It is estimated that, worldwide, every third woman, and one in five men over the age of 50, will sustain an osteoporotic-induced bone fracture. Osteoporosis is a condition most of us have heard of but don't actually know what it is other than the sight of hunched shoulders and a rounded back. To start this discussion, osteoporosis is characterized by reduced bone mass and the disruption of bone architecture, resulting in increased risk of fragility fractures which represent the main clinical consequence of the disease (1).
Once osteopenia or osteoporosis has been diagnosed, basic therapies, with increased physical activity, a balanced, calcium-rich diet and the reduction of alcohol and nicotine, may protect against a further loss of bone mineral density (BMD). Yet, these approaches are not likely to improve BMD (the keyword here is improve). Here’s where collagen peptides become important in managing osteoporosis and possibly improving one's BMD, especially as we age and lose bone density (1).
In a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blinded investigation using 131 women who were in post-menopause and had an age-related reduction in bone mineral density (BMD), hydrolyzed collagen peptides were administered orally for twelve months to determine if it impacted BMD in the femoral neck and the spine. The study had postmenopausal women, aged 46–80 years (mean age 63 years) ingest 5g of collagen peptides per day or 5g maltodextrin as a placebo (control group), in a randomized, placebo-controlled design, for the full 12 months. While not prescribed, the participants were encouraged to take calcium and vitamin D supplements in a daily dose of approximately 0.5–0.8 g (depending on weight) and 400–800 IU, respectively (2).
Out of the 102 women who completed the study, the investigators found, “that the intake of SCP increased BMD in postmenopausal women with primary, age-related reduction of BMD. In addition, SCP supplementation was associated with a favorable shift in bone markers, indicating increased bone formation and reduced bone degradation.” Specifically, in the collagen peptide group, BMD increased by almost 3.0% in the spine and 6.7% in the femoral neck, whereas, in the same period, bone density decreased in the placebo group (−1.3% for spine and −1.0% in the femoral neck) (2).
Throughout the 12 months, blood samples were analyzed to evaluate specific biomarkers for bone formation and degradation in both treatment groups (the collagen peptide and control group). When starting the study, both groups had similar levels of the bone specific amino-terminal propeptide of type I collagen (P1NP) and C-telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX 1). Note that Cofo Provisions is Type 1 collagen (2).
During the course of the study, P1NP significantly increased in the collagen peptide group, indicating a stimulation of bone formation. In contrast, in the placebo group, no changes in P1NP concentration were determined, whereas the bone degradation marker, CTX 1, significantly increased. In contrast, in the participants that were treated with collagen peptides, no changes in bone degradation markers could be determined (2).
Within this study, daily oral ingestion of 5g of collagen peptides with Vitamin D and calcium increased Type 1 collagen amino acids in the blood, stimulated bone formation and increased bone mineral density (2).
While this study shows hope for collagen peptides reducing the burden of osteoporosis and increasing bone density, there are still many questions we need answers to through independent scientific studies. For instance, how many grams of collagen peptides per day is optimal to increase bone density (other studies mention 10-12g per day)? What is the optimal time of day to take collagen? And, how does Vitamin D, calcium or other types of vitamin or supplement such as Vitamin C quantitatively improve cellular absorption.
As collagen peptides become more widespread, our hope is that these questions are answered to provide each of us an attainable and affordable solution to help control, treat and possibly reduce osteoporosis so we can stay active enjoying the things we love no matter our age.
1. Osteoporosis in the European Union: Medical Management, Epidemiology and Economic Burden - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880487/
2. Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793325/#B1-nutrients-10-00097