Marathon running is experiencing a rebrand. For the first time in history there have been more female runners than male - 50.4% in 2018
- and peoples’ motives for running the gruelling 26.2-mile race are shifting. Gone is the tight focus on achievement, replaced instead by an appreciation of the mental and physical benefits of long-distance running
. However, the intense training needed to complete a marathon can place an enormous strain on your joint tissues. Good nutrition is essential to help manage this, and a high-quality collagen supplement can help. What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the body, and a major component of connective tissues. Joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, nails, skin, hair – all these tissues are rich in collagen. It is composed of 3 amino acids - glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline – which are linked together in a corkscrew shape that gives the molecule strength and flex. There are 28 different types of collagen. Types I and II are the most important for joint health. Type I is found in the skin, hair, nails, joints, and ligaments, where it provides strength, support, and flexibility. Type II collagen builds joints, tendons, and cartilage. Collagen levels start to decline by 1% a year from mid-twenties onwards. This rate increases for women around the time of menopause, with collagen levels dropping by up to 30%
in the first 5 years after menopause and then continuing to decline at around 2% per year. This faster rate of collagen loss means older female runners are at greater risk of soft tissue injury than their male counterparts. How does collagen help runners?
A systematic review of trials
exploring collagen supplementation and joint health found collagen to be beneficial in managing many of the typical health issues faced by marathon runners. Collagen can be helpful for:
- Reducing joint discomfort and knee pain
- Improving ankle and knee functionality
- Speeding up recovery from Achilles injuries
Long runs and intense training sessions increase wear and tear on joint tissues. Normal collagen production levels may not be able to keep pace with this extra demand for joint repair – especially when an injury occurs. This is when collagen supplementation can make the all the difference to joint strength and recovery. Strengthen tendons and ligaments
Tendons bind muscles to bones, while ligaments bind bones to other bones. Both of these collagen-rich connective tissues play a crucial role in joint health and flexibility. Supplementing with specific collagen peptides can replenish collagen levels and stimulate the metabolism of new collagen cells in tendons and ligaments. This helps to strengthen tissues, and also aid recovery time from injury
. Supports cartilage – the natural shock absorber
Cartilage acts as a shock absorber, absorbing the impact of movement on joint tissues and preventing bones from rubbing against one another. It can be damaged by a sudden injury
, and can be lost through ‘wear and tear’, which can lead to osteoarthritis. Supplementing with Type II collagen has been shown to improve the symptoms of cartilage degradation
in people with knee osteoarthritis. Knee cartilage is at particular risk for marathon runners because of the ongoing impact on knee joints when running long distances. This isn’t to say that running a marathon is entirely bad for your knees! A recent study looking at the impact of marathon running
in middle-aged runners found that some knee injuries were made worse by the running, whereas others, including cartilage damage, were slightly reversed. Flex+, your new marathon training partner!
Our Flex+ formula is the perfect partner for your marathon training regime. Carefully formulated with the Bioactive Collagen Peptides® TENDOFORTE® and FORTIGEL®, Flex+ can support joint strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
The formula also includes vitamin C and manganese.
- Vitamin C is a vital co-factor nutrient for collagen production, helping to build the corkscrew shape of the collagen molecule, and providing antioxidant protection against free radical damage. A systematic review of preclinical trials concludes that vitamin C accelerates bone healing after fractures, increases production of Type I collagen, and reduces oxidative stress.
- Manganese is an essential trace mineral that acts as a co-factor to enzymes involved in antioxidant protection of tissues, and cartilage production.
Each dose of Flex+ provides 10,000mg of Bioactive Collagen Peptides® alongside 80mg vitamin C, and 0.3mg manganese, giving you a complete package for joint care. When is the best time to take Flex+
One study examining the effects on ligaments
of supplementing with gelatin (a rich source of collagen) and vitamin C either before or after exercise found that taking the supplement an hour before exercise resulted in greater stimulation of collagen synthesis. But the main thing is to take it consistently everyday – and not just on days when you’re going for a run. If you’re more likely to remember to take it after training rather than before, as part of a post-run drink or smoothie, do it then. How long does Flex+ take to work?
Taking the recommended dosage of 10,000mg per day, Flex+ can help reduce joint pain and activity-related joint discomfort in as little as 6 weeks. You can boost the action of Flex+ even more by including colourful fruits, vegetables, and spices in pre- and post-run meals and snacks:
- Dark red and purple berries like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackcurrants are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants that help manage inflammation.
- Carrots, peppers, Butternut squash, and sweet potato provide beta-carotene which can be converted in the body to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.
- Turmeric and ginger are renowned for their anti-inflammatory actions in joint tissues. Try adding ½ a teaspoon of each to a post-run smoothie alongside your Flex+.
Discover more tasty ways to incorporate Flex+ into your daily routine over on our recipe page and find the full Pura range – including collagen bundles – over in the shop.