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 a recent randomized controlled trial published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers investigated whether glycine-rich collagen peptides could enhance sleep quality in physically active men with self-report sleep complaints.

This was a randomized, crossover design clinical trial including 13 athletic men with sleep complaints. Each individual consumed 15 grams of collagen peptide supplementation or a placebo control 1 hour prior to bedtime for 7 nights. Sleep quality was measured with subjective sleep diaries and actigraphy for 7 nights. In addition, polysomnographic sleep and core temperature were recorded on the last night. Furthermore, cognition, inflammation, and endocrine function were measured on night seven and then the following morning. Subjective sleepiness and fatigue were measured on all 7 nights. The intervention trials were separated by at least 7 days.

As a result, polysomnography showed there were less awakenings with collagen peptide supplementation compared to the placebo. The 7-day average for subjective awakenings were also less with collagen supplementation. In addition, the proportion of correct responses on the baseline Stroop cognitive test were higher in the collagen supplementation group in the morning after night 7. There were no differences in core temperature, endocrine function, inflammation, subjective sleepiness, fatigue and sleep quality, or other measures of cognitive function or sleep.

As a result, collagen peptide supplementation did not influence sleep quantity, latency, or efficiency, but it did reduce awakenings and improved cognitive function in physically active males with sleep complaints.

Other benefits of collagen supplementation include improving skin, sarcopenia, osteoporosis, 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.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Thomas, C, et al. Collagen peptide supplementation before bedtime reduces sleep fragmentation and improves cognitive function in physically active males with sleep complaints. Eur J Nutr. 2024 Feb;63(1):323-335.  doi: 10.1007/s00394-023-03267-w. Epub 2023 Oct 24.

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