Science Update

Long-term Study Explores Potential Influence of Collagen Supplementation on Bone Health in Postmenopausal Women

Imbalances in bone metabolism with osteopenia and osteoporosis can lead to reduced mineralization, loss of bone stability, and increased risk of fracture. The incidence of osteoporosis among all women is approximately 34%, occurring predominantly in postmenopausal women. Supplementation with collagen has been a subject of research for years for its potential to support bone health. Collagen is believed to support bone health through its potential ability to stimulate elastin and the formation of collagen types I and III. Additionally, collagen structures may support bone development by linking growth factors together in the bones, such as insulin-like growth factor I and II. During the process of bone remodeling, collagen networks are broken down, and then the growth factors that promote bone formation are released.

A recently published, long-term, follow-up study investigated the potential influence of collagen supplementation on bone health in postmenopausal women with reductions in bone mineral density (BMD). This study was a follow-up to a previous, year-long, randomized controlled trial assessing the efficacy of 5 grams of daily collagen supplementation for 12 months in 131 postmenopausal women with primary, age-related reductions in BMD. Significant improvements in BMD for the treatment arm were reported by the researchers of this study. The BMD of these participants increased by almost 7% in the femoral neck as compared to a decrease in bone density observed in the placebo group. After the original study was completed, there were 31 women in total from the first trial (13 in the prior treatment arm and 18 placebo recipients) that enrolled in the follow-up study. FORTIBONE® is a patented product containing bioactive collagen peptides that was used in both studies for findings consistency.

The follow-up study was non-controlled, open-label, and consisted of 5 grams of supplemental collagen daily for 3 more years. BMD, T-scores, and fragility fracture incidence were each measured at the beginning of the study and annually thereafter. Progressive, clinically relevant improvements in BMD were reported at the study conclusion. No fractures were reported during follow-up, and no adverse events were reported. The authors of the follow-up study describe the supplement as being well-tolerated by the participants. Improvements in the BMD were found in the participants who supplemented with collagen peptides concurrently with vitamin D and calcium supplementation.

Collagen has historically been associated with supporting many body systems, including skin health. Additionally, recent studies have also linked this to the stress response of the body through its potential influence on cortisol levels. Supplementation with collagen may support bone health and healthy aging when paired with nutritional diet and lifestyle improvements.

By Colleen Ambrose, ND, MAT