Collagen peptides: the proven solution for bone and joint health

Mai Nygaard, Global Product Manager, Peptan, at Rousselot, discusses the growing opportunities to support active agers and highlights collagen peptides’ proven ability to combat common age-related conditions such as osteopenia and osteoarthritis

People are taking an increasingly proactive role to counteract the negative effects of ageing by adopting healthier diets and more active lifestyles

With populations ageing in virtually every nation across the globe, consumer demand for solutions that can tackle age-related conditions and keep people active for longer is growing at an incredible rate.1

Across the globe, people are taking an increasingly proactive role to counteract the negative effects of ageing by adopting healthier diets and more active lifestyles. This has created exciting new opportunities for food, beverage and nutraceutical producers to help consumers meet their goals. To meet this demand, however, manufacturers require scientifically proven ingredients that can be incorporated into a wide variety of everyday products — such as collagen peptides.

Market opportunities

The global share of people aged 60 or above has increased from 9.2% in 1990 to 11.7% in 2013 and is expected to reach 21.1% by 2050.2 As the population grows older, awareness has increased of the important role that nutrition and lifestyle can play in helping people stay healthy and mobile for longer. Indeed, the significant interest in staying fit and active as we age has been confirmed by the author of “10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health,” Julian Mellentin, who declared senior nutrition to be the biggest trend in the market, after naturality.3

However, to succeed in the highly discerning active-ager market, manufacturers need to ensure their products meet specific and demanding requirements. Active agers typically look for solutions that taste great, are scientifically endorsed and fit into everyday lifestyles. With a range of proven nutritional and functional benefits, collagen peptides such as Peptan are seen by many manufacturers as the ideal solution.

Collagen peptides: holding up the body

Forming up to 90% of total bone mass and holding together all living tissue, collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It provides the infrastructure of our musculoskeletal system — making it crucial for mobility. Highly digestible and bioavailable, collagen peptides are the result of a gentle enzymatic process that converts large, native collagen molecules into small bioactive peptides. Often referred to as hydrolysed collagen, the peptides are characterised by a unique combination of 18 key amino acids and offer exceptional nutritional properties not found in other protein sources.

Rousselot is a leading global manufacturer of collagen peptides. Derived from the native collagen of three origins: fish, porcine and bovine, its award-winning Peptan range has been specifically developed to offer multiple health and functional benefits. A large body of scientific evidence has demonstrated Peptan’s effectiveness in promoting healthy joints and bones, as well as preventing joint discomfort.


Caused by the degradation of joints, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Affecting almost 10% of men and 18% of women over the age of 60, it is considered to be one of the most disabling diseases in the developed world.4 Collagen fibres make up between 70% and 95% of cartilage and are responsible for its structure and strength. In healthy joints, the cartilage matrix composition is regulated by chondrocytes (joint cells) through a finely balanced process of synthesis and turnover, which ensures joint lubrication and cartilage matrix renovation. During osteoarthritis, processes are disrupted, causing an imbalance involving matrix-degrading enzymes, which attack aggrecan and collagen, resulting in a deterioration of cartilage structure and function.

Active agers typically look for solutions that taste great, are scientifically endorsed and fit into everyday lifestyles

Stimulating chondrocytes to produce more aggrecan and type II collagen, Peptan has been proven to improve joint mobility and flexibility, and noticeably reduce joint pain.5,6 A recent double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study done in collaboration with the Sixth People’s Hospital of Shanghai revealed that an 8g daily intake of Peptan significantly alleviates the effects of osteoarthritis on joint function.7

During the 6-month study, 94 osteoarthritis-diagnosed women were randomly assigned either 8g of Peptan or a placebo. Their knee joint function was assessed with standardised score systems such as WOMAC for general joint pain and function and Lysholm for more specific functions when walking, jumping and stair climbing. At the end of the study, the Peptan group revealed significantly lower pain and better joint flexibility than the control group, reinforcing the existing body of scientific evidence on Peptan’s joint health benefits.


Osteopenia is the first stage towards osteoporosis and is caused by an imbalance between the two processes of bone resorption and bone formation. This imbalance results in a reduction of bone mineral density (BMD), leading to an increased risk of fractures. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have proven Peptan’s effectiveness in improving bone metabolism and biomechanical parameters by stimulating the endogenous production of collagen and improving bone mass density and bone strength.8 Peptan acts to trigger osteoblasts (bone forming cells), reduces bone resorption and promotes the regeneration of bone fibres.9,10 Peptan’s bone health benefits can be further strengthened when combined with calcium and vitamin D.

Functional properties

The Peptan range has been specifically developed to offer multiple health and functional benefits

Being a highly digestible and bioactive protein, Peptan offers a range of unique functional and practical benefits that make it ideal for manufacturers aiming to develop products that appeal to healthy agers. With exceptional organoleptic properties, Peptan can be easily incorporated into a wide variety of functional foods, beverages and nutraceuticals, such as protein drinks, soups and gummy style sweets, with little or no impact on taste and texture. Manufactured to meet the highest international food and quality standards, Peptan has no known side-effects, is completely natural and safe, and is free from preservatives and additives.


As consumers take an increasingly active approach to counteracting the physical effects of ageing, opportunities are growing to meet demand for functional products that target joint and bone health. However, success in such a market requires manufacturers to work with ingredients that deliver scientifically proven benefits in wide variety of appealing applications. Easy to incorporate and extensively proven, Peptan collagen peptides are the ideal solution for manufacturers aiming to succeed in the exciting active ageing market.


1. The World Bank, Birth Rate, Crude (per 1000 people), (2014).

2. UN, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Population Ageing, 1950–2050 (New York, New York, USA, 2001).

3. J. Mellentin, 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health, (January 2013).

4. World Health Organization (WHO), Chronic Rheumatic Conditions (, 2014.

5. S. Oesser, et al., “Oral Administration of 14C Labeled Gelatin Hydrolysate Leads to an Accumulation of Radioactivity in Cartilage of Mice (C57/BL)”, Journal of Nutrition 129, 1891–1895 (1999).

6. S. Oesser, et al., “Stimulation of Type II Collagen Biosynthesis and Secretion in Bovine Chondrocytes Culture with Degraded Collagen,” Cell Tissue Research 311, 393–399 (2003).

7. J.X. Jiang, et al., “Peptan Collagen Peptides for Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study”, Agro Food Industry Hi Tech 25(2), 20–21 (2014).

8. F. Guillerminet, et al., “Hydrolyzed Collagen Improves Bone Metabolism and Biomechanical Parameters in Ovariectomized Mice: An In Vitro and In Vivo Study,” Bone 46(3), 827–834 (2010).

9. A.G. Andrianarivo, et al., “Growth on Type I Collagen Promotes Expression of Osteoblastic Phenotype in Human Osteosarcoma MG-63 Cells”, Journal of Cellular Physiology 153, 256–265 (1992).

10. M. Mizuno, et al., “Osteoblast-Related Gene Expression of Bone Marrow Cells During Osteoblastic Differentiation Induced by Type I Collagen”, Journal of Biochemistry 129, 133–138 (2001).