“Collagen made me gain weight” is a serious concern that can force someone to drop their diet or supplementation. However, we know that “after” does not necessarily mean “because”, so we decided to find out if collagen is really responsible for an increase in one’s body mass.
The connection between collagen and weight gain has been not yet properly researched. The existing trials were mostly done on animal models, a specific type of collagen peptide was used, and there is yet more data needed regarding doses and mechanism of action. But as for now, available information suggests that collagen supplementation can actually assist with weight loss!
So, if you want to try and get some benefits from this natural protein, and the only thing stopping you is the thought that collagen will make you gain weight, do not worry. And if you need more information, we are happy to provide!
What is Collagen
Collagen makes up about a third of the total protein in the body. Our organism uses it to build protective tissues for internal organs, locomotor apparatus (muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments), and even skin. Amino acids from collagen are also necessary for the body to grow hair and nails.
As of now, there are 28 known types of collagen, the main are types I through IV. They have been discovered in various parts of the human body and they have different functions, from shielding our body from external damage and pathogens to providing joint support.
Types of Collagen Sources
Our body produces collagen naturally by the cells called fibroblasts. As we age, the process slows down and collagen breaks down faster. The deficit manifests itself in skin wrinkles, less joint mobility, weaker muscles, etc.
Collagen can be obtained externally via foods and supplements, for example. Collagen peptides, also known as collagen hydrolysate, are manufactured as supplements to help the body digest and utilize the compound. Boosting your collagen with natural products means incorporating certain foods into your dietary plan:
- Bone broth;
The body also needs vitamin C, copper, and zinc for collagen synthesis, so foods rich in them, such as citruses, green vegetables, oysters, nuts, and seeds, will make a good add-on to your nutrition.
Collagen and Metabolism
In trials with obese rats, collagen demonstrated an ability to decrease adipocyte enlargement. Adipocytes are cells that store excessive energy in the body—in other words, fat cells. Enlarged adipocytes mean an increase in fat mass.
As a result, rodents that received collagen supplementation had more fat-free mass than those that did not.
Collagen and Satiety
Collagen is a fiber made of protein. Both help us feel sated faster, preventing overeating and snacking in between meals. Fibers are also good for gut microbiota which also improves digestion, reduces “boredom hunger”, and even can reduce carb cravings.
Collagen and Muscle Mass
As we previously mentioned, collagen serves as a building material for your muscles. This does not mean that one can get bulky solely from collagen supplements, but gaining muscles can become more effective if the body has enough building material.
That being said, people do often notice that they weigh more after they have started working out regularly. This is called post-workout weight gain and has nothing to do with the collagen intake. It originates from several factors:
- Muscle tissue density is higher than that of fat. As a result, you can get a more satisfactory body image while having the same or even greater weight.
- Physical activity can cause temporary inflammation as your body adjusts to the new routine.
- If you are dehydrated after your workout, the body goes into water retention mode.
Does Collagen Make You Gain Weight?
Clinical evidence that we presently have suggests the opposite—collagen may help you lose weight. The connection, however, is indirect:
- Support for joint mobility can alleviate pain and motivate a person to be more physically active;
- The effect on adipocyte size decreases the amount of fat the body can store;
- Collagen promotes building muscle mass, and muscle tissues consume more energy, thus making fat burning more efficient.
- Collagen helps you balance your diet, feel sated, and avoid overeating and snacking, resulting in beneficial calorie intake.
Factors Leading to Weight Gain
While is it surely pointless to use collagen for weight gain, we are not saying everyone will burn fat with collagen supplementation. Changes in body mass depend on three main aspects:
- Nutrition. A collagen-rich diet decreases the risks of overeating and includes healthy foods if you opt for natural sources. However, if one packs their collagen pills in with a lot of burgers and chips, excessive calories will not disappear.
- Sedentary lifestyle. Again, it is easier to gain lean muscle mass when you have enough collagen. But the key to being fit lies in physical activity.
- Hormone balance. Hormonal disorders can mess up your metabolism badly so that even with the healthiest diet and workout routine, the weight will not shift.
If your weight changes (or their absence) concern you, we remind you to consult your healthcare provider to properly identify and address the issue.
You already know that collagen is a building material for the skin. It also promotes its proper hydration, giving your skin elasticity and a healthy glow. The effect of collagen on skin health was confirmed through clinical trials with 800 to 1,000 women volunteers.
The studies of collagen in regard to joint health are much more narrow, although, they also bring promising results. It appears that collagen can lessen pain, promote the health of joint cartilage, and lessen osteoarthritis symptoms. However, further funding and research are necessary to provide more quality data on the matter.
Gut and Digestion Health
This aspect has been covered earlier in this article. Specific supplementation or collagen-boosting diet can positively affect gut microbiota and contribute to better eating habits. Therefore, the person suffers less risk of digestive disorders.
Are Collagen Supplements Safe?
Collagen supplementation is generally harmless. They mostly contain certain fish and seafood derivatives in a gelatin capsule. There is always a possibility of individual sensitivity, such as allergic reactions or digestive issues from changes in gut health. Before beginning a new supplement or if you see any unfavorable changes in your health that you think are related to it, we advise you to always consult your primary care physician.
While the connection between collagen and weight needs further research, it is unlikely that collagen can cause weight gain. A balanced collagen intake from natural, dietary sources or supplementation has the potential to benefit one’s health.
If you contemplating taking collagen or starting a new diet aimed at boosting its level, ask advice from your doctor to develop the most safe and rational approach.
Do collagen supplements help with weight?
No, there is no direct connection between body mass and collagen intake.
What are the side effects of taking collagen?
It is usually well-tolerated. Potential adverse reactions are individual.
Does collagen increase weight?
There is no established connection between the two exists.
Does collagen bloat one’s stomach?
A bloated stomach can be an individual side effect of a collagen supplement caused by changes in digestion.