Collagen Peptides Show Healthy Aging Potential in New Research: SupplySide West Report


Two new studies on collagen peptides explore benefits for skin health and sarcopenia.

As more food and supplement companies consider entering the healthy aging market, one of the ingredients with the most market potential may be collagen peptides. That’s because it has been studied for such a wide range of possible benefits for older consumers, including skin health, joint health, maintaining muscle mass, bone health, and more.

At last week’s SupplySide West trade show, two collagen peptide suppliers shared new research that could have big implications for very different areas of the healthy aging market: sarcopenia and skin health.


Gelita’s BodyBalance for Sarcopenia

Coming on the heels of a newly published clinical study1 on sarcopenia, Gelita (Sergeant Bluff, IA) announced the U.S. launch of its BodyBalance collagen peptides at SupplySide West. BodyBalance’s potential on the healthy aging market is based on research suggesting it may increase muscle mass while decreasing fat mass in men aged 65 and older.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, followed 53 men suffering from age-related muscle loss and/or strength. The mean age of participants was 72 years and the study was performed at the University of Freiburg (Breisgau, Germany).

For 12 weeks, participants participated in a 60-minute resistance training program three times per week, which included exercises such as pull down, leg press, bench press, and back press. Additionally, participants were given either a daily 15 g-dose of BodyBalance collagen peptides dissolved in water or an identical placebo to take for the course of the 12 weeks.

Before and after the intervention, researchers measured the fat-free mass, fat mass, and bone mass of all participants using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. They also assessed participant isokinetic quadriceps strength of the right leg and sensory motor control with a standardized one-leg stabilization test.

Compared to the placebo group, participants taking collagen peptides showed a significant increase in fat-free mass (+4.2 kg collagen vs. +2.9 kg placebo), a significant increase in muscle strength (16.5 Nm collagen vs. +7.3 Nm placebo), and a significant reduction in fat mass (-5.4 kg collagen vs. -3.5 kg placebo).

“The main finding of the present study is that collagen peptides further increased the benefits of the 3-month resistance training in older subjects with sarcopenia,” wrote the researchers.

“We talk about body balance improving body composition,” says Lara Niemann, marketing director, Americas, Gelita. “It’s not always just about losing weight. It’s not always about just increasing the muscle. It’s about the entire composition of the body.”

Gelita’s commercial team is already working with U.S. manufacturers to develop products featuring BodyBalance for aging consumers, says Niemann. She also hints that there will be additional research to come next year that may have implications for other consumer bases.

“You’ll see part two of this story probably in mid-2016, and perhaps that has even more relevance to a younger demographic or to a demographic that’s not already suffering from muscle loss issues,” says Niemann.


Rousselot’s Peptan for Skin Health

Rousselot (Son, the Netherlands), supplier of Peptan collagen peptides, announced at SupplySide West the publication of a new review paper2 that examines the potential skin health benefits of Peptan. The new research examines two previous human clinical trials and an ex vivo model to arrive at a better understanding of the mechanism behind collagen’s effect on skin health in older people.

Writing in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers compiled the data from two previous human clinical trials that explored the effect of Peptan on female skin health. The first of these trials, conducted in 2008, at SOUKEN Laboratories (Tokyo, Japan) included 33 Japanese women aged 40-59 years who were treated with either 10 g Peptan or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. The second study, conducted in 2012 at COSderma Laboratories (Bordeaux, France), included 106 Caucasian women aged 40-65 who took either 10 g Peptan or a placebo daily for 12 weeks.

Upon conducting a statistical analysis of the clinical results, researchers found that oral collagen peptide supplementation increased skin hydration after 8 weeks of intake, increased collagen density after 4 weeks, and decreased fragmentation of the dermal collagen network after 4 weeks. The effects on collagen density and collagen fragmentation also persisted after 12 weeks of intake, wrote researchers.

Additionally, one of the most noteworthy findings of the study may have come out of the ex vivo model, which looked at skin explants from a 49-year old woman that were incubated with Peptan and stained with Masson’s Trichrome, Goldner variant to study general skin morphology.

The ex vivo model revealed that “an increase in dermal collagen and epidermal GAG [glycosaminoglycan] content might be responsible for the observed physiological effects,” according to researchers.

From a mechanistic point of view, the findings are especially significant for showing Peptan’s positive impact on the skin cell’s “ability to produce collagen fibers and glycosaminoglycan such as the moisture-trapping hyaluronic acid,” according to Rousselot.

“For us this is really a breakthrough, because to our knowledge this is the first time that somebody has ever shown what is happening in the deeper skin layers after taking collagen peptides,” says Mai Nygaard, global director, Peptan, Rousselot.

Nygaard also spoke to the potential of collagen peptides on the healthy aging market in general, where skin health may only be one of its marketing strengths. Joint health, bone health, and muscle maintenance are also three key aging concerns that collagen can address, she says.

For those reasons, collagen peptides may be one of the top ingredients to watch on the growing market for healthy aging products. 


Read more:

Are Collagen Nutricosmetics More Effective than Topical Collagen?

Ingestible Collagen May Keep Facial Skin Looking Young

Gelita Talks Collagen Protein


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


1. Zdzieblik D et al., "Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial," The British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 114, no. 8 (October 28, 2015): 1237-1245

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