The benefits of collagen are well known to everyone, it helps with everything from burning fat to reducing cellulite and from improving digestive health to reversing skin aging. If you are a senior, who is thinking about increasing your collagen intake by depending on collagen supplements because you can’t get enough of it from your diet and your body has reduced its production then you are on the right track. Read on to know why.

What Research Says About Collagen in the Elderly?

According to a study whose findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition, collagen peptides plus exercise show muscle benefits for the elderly.  The study was conducted by Prof Daniel Konig who belongs to the University of Freiburg with a team of researchers. The researchers said that this was the first study that examined how collagen peptides might affect muscular power output and body composition. Explaining the reason for this the researchers said that it is generally believed that as collagen has low biological value, it won’t contribute much to the enhancement of muscular net protein synthesis. The duration of the study was 12 weeks.

The Results

The results of the study showed that people who did resistance training and had collagen peptides for 12 weeks had increased fat-free mass, better thigh strength, and less fat mass as compared to only doing resistance training exercises. The results of the investigation conducted by Prof Daniel Konig did not support the assumption that low biological value of collagen won’t favor a lot of improvement of muscular net protein synthesis. The study also showed that collagen peptides supplement intake was superior to the intake of whey protein in maintaining body weight, and N balance during a low-protein diet.

The study also mentioned that though collagen has low protein digestibility, it had a high amino acid score and its N content is higher than whey protein as compared with whey protein on a per gram basis. It also highlighted that high proportion of amino acids has low molecular weight and contain more than one N atom.

Details of the Study

The main subjects of the study were seniors. The researchers recruited more than 50 sarcopenic men who had the mean age of 72 years. It was double-blind and placebo-controlled study in which all men followed the same guided resistance training program and did three sessions in a week. Half of the subjects were randomly assigned to get collagen peptide supplements (15 gram in 250 ml water) for 12 weeks.

The results clearly showed that the collagen peptides increased the benefits offered by resistance training in seniors with sarcopenia. Subjects who were given the collagen supplement had +4.2 kg free mass compared to +2.9 kg of subjects who didn’t get the supplement. The muscle strength of the subjects who had collagen supplement was +16.5 Nm while the placebo group had +7/3 Nm. The fat mass reduced by -5.4 kg in subjects who were given collagen supplements while it reduced by -3.5 kg in the subjects who weren’t given the collagen supplement.

These results clearly show that people who consumed collagen peptide had more benefits from the resistance training sessions as compared to subjects who weren’t given this supplement.

Advice for Future Researchers

The researchers of this study believe that further studies conducted in this regard need to investigate the effect of collagen peptide intake and resistance training on other populations. The subjects of subsequent studies should belong to different age groups or different gender. The studies also need to focus on required dosage and mode of action.

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Sara T. Loving

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