While most collagen products place a hefty emphasis on the power of collagen dietary supplements to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails, far less is discussed about using collagen for weight loss goals. Nevertheless, the components responsible for skin health can also influence general health. Because collagen is rich in amino acids, it is an abundant protein source, and can be used in the same vein as protein powders and supplements--with far more nutrients and additional benefits than many of these powders provide. What exactly are the best collagen for weight loss products?
What Is Collagen?
To fully understand how collagen functions as a useful addition to a weight loss routine, you must first understand what collagen is and how it functions in the body. Collagen is a type of protein found naturally in the human body and protein-rich foods. Collagen is generated in specialized cells called fibroblasts, and is delivered throughout the body through a series of intra and extracellular processes. These processes are responsible for the healthy maintenance of skin elasticity, healthy hair, nail health, joint health and mobility, muscular health and mobility, and even gut impermeability. Although hair health and weight are not often connected, brittle or damaged hair often indicates the presence of high levels of stress or a lack of nutrients, both of which can negatively impact an individual's efforts to lose weight.
Benefits of Collagen and Collagen Supplements
Generally, collagen-based supplements have been used to promote healthy hair and skin, particularly as it relates to age-related deterioration. The focus on this particular benefit of collagen is understandable: collagen does a tremendous job of improving the loss of skin elasticity and fullness brought about by natural aging, as the body's natural collagen production reduces as people age. Despite this focus, however, there are other benefits of collagen supplements. These benefits include:
- Weight loss assistance. Collagen for weight loss is not often discussed, but is a possible benefit of taking this dietary supplement. This is due to numerous factors, not the least of which is the effect of collagen on inflammation, blood vessels, and more. When joint health, gastrointestinal health, and cognitive health are improved, healthy dietary and movement choices are more readily come by.
- Reduced speed in skin aging. While collagen for weight loss is valuable, reducing the speed of skin's aging as the production of collagen slows and supporting healthier skin is a boon for many.
- Inflammation reduction. From joint health to GI health, collagen supplementation can help reduce inflammation and thereby support general health and even muscle growth. After all, the body cannot successfully build lean muscle mass if numerous bodily processes are stressed or unable to function properly.
- Improvements to digestive health. Collagen is abundant in virtually all tissues in the body, including the cells found in the intestinal wall. Abundant collagen is required to maintain tight junctions within the lining of the intestines.
- Osteoarthritis assistance. Collagen is also required to maintain bone health. Whether from bone broth or hydrolyzed collagen, bones need collagen in order to maintain their integrity.
- The prevention and treatment of bone loss. Just as collagen can be used to improve osteoarthritis, it can be used as a preventative measure against bone osteoarthritis assistance. Collagen is also required to maintain bone health. Whether from bone broth or hydrolyzed collagen, bones need collagen in order to maintain their integrity. ss and an aid to existing bone loss by improving bone density.
Improvements to joint health. Collagen proteins are abundant in connective tissue, and whether in powder form or a whole food form, hydrolyzed collagen can be added to diets to increase connective tissue collagen and thereby strengthen joints.
Types of Collagen
When collagen is discussed, it is typically spoken of as a single entity in the body. There are actually many different types of collagen, some of them more thoroughly involved in skin health or skin elasticity, for instance, and others more richly providing essential amino acids. We will discuss 5 types of collagen and their beneficial effects below.
Although there are different types of collagen, Type 1 collagen is the most abundant collagen protein in the body, and finding a reputable source of this abundant type of collagen is essential to provide adequate collagen protein to tissues. 90% of bodily protein is type 1, and it is considered a key structural component for those tissues.
Type II collagen is found in elastic cartilage (think your joint tissues), and will more effectively help in joint function and support. Collagen protein supplements with this type of collagen will be a better way to target this particular issue than general collagen powders will indeterminate types of collagen levels.
Type III collagen is found in arteries, muscles, and organs, and is therefore another essential form of collagen in the body. Adequate protein intake is thereby absolutely essential for organ and arterial health, though the precise number of grams of protein necessary to maintain that health (and the amount of collagen) will vary from person to person.
Type IV collagen is the type of collagen found in the varying levels of skin. The benefits of collagen powder often include the effect of collagen intake on aging, wrinkled, or saggy skin, necessitating the presence of Type IV collagen in the collagen protein powder or capsule in question.
Type V collagen is found in the cornea of your eyes, within the layers of your skin, and in your hair. It is partly responsible for healthy hair, nails, and skin, including cellular turnover of skin cells , hair growth, and even nail growth, as all of these rely upon the cellular processes made possible by consistent intake of the grams of collagen found in supplements and collagen-rich foods. Whether from whole food sources like bone broth or connective tissue from animals, or bovine collagen supplements or marine collagen supplements, collagen type V is important to fulfill claims made by high-quality collagen supplements regarding hair, skin, and nails.
What Type of Collagen Supplement Should I Consume?
Collagen supplements come in different formats, the two most common being collagen peptide powders and capsules. As the different types of collagen listed above suggests, the collagen type you should take is based on your goals. Multi collagen protein can help with several different targets, while others possess essential amino acids geared toward more specific goals.
Anti-aging effects on skin, for instance, will benefit most from a multi collagen protein powder or capsule that contains at least types I and II, if not also types IV and V, as these forms of collagen target these areas. Not all multi collagen protein powders will list the precise types of collagen production found in their products, so identifying the presence of all four types may not be easy.
Joint health and pain management, other arenas highly reliant upon collagen production, will most likely benefit most from type II hydrolyzed collagen peptides, versus a multi collagen supplement or one that includes only type I collagen. Collagen peptides powder with type II are not as readily come by, but can provide more targeted improvements to your joints and pain.
The 5 Best Collagen Supplements for Weight Loss
As we've discussed, not all collagen powders are made equal, and not all are ideal for weight loss. Some powders focus more on providing allergen-sensitive powder, like marine collagens for those who cannot tolerate red meat products, while others focus more on skin health. The 5 best collagen powders for weight loss include:
FINE Hyaluron & Collagen. Although FINE's collagen powder is not specifically branded toward weight loss, its combination of collagen and hyaluron (hyaluronic acid, or Vitamin C), can indirectly and positively influence weight loss. This is achieved through the product's combination of biotin, collagen, vitamin C, elastin, and pearl coix, all of which generally support health, reduce inflammation, and support healthy muscles and joints. Healthy muscle tissue is one of the greatest predictors of success in increasing metabolism and spurring weight loss, so supporting your muscle health from the inside out can provide a significant boost to your weight loss efforts.
Vitauthority Multi Collagen Burn. This particular collagen powder contains hyaluronic acid and an ingredient said specifically to target cellulite, though the evidence suggesting its value is somewhat limited. As a multi collagen powder, Vitauthority also places its emphasis on healthy skin, and seeks to cover all of its bases rather than honing in on a specific weight loss support ingredient or formula.
Physician's Store Collagen Peptides Powder. Physician's Choice collagen powder was created as more of a protein powder than a collagen supplement, as its focus is on post-workout recovery rather than forming the building blocks of health as most other collagen powders do. This type of collagen uses type I and type III collagen and digestive enzymes to ease digestion, including peptides from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine sources.
Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex. Differing from the previous three collagen supplements, Vital Vitamins comes in capsule form and contains five forms of collagen. Taken 3 times per day, this collagen formula also contains digestive enzymes and suggests that it is best used to aid brittle nails, unhealthy hair, and aging skin.
Live Conscious Collagen Peptides Powder. Live Conscious is another collagen from grass-fed cows, and another line that is marketed primarily as a skin intervention. Unlike most of the other powders we've discussed, the Live Conscious brand does not boast a tasteless quality, citing its natural extraction process from grass-fed bovine, and is therefore encouraged as an addition to your morning smoothie, soups, or other taste-obscuring foods, versus your favorite beverage such as coffee or tea.
With the exception of the capsules, all of the above-mentioned collagen supplements can be included in hot or cold beverages such as your morning coffee, and can be consumed with or without food.
What Is the Evidence for Collagen's Efficacy in Weight Loss?
As of the time of publication, there are few exhaustive or stringent clinical studies evaluating the effects of collagen powder on your weight loss journey. Nevertheless, a few key studies have determined that collagen can be used to support your weight loss journey in the following ways:
- Basic weight loss. A 2019 study evaluated collagen as a supplement for weight loss, and determined that collagen can result in some degree of weight loss.
- Another study determined that collagen was a useful source of protein with benefits for weight loss due to its ability to inhibit weight gain and limit adipocyte (fat cell) enlargement in rats.
These health benefits of these collagen sources are not definitive sources of weight loss, but can help support weight loss as part of a dedicated weight loss regimen, including eating healthy, whole foods and getting in regular movement.
Introducing collagen into your diet is often as simple and easy as including a scoop or more into your favorite beverage and moving on with your day. While many of these supplements have placed an emphasis on the benefits of collagen for hair, skin, and nails, collagen can be useful for far more, with positive effects on blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, and weight loss. From easing joint discomfort to improving your ability to regularly engage in movement, to increasing your muscle recovery, there are a wide variety of ways to use a collagen supplement for weight loss.