Collagen has long been seen as a dietary supplement for muscle growth among fitness enthusiasts. If you want to shave off pounds instead of bulk up, should you still try collagen supplements?
Collagen: The Muscle-Building Protein
Collagen is a unique, versatile molecule in the human body.
It features a triple helix structure made up of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Two of these three amino acids — glycine and proline — are needed to synthesize creatine. If you didn’t know, creatine is an organic compound that provides your muscle cells with energy during exercise.
Supplementing with collagen thus indirectly supplies your body with creatine to be at its best for physical work. In fact, 12 weeks of collagen supplementation and resistance training significantly enhanced muscle mass and strength compared to exercise alone.
Safe to say, you can look upon collagen as the muscle-building protein.
Does Collagen Make You Gain Weight the Unhealthy Way? Not Really.
Due to collagen’s prowess in helping you bulk up, you may assume that collagen supplements may cause you to gain weight and prevent you from reaching your ideal number on the weighing scale.
Contrary to what many people think, building muscles is not the same as gaining unhealthy weight. The former refers to a trimmer physique as you burn off fats and increase your muscle mass. Meanwhile, the latter is associated with increased fats and a burgeoning waistline.
If you need more convincing, there’s ample scientific evidence indicating that collagen supplementation can indirectly help you lose weight.
Collagen Makes You Feel Fuller
We all know that collagen is an essential protein abundantly present in our skin, muscles, bones, tendons, and even cartilage. Aside from its structural advantages, collagen also offers dietary benefits pertaining to weight loss.
Much of the scientific literature advocates for a protein-rich diet when it comes to slimming down. Protein, as a macromolecule, cues the satiety effect when consumed in appropriate amounts. Dedicating more real estate on your plate to high-protein foods, like fish, eggs, meats, and dairy, can then trick your brain into thinking it’s full for a longer period after your meal.
A 2020 review in the Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome explained how a high-protein diet promotes satiety:
- Increases the amount of appetite-decreasing hormones, such as the “glucagon-like peptide-1, cholecystokinin, and peptide tyrosine-tyrosine.”
- Downplay the appetite-enhancing hormone ghrelin.
- Enhance diet-induced thermogenesis (also known as the thermic effect of food), such that your metabolic rate rises after a meal as a subset of your body’s energy expenditure.
- Upregulate ketogenesis, a process in which fatty acids and some amino acids are broken down to give off energy.
Supplementing with the collagen protein may thus afford the same satiety effect to help you feel fuller for longer. This, in turn, potentially curbs your cravings for unhealthy foods, like sweets and fast foods, while reducing your food intake.
Collagen Reduces Body Fat
It’s a well-known fact that collagen helps increase your muscle mass. But did you know the same protein can help lower your body fat percentage, too?
According to a 2019 study in the Journal of Marine Drugs, 90 men were divided into two groups:
- Intervention group: Participants were given 2000 milligrams of skate skin collagen peptides every day for 12 weeks.
- Control group: Participants were given a placebo supplement every day for 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that the intervention group had reduced body fat percentage (−1.2% vs. 2.7%) and body fat mass (−1.2 kg vs. 0.3 kg) compared to the control group. Even though it’s a small-scale study, the results emphasized the potential efficacy of collagen supplements in lowering body fat accumulation for effective weight loss.
Collagen Enhances Workout Readiness
Sore muscles, joint pain, or an exercise-induced injury can make it hard to head back to the gym the next day. Without religiously abiding by your fitness program, it can be slow, hard work shedding off the pounds on your frame. That’s where collagen can help you adhere to your workout regimen with more success.
First up, collagen supplementation is proven to speed up post-workout recovery. In one study, 24 men were given either 20 grams of collagen peptides or a placebo before and after strenuous exercise. After 48 hours, the collagen supplementation group reported significantly lesser muscle soreness and better workout performance than the placebo group.
If joint discomfort prevents you from running, cycling, and even walking, turn to collagen to improve your mobility. Scientific evidence indicates that 24 weeks of collagen hydrolysate supplementation improved joint pain related to walking, standing, running, carrying things, and lifting. In fact, collagen may “possibly reduce the risk of joint deterioration in a high-risk group.”
Last but not least, collagen could help lower your risk of workout-related injuries. Vitamin C-enriched gelatin was found to amplify collagen production in the ligaments post-exercise. Stronger connective tissues translate to lower odds of muscle sprains and strains that can hamstring your workout progress.
And if you do have an open wound, collagen may help quicken its healing. Research showed that the recovery period for beef collagen was only 6.1 weeks compared to 9.4 weeks when no collagen aid was involved.
Supplement With Collagen To Achieve Your Weight Goals
As you can see, collagen supplementation doesn’t mean you’ll put on unwanted pounds. Instead, it’s quite the opposite.
Collagen, when properly supplemented with, indirectly influences your body’s metabolism rate and workout readiness. These mechanisms mean you burn off fats more efficiently in a healthy, sustainable manner. Instead of gaining unhealthy flab, what you’re actually reaping is robust, toned muscles that help you feel and look better.
If you’re interested in adding collagen to your weight loss routine, check out the collagen supplement range at Zen Principle. From beef collagen to marine collagen, hydrolyzed peptides togelatin powder, you’ll be sure to find one that meets your dietary needs for optimal fitness and wellness.