Collagen peptides linked to mental & physical benefits for active middle-aged adults: PB Leiner-funded study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Middle aged people after working out.  Image © Ridofranz / Getty Images
Middle aged people after working out. Image © Ridofranz / Getty Images

Related tags Collagen Collagen peptides Pain Physical performance Mental health Dietary supplements

Daily supplementation with collagen peptides may boost not only functional and physical outcomes for middle-aged people but may also significantly improve measures of pain and mental health, says a new double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study.

The study appears to highlight the potential for collagen peptides to improve the quality of life for active middle-aged people, many of whom may be dealing with age-related declines in their physical capabilities.

Writing in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​, scientists led by Michael Ormsbee, PhD, from Florida State University note that almost 20% of US adults suffer from chronic pain often caused by musculoskeletal injury. Half of these injuries involve tendons or ligaments, they added.

Physical exercise improves health and slows the age-related physical declines, but pain may limit our exercise habits and decrease physical activity.

“This creates a cycle of physical activity restriction that can not only lead to increased disability and decreased participation in sport, but also impairments in activities of daily living (ADLs),” explained the scientists.

Results of a new clinical trial indicate that 10 grams per day of collagen peptides for six months may support physical and mental health, reportedly the first study to ever examine collagen peptide supplementation for these specific endpoints in middle-aged physically active men and women.

A welcome addition to the literature

Commenting independently on the new study, Chad Kerksick, PhD, Director of the Exercise and Performance Nutrition Laboratory at Lindenwood University, told us: “This is a nice study design with lots of practical outcomes.

“When you look at the sports & active nutrition category, there’s an overwhelming interest and influence of ingredients for muscles to perform better, like carbohydrates, beta-alanine, creatine, etc, or for ingredients for repair and recovery, like protein and even things like tart cherry. But this – do you dare say it’s a different category? It is a different way of looking at how to support the active consumer.

“Middle-aged active adults would probably want to be able to be pain free with an increased range of motion for their joints. Marketing-wise, consumers aged between 35 and 65 are very interesting. If any group has disposable income, it’s them.

“This is a welcome addition to the active nutrition literature,” said Dr Kerksick.

Study details

Eighty-six men and women who were life-long exercisers were included in the study. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Placebo, or 10 or 20 grams per day of collagen peptides (CP). The study used Solugel collagen peptides from PB Leiner, a part of Tessenderlo Group, which funded the study.

Assessments were made at three, six, and nine months using The Knee Injury & Osteoarthritis Outcomes Score (KOOS) and Veterans Rand 12 (VR-12).

Results showed that the lower dose group experienced significant improvements in measures of pain and ADLs after six months, although the improvements in pain were only observed in people who exercised more then 180 mins per week.

“This indicates that frequent physical activity may moderate the effects of the CP supplementation on pain,” wrote the researchers. “The moderating effects of exercise on mitigating pain with CP supplementation may be attributed to increased blood flow and delivery of amino acids and bioactive peptides to the connective tissue during exercise, which is otherwise poorly vascularized.”

In addition, improvements in the VR-12 mental component scores were recorded for the 10 gram group after both six and nine months, said the researchers.

The physical component scores of the VR-12 were improved for women in the 20 gram per day group, they said.  

“These findings suggest that 10 g/d of CP supplementation may be superior to a larger dose of 20 g/d, but both doses are better than nothing at all in improving physical function/ADLs, pain, mental component scores, and physical component scores in those supplementing for at least 6 months,” wrote Dr Ormsbee and his co-workers.

“Finally, declines in quality of life (QOL) were observed over 6 months of supplementation in more sedentary participants in the 10 g/d and placebo groups, but declines were not as large in participants taking 20 g/d of CP, suggesting a larger dose may be needed to protect against declines in QOL over time.”

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1080/15502783.2023.2243252
“Collagen peptides supplementation improves function, pain, and physical and mental outcomes in active adults”​  
Authors: S.A. Kviatkovsky et al.

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