I Tri’d It: TRR Collagen – A Month of supplementation

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TRR Collagen Review supplementsTRR Collagen “Review”, supplements made by TRR Nutrition

Collagen is a naturally occurring substance. It’s a commonly occurring mammalian protein and a significant part of your body ‘contains’ collagen. Indeed up to 6% of the mass of a muscle can often be collagen.

It’s one of the ‘in’ health supplements of the moment with people using it in an attempt to maintain the youth of the hair, skin and their body in general. Collagen supplementation might also help cyclists relieve joint pain, help women prevent bone loss (osteoporosis/osteopenia) and promote heart health. And the downsides? None. There are no side effects.

Age Group/Masters athletes might be interested to know that by the age of 50 they could have 50% lower collagen in their bodies than when they were at their prime. Sure, you could perhaps eat more meat to stave off the inevitable decline but, AFAIK, there is no research that shows eating meat is better than supplementation in humans.

Plus, as many triathletes know, if in doubt…supplement!

Collagen Benefits

Here is a summary of the likely benefits of collagen

  • Could boost muscle mass when combined with exercise
  • Promotes heart health, perhaps strengthening arterial structures
  • May inhibit natural bone breakdown as we age
  • Helps relieve joint pain by maintaining cartilage
  • May strengthen your skin, improve its elasticity, help its hydration, reduce wrinkles and, well, basically make you irresistible to members of whichever sex you need to find you super-attractive.

Me? I just want to stop wasting away. I probably don’t eat enough meat and skinny-old me has done really well to finally drop over a kg a few months ago after closely watching my carb burn with Lumen but I was dismayed to find my Garmin Index S2 scales told me that almost all that weight loss was muscle loss. Jeez, I knew that was supposed to happen but never thought it would happen to me. I am human after all.

Furthermore, my right knee has moments of cycling-related dodginess so any help there will also be appreciated. Basically, I’ll trade staying young and pretty for 10-seconds off any PB/PR, maybe collagen will give me both? Hmmm.

TRR Collagen Review supplementsWhat I did

I’m following the same plan that I have, sort of, followed over each of the previous 3 years and broadly the same time of year. I’ve never managed to keep up with the progression through to over 20 hours/week, mostly it was a combination of injury and the intensities rather than the ramped up durations that eventually got to me.

I’m in the late build stages of my training as I write and it’s starting to get tough in a long-distance kinda way. I’m fitting in one weights session a week and 3 lots of functional strength training. The recovery from that and 15+ hours a week elsewhere is getting hard to recover from, especially as I am shifting the hours gradually from cycling to the physically more demanding running discipline.

For my test of TRR Collagen, I kept my training ramping up in the ‘usual’ ways (30 mins total extra training each week) and try to have more whey protein powder, some more Powerdot recovery sessions and Curranz (reduces DOMS, increases fat oxidation and reduces inflammation). I added one of TRR’s collagen shots every day to my routine to see what happened.

I hoped TRR Collagen would promote repair, help increase muscle mass and stave off injury.

Ingredients

TRR Nutrition is a certified brand for Informed Sports and the collagen IS certified.

The main ingredient is Peptan collagen which is high in hydroxyproline and glycine

Other ingredients are these: water, marine collagen hydrolysate (10000mg) (fish), acidity regulator: citric acid; cherry concentrated juice, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (500mg), cherry natural flavouring, ginger dry extract (375mg), rhizome, Zingiber officinale; Vitamin C, turmeric dry extract (103mg)-rhizome/root Curcuma Longa L.; preservative: potassium sorbate; sodium hyaluronate (51,6 mg), sweetener: steviol glycosides, copper bis-glycinate.

Notes:

  • Glucosamine can help cartilage metabolism and maintain collagen synthesis
  • Sodium hyaluronate is a salt of hyaluronic acid and supposedly acts as a tissue lubricant. I’ve taken that before in Regenovex Actiflex (I was part of the original studies) and I found that, unlike cod liver oil, it helps alleviate my slight to moderate knee pains when cycling.
  • Cherry juice might also help recovery and I don’t know much about the rest.
  • TRR contains Vit-C and copper which are needed to aid absorption. But I thought zinc was also needed?
  • Collagen hydrolysate seems to be a fairly generic substance in other collagen products but usually found elsewhere in lower doses ie other products have 8000mg and below, so TRR has a higher dosage.

Consumption Protocol

Simply: Once daily soon after a workout

Quantity: 1 bottle or one scoop

Timing: after a workout to aid recovery or later in the evening before you go to sleep. The vendors say it might take up to a month to notice any difference.

Mixed with?: The small bottle (cherry) is fine to take by itself.  The mango and passion fruit powder just happens to be my favourite flavour combo and I mixed it with some whey protein & natural yoghurt, or you could mix with other liquids. Once you have mixed it let it settle and absorb for a few 10s of seconds re-mix/shake and you’re good to go. FYI: IT seemed to mix better with milk than yoghurt.

Taste: Nice! I’m biased.

Don’t: I tried some BEFORE a workout but felt sick.

Science Stuff

The following scientific studies back  up claims for the performance of collagen. From a non-professional observer like me, these seem plausibly positive.

  1. The effects of collagen peptides on muscle damage, inflammation and bone turnover following exercise: a randomized, controlled trial.
    • This study examined whether consuming collagen peptides (CP) before and after strenuous exercise alters markers of muscle damage, inflammation and bone turnover. CP had moderate
      benefits for the recovery of countermovement jump (a measure of lower body power) and muscle soreness but had no influence on inflammation. The effects of collagen peptides on muscle damage, inflammation and bone turnover following exercise: a randomized, controlled trial.
    • Clifford, Ventress, Allerton, Stansfield, Tang, Fraser, Vanhoecke, Prawitt, Stevenson
  2. A 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.
    • Collagen hydrolysate is a nutritional supplement that has been shown to exert an anabolic effect on cartilage tissue. Its administration appears beneficial in patients with osteoarthritis. Despite the study’s size and limitations, the results suggest that athletes consuming collagen hydrolysate can reduce parameters (such as pain) that have a negative impact on athletic performance.
    • Clark, Sebastianelli, Flechsenhar, Aukermann, Meza, Millard
  3. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature.
    • There is a need for an effective treatment for the millions of people in the United States with osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease. The demand for treatments, both traditional
      and non-traditional, will continue to grow as the population ages. According to published research, orally administered collagen hydrolysate has been shown to be absorbed intestinally
      and to accumulate in cartilage. Collagen hydrolysate ingestion stimulates a statistically significant increase in the synthesis of extracellular matrix macromolecules by chondrocytes (p < 0.05
      compared with untreated controls). These findings suggest mechanisms that might help patients affected by joint disorders such as OA. Four open-label and three double-blind studies
      were identified and reviewed; they showed collagen hydrolysate to be safe and to provide improvement in some measures of pain and function in some men and women with OA or other
      arthritic conditions.
    • Bello, Oesser
  4. Improvement of activity-related knee joint discomfort following supplementation of specific collagen peptides.
    • The aim of the study was to evaluate the use of specific collagen peptides in reducing pain in athletes with functional knee problems during sport. Athletic subjects (n = 139) with functional
      knee pain ingested 5 g of bioactive collagen peptides (BCP) or a placebo per day for 12 weeks. The primary outcome of the study was a change in pain intensity during activity, which
      was evaluated by the participants and the attending physicians using a visual analogue scale (VAS). As secondary endpoints, pain intensity under resting conditions, the range of motion
      of the knee joint, and the use of additional therapeutic options were assessed. The results revealed a statistically significant improvement in activity-related pain intensity in the verum
      group compared with placebo. (VASBCP = 19.5 ± 2.4; VASPlacebo = 13.9 ± 2.1; p = 0.046). The results were confirmed by the physician’s assessment. (VASBCP = 16.7 ± 1.8; VASPlacebo = 12.2 ± 1.8;
      p = 0.021). Pain under resting conditions was also improved, but no significance compared with placebo was detected (VASBCP = 10.2 ± 18.4; VASPlacebo = 7.4 ± 15.2; p = 0.209). Due to the
      high joint mobility at baseline, no significant changes in this parameter could be detected. The use of additional treatment options was significantly reduced after BCP intake. The study
      demonstrated that the supplementation of specific collagen peptides in young adults with functional knee problems led to a statistically significant improvement of activity-related joint
      pain.
    • Denise Zdzieblik, Steffen Oesser, Albert Gollhofer, and Daniel König
  5. Change in knee osteoarthritis cartilage detected by delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging following treatment with collagen hydrolysate: a pilot randomized
    controlled trial.
    McAlindon, Nuite, Krishnan, R. Ruthazer, Price,
  6. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, clinical study on the effectiveness of collagen peptide on osteoarthritis
    • Recent studies show that enzymatically hydrolysed collagen, the collagen peptide, is absorbed and distributed to joint tissues and has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. A
      double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial with collagen peptides isolated from pork skin (PCP) and bovine bone (BCP) sources was carried out to study the effectiveness of orally
      supplemented collagen peptide to control the progression of osteoarthritis in patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. The study demonstrated that collagen peptides are potential
      therapeutic agents as nutritional supplements for the management of osteoarthritis and maintenance of joint health.
    • Kumar, Sugihara, Suzuki, Inoue, Venkateswarathirukumara

 

Also, try these

  • Alcock, R. D., Shaw, G. C., & Burke, L. M. (2019). Bone Broth Unlikely to Provide Reliable Concentrations of Collagen Precursors Compared with Supplemental Sources of Collagen Used in Collagen Research. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 29(3), 265-272.
  • Allison L Shorten, Karen E Wallman, Kym J Guelfi. Acute effect of environmental temperature during exercise on subsequent energy intake in active men, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 90, Issue 5, November 2009, Pages 1215–1221,
  • Birch 2019 Biochemistry and Cell Biology of Ageing: Part I Biomedical Science pp 169-190 Springer 2019
  • Buckwalter JA, Mankin HJ (1998) Articular cartilage: degeneration and osteoarthritis, repair, regeneration, and transplantation. Instr Course Lect 47:487–504
  • Buckwalter J (2002) Articular Cartilage Injuries. Clin Orthop Relat Res. Sep;(402):21-37.
  • Clarkson PM, Sayers SP (1999) Etiology of exercise-induced muscle damage. Can J Appl Physiol 24(3):234–248
  • Crameri RM, Aagaard P, Qvortrup K, Langberg H, Olesen J, Kjær M (2007) Myofibre damage in human skeletal muscle: effects of electrical stimulation versus voluntary contraction. J Physiol 583(1):365–380
  • Drawer S, Fuller CW. The propensity for osteoarthritis and lower limb joint pain in retired professional soccer players. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2001; 35:402-408.
  • Drew M.K., Raysmith B.P., Charlton P.C. Injuries impair the chance of successful performance by sportspeople: A systematic review. Br. J. Sports Med. 2017; 51:1209–1214. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096731.
  • Etxebarria N, Mujika I, Pyne D. Training and Competition Readiness in Triathlon: Sports (Basel). 2019 May; 7(5): 101.
  • Fredericson M (1), Misra AK. Sports Med. 2007;37(4-5):4379. Epidemiology and aetiology of marathon running injuries.
  • Friedman JE, Lemon PW. Effect of chronic endurance exercise on retention of dietary protein. Int J Sports Med. 1989;10(2):118–23.
  • Friedman JE, Lemon PW. Effect of chronic endurance exercise on retention of dietary protein. Int J Sports Med 1989Apr:10(2):118-23
  • Gillies AR, Lieber RL (2011) Structure and function of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix. Muscle Nerve 44(3):318–331
  • Halson, S.L. Monitoring training load to understand fatigue in athletes. Sports Med. 2014, 44 (Suppl. 2), S139–S147.
  • Hyldahl RD, Hubal MJ (2014) Lengthening our perspective: morpho- logical, cellular, and molecular responses to eccentric exercise. Muscle Nerve 49(2):155–170
  • Horga LM, Henckel J, Fotiadou A, et al. Can marathon running improve knee damage of middle-aged adults? A prospective cohort study BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2019;5: e000586. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000586
  • Kenton D et al. Runner. Assessment, Biomechanical Principles, and Injury Management 2020 Pages 169-180
  • Lepers R, Cattagni T. Do older athletes reach limits in their performance during marathon running? Age 2012; 34:773–81.
  • Lequesne MG, Dang N, Lane NE. Sport practice and osteoarthritis of the limbs. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 1997; 5:75–86.
  • Mackey AL, Kjaer M (2016) Connective tissue regeneration in skeletal muscle after eccentric contraction-induced injury. J Appl Physiol 122(3):533–540 Minaguchi J, Koyama Y, Meguri N, et al. Effects of ingestion of collagen peptide on collagen fibrils and glycosaminoglycans in Achilles tendon. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology. 2005;51(3):169–174
  • Muir H (1995) The chondrocyte, architect of cartilage: biomechanics, structure, function and molecular biology of cartilage matrix macromolecules. Bioessays 17:1039–1048
  • Oesser, S., Seifert, J. Stimulation of type II collagen biosynthesis and secretion in bovine chondrocytes cultured with degraded collagen. Cell Tissue Res 311, 393–399 (2003) doi:10.1007/s00441-003-0702-8
  • Oesser S, Adam M, Babel W, Seifert J. Oral administration of (14)C labelled gelatin hydrolysate leads to an accumulation of radioactivity in cartilage of mice (C57/BL). J Nutr 1999;129: 1891e5.
  • Ohara H, Matsumoto H, Ito K, Iwai K, Sato K (2007) Comparison of quantity and structures of hydroxyproline-containing peptides in human blood after oral ingestion of gelatin hydrolysates from different sources. J Agric Food Chem 55(4):1532
  • Papalia R, Torre G1, Zampogna B, Vorini F, Grasso A2 Denaro V. Sport activity as a risk factor for early knee osteoarthritis. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2019 Mar-Apr;33(2 Suppl. 1):29-37.
  • Praet SFE, Purdam CR, Welvaert M, et al. Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients. Nutrients. 2019;11(1):76. Published 2019 Jan 2. doi:10.3390/nu11010076

 

 

 

TRR Collagen Review supplements

What Happened

I had planned to show a chart here attesting to regained muscle mass but that didn’t happen. My Garmin scales do show maybe 100g of improvement but that could just be an error with the readings. Plus my muscle mass, according to the Garmin Scales, seems to go up and down in line with my overall weight. So I’ve learnt not to trust the detail of that!

Which of course doesn’t help me prove to you that my increased collagen and protein supplementation has increased my muscle mass.

Nevertheless, my partner says my lats are bigger (biggest they’ve ever been) and my glute muscles feel bigger to me…my partner made no comment on those because, well, you just don’t do you 😉

 

Take Out

As always it’s hard to attribute any one positive outcome to a single cause if there are changing inputs. Certainly, TRR Pro Collagen did NOT make me worse.

Specifically here’s my take on my sought-after benefits

  • I promote repair – I have felt a few niggles, they have repaired rather than developing into anything worse. I have been more sensible with following my plan more rigidly this time round and I’ve used my PowerDot at the first sign of any niggle.
  • Increase muscle mass- as noted above, anecdotally I would say my muscles have become more noticeable
  • Stave off injury – so far, so good.

 

In fact, I felt like I was recovering better from increasingly harder training but, of course, I was making more efforts elsewhere in my regime to recover as I know that my plan becomes hard to implement toward the end of the build phases. I have definitely been able to progress correctly MUCH further along with my plan than at similar points over the last 3 years. Normally I had to skip extra days to recover…not this time, at least not yet.

My lockdown year involved quite a lot of cycling and we know that triathlon is all about the bike leg, so my increased strength there from 2020 has probably helped me with the training over the last month.

TRR Collagen is expensive and I would not routinely take it unless I was specifically trying to stave off an injury when I might incorporate it as an insurance policy. That said it is broadly in line with other collagen products I have seen when you take into account the concentration.

If you talk to your partner about this stuff then you may well find that s/he knows an awful lot more about collagen than you. Quite a lot of people, my partner included, are acutely aware of the possible health and age-related benefits of collagen supplementation. I talked to TRR about this and they pointed my partner toward a similar, health-focused brand called LQ Collagen. The extra concentration and other additives make TRR Pro Collagen more suited to athletes.

TRR Nutrition Price & Availability

You can buy TRR Pro Collagen directly from the manufacturer or via Amazon, although at the time of writing TRR is not available in the USA.

TRR Collagen Review supplements

Note: This product was supplied free of charge. No sponsorship payment was made by TRR or anyone else. I was simply interested to try it for myself and my partner insisted on using some as well. If you buy it from any of the links then this site earns a commission.

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2 thoughts on “I Tri’d It: TRR Collagen – A Month of supplementation

  1. Good timing with this article, I’ve just come to the end of my one month supplementation with Vital Proteins (VP) collagen powder 🙂

    The TRR stuff is pretty expensive like you say, the VP stuff is about £32 for a tub (lasts a bit over a month) which seems to be quite good value. Not compared the ingredients yet though. It’s bovine, not marine, and also doesn’t have the Vit C which helps with absorption (can’t seem to get that in the UK), I take it with green tea early evening before I go to bed.

    I don’t look as good as Jennifer Aniston yet though. I’ll see what happens after the next tub.

    I got interested in this stuff after listening to and watching Keith Baar (twitter: @MuscleScience)

    1. yup, i think the marine collagen is seen as ‘better’ and the concentration of the TRR product is high qhich might account for the price difference to VP.

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