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Justus Nieschlag uses collagen peptides
Podcast / Inside Food science
Podcast / Inside Food science

The elite athlete getting back on track with collagen peptides

When elite triathlete Justus Nieschlag suffered a partial rupture of his Achilles tendon, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The Tokyo Olympics in 2021, delayed by a year because of the Coronavirus pandemic, were just around the corner and the then 29-year-old was in pain.

“Knowing I couldn’t perform as I would like and I couldn’t train and race 100 per cent meant it was a really tough time for me,” he tells Stefan Gates in this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast, made in partnership with GELITA.

“You prepare for four years then it’s like this. It was super hard and it was not a good time for me.”

Justus did compete at the Games, representing Germany in the Triathlon. Despite carrying the Achilles injury, he helped the team to an impressive sixth-placed finish in the team relay.

But after the Games came the prospect of a long period of rehabilitation.

Profile: Justus Nieschlag

  • Age: 30
  • Nationality: German
  • Discipline: Triathlon
  • Honours:
    • Germany’s middle-distance IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau record holder
    • Five Arena Games podium finishes
    • Represented Germany at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Tokyo

Justus was told he had to stop running for three months. For context, he would usually have a two-week break at the end of the season, before returning to the track. The prospect of a complete break from running for at least 12 weeks was not a welcome one.

Up until he suffered the partial rupture of his Achilles tendon, Justus admits that nutrition was “never a big part” of his thinking. That changed when his management team recommended he start working with GELITA and, in particular, their bioactive collagen peptide supplement.

TENDOFORTE is designed to increase the health and quality of ligaments and tendons, which are made of collagen, decreasing the risk of injury and improving flexibility.

Pre-clinical and clinical trials have shown the positive effects of TENDOFORTE.

Bioactive Collagen Peptides at a Glance

  • Bioactive collagen peptides are protein fragments with health-promoting properties
  • GELITA Bioactive Collagen Peptides are optimized for specific physiological benefits
  • They maximize stimulation of the human cell types involved in collagen biosynthesis
  • GELITA applies a proprietary, carefully controlled process to obtain the beneficial peptides

About 30  per cent of our total body protein is collagen. It is the primary structural protein of connective tissues. Collagen is crucial for mobile joints, stable bones, healthy muscles, strong tendons and ligaments.

Suzane Leser, Nutritionist and Director of Nutrition Communication at GELITA, says strong tendons and ligaments contribute to the foundation of high physical performance and fast return-to-training in athletes.

But it’s not only elite sports people who need to be thinking about protecting their bodies in this way.

“We lose collagen at a rate of one or two per cent per year from around the age of 25,” says Suzane. “We can slow down our collagen decline with this bioactive effect.”

Listen to the full episode to find out how quickly Justus recovered whilst using TENDOFORTE, how he thinks it helped in his rehabilitation, and learn more about the science behind the supplement.

Download GELITA’s White Tissue Guide

Justus Nieschlag, Professional triathlete, member of the German National Team

Justus is the current champion and new record holder of Germany’s middle-distance IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau.

He is also set to become the most successful triathlete of all time in the Arena Games, having achieved five podium finishes since the inaugural event in Rotterdam 2020. This year, the Arena Games was the first eSport World Championship, with Justus finishing in second place.

Alongside his ever-growing triathlon career, Justus is a licensed triathlon coach, with a BA in Sports Science, currently working hard also towards a Masters in Sports Science.

Suzane Leser, Nutritionist and Director of Nutrition Communication at GELITA

Suzane is a sports nutritionist who built a career in the food industry dedicated to turning nutrition research into products that can make a real difference to the performance of athletes.

At GELITA, Suzane promotes the fast-advancing science behind the use of specific bioactive collagen peptides and their potential to improve people’s quality of life, optimal health, and sports performance.


GELITA is the world’s leading supplier of collagen proteins for the food, health and nutrition, and pharmaceutical industries, and for numerous technical applications.


Jerger et al. (2022) Effects of specific collagen peptide supplementation combined with resistance training on Achilles tendon properties. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 32:1131-1141. DOI:

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 11:76. DOI:

Alcock et al. (2019) Bone Broth Unlikely to Provide Reliable Concentrations of Collagen Precursors Compared With Supplemental Sources of Collagen Used in Collagen Research. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 29:265-272. DOI:

Dressler et al. (2018) Improvement of Functional Ankle Properties Following Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides in Athletes with Chronic Ankle Instability. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 17(2):298-304.

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