6. So what does the research say about the other benefits of collagen?
Reduction in joint pain – strong evidence (11)
Over 60 clinical papers have now been published.
A review has concluded that 10g of collagen hydrolysate consumed daily decreases joint pain, and bone mass increases after 4-24 weeks.
It stimulates collagen tissue repair and collagen synthesis.
Better exercise recovery – weak evidence (12)
A 2020 paper looked at the effect of taking collagen exercise after vigorous exercise and concluded that post exercise soreness was reduced, but this was only significant over the following 24 hours. The collagen biomarkers were not changed.
This was stronger evidence than that for branched chain amino acids which is often recommended for post exercise recovery. (13)
However the strongest evidence by far for recovery and post exercise soreness was for omega 3 fatty acids. (14)
Sleep and mood – weak evidence (16)
Marine collagen is made up of mostly type 1 collagen and triple helical collagen molecule consists of about 1000 glycine, 360 prolines and 300 hydroxy prolines. That means a lot of glycine. Glycine is well known to improve the quality of sleep and also improve mood.
It would make sense, therefore, that a high intake of collagen and therefore glycine amino acids will help to produce a calming effect on the brain and sleep. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest this, but no good studies have been published.
Gut healing properties – medium evidence (15)(17)
There are a number of studies that show collagen helps to improve gut healing and improves the tightness of the cells not only lining the gut, but also the blood brain barrier. In the gut this appears to be partially due to the effect on the microbiome as well as providing the raw material to help heal the gut. Type III collagen is found in the gut – this is not present in marine collagen, but is present in bovine collagen. So for gut healing properties bovine may be better whereas for skin and joints Type I, which is prominent in marine collagen, is better.