Famous for its restorative action on the skin and hair, keratin is less well known in the sports world. However, it has interesting virtues for the health of the athlete.
- What is keratin?
- Keratin and joint health
What is keratin?
Keratin is a fibrous protein found in abundance in the body, including hair, nails, and skin. The outer layers of the joints covering the bones also contain it.
Although keratin treatments are known in the aesthetic world, it is much less so when it comes to sports use. However, many studies have demonstrated the presence of keratin in the joints. Therefore, keratin supplementation would provide benefits at the joint level.
Keratin and joint health
Natural wear, joint injuries or degenerative diseases, joint pain is common, especially when you practice a sport regularly. In order to avoid injury and pain, it is recommended to warm up well at the start of the session, recognize your limits and stretch well.
Keratin is present in most of the connective tissues. It contains a high level of cysteine, a sulfur-rich amino acid that makes up most of the joint tissue. Sulfur atoms bind together to form “cysteine bridges”. These make up the keratin molecule and guarantee its rigidity.
Maintain flexibility and mobility
It is also wise to adopt a suitable diet rich in collagen as well as targeted keratin supplementation . Indeed, once in the body, keratin acts as a natural lubricant that improves fluidity of movement and strengthens connective tissue.
Reduction of inflammation
In the context of sports, keratin helps prevent joint pain, reduces inflammation and helps recovery. It promotes the production of antioxidants in the joints. In addition, this protein stimulates the synthesis of collagen and increases flexibility, which limits the appearance of aches.
Keratin prevents the inflammatory reaction and thereby reduces pain. This way, it speeds up joint recovery, which can be helpful for people with osteoarthritis, arthritis, or a workout-related injury.
Where to find keratin?
Keratin can be found in some food products.
- Eggs : a 50 g egg contains one third of the daily keratin requirements. In addition to being a very good source of protein, the egg is rich in keratin.
- Oily fish are very good sources of keratin. In the case of salmon, we also find biotin, a molecule that supports the production of keratin.
- Garlic and onions : they contain N-acetylcysteine which the body transforms into L-cysteine, a component of keratin. Because of this, they increase the production of keratin.
- Sweet potato : rich in provitamin A carotenoids, it allows the synthesis of keratin in the body.
Keratin can also be consumed in the form of a dietary supplement. It is sometimes more effective to go through supplementation when the food is not sufficient to reach the daily level.
Be careful, however, to choose a water-soluble and bioavailable keratin to guarantee its assimilation. The ingredients that make up keratin must not be denatured. For this, pay attention to the extraction processes. If they are corrosive, there is a good chance that the raw material is denatured and therefore not very effective.
The effect of chronic soluble keratin supplementation in physically active individuals on body composition, blood parameters and cycling performance, Emma M. Crum, Yanita D. McLeay, Matthew J. Barnes & Stephen R. Stannard
Dietary thiols during exercise: defense against oxidative stress, physical performance and adaptation, Yanita McLeay, Stéphane Stannard, Stuart Houltham & Carlène Starck
Keratin hydrolyzate as sports supplement
4 weeks of supplementation with keratin equals gaining 1 kilo of muscle - S cientists from the University of Massey in New Zealand report in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition https
Sports medicine: for the practitioner , by Richard Amoretti, Xavier Bigard, Hugues Monod, Daniel Rivière, Pierre Rochcongar, Jacques Rodineau