Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the body. Supplementing collagen may help people lose weight by promoting satiety, supporting joint health, and altering how the body stores fat.

Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the human body and is present in all the body’s tissues and organs. It helps gives structure and support to connective tissues, skin, eyes, and bones.

Collagen is essential for many physiological processes, such as healing, organ development, metabolism, and cell growth.

Interest in collagen supplementation for weight loss has grown, but research has yet to find a direct link. This article explores collagen’s potential benefits for weight loss and the safety of collagen supplementation.

Learn more about collagen here.

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Researchers have not found a direct link between collagen supplementation and weight loss, which is an emerging research area. Many of the studies are small, animal-based, and focus on very specific collagen peptides.

Collagen may help with weight loss indirectly by providing joint pain relief so people can be more physically active. It may also promote satiety, meaning people feel fuller and eat less.

Promoting satiety

Protein intake is associated with satiety — the feeling of fullness to the point of satisfaction. Feeling full can lead to people eating less or less often, possibly resulting in weight loss.

However, collagen may be less effective than other sources at promoting satiety. In a 2019 double-blind study. Researchers gave females with overweight either collagen or whey protein supplements.

They found that people taking collagen supplements experienced more weight gain over 8 weeks than those taking whey protein. The researchers suggested this may be because collagen does not contain BCAA and tryptophan, two substances in whey protein linked to satiety and improved body composition.

Learn more about whey protein here.

Joint pain relief

Joint pain can limit the ability to exercise, which is important for most weight loss programs.

As collagen is essential for healthy connective tissue in the joints, collagen supplements may help support joint health and reduce pain. Decreased pain may help people be more physically active and lose weight.

In a 2021 systematic review published in the journal Amino Acids, collagen peptide supplementation paired with exercise helped improve joint function and reduce pain. Researchers found benefits for recreational athletes, professional athletes, and older adults.

Learn more about joint pain here.

Body fat reduction

Rodent studies have shown that specific collagen peptides may influence how the body stores fat.

A 2021 animal study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that administering collagen peptides to mice over 3 weeks resulted in visceral fat loss for mice on a high fat diet. However, the fat loss was not associated with significant body weight changes.

A 2023 animal study published in the Croatian Medical Journal treated obese rats with Antarctic jellyfish collagen peptides. The rats showed a reduction in body mass index (BMI), weight gain, and fasting blood glucose levels.

Researchers have found similar results in humans. In a 2019 study, 81 people were given either collagen supplements derived from fish skin or a placebo for 12 weeks. The group taking collagen showed significantly reduced body fat mass and body fat percentage than the placebo group.

The exact mechanisms behind these findings are uncertain. Some research suggests collagen peptides may alter gene expression related to how the body stores and accumulates fat.

Learn about the difference between weight loss and fat loss here.

Collagen supplements are typically derived from cow connective tissues or fish. People can buy collagen in the following forms:

There are 28 types of collagen, but types 1, 2, 3, and 4 are the most common. Supplements can contain different types of collagen.

Research is lacking on which type may be more beneficial for weight loss. However, one 2018 study found that mice fed with type 1 collagen and given a typically obesity-inducing diet gained less weight than those without collagen supplementation.

Learn about 15 of the best collagen supplements here.

Experts consider collagen supplementation safe. A 2019 systematic review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found good safety margins for collagen supplements and no adverse effects in the 11 studies assessed.

Collagen is a dietary supplement not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration(FDA). This means products labeled as containing collagen have no government quality assurance behind them.

Supplements may not contain as much collagen as they advertise. They may also contain other ingredients that are not as safe as collagen alone.

Superior products often provide quality assurance through third-party testing. People can find these assurances on the product label or website.

Learn more about collagen supplements here.

Collagen may help people lose weight by improving satiety, altering how people store body fat, and improving joint pain so that people can be more physically active. This is an emerging area of research and more studies are necessary to draw out the precise link between collagen and weight loss.

People can buy collagen supplements in various forms and should read the packet instructions for dosage information. These supplements are not FDA regulated, so people should look for products with quality assurances by third parties.