Collagen is the connective tissue found naturally in your body that makes up many things, including your joints. Collagen is a real buzz ingredient right now and can be found in things like bone broth or bought in powder form to take as a supplement. The latest way to get your collagen fix is a product called collagen water.

Brianna-Grace Dowdall, ND, works out of the Runner’s Academy in Toronto and says that collagen can be great for runners who struggle with arthritis. “The research is pretty promising in terms of collagen helping with the treatment of arthritis. There are many different types of collagen, and most of the research has been done on type two. For therapeutic purposes, you’d want to be taking this type.” Most collagen water bottles contain about 60 calories and 10 grams of protein.

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What to look for

When purchasing collagen water, Dowdall says that runner should check to the ingredients. Ideally it will include both vitamin C and type-two collagen. “When you drink collagen water, you’re basically taking in the building blocks to create collagen in your body. With that in mind, it’s important to have vitamin C with your collagen intake as it helps facilitate the building process.”

It’s not a replacement for protein powder

Dowdall says that collagen water isn’t a replacement for protein powder or a complete post-workout snack. “Protein is made up of amino acids and collagen is not a complete source of these amino acids. We have nine amino acids that are considered essential, and collagen does not include all nine amino acids. Whey protein for example has all of your essential and non-essential amino acids–so it’s a complete protein.” For collagen water to be a complete recovery snack, a runner would need to add a carb and a little more protein, for example, an apple and a hard-boiled egg.

Runners should observe the 30-minute recovery window and aim to eat a 200-300 calorie snack in that time. If you’ve done a speed or weights session, you should look to consume a 3:1 carb to protein ratio. If you’ve done a distance-style workout, then be sure to up your carbs to a 4:1 ratio. This means that for a marathoner, you’re looking for roughly 80 grams of starch to 20 grams of protein.

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