Collagen peptides help Achilles tendon recovery

GELITA's Tendorforte is first nutritional solution that gets to the root of the problem for Achilles tendon injuries, a new study reveals

The supplementation benefits of collagen peptides have been shown, once again; this time in the Achilles tendon. Specific bioactive collagen peptides, combined with a rehabilitation exercise programme show significantly reduced pain and functional limitations in participants suffering from Achilles tendon injury.

The majority of the study participants had a long history of Achilles tendinopathy, not responding to rest or other traditional physiotherapy regimes. However, with the aid of the special collagen peptide, 12 out of the 18 participants who finished the study were able to return to their desired running sport in just three months.

The study

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Nutrients, used Tendoforte, a recent addition to the GELITA range of Bioactive Collagen Peptides. Derived from collagen protein, Tendoforte is a bioactive peptide that is unique in its mode of action. The product has been optimised to stimulate the biosynthesis of new extracellular matrix proteins for healthy tendons and ligaments, at a daily dose of only 5 g.

In the study, participants were given a placebo (maltodextrin) or Tendoforte in combination with bi-daily eccentric calf-strengthening exercises for six months, using a crossover design. Group AB received specific collagen peptides for the first three months before crossing over to the placebo, whereas Group BA received the placebo first before crossing over to the specific collagen peptides.

At baseline and after three and six months, all patients were asked to rate their subjective Achilles tendon pain and functional limitations using a Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment–Achilles (VISA-A) questionnaire. Scores increased significantly in group AB, compared with group BA. Then after crossing over, both groups showed significant improvements.

The authors of the study concluded that oral supplementation with specific collagen peptides may accelerate the clinical benefits of a well-structured calf-strengthening and return-to-running programme. In summary, the risk of injury decreases considerably whilst flexibility improves.

Further research

In real-life examples, subjects with long-term symptoms of chronic Achilles tendinopathy were able to return to training within three months when supplementing with Tendoforte. These people were also able to keep running for the remainder of the study period.

These results add to the outcomes of the first study on Tendoforte, which looked into its ability to reduce ankle sprains and improve ankle stability. Six months of supplementation with the specific collagen peptide resulted in significant improvements in ankle stability, reduced ankle sprains and a reduced re-injury rate in the three-month follow-up period, suggesting long-term injury protection with Tendoforte.

Suzane Leser, Director of Nutrition Communication at GELITA, said: “These studies reveal Tendoforte as the very first nutritional solution that goes to the root of the problem. Its bioactivity influences tenocyte cell metabolism, promoting the natural, sustained healing process.”

Leser further explained: “The incidence of overuse injury in sports has risen, not only because of the greater participation in recreational and competitive sports, but also as a result of the increased duration and intensity of training, creating a real need for nutritional strategies to strengthen the connective tissue.”