Listen Up, Runners: This Collagen Supplement May Help Joint Pain

Is one of your resolutions to run more? A worthy goal, to be sure: it’s a reason to move your body, get outdoors, and maybe even get that beloved runner’s high people so often talk about. And with a new running routine, may come new gear—like the right sneakers for your feet and, perhaps, even a collagen supplement. 

While collagen is most famous for its role in the skin—it’s the most prominent protein in the skin and the mechanism that keeps it firm—it also has a very important role in joint health. 

Collagen and joint health: A quick recap. 

See, collagen is found in connective tissue all over the body, not just in the skin. And when you take a collagen supplement, the powder’s hydrolyzed collagen peptides are broken down in the gut, where they travel throughout the body encouraging collagen production naturally.  

“Having the building blocks of these [cartilage] tissues—namely, collagen—is vital to the ability to support joints,” says registered dietitian Scott Keatley, R.D.. So, if you have joint issues or tend to do workouts that put a lot of pressure on your joints—which running can be for some—collagen powder might be worth considering.* 

In fact one 24-week study done on athletes found that those who took collagen supplements experienced less severe joint pain over time.* As for fully restoring damaged cartilage, it’s not clear at this time if your bodies can fully do that (one 2019 human study suggested it may be), but if it is possible, having adequate collagen levels would be critical, notes Keatley. 

He’s not the only expert to recommend this, either: William Cole, D.C., IFMCP, a functional medicine expert and mbg Collective member, has many patients that take collagen supplements and says, “not only do they notice their skin becoming brighter, nails becoming stronger, hair becoming more luminous, but they often experience less joint pain.”* 

As for runners themselves? Our very own Emma Loewe, senior sustainability editor and longtime runner, uses collagen supplements as part of her overall running routine: “Since getting in the habit of taking mbg’s grass-fed collagen+, I’ve noticed that the aches and soreness following a hard workout don’t stick around for as long.* Although running two days back-to-back used to be enough to make me sore, I’ve been able to train three to four days in a row and still feel fresh. It helps that my energy levels have been feeling more steady and I’m not relying on the snooze button as much in the mornings.*”

Collagen is a protein that’s useful overall your body, not just skin. Yes, that means joints included. So consider adding mindbodgyreen’s grass-fed collagen+ to your routine if you’ve decided to up your running game this year. 

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