Dietary collagen intake and sources for support of connective tissues in athletes

Published May 9, 2018

Injury is a pertinent issue within team sports, and can significantly impact upon both player wellbeing and the success of teams. In particular Rugby Union (RU) has been documented as having one of the highest incidences of reported injuries in match situations compared to all other team sports. A recent meta-analysis found that the most common-time loss injuries in RU were muscle/tendon and joint (non-bone)/ligament injuries at 40 per 1,000 and 34 per 1,000 player hours, respectively. Collagens, are the largest family of proteins present within the human body, and provide structure and stability to tissues, such as bones, tendons and ligaments. Although nutritional support for myofibrillar protein has received much attention in sports nutrition literature within the past decade, less is known about factors that support the collagen component of tissues. Evidence to date suggests that nutrients that support collagen synthesis may include specific collagen precursors (i.e. proline and glycine), and nutrients involved in enzymatic processing (i.e. ascorbic acid).

This project will focus on a series of studies which aim to determine the optimal source of dietary collagen and/or collagen precursors that may support collagen synthesis and/or alter mechanical properties (such as stiffness) in connective tissues, specifically tendons and ligaments. Several dietary sources will be explored including “in vogue” products i.e. bone broth and commercially available supplements.


Rebekah Alcock, ACU and Australian Institute of Sport

Professor Louise Burke, ACU and Australian Institute of Sport

Greg Shaw, Australian Institute of Sport

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