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 3 months.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled study 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 optimized 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 6 months, using a crossover design. Group AB received specific collagen peptides for the first 3 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 3 and 6 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 (12.6) compared with 5.3 in group BA. After crossing over, both groups showed significant improvements in VISA-A of 5.9 (AB) and 17.7 (BA).
In real-life examples, subjects with long-term symptoms of chronic Achilles tendinopathy were able to return to training within 3 months when supplementing with TENDOFORTE® and were able to keep running for the remainder of the study period. The authors concluded that oral supplementation with specific collagen peptides may accelerate the clinical benefits of a well-structured calf-strengthening and return-to-running program. In summary, the risk of injury decreases considerably whilst flexibility improves.
These results add to the outcomes of the first study on TENDOFORTE®, which looked into the ability of TENDOFORTE® 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 3-month follow-up period, suggesting long-term injury protection with TENDOFORTE®.[ii]
“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,” says Suzane Leser, Director of Nutrition Communication at GELITA AG.
She further explains: “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.”
 Achilles tendinopathy is a prevalent, often incapacitating condition, particularly affecting sportspeople who do activities that excessively and repetitively overload the Achilles tendon, such as running and jumping. Therefore, maintaining strong tendons and ligaments is fundamental to high levels of physical performance and their strength depends on an intact composition of extracellular matrix collagens, proteoglycans and elastic fibers.
Praet et al. (2019) Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients. Nutrients 11(1), 76;
[ii] Dressler et al. (2018) Improvement of Functional Ankle Properties Following Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides in Athletes with Chronic Ankle Instability. J Sports Sci Med 17(2):298-304.
GELITA is the leading company for manufacturing and marketing collagen proteins. Coordinated from the headquarters in Eberbach, Germany, GELITA provides customers around the world with products of the highest standard, comprehensive technical expertise and sophisticated solutions. More than 20 sites and a global expert network ensure that state-of-the-art know-how is always available for customers. With 140 years of experience in the field of collagen proteins are the basis of GELITA’s performance. A strong requirement for innovation is the driving force of the family-owned company that is always looking for new solutions for food, pharmaceutical, health & nutrition as well as for technical applications.
Within the range of collagen proteins, GELITA supplies collagen peptides with proven body-stimulating capabilities, tailor-made gelatines and non- or partly- water soluble collagens. This holistic range of products in combination with its vast experience in developing solutions for different applications makes GELITA first choice for its customers. In today’s landscape of highest consumer demands, manufacturers of food products have to rely on natural, healthy, non-allergenic ingredients for their developments. Collagen proteins from GELITA are the perfect match for this as they fulfill all of these requirements, a particular plus being the fact that they are foodstuffs in their own right (e.g. no E-number). They also possess a set of unique technical and physiological properties.
Besides the traditional use of collagen proteins as natural stabilizers and emulsifiers for countless products, they enable manufacturers to provide their products with other properties which are becoming more and more important. GELITA has intensified its research in developing solutions for physical mobility, weight management and beauty from within.
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