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Collagen for Weight Loss: Does It Really Work?

Updated: Aug 19, 2023


A woman in a black sports bra is dissolving collagen in water.

The short answer is no. And here's why:


Understanding Collagen

Collagen is a dominant protein in the human body, primarily found in connective tissues. It's vital for maintaining the skin's elasticity and firmness. For a simple analogy: if elastin allows our skin to stretch, collagen ensures it snaps back! While collagen is a favorite in skincare, its role in weight loss is a lot more ambiguous.


lean muscular woman dancing

Collagen and Muscle Building: The Connection

Muscle plays a significant role in our metabolic rate. The more muscle mass we have, the more calories we burn, even at rest. So, when considering any protein for weight loss, understanding its impact on muscle is crucial.


Collagen is technically a complete protein, meaning it comprises all essential amino acids. However, it's not particularly rich in leucine, a key amino acid responsible for triggering muscle protein synthesis (MPS). For muscle growth and maintenance, MPS is crucial.

Whey protein, for instance, has a leucine content of 10% or higher, while collagen has a measly < 5%.

Leucine-Rich Protein Sources

For those looking to enhance muscle growth and metabolism, consider these protein sources:


Non-Vegetarian Protein Sources:

  • Beef Loin (3 oz): 2,565 mg leucine

  • Whey Protein Powder (1 scoop): 2,500 mg leucine

  • Ground Turkey (3 oz): 2,035 mg leucine

  • Salmon (3 oz): 1,890 mg leucine

  • Chicken Dark Meat (3 oz): 1,700 mg leucine

  • Egg (1 egg): 543 mg leucine

Dairy Sources:

  • Swiss Cheese (1 cup): 3,906 mg leucine

  • Non-fat Milk (1 cup): 954 mg leucine

  • Low Fat Yogurt (6 oz): 899 mg leucine

Vegan Sources:

  • Black Beans (1 cup): 3,347 mg leucine

  • Pumpkin Seeds (1 cup): 2,818 mg leucine

  • Roasted Peanuts (1 cup): 2,524 mg leucine


Women are waiting for a fitness class to begin. Some are standing while others are sitting on pink yoga mats.

Collagen for Weight Loss?

Current research hasn't solidly linked collagen to weight loss. However, its positive effects on hair, skin, and nails are notable.


If you're seeking weight loss, you can consider collagen as a supplement. Yet, it shouldn't overshadow primary protein sources, especially if muscle growth is a goal. The best weight loss strategies usually combine muscle growth with fat loss.

Remember, optimal weight loss strategies often combine muscle preservation with fat loss to boost metabolic rates and ensure long-term success.

In Conclusion

Collagen offers a variety of benefits, but it's not a magical weight loss solution. It's always essential to critically assess weight loss trends and base decisions on scientific research. If collagen interests you, dive in, but remain informed and realistic.


Infographic showing foods high in muscle-building leucine

 
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