“Having the building blocks of these [cartilage] tissues—namely, collagen—is vital to the ability to support joints,” says registered dietitian Scott Keatley, R.D.. So, if you have joint issues or tend to do workouts that put a lot of pressure on your joints—which running can be for some—collagen powder might be worth considering.* 

In fact one 24-week study done on athletes found that those who took collagen supplements experienced less severe joint pain over time.* As for fully restoring damaged cartilage, it’s not clear at this time if your bodies can fully do that (one 2019 human study suggested it may be), but if it is possible, having adequate collagen levels would be critical, notes Keatley. 

He’s not the only expert to recommend this, either: William Cole, D.C., IFMCP, a functional medicine expert and mbg Collective member, has many patients that take collagen supplements and says, “not only do they notice their skin becoming brighter, nails becoming stronger, hair becoming more luminous, but they often experience less joint pain.”* 

As for runners themselves? Our very own Emma Loewe, senior sustainability editor and longtime runner, uses collagen supplements as part of her overall running routine: “Since getting in the habit of taking mbg’s grass-fed collagen+, I’ve noticed that the aches and soreness following a hard workout don’t stick around for as long.* Although running two days back-to-back used to be enough to make me sore, I’ve been able to train three to four days in a row and still feel fresh. It helps that my energy levels have been feeling more steady and I’m not relying on the snooze button as much in the mornings.*”