Collagen supplementation has increased exponentially and has gained increasing attention, however, not all collagen is considered equal. Collagen supplements can come from a variety of sources such as, porcine, bovine, or marine. In addition, there are variations in quality and molecular weight which limit absorption and efficacy.

Collagen is digested in the gastrointestinal tract and mainly broken down into single amino acids and di-peptides and enter the blood stream and accumulate in various tissues depending on the molecular weight.

According to new study published last month, researchers investigated the efficacy of specific collagen supplementation on body turnover in postmenopausal women with osteopenia.

Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of osteoporosis due to breaking down old bone tissue faster than it can be replaced. Type 1 collagen makes up about 95% of the collagen content of bone and previous research had shown its involvement on the properties of bone.

This was a randomized prospective study consisting of 51 postmenopausal women with osteopenia based upon bone mineral density measurements of the lumbar spine and femur using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). These patients were divided into two groups. Supplementation in 24 individuals consisted of 5 grams of collagen peptides, 500 mg of calcium, and 400 IU of vitamin D. The other group consisting of 27 individuals supplemented with the same dosage of calcium and vitamin D only. Laboratory assessment included procollagen type 1 N-terminal propeptide (P1NP) and C-terminal telopeptide of collage 1 (CTX) levels. These samples were collected at baseline and at 3 months. Other laboratory testing was conducted to rule out secondary causes of osteoporosis such as serum calcium, parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D 25-OH.

As a result, there was a significant decrease in P1NP levels by 13.1 % and CTX levels by 11.4% in the collagen peptide supplementation group over a 3-month period. No changes were seen in the other group that only supplemented with calcium and vitamin D.

Collagen peptides affect the remodeling and mineralization of the bone matrix and enhance osteoblastic differentiation. These results demonstrate the positive effects collagen peptides on bone metabolism in postmenopausal women with osteopenia.

The body is not only composed of complete proteins, but is 25% to 30% collagen. Collagen protein is renewed at comparable rates as other proteins in the body, such as in bone. It is important to note that collagen also makes of a significant component of many tissues such as 65% to 80% in tendons, 70% in ligaments, 50% in cartilage, and 23% in cortical bone.

Other benefits of collagen supplementation include improving skin, sarcopenia, blood pressure, and insulin resistance. It important to use a quality collagen supplement that has research behind it and is a low molecular weight to optimize absorption and efficacy. Other nutrients to support osteopenia include vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, genistein, and delta and gamma tocotrienols.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Argyrou C, Karlafti E, et al. Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation with and without collagen peptides on bone turnover in postmenopausal women with osteopenia. J Musculoskelet Neuonal Interact. 2020; 20(1): 12-17.

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