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  • Writer's pictureRachel Turi, RD

Collagen, Vitamin C, and You

There has recently been a bit of discussion on the topic of Vitamin C and Gelatin. And no doubt you’ve seen plenty of ads for Collagen Peptide powdered supplements. So what is all this talk about?

Vitamin C and Collagen is a mixture that may seem strange, but can have multiple benefits for the human body! In fact there was a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Shaw et al. in 2016 on the topic. Shaw studied how vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity would help with collagen synthesis, and in turn tissue repair. The study shows that adding gelatin to an intermittent exercise program improves collagen synthesis and could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair.

In addition to the gelatin, Vitamin C taken with it is most effective. This is because Vitamin C

is needed for collagen. Shaw specifically mixed 15 g gelatin with 48 mg Vitamin C, 1 hour before exercise. The results of the study showed that with increasing amounts of gelatin prior to exercise, there was also an increase in circulating glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine (amino acids), peaking 1 hour after the supplement was given. The reason for taking the supplement 1 hour prior to exercise is so that the peak of action for the Gelatin/Vitamin C mixture is right as the muscles/ligaments need to start repairing, as exercise begins.

Essentially, it appears that if an individual takes Vitamin C and Gelatin together, prior to exercise, there is likely to be an increase in collagen synthesis, which is a protein in skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, bones.

So vitamin C and collagen are useful together, but why?

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin. You've probably heard of it being used when an individual

has a cold. This is because vitamin C is an antioxidant, aiding immune health. Antioxidants are useful in the blockage of free-radical, which are harmful byproducts made in the body that can prevent proper functioning of body systems, or cause infection and inflammation. However, Vitamin C serves many other purposes. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.

So, whether hoping to recover from a cold or a hard workout, Vitamin C can help your body!

What about gelatin? Gelatin is mainly composed of amino acids, with supports body tissue growth and repair, such as skin, muscle, hair, joints, and bones. This is because gelatin is a great source of dietary collagen. See the connection now? Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis, gelatin is a good source of collagen, so mixing vitamin C and gelatin with their positive effects on the synthesis of collagen can also greatly benefit tissue growth and repair.

Now for how to consume this wonderful mixture. Try these combinations 1 hour prior to exercise or any time throughout the day to experience the benefits:

  1. Making homemade bone broth plus taking vitamin C supplement

  2. Buy gelatin packets and mix with vitamin C packet or tablet

  3. Jello with vitamin C packet

  4. Drink a glass of orange juice or make sure to eat fruits/veggies containing Vitamin C plus take a powdered collagen supplement

-Rachel Turi, R.D.


Shaw G, Lee-Barthel A, Ross M LR, Wang B, Baar K. Vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016.

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