Does Collagen Make You Gain Weight?

Does Collagen Make You Gain Weight?

“Does Collagen Make You Gain Weight?” was written by Aly Maranges & edited/reviewed by Aly Bouzek, MS, RDN. Aly Maranges is a dietetic intern at Larkin University.

Have you ever wondered if collagen makes you gain weight? The short answer is: no. Collagen does not directly lead to weight gain.

However, collagen has many benefits and might be able to help you with weight gain depending on your goals and how you consume it. Let’s learn more about weight gain with collagen below!

Weight Gain with Collagen: What is Collagen?

Collagen Powder

Collagen is one of the most plentiful proteins in your body.

It provides support, structure, and strength to your skin, muscles, bones, and connective tissues. 

Some of collagen’s roles include: 

  • forming blood clots
  • protecting organs
  • repairing tissues
  • helping new cells grow
  • maintaining tissue health and integrity

Beneficial Effects of Collagen 

Collagen has many benefits including: significantly improving skin’s health via hydration, elasticity, and density. 

Collagen can also relieve joint pain. This is because it helps with the integrity of your cartilage (the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints). 

Did you know that our bone mass starts to deteriorate little by little as we age, and so does our collagen? This can lead to osteoporosis, which puts older adults at a higher risk of bone fractures, and unfortunately, at a higher risk for injuries or falls. 

However, studies have shown that collagen supplementation may help prevent this bone breakdown. Keep reading to learn more!

Weight Gain with Collagen and Resistance Training 

Weight Gain with Collagen and Resistance Training

Resistance training for older adults (combined with consuming enough protein) helps to preserve muscle, grow muscle, and helps with weight gain

When gaining weight, one of the goals is to gain lean muscle mass.

Resistance exercise helps with building lean muscle, so this type of training can help with weight gain! 

Additionally, combining collagen with resistance training has seen positive effects such as increasing lean muscle mass and increasing muscle strength. (1,2)

If you enjoy exercise, and are curious, try adding resistance training a few days a week! These exercises include the use of weights or just using your own body weight (think: lunges, sit ups, squats, etc.). 

And again, collagen does not directly lead to weight gain, but it can help with increasing your lean muscle mass (along with resistance training), and that can ultimately help you gain weight.

Collagen Speeds up Metabolism

The amino acid glycine is one of the three main amino acids found in collagen. (3) It helps convert glucose into energy and therefore, could increase lean muscle. 

The more lean muscle mass someone has, the faster their metabolism. This is because muscle burns more calories than fat. 

Should You Take a Collagen Supplement?

Collagen Forms

The main sources of collagen in your diet are found in foods high in protein like chicken, beef, fish, etc.

Check out our article on Collagen vs Whey Protein to learn more about what foods can help you naturally boost collagen in your body. 

There are also many types of collagen supplements on the market today, either in capsule, liquid, or powder form. 

Fun fact: most collagen supplements don’t actually contain any collagen. Wait, what?

This is because your body does not digest collagen and use it in its entire form. 

Rather, your body pulls collagen from the foods we eat and breaks it down to amino acids that your body can then use. Looking at collagen supplements, we can understand why no collagen is in the supplement – it would be a waste as our bodies couldn’t use it!

Instead, collagen supplements usually contain gelatin, collagen peptides, or collagen hydrolysate. (Collagen peptides and collagen hydrolysate are both broken down collagen that our bodies can more easily absorb).  

How to Use Collagen Supplements 

Collagen capsules can be taken with a glass of water, while collagen powder and liquid can be used in:  

Adding Collagen to Foods
  • baked goods
  • oatmeal
  • yogurt
  • smoothies
  • shakes
  • soups
  • tea
  • coffee
  • milk
  • water

How Much Collagen Should I Take? 

Based on the most current research, studies suggest that the amount of collagen for skin health improvement is about 2.5 to 15 grams per day. (4

If you’re an athlete who suffers from joint pain (but doesn’t suffer from joint disease), then taking about 10 grams of collagen daily for about 5 and a half months could lead to improvements in your joint pain. (5

We will always recommend working with a dietitian and talking with your doctor when it comes to adding supplements or making changes to your diet. 

Does Collagen Make You Gain Weight?

What if your goal is weight gain with collagen? Like we mentioned previously, consuming collagen does not directly lead to weight gain. But it might be able to help you along your weight gain journey.

We suggest that you start increasing your calories slowly while incorporating collagen into the foods you already love. This might look like:

  • Adding a smoothie with collagen to your snacks
  • Add some collagen to your muffin mix
  • If you usually have a small bowl of cereal for breakfast, then try to also eat some yogurt (added calories, protein, nutrients) with added collagen 
  • Oatmeal is a great way to boost calories – add some collagen and a scoop of peanut butter for an extra boost
  • Whole milk is another great calorie boost. Adding collagen to the milk is a way to get the benefits of collagen while also increasing your calories and essentially, your weight
  • Additionally, check out some great high calorie articles to assist you on your weight gain journey.

It’s always a great idea to talk with your doctor and a dietitian before making any changes to your diet.  

Conclusion: Does Collagen Make You Gain Weight?

Collagen is a diverse supplement and can be used for many health goals: weight gain, weight loss, muscle gain, bone health, and skin health

While collagen does not directly lead to weight gain, it can certainly help you along your weight gain journey. Increasing your calories and adding collagen to your meals and snacks can be helpful while trying to gain weight. 

References: 

  1. Oertzen-Hagemann V, Kirmse M, Eggers B, Pfeiffer K, et al. Effects of 12 Weeks of Hypertrophy Resistance Exercise Training Combined with Collagen Peptide Supplementation on the Skeletal Muscle Proteome in Recreationally Active Men. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1072. doi: 10.3390/nu11051072.  
  2. Zdzieblik D, Oesser S, Baumstark MW, Gollhofer A, König D. Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(8):1237-45. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515002810.  
  3. Wu M, Cronin K, Crane JS. Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. StatPearls Publishing; 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507709/
  4. Paul C, Leser S, Oesser S. Significant amounts of functional collagen peptides can be incorporated in the diet while maintaining indispensable amino acid balance. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1079. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566836/
  5. Clark K, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar K, et al. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008;24(5):1485-96. doi: 10.1185/030079908×291967. 

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