We aimed to determine the effects of long-term collagen peptide (CP) supplementation and resistance exercise training (RET) on body composition, strength, and muscle fiber cross-sectional area (fCSA) in recreationally active men. Fifty-seven young men were randomly and double-blinded divided into a group receiving either collagen peptides (COL, 15 g/day) or a placebo (PLA). Strength testing, bioimpedance analysis, and muscle biopsies were used prior to and after an RET intervention. Food record protocols were performed during the RET intervention. The groups trained three times a week for 12 weeks. Baseline parameters showed no differences between groups, and the external training load and dietary food intake were also similar. COL showed a significant increase in fat-free mass (FFM) compared with the placebo group (p < 0.05). Body fat mass (BFM) was unchanged in COL, whereas a significant increase in BFM was observed in PLA. Both groups showed significant increases in all strength tests, with a trend for a slightly more pronounced effect in COL. The fCSA of type II muscle fibers increased significantly in both groups without differences between the two groups. We firstly demonstrated improved body composition in healthy, recreationally active men subsequent to prolonged CP supplementation in combination with RET. As the observed increase in FFM was not reflected in differences in fCSA hypertrophy between groups, we assume enhanced passive connective tissue adaptations in COL due to CP intake.
Keywords: cross-sectional area; hydrolyzed collagen peptides; recreational men; resistance exercise training; supplementation.