What Collagen Does For Performance

inline_collagenI’ve always been a student of performance—in my athletic days and now. Whether it’s nutritional intake, training strategies, or supplement choices, this is where science comes to life for me. Over the years, I made this interest work for my fitness performance and now for my optimal health. It’s not about “hacking” the body’s functioning but understanding it from the ground floor up. This knowledge helps me live and age through life more on my own terms, which is exactly the way I like it.

Every bit of research, every connection, every choice has done its part to fill in the picture for me—the daily practices and overall philosophy behind the Primal Blueprint.

In the last few years, collagen has been one of the tools that has made the biggest difference in my life. It was instrumental to recovering from an injury that (I was told) would put me on the sidelines indefinitely, and now it supports continuing joint health and mobility as I push myself physically long after many people give up on their bodies period.

Recently, Brad Kearns and I recorded a conversation about my interest in collagen—how I started applying it to my health, what it offers for fitness performance, and how anyone—athlete or not—can benefit. Take a look.

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. Have questions, comments? Share them below, and have a great end to the holiday week.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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33 thoughts on “What Collagen Does For Performance”

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  1. I have been taking collagen for a while now and really benefit from this supplement. Thank you Mark for elaborating on the many ways collagen works.

  2. Nice video! Ray Peat has been talking about gelatin/collagen for a long time now. Nothing new to me but I do enjoy seeing this information becoming more and more popular.

    1. I agree. I love how Mark specifies with detail the amazing results from this supplement.

  3. Any thoughts for those of us who react to the high amount of natural glutamate in protein powders? I get raging headaches from collagen powder but would love to be able to add protein to my smoothies.

    1. I am glad you mentioned this issue. I have suffered from migraine headaches for most of my adult life (I’m 52 now), and have finally figured out enough about my triggers to avoid frequent headaches.

      But I find myself getting them when I supplement with collagen protein. It had not occurred to me that it might be the glutamate causing this, as that has never been a trigger for me. But I know that’s a common trigger for some people. I have supplemented with L-Arginine in the past and had headaches from that, so I wondered if that might be one of the causes. Perhaps some of the other amino acids in collagen are also vasodilators or otherwise headache triggers?

      I seem to be able to supplement with Glycine by itself without problems, so for now I am taking that. But I’d like to be able to get the full benefits of collagen supplementation.

      1. You might want to try supplementing with L-citrulline, as it’s far more effective at increasing L-arginine levels in the body than L-arginine supplementation. It also improves the ammonia recycling process and nitric oxide metabolism plus other benefits.

        1. Thank you for the suggestion, Time Traveler. Unfortunately, I have supplemented with L-citrulline also and it caused the headaches just as badly as the L-arginine did. I am aware of the long list of benefits it provides, and during my workouts while taking L-arginine and/or L-citrulline, I felt good and had increased pump and reps, and faster recovery. But then the headaches kicked in, and that ruined the other benefits for me.

          I always give supplements the benefit of the doubt, so I waited a few months and tried L-citrulline again, and sure enough the headaches came back within a day or two (following a couple of months of no headaches). So it was definitely the cause.

          1. Hey GeorgeCat, You are welcome. Too bad it didn’t work for you but thinking out of the box is great. I guess there’s no point in trying to cut the dose. In health!

    2. Our bodies absorb Liquid Collagen easier, is easier on our body, and better than powdered collagens. My body is sensitive to so much after making an amazing grass fed beef bone marrow broth in June 2016.

  4. Christmas Eve 2004 at the ripe old age of 46 I had a full hip replacement. If I could get in a time machine and go back 25 years and give the SAD me some advice it would be to ditch the mineral robbing grains and supplement with collagen protein. I’m convinced it would have made a difference. Thanks Mark and Brad and Elle and the rest of the Primal team.

  5. I have a severe histamine intolerance, which has kept me away from bone broth (due to the histamine accumulation from slow cooking) – how would I find out how this collagen supplement is produced and what level of histamine it might have in it?

  6. Oh, Mark takes collagen before a workout? Should I do the same, drink bone broth before the workout for immediate potential recovery, or is drinking it like 2-3 hours afterwards with dinner just as effective? As long as I drink it before sleeping?

  7. Great video discussion! I’ve been sold on collage supplementing now. I eat keto but frankly can’t get into organ meats at all. I make organic bone broth myself but your supplements can fill in the gaps for me when Im out of my bone broth. I am 60 years old, work out at gym regularly and love to dance my butt off any chance I get also! Keep on Keepin on Mark! Doin good and it shows!

  8. What effect will this product have on blood sugar levels? I see the label says 5 grams of carbs per serving with 2 grams of fiber. Which comes out to 3 net grams of carbs. But I’ve been fooled by products like this before.
    Are there any type 1 diabetics, like me, who have tried this and what were your results? It’s good to know before trying so I can plan for any rises in blood sugar and inject in advance. Thank You.

  9. One more question: Where do I find the Primal Kitchen Grass Fed Collagen Peptides? That may be the one for me to try. But I can’t find it on your site?

    1. Andrew, They’re in the Primal Kitchen section all the way at the bottom just before the Books section

  10. I knew that supplementing with collagen is good for balancing out protein intake but wasn’t clear why. Thanks for the clarification.

  11. We absorb Liquid Collagen better than powdered especially for those Who don’t eat Meat.
    After a Grass Fed Beef Bone Marrow Broth I became sensitive and new allergies to many healthy foods I was able to eat.

  12. I completely look at collagen as a food rather than a supplement Taking collagen peptides daily over the past few years has literally changed my life…my skin is firmer now (at age 51) than it was over ten years ago, and I have excellent recovery from workouts and 12+ hour days bartending. It also makes my nails amazing! Bone broth is great but the reality I have too much going on in my life to make it on a regular basis. So I rely on a mix of straight collagen peptides, Collagen Fuel (the vanilla is my fave) and the collagen bars which are always in my purse. Thanks for the video…this is really helpful! .

  13. I believe strongly in collagen as a critical component of my diet. However, I also strongly believe in real food… I have made my own bone broths for most of my adult life, and was lucky enough to have had a childhood with a mom who made her own as well. So I have had a regular supply of collagen in my diet pretty much all my life. I would tend to believe that this is better than taking pills with a more processed version of collagen in them. Opinions?

  14. I started using collagen powder in my coffee six months ago. Prior to this I was getting a steroid shot in my knee every 3 months have had 2 meniscus surgeries so not much left of that the doc says and bone spurs and arthritis and I
    was looking at a knee replacement after having the left one done 5 years ago but since I started using collagen my knee has been really good no severe pain. I know this is what the difference is because I’ve used it consistently it everyday .You know (if you are 60) there are those days when you wake up feeling a little older than your chronological age I’ve not felt like that except once or twice. I wake up feeling non-achy 98% of the so I fully endorse collagen and I know it’s the reason and I tell everybody I know to try it. I was taking naproxen regularly..now it is rarely. I consider collagen almost a miracle for me.

  15. Good info, guys, but anytime that you mention “collagen”, can’t you more primally insert the word “meat”?

  16. Could you please explain further why we should not mix collagen with other amino acids? If that is the case, does eating collagenous cuts of meat reduce the benefits of the accompanying collagen?

    Collagen is sold in mixes with whey protein now. Is this also a waste?


  17. Any recommendations on how to prepare the powder so it doesn’t make you gag a bit? I tried the chocolate one this morning in a little hot water, then added ice and cold water and it was hard to get down. Thanks!

  18. Dear Mark
    Do you believe collagen can help fat pad degeneration in the heel? I’m suffering now after cortisone for PF triggered a negative effect. I’m aware that the fat pad contains collagen but would it absorb collagen Like tendons and ligaments?
    Thank you in advance of your reply.