RECOVERY GOAL #1: Optimize collagen formation (and timing)
Collagen synthesis is directly linked to healing rates, connective tissue tensile strength, and future issue prevention.
Healthy collagen formations (joint tissue) form a basket-weave pattern, providing a stronger structure for optimal functional movement. Abnormal collagen formation (a.k.a. scar tissue) forms crude parallel patterns. This type of tissue is weak and prone to irritation.
During the recovery process environmental variables like nutrition quality, inflammation levels, and activity can either help or hinder this process. If nutrition is lacking or physical therapy is skipped, excess scar tissue forms. Limiting range of motion with weak, painful and irritation-prone tissue formations (see infographic above).
This is why goal #1 for recovery should be optimal (and timely) collagen formation.
Here are the top three supplements for bolstering collagen formations:
1. Bioactive Collagen Peptides
Some studies of generic collagen have shown no significant effects. Only one specific type of collagen has consistently performed in clinical studies, helping to build and maintain cartilage, increase connective tissue mass, and strengthen tendons and ligaments. This collagen is called Bioactive Collagen Peptides (made by the German manufacturer, Gelita).
The clinically supported dosage for connective tissue building is 5-10 grams of bioactive collagen peptides daily.
2. Vitamin C
Studies show supplementing with a patented collagen peptide blend (enriched with Vitamin C) results in five times greater collagen synthesis in ligament structures exposed to exercise-induced stress.
Recommended dosages of Vitamin C for muscle recovery, immune support and joint tissue repair are far above the RDI of 90mg per day. Though studies have yet to prove that mega-doses of Vitamin C (2-5 grams per day) are beneficial — it does appear that taking 500-1000mg per day during recovery periods offers additional protection without added risk
3. Cissus quadrangularis
Cissus is one of the few herbs proven to improve joint function in athletes, reducing joint pain in healthy subjects by 31%. While cissus is most notably referenced for its ability to stimulate bone-building osteoblast cells, it also possesses antioxidant properties. Cissus' unique bone-building, joint-supporting effects make it a top performing connective tissue recovery supplement.
Depending on the ketosterone content (% yield), aim for at least 1600 mg per day during recovery periods.
But just optimizing collagen formation isn’t enough.
Focusing on optimizing the entire joint recovery process (by providing the right internal environment for tissue repair) is even more important