Collagen peptides may offer sleep, cognitive benefits for men: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© PeopleImages / Getty Images
© PeopleImages / Getty Images

Related tags Collagen Collagen peptides Sleep

Consuming collagen peptides before bedtime may reduce awakenings during the night and improve cognitive function for athletic men with sleep complaints, says a new study funded by Rousselot.

Data published in the European Journal of Nutrition​ indicated that 15 grams per day of a glycine-rich collagen peptides (CP) supplement (provided by Rousselot BV) for seven nights before bedtime led to fewer awakenings measured objectively and subjectively, compared to a placebo.

In addition, there was a statistically significant improvement in Stroop cognitive tests in the collagen group, compared to placebo.

On the other hand, no improvements were observed for sleep quantity, latency, or efficiency, reported researchers from Loughborough University, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust - The Sleep House, University of East Anglia, and Rousselot BV.

“While these findings should be interpreted with caution until replicated by future studies, they suggest CP supplements could enhance sleep quality in athletic populations with sleep complaints,” they wrote.

“As athletes often report lower sleep quality than the general population, especially after late night competitions, strategic intake of CP could mitigate the potentially deleterious effects of poor sleep on psychomotor performance.”

Rousselot comment

The study’s findings were welcomed by Rousselot, with a spokesperson for the company telling us: “This study shows that Rousselot, as the global leader in collagen peptides, is investing heavily in understanding the collagen molecule, on one side investigating continuously its fundamental science while also exploring (potential) new benefits as it has now been observed with sleep quality.

“It shows how Peptan, which is one sole ingredient, can truly bring a world of health benefits: from skin and hair beauty to mobility & comfort, active lifestyle and sport nutrition recovery and now even improved sleep quality.”

The spokesperson added that the study shows that consumers don’t need to take five different versions of supplements to fulfill different needs. “As supported by published science, Peptan brings to the table a wide range of benefits which now includes as well sleep quality. Rousselot is the FIRST to show the connection between collagen peptides and sleep. 

“This puts Peptan at the forefront of must-have ingredients to support anyone’s healthy lifestyle needs.”

Study details

The new randomized, crossover study included 13 athletic males with an average age of 24. All the men had reported sleep problems. They were randomly assigned to consume either the collagen peptides (15 grams per day) or placebo for seven nights before bedtime. This was followed by a washout period of at least seven days before they crossed over to the other intervention for another seven nights.

The results showed that the collagen supplement was associated with significantly fewer awakenings, as measured using polysomnography (PSG) and self-reporting.

“To our knowledge, no other study has examined the impact of CP on markers of sleep quality using PSG for comparisons,” wrote the researchers.

Commenting on the potential mechanism(s) of action, the researchers noted that the reduction in awakenings may be linked to the high glycine content of the collagen peptides, with previous studies showing glycine may improve sleep by activating specific receptors linked to circadian rhythms. Another possible mechanism of action may be linked to increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, which can impact sleep.

“Nevertheless, we would also expect the aforesaid mechanisms to influence other markers of sleep quality, not just awakenings, as in this study. Thus, it is not clear how or why CP modified awakenings but no other markers of sleep quality, and this should be a focus of future research,” they stated.

In addition, improvements in cognitive performance were recorded for Stroop cognitive tests in the collagen group, but not for reaction time or short-term memory.

“This is the first study to show that CP supplementation may reduce sleep fragmentation in athletic males and suggests CP could be used as a non-pharmacological strategy to enhance sleep quality in athletes, and potentially other populations with sleep complaints,” wrote the researchers.

Source: European Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1007/s00394-023-03267-w
“Collagen peptide supplementation before bedtime reduces sleep fragmentation and improves cognitive function in physically active males with sleep complaints”
Authors: C. Thomas, et al.

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