Sunday Morning Science–and Pancakes!

As is usually the case on Sunday morning, my kitchen turned into a secret laboratory while I engaged in pancake experimentation. These evidence-based griddle cakes may promote improved body composition and bone mineral density!

If you haven’t heard about Bulk Supplements, you should definitely check them out. Their prices are great, and they are generous enough to send out free samples and discount codes from time to time! This time, I decided to try their Bovine Hydrolyzed Collagen since I’ve seen some interesting research on the benefits of collagen for bone and joint health (more on that after the pancakes). They also have Fish Hydrolyzed Collagen and Chicken Hydrolyzed Collagen if beef isn’t your thing.

I searched the internet for a while to look up some recipes that use collagen, and found mostly paleo-style recipes with a bunch of ingredients that I don’t have. This is usually the case when I’m looking for recipes, which is why I try to keep mine basic and avoid the niche-y ingredients. Today, however, I’m the one with the wacky ingredients that you may not have. However, if you’ve been following along with my previous pancake experiments, you probably have what you need!


30g chickpea flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
½ (16g) scoop protein powder (I used EAS Whey & Casein Blend)
¼ cup (20g) quick-cook oats
1tbsp (7.5g) soy lecithin granules (I use Fearn Soy Lecithin Granules)
2 tbsp (12g) PBfit or PB2
1 tbsp (5g) collagen hydrolysate
1/8 tsp baking soda
½ cup water
Sweetener, salt, and cinnamon to taste

Blend everything very thoroughly (the lecithin takes a minute). Cook up in a low-medium hot pan, keeping the cakes small since the batter is a bit delicate. Flip and squash when bubbles form!

Now, for those of you who want some science with your pancakes (which, I hope, is ALL of you! :))…

Collagen is a structural protein found in bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and skin. It provides varying levels of flexibility and elasticity to these tissues. Hydrolyzed collagen (HC) has simply been enzymatically broken down into smaller peptides, or chains of amino acids, that are more easily digested. In a cell culture model using fibroblasts, a specific type of cell found in connective tissue, the addition of collagen hydrolysate to the media (the liquid in which the cells grow) significantly increased production of elastin, another important elasticity-related protein. In treadmill-exercised rats, a high-protein diet supplemented with collagen hydrolysate (20%kcal from protein, 30% of which was from HC) led to increased bone mineral density compared to rats who did not exercise or receive HC supplementation. In healthy middle-aged humans, 17 weeks of supplementation with 40mg of a different form of undenatured collagen resulted in improved knee range-of-motion and reduced knee pain associated with exercise. A smaller study using a resistance-training model showed that six weeks of supplementation with a product containing HC (and other substances found in cartilage) resulted in reduced markers of muscle damage as well as the ability to perform more bench press repetitions before muscle failure. It is theorized that collagen supplies amino acids which are used to build bone while also reducing inflammation, thereby promoting bone density and reducing joint pain.

I mentioned PA in my previous post on pre-workout supplementation. You can buy the powder in bulk, but I prefer to use food whenever possible since it’s more cost-effective and usually comes with other micronutrients. That said, my soy lecithin granules are pretty high in fat, so I don’t use them in my pre-workout shake; instead, I mix them into my oatmeal or pancakes. PA has been shown to stimulate the activity of mTOR, a major factor for increasing skeletal muscle hypertrophy. In humans, 1.5g of soy-derived PA significantly increased levels of this phospholipid in the blood and the equivalent dose in rodents increased expression of genes associated with muscle protein synthesis. A dose of only 750mg/day for 8 weeks was sufficient to significantly increase lean body mass and strength in men following a resistance-training program in two separate studies. As an aside, the lecithin granules I take also contain other beneficial phosphatides like phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol which can also activate mTOR signaling. Plus, just two tablespoons provides 1200mg of PA, which is almost twice the effective dose seen in these studies.


So, these are some protein-packed, fancy fatty-acid flapjacks! Of course, the most important part…they’re also tasty! You can find my other protein pancake recipes here and here!

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