Caffeine and Collagen: The Secret to Improving Your Workouts?

Athlete pouring liquid collagen into a glass of coffee to make caffeine protein shake


At Frog Fuel, caffeine and collagen are one powerhouse of a combination for athletes of all calibers. Still, many athletes shy away from caffeine in protein supplements for one reason or another. So are there really benefits of taking the two together?

While caffeine has a variety of benefits, you may be wondering if you should use collagen with caffeine or not. There are a lot of questions about whether caffeine and collagen are all they're cracked up to be. 

Does caffeine inhibit your absorption of your protein supplement?  

Does caffeine slow your muscle recovery?  

Is there any difference between collagen and caffeine supplements compared to only collagen or only caffeine?

Caffeine has long been a performance enhancer for athletic performance, but it hasn’t always been combined with a protein source. So, let’s break down how caffeine and collagen work with your body during exercise and if you should be taking caffeine and collagen together. 

How collagen interacts with your body

Caffeine and collagen have very different effects on the body on their own. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and foods like eggs, meat, and fish are naturally rich in collagen. 

When you eat foods high in collagen, your body tries to break down and absorb this protein, but there’s one problem. Collagen, as it naturally occurs, is a very large molecule, making it difficult for your body to break down before it passes through your system.  

That’s why all of the top collagen supplements use collagen peptides (also known as hydrolyzed collagen), instead. Collagen peptides are already broken down, making them much easier for your body to absorb.  

The way collagen impacts workout routines is still being studied, but early studies suggest that collagen may: 

Collagen is a protein, and taking protein before workouts is a well-established practice. So taking collagen alone is a surefire way to boost your workout, but what about taking collagen with caffeine?

How caffeine interacts with your body 

How your body will react to caffeine and collagen in your workout isn’t one-size-fits-all. One of the reasons your experience will vary so much is that your body can build up a tolerance for caffeine. 

A regular coffee drinker who only drinks one cup of coffee in the morning will probably notice a more dramatic effect from an additional caffeine protein shake in the afternoon before a workout compared to someone who drinks 4 cups of coffee throughout the day. 

Regardless of your caffeine tolerance, how your body processes caffeine will essentially be the same as everyone else. 

When you consume caffeine, it is absorbed into your bloodstream. Caffeine is a stimulant and is considered to be nootropic, meaning it stimulates the brain, sensory neurons, and mental performance. 

Beyond stimulating your brain, caffeine has other effects on your body, both positive and negative. Caffeine may: 

  • Interfere with calcium absorption

  • Increase your blood pressure

  • Stimulate the central nervous system, providing an energy boost and increased alertness

  • Help your body get rid of extra salt and water by increasing urination

  • Increase stomach acid release, leading to heartburn and an upset stomach, especially when consumed alone

  • Release the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) that is responsible for your body’s natural “fight or flight” response. This hormone specifically can increase physical performance

  • Stimulate your motor cortex, which is the part of the brain that signals muscle movement and activation

  • Increase your body temperature, helping you burn more calories 

After consuming caffeine, your blood levels often peak around 90-100 minutes, but caffeine levels can remain high for up to four hours before dropping. Taking collagen with caffeine might help reduce this, since the protein in collagen can help your body process the caffeine more slowly, and spread its effects out for longer.  

Caffeine affects cells throughout your body, which is why it has an impact on both your muscle cells and brain stimulation. The reason it has such a strong effect on your brain and overall body stimulation is because caffeine blocks specific receptors in the brain and stimulates certain neurotransmitters, including: 

  • The A1 receptor, which prevents sleepiness and can increase your body's endurance

  • The A2 receptor, which raises your dopamine and epinephrine levels 

Both of these help to increase your ability to focus and improve power when exercising. 

When the brain’s A2 receptors are blocked, and they begin to release neurotransmitters, that’s when you start to get that euphoric or alert feeling. 

Over time, the amount of caffeine needed to effectively block these receptors and simulate neurotransmitters will increase, which is how people build up a tolerance to caffeine.  

If you are a regular coffee drinker, or even addicted to caffeine already, the impact caffeine and collagen will have on your workout will vary because of your body’s response. 

The benefits of using caffeine and collagen  

Here are some of the benefits of caffeine and collagen for your workouts: 

1. Caffeine may increase aerobic performance 

Aerobic activities are often referred to as “cardio.” These types of athletic pursuits include activities like running, cycling, rowing, and most sports. 

Caffeine has long been seen as a very effective stimulant and has been proven to increase endurance among athletes. So much so that some sporting leagues have banned the use of caffeine before events in certain doses. 

(It’s important to note here that Frog Fuel’s collagen and caffeine supplements are well below the maximum allowed caffeine amount in NCAA regulations.)

Part of the reason why caffeine is thought to improve aerobic performance is a mental trick. Caffeine can reduce the perception of effort put out by the athlete. 

Since caffeine stimulates your brain and interacts with the muscle activation signals, with the right dosage of caffeine and collagen, an athlete may feel as if they are exerting less power and effort than they actually are because the right neurotransmitters are simulated. 

 Of the studies conducted on athletes to test the influence of caffeine on endurance performance, they have also found that combined with carbohydrates it tends to have more of an impact. 

2. Caffeine may enhance anaerobic performance  

Anaerobic exercises tend to be shorter with more intense bursts of power. These activities gravitate towards sprints or powerlifting. 

Although the evidence for caffeine improving aerobic performance is obvious, there are far more mixed thoughts regarding the impact of caffeine on performance in anaerobic or short, high-intensity exercises. 

The primary consensus is that for anaerobic performance, caffeine mostly benefits trained athletes versus untrained individuals. Protein for athletes, on the other hand, benefits both trained and untrained athletes in all types of workouts.

The ergogenic effects of caffeine with anaerobic exercise may be shorter and somewhat insignificant unless consumed in high, frequent doses. But that can be dangerous to do, especially if you already have a caffeine dependence or tolerance of some kind. 

Activities like strength training also seem to have a mixed review when it comes to caffeine and performance. Several studies do show positive effects, especially when doing repetitions with the same weight each time, but that ties things back more to muscular endurance. 

All in all, it does seem like caffeine has the potential to have a positive impact when doing anaerobic exercises but it appears more effective for professional athletes. For your daily workout routine, caffeine and collagen won’t necessarily help you break a world record, but both can still give you a boost!

3. Caffeine and collagen may lead to burning more fat 

If one of your fitness goals is to burn more fat and convert more muscle, then adding collagen with caffeine to your workout could be beneficial.  

Caffeine is often added to weight loss and weight management supplements. Combine caffeine and collagen and you have a recipe for success when it comes to weight management and maintaining lean muscle mass. 

There needs to be more conclusive evidence regarding the amount of fat you burn during exercise when using caffeine as a supplement, but early research is promising. 

One study showed that taking caffeine before exercise effectively increased the release of stored fat by 30% when compared to exercising without caffeine. 

Another reason caffeine may help burn more fat is because of the release of epinephrine and increased heat production which are both thought to burn additional calories and fat

Taking collagen and caffeine boosts the fat-burning effects even further since collagen can speed weight loss by helping to lower harmful lipid accumulation over time.

4. Caffeine may increase focus and intensity

A big part of why caffeine seems to help professional athletes with anaerobic exercises but might not be as effective with untrained athletes is because of their preexisting ability to focus and engage their muscles under high intensity. 

Caffeine stimulates your brain and muscle communication. Combining a stimulant like caffeine with existing mental and physical training applies more focus and intensity, which improves performance. 

Trained athletes have muscle memory. Caffeine simply enhances what they already possess and know. There are many reasons why collagen supplements benefit athletes, and mixing caffeine and collagen within the same supplement can truly give you an edge during your workout.

5. Collagen and caffeine may improve muscle recovery 

Caffeine and collagen specifically may improve muscle recovery in athletes. Caffeine alone doesn’t necessarily have the ability to improve muscle recovery, but when paired with collagen or even with a mix of carbohydrates, it can speed up muscle recovery. 

Consuming caffeine with carbohydrates may increase glycogen replenishment in your muscles, which is another way of saying it spares muscle carb stores. This is partially due to the increased ability to burn fat, but regardless, this can enhance endurance performance greatly.

How to safely supplement with caffeine and collagen

To take caffeine and collagen safely, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First, be aware of your overall caffeine consumption. 

How much coffee, tea, or soda do you drink throughout the day? 

Are there any pre-workout supplements already in your routine that contain caffeine? 

Are you taking any weight loss or brain-boosting supplements that contain caffeine?

The average person should avoid consuming more than 400-600 mg of caffeine in one day. To put that into perspective, about five cups of coffee equates to 400 mg of caffeine. 

If you supplement your workouts with caffeine and collagen, one Frog Fuel Ultra with caffeine contains 80 mg of caffeine. Depending on your caffeine intake throughout the day, it should be a safe addition to your workout. 

If you are already drinking upwards of four cups of coffee each day, however, then you should cut back on caffeine intake somewhere else before introducing a caffeine and collagen supplement of any kind. Or you can simply switch to a caffeine-free pre-workout supplement instead!

Taking caffeine and collagen can bring your workout to the next level, especially compared to other proteins. Collagen’s unique place in muscle building and repair, along with its powerful joint health and weight loss benefits set it head and shoulders above other protein supplements. 

Caffeine can also boost your workout by providing an extra dose of energy and focus. And together, they improve your performance in this workout, while helping to lower your risk of injury and speed post-workout recovery.

Most people already consume caffeine in one way or another. Adding a liquid collagen protein supplement can give your body exactly what it needs to get the most out of your workout. 

FAQs about taking collagen with caffeine

Does caffeine affect collagen or protein absorption?

Since caffeine and collagen can have such different effects on the body, do they cancel each other out? There’s some evidence to suggest that caffeine slows healing and collagen synthesis, but so far, it’s all in hypothetical models. 

For real human athletes, caffeine shouldn’t have any significant impact on your collagen or protein absorption. And taking collagen with caffeine can help boost your overall protein intake, so if you’re worried about whether you’re getting enough protein, liquid protein shots are the perfect way to combat that!

Is it ok to take collagen with coffee?

Yes! Taking collagen with coffee is completely safe. 

Caffeine and collagen won’t cause you any problems, and coffee in particular doesn’t have dangerously high levels of caffeine. There are powdered collagen supplements that you can stir into coffee, but you can also take collagen supplements alongside coffee without mixing them.

What interferes with collagen absorption?

When it comes to collagen absorption, your body benefits most from peptides, which are easy to digest. Not much interferes with that digestion process, but several different things can impact your body’s ability to synthesize that collagen back into a protein it can use. 

Diets high in sugar, excess sun exposure, and age can all play a role in how your body synthesizes collagen. 

Excess caffeine may also impact collagen synthesis, but there isn’t strong evidence for this. Consuming caffeine and collagen together won’t necessarily make or break you if there are other factors at play!

What should you avoid when taking collagen?

Collagen isn’t known to have any negative interactions with other substances, including prescription medications. If you notice that you may be having an allergic reaction to your collagen supplement, stop taking it immediately and seek medical attention. 

As long as you’re not allergic, though, the only thing to be aware of is how you feel after taking collagen. Feeling uncomfortably full from the protein might mean giving your body more time to digest before you workout. 

When taking caffeine and collagen, make sure you’re monitoring your overall caffeine intake to avoid complications from the caffeine. 

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