Collagen Science Update – April 2023 Edition

Collagen Peptides (Hydrolyzed Collagen)

Collagen Science Update – April 2023 Edition

Collagen peptides (CP; also known as hydrolyzed collagen) are peptides with low molecular weight (3-6 KDa), obtained from native collagen (molecular weight: 285-300 KDa) by enzymatic action in acid or alkaline media. Due to its low molecular weight, hydrolyzed collagen is easily digested, absorbed, and distributed in the human body (Bianchi et al., 2022). The size of the peptides depends on the enzymatic hydrolysis, which also affects its physicochemical and biological properties (León-López et al., 2019). The composition and degree of hydrolysis of collagen are aspects that may impact functional properties like antioxidant capacity, antimicrobial activity, and bioavailability (Mobasheri et al., 2021). 

Some advantages of hydrolyzed collagen compared to native collagen are its higher therapeutic loading, cost-effectiveness, single-step extraction procedure, high digestibility, and ease of absorption and distribution in the human body. Additionally, hydrolyzed collagen exhibits the following properties: lower viscosity in aqueous solution, neutral odor, colorlessness, transparency, emulsification and stabilization, foam and film forming, wettability, solubility, dispersibility, powder compressibility, carrier substance, and low allergenicity (León-López et al., 2019).

Collagen Peptide Applications 

In animal and human studies, the consumption of hydrolyzed collagen has been linked with improved wound healing, remediation of impaired immune system function, improved joint discomfort, and reduction in pain and functional impairments associated with chronic osteoarthritis (Jockel-Schneider et al., 2022; Mobasheri et al., 2021). Hydrolyzed collagen can also be used in cosmetic applications due to its capacity to increase cell proliferation, water-holding, moisture absorption and retention, and its ability to minimize the visibility of wrinkles, prevent aging, and improve hydration and elasticity of the skin. In the food industry, hydrolyzed collagen is used as a functional ingredient for water-holding in meat products, sensorial development, and the enhancement of chemical and physical properties in beverages and dairy products (Bianchi et al., 2022; León-López et al., 2019).

This edition highlights three recent publications that provide new insights into the use of oral collagen peptide supplements for various health conditions. 

The effect of specific bioactive collagen peptides on function and muscle remodeling during human resistance training

Collagen supplementation has been recommended as a beneficial nutritional adjunct to resistance training (RT), with a capacity to accentuate structural and functional adaptations. This 15-week, single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed the effects of CP supplementation on enhancing functional (strength), structural (size and architecture), mechanical (skeletal muscle-specific tension), and contractile (evoked twitch) adaptations of skeletal muscle to lower body RT. Fifty-two young, healthy men aged 18 to 40 years with no prior lower-body injuries were randomly assigned to either 15 g CP or placebo once daily during a standardized program of progressive knee extensor, knee flexor, and hip extensor RT 3 times/week. After 15 weeks of supplementation, CP did not enhance the strength gains of the knee extensors or flexors. However, an increase in structural remodeling and contractile properties of skeletal muscle was observed with CP after RT, amplifying quadriceps and total muscle volume increases induced by RT.

Access to the study: 

Reference: Balshaw, T. G., Funnell, M. P., McDermott, E., Maden-Wilkinson, T. M., Abela, S., Quteishat, B., Edsey, M., James, L. J., & Folland, J. P. (2023). The effect of specific bioactive collagen peptides on function and muscle remodeling during human resistance training. Acta physiologica (Oxford, England), 237(2), e13903.

Impact of a Specific Collagen Peptide Food Supplement on Periodontal Inflammation in Aftercare Patients A Randomised Controlled Trial

With similar risk factors and aetiological pathways to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), periodontitis patients may benefit from CPs that have shown success as therapeutic adjuncts in the control of RA. This three-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study assessed the impact of adjuvant consumption of a specific, commercially available CP food supplement on parameters of periodontal inflammation in aftercare patients. The documented parameters included bleeding on probing (BoP; primary outcome), gingival index (GI), plaque control record (PCR), recession (REC), and probing pocket depth (PPD) for the calculation of the periodontal inflamed surface area (PISA) at baseline and day 90. After professional mechanical plaque removal (PMPR), participants consumed sachets containing either the CP preparation (test group; n = 20) or placebo (placebo group; n = 19) dissolved in liquid once daily for 90 days. PMPR coupled with CP supplementation resulted in a significantly lower percentage of BoP-positive sites compared to PMPR plus placebo, further enhancing the anti-inflammatory efficacy of PMPR. The test group also experienced a significant reduction in mean PISA and GI values compared to the baseline. PCR was significantly decreased in both experimental groups at revaluation, with no significant difference observed between the groups. Therefore, this study demonstrated that supplementing PMPR with daily CP supplements for 90 days may improve the outcome of established periodontal aftercare therapy. Further research is necessary for daily practice general recommendations.

Access to the study: 

Reference: Jockel-Schneider, Y., Stoelzel, P., Hess, J., Haubitz, I., Fickl, S., & Schlagenhauf, U. (2022). Impact of a Specific Collagen Peptide Food Supplement on Periodontal Inflammation in Aftercare Patients-A Randomised Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 14(21), 4473.

The effects of collagen peptides on exerciseinduced gastrointestinal stress: a randomized, controlled trial 

The gastrointestinal (GI) barrier comprises simple columnar epithelial cells densely held together by tight junction proteins. Psychological or physiological stressors such as strenuous exercise can disrupt the GI barrier, leading to increased barrier permeability or variable GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. CPs are a novel strategy for GI integrity, permeability, or exercise symptoms in humans. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial aimed to assess the effects of CP supplementation before high intensity running exercise on markers of inflammation, intestinal barrier dysfunction, and subjective GI symptoms. Sixteen males and four females were recruited to undergo the study in a 3-trial design. Data was collected at 1) rest with no supplement (REST trial), 2) after 70 min treadmill run and 10 g of CP daily for seven days and 45 min before exercise (CP trial), or 3) 70 min treadmill run with the placebo (CON trial) taken daily for seven days and 45 min before exercise. It was observed that CP supplementation (10 g/day for eight days) before high intensity running exercise did not alter GI permeability, markers of inflammation, or GI integrity; however, serum lipopolysaccharide (LPS) remained low after CP supplementation as compared to a significant increase in the CON trial 2-hour post-exercise. This warrants further studies to uncover the exact effects of CP on exercise induced LPS.  

Access to the study:  

Reference: Taylor, G., Leonard, A., Tang, J. C. Y., Dunn, R., Fraser, W. D., Virgilio, N., Prawitt, J., Stevenson, E., & Clifford, T. (2023). The effects of collagen peptides on exercise-induced gastrointestinal stress: a randomized, controlled trial. European journal of nutrition, 62(2), 1027–1039.

Bottom Line 

With smaller molecular weight and improved functional properties, CP or hydrolyzed collagen is increasing in popularity. Given its various applications within the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and food industries, CP is a valuable ingredient for formulators. With new and amounting research on its health effects, the hydrolyzed collagen sector will continue to grow and expand.


Bianchi, F. M., Angelinetta, C., Rizzi, G., Praticò, A., & Villa, R. (2022). Evaluation of the Efficacy of a Hydrolyzed Collagen Supplement for Improving Skin Moisturization, Smoothness, and Wrinkles. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 15(3), 48–52.

León-López, A., Morales-Peñaloza, A., Martínez-Juárez, V. M., Vargas-Torres, A., Zeugolis, D. I., & Aguirre-Álvarez, G. (2019). Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and Applications. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(22), 4031.

Mobasheri, A., Mahmoudian, A., Kalvaityte, U., Uzieliene, I., Larder, C. E., Iskandar, M. M., Kubow, S., Hamdan, P. C., de Almeida, C. S., Jr, Favazzo, L. J., van Loon, L. J. C., Emans, P. J., Plapler, P. G., & Zuscik, M. J. (2021). A White Paper on Collagen Hydrolyzates and Ultrahydrolyzates: Potential Supplements to Support Joint Health in Osteoarthritis? Current rheumatology reports, 23(11), 78.