to the GLG protein powder until I started reading more about the product. GLG contains higher levels of Glycine, Alanine, and Proline, amino acids which aren't found in many of the other products. Glycine has been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects (source). GLG is highly bioactive and contains 95% protein.

When the gut is happy, the rest of the body is happy, and that makes Wendy happy! I truly believe that gut health is the basis for overall health. I have been feeling better overall since taking this supplement. Even though I take RA meds, I still have RA symptoms every day. It would be wonderful if adding a supplement like GLG daily as an adjunct to my regimen could help keep that residual inflammation quiet.

I haven't seen any benefits to my skin or nails yet. Time will tell. I'm always looking for that fountain of youth, guys.

GLG is allergy, pesticide, insecticide, and heavy metal free. GLG is derived from beef and sourced from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle in Argentina and Brazil.


I have been using the Collagen Hydrolysate product, which comes in bulk cans as well as individual serving packages. There are other products as well, including Collagen Endurance, which is strawberry/cherry flavored and Collagen Endurance Plus, also cherry flavored. These products contain caffeine for an extra energy boost. You can also buy the original Gelatin from Great Lakes Gelatin.

Do you want to try GLG? The products are available at amazon.com, many health food stores and online from GLG. I have a 20% off code good through March 15, 2018! Use the code GLGLife20 on their website

Have you tried a collagen hydrolysate powder? If so, what did you think? 

I'm linking this post with Tuesdays on the Run: Marcia, Erika, and Patti and Coaches' Corners aka Rachel, Debbie, and Lora.







SaveSave

65 comments :

  1. Interesting - I'd never heard of this and do have issues with inflammation. Will have to look into it a bit more.
    Have you done a post about your anti-inflammation diet? I'd love to hear about that! The internet was so overwhelming with conflicting info when I Googled it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had pretty good results with the collagen proteins. The GI effects were a pleasant surprise! Last year, I wrote a post called "5 Ways Runners Can Beet Inflammation" where I talked about some of the things I was changing in my diet. I'll have to do an updated post!

      Delete
  2. I also have issues with inflammation. I try to eat foods that help with that, like beets, but I'm also intrigued my collagen.

    I will try to join the Facebook Live chat if I can - sounds like it will be super interesting and informative!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been pleasantly surprised by how much better I feel when I take the collagen! Especially in my tummy.

      Delete
  3. Who knew collagen would result in a happy gut? Total win! Knock wood, I don't have issues with joint pain but I have a few supplements I like to take after hard runs that help me with recovery in addition to those anti-inflammatory foods you mentioned. Looking forward to your FB live!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? That GI effect was such a pleasant surprise. Kind of the cherry on the sundae, so to speak...

      Delete
  4. I have been hearing about collagen a lot lately on many blogs. I have never tried that or added it into anything.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've used the green container of collagen from Great Lakes before and enjoyed it a lot! I feel like just a big spoonful in my morning team helped to keep me full all morning at work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that you have found it to be helpful too!

      Delete
  6. I have been taking glucosamine chondroitn for years to ward off joint issues. I don't know if that's been my magic pill or not, but so far, so good. I have heard a lot about collagen, though, and I'm intrigued for the hair/skin benefits....dry, sensitive skin has been an on-going issue all of my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that GC has worked for you. The research on glucosamine/chondroitin has been positive for osteoarthritis--not for much else. I'm hoping that the collagen helps not only my joints but my skin and nails too!

      Delete
  7. I've never used powdered products, but I do drink pre-made protein shakes daily. I'm not sure if they do anything for me, but they do taste good! I'm glad you found something that works for you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well you saw my post lately so you know I am a massive fan of collagen!! I love that more runners are getting the info!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My CrossFit box first got me intrigued and the rest is history!

      Delete
  9. My husband has stress-related gut issues - I should get him to try collagen!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love my collagen! I also take glucosamine chondroitin because this girl doesn't want to go down that injury road again. I firmly believe that both have helped in my recovery!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear you had good results from GC! I'm loving this collagen powder right now.

      Delete
  11. I'm foam rolling after workouts, and then doing yoga after a hot shower. The days I don't foam roll are when I really feel it. I haven't been good with rolling my calves lately, and my chiro had to do some Graston on them. Ouch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear that you've found something that works for you.

      Delete
  12. I've never tried collagen, but this makes some good points to look into trying it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looking for that fountain of youth myself! I know collagen is all the rage these days. I wish there was a vegetarian version for me to try. Glad to hear it's working well for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did read about marine collagen--do you eat fish?

      Delete
  14. THANK GOODNESS I LOVE EVERYTHING you listed!!! I especially ADOREEEEE sardines. Maybe I should stew them in bone broth! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Why does that not surprise me? Yes, stew them in bone broth and watch your nails grow! LOL!

      Delete
  15. I started using collagen last year and really liked it! Ive stopped buying it for some reason but should really start using it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I did--I stopped but now that I've started again, I realized that I was missing it!

      Delete
  16. The only thing I have ever used is Omega 3s but I don't really struggle with inflammation (I know it's there but the effects are not overpowering!) and I don't usually take ibuprofen either. Glad to know this option exists though - seems like the best choice for soreness/inflammation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I take Omega 3s--massive doses, in fact, because the proof that they help with inflammation is indisputable. I have been taking occasional ibuprofen as well for RA symptoms--I'm trying to avoid steroids when I can.

      Delete
  17. I'm still investigating the science - how does the collagen not get digested? If it is digested it's like using protein powder, which has it's own advantages I guess. Interested to see your experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly what happens but the studies are showing benefits for certain conditions. I tried to link to most of them in the post.

      Delete
  18. I have heard of people sipping bone broth but taking a collagen supplement is a new one for me. (I must admit, I've never eat a sardine either.) But, you had me at "tasteless". Some protein powders taste awful.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Healthy joints are SUPER important to focus on, especially as we AGE!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I take Great Lakes Collagen too! It's made my nails look fab and hopefully it's making my joints fab too. Btw - I know of sardines that my may actually like. They are boneless and skinless and taste better than canned tuna. I can't think of the brand but they are so good. And this is someone who would not touch sardines before.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sounds cool! I'd never heard of this before!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've been loving GLG collagen. I add it to my smoothie every day! I've noticed my nails are growing faster but I haven't noticed the skin part yet. Hopefully I will soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My nails are definitely stronger--I was using another brand before this. But the GLG is helping my GI issues too. I like that!

      Delete
  23. I'm happy to hear that you've found some relief with your GI problems. If only it could help with some of the RA issues!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been feeling really good this week, so fingers crossed that the GLG is helping.

      Delete
  24. This is so informative! I’ve been using GLG for my IBS too! I’m curious about the long term results, but love the short term results I’ve seen so far!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've tried a different brand of collagen before, but I don't remember noticing any difference in my joints. My hair did grow noticeably faster - which, since I have short hair that grows fast already, was more an annoyance than anything.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lots of great info in this post! I received some samples of GLG at Blogfest last July. I tried the last of it in my oatmeal this week. It was a cherry flavor and actually quite good stirred into oatmeal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the cherry flavor but haven't tried it yet. I definitely prefer flavorless products.

      Delete
  27. These are such great suggestions and so much good info in this post. Thank you for devoting the time and energy into researching and writing about this! It's so important!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm all about accuracy and science--it's important!

      Delete
  28. So glad this is helping you! I've heard great things about it! I'm always looking for the fountain of youth too. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's just keep on looking! For now, I'm going to add this to those fantastic recipes you keep posting.

      Delete
  29. This is very interesting. I've always known that as our estrogen levels decrease, collagen production follows suit ...causing our skin to lose it's elasticity. So it makes sense that collagen supplements would help improve skin texture. I had no idea it was an anti-inflammatory agent as well. I need to add this to my arsenal of supplements!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know if you try it! I'm really excited about it.

      Delete
  30. I've never tried a collagen powder and to be honest I don't know a thing about most supplements, lol. That's awesome that this one has been working so well for you! I wonder if I need to take a closer look at inflammation issues...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty sure this is good for everyone, not just people with inflammatory diseases.

      Delete
  31. I’ve never heard of this before, but it sounds like a great remedy for inflammation issues. My mom might benefit from this, I’ll have to share the info with her.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Happy joints are so essential to staying injury free and running longer - I love how collagen seems to be working to help everyone run a little longer and easier!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm happy to have found something to keep me moving relatively pain free.

      Delete
  33. Inflammation is the root to so much pain! So excited to try out something that might help, and something that occurs naturally in the body, until it doesn't. ;)

    ReplyDelete