Bioactive Collagen Peptides (BCP®) can support the musculoskeletal system from within 

Being physically active has a number of health benefits: Aerobic exercise such as running, cycling or swimming is good for the cardiovascular system, while resistance training helps build muscle mass and tone the body. However, despite such advantages, the risk of injury is inevitable. In addition to proper technique and adequate recovery time, targeted supplementation can provide extra support for the musculoskeletal system, which is largely composed of the structural protein collagen. To support the stability of the different parts of this system, GELITA, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of collagen peptides, has developed an extensive portfolio of specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides (BCP®).

Extraordinary structure

The musculoskeletal system is divided into two parts: active and passive. While the active part of the system (skeletal muscles, fasciae and tendons) is responsible for movement, the passive part (bones, cartilage, joints and ligaments) supports the skelet A strong musculoskeletal system is therefore a good basis for preventing sports injuries.

Collagen makes up 30 per cent of the total protein mass in the human body, making it the most abundant protein in the musculoskeletal system. It helps to keep ligaments and tendons flexible and strong, and is essential for the proper functioning of joints. It is also a key component of bones, making up 95 per cent of the human body’s bone matrix; as such, it is essential for bone health, helping to prevent brittleness and fractures. Supplementing the diet with BCP® therefore helps to promote health of the whole musculoskeletal system and can reduce the risk of injuries, as proven by a number of clinical studies.

Strong bones for a strong foundation

GELITA has developed the specific FORTIBONE® collagen peptides which are optimised to improve overall bone health, with their beneficial effects confirmed by numerous studies. An observational study investigated the effect of FORTIBONE® on bone fracture healing. The study involved 28 participants with bone fractures, including men and women between the ages of 17 and 87. They were randomised into two groups: The verum group supplemented with 10g of FORTIBONE®, while the placebo group was given 10g of maltodextrin. At the end of the observation period, 79 per cent of the participants taking the BCP®, but only 50 per cent of the placebo group, had very good or good bone fracture healing.[1] 

Researchers investigated the effect of FORTIBONE® on bone mineral density in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 2018 in women with low bone mineral density at the spine and femoral neck for 12 months. The study included 131 women aged 46- 80 who supplemented with either 5g of FORTIBONE® (intervention group) or maltodextrin (placebo group) daily. The results showed that bone density increased significantly after taking FORTIBONE®, while it decreased in the placebo group. The bone mineral density increased by 4.2 per cent in the spine and by 7.7 per cent in the femoral neck.[2] 

Martin Walter, Category Manager Healthy Ageing and Sports Nutrition at GELITA, explains the mode of action behind these results: “Our research indicates a clear stimulating effect on bone-building cells known as osteoblasts. This anabolic effect can increase collagen synthesis and  support the development of a stable bone structure, which is essential in endurance sports such as longdistance running and cycling, where micro-fractures can occur.” 

Keeping joints flexible

Pushing the body to its physical limits during exercise will, over time, probably have a negative impact on joint health. As collagen is an essential component of healthy joint cartilage, GELITA developed FORTIGEL® twenty years ago. These specific collagen peptides are optimised and scientifically proven to stimulate joint cartilage regeneration and the production of collagen and proteoglycans, the two main components of cartilage dry mass. It also combats the progressive degeneration of cartilage tissue. 

FORTIGEL® has been the subject of 20 studies involving around 2,800 participants[3, 4], all of which confirm its stimulating effect on the biosynthesis of the extracellular cartilage matrix. This means that these BCP® address not only the symptoms, but also the cause of joint problems thus reducing pain and improving mobility. “Due to its strong scientific background, FORTIGEL® is commercially successful in almost 50 countries and allows for the use of certain health claims too. Health Canada has approved a productspecific claim for FORTIGEL® and the Brazilian National Health Agency (ANVISA) also recently granted health claim approval. These milestones are truly a tribute to our work,” continues Martin Walter.

Improving the stability of tendons and ligaments

Every sport requires some degree of strength, power and speed, and relies heavily on tendons and the intact composition of their extracellular matrix collagens, proteoglycans and elastic fibres. However, overuse can make tendons and ligaments more susceptible to injury. That’s why GELITA’s special TENDOFORTE® collagen peptides are optimised to strengthen them. Two studies conducted with these BCP® show efficacy with a daily dose of just 5g over 3 to 6 months. A study conducted by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) showed that subjects with long-term symptoms of chronic Achilles tendinopathy who had failed to respond to traditional rehabilitation methods were able to return to running within 3 months when supplementing with TENDOFORTE®, and were able to continue running for the remainder of the 6-month trial period.[5] 

“Not only does TENDOFORTE® act as a preventive nutritional intervention to strengthen tendons and ligaments, it also helps injured athletes return to their previous levels of performance more quickly and safely. Take, for example, the young French boxer Caroline Cruveillier, who has achieved amazing results with TENDOFORTE®,” reveals Martin. The 25-year-old suffered an injury to the triangular fibrocartilage complex in her right wrist – a common injury for boxers. After surgery, she started taking 5g of TENDOFORTE® daily for several months. She returned to training after only eight months, instead of the 12 months originally predicted. 

Multiple application possibilities 

Beverages are a smart way for those participating in physical activity to get the extra nutrients they need that are not provided by their regular diet, and can be consumed anywhere and at any time while exercising. GELITA’s BCP® have a neutral taste and can be used in combination with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, making them perfect for tailor-made sports drink concepts – without compromising the sensory appeal of the end product. But the Bioactive Collagen Peptides can be incorporated into other products too. 

“Our range of specific collagen peptides offers almost unlimited possibilities for the development of dietary supplements and functional foods and beverages targeted at both professional and amateur athletes. They can be easily formulated into a wide range of other products such as protein bars and supplements that help strengthen the musculoskeletal system,” concludes Martin.