Already have an account?
Get back to the
Weight Loss

A Daily Scoop of Collagen Shown to Speed Weight Loss in Women Over 50: MD Reveals the Best Kind to Use

Bonus: Your hair will likely grow thicker, nails will get stronger — even wrinkles may fill in!

It’s official: The internet has gone ‘stir-crazy’ for collagen. Videos of the powdered protein being swirled into everything from coffee and oatmeal to party dips and festive mocktails are being watched by millions — and it’s a trend many health experts love. Cleveland Clinic functional medicine expert and Food Fix author Mark Hyman, MD, explains collagen’s jackpot of amino acids helps improve skin, hair, joints, blood-sugar levels, gut health, heart health and much more. Meanwhile, growing research suggests collagen, especially a promising new variety, can bolster key weight-control mechanisms. For proof, look to Mary Jo Liccar, 60, who dropped 109 pounds. Ready to see what collagen can do for you? Keep reading for everything you need to know about collagen for weight loss.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a rugged, glue-like protein that holds us together from head to toe. It gives stability and structure to “skin, blood vessels, organs, muscles, cartilage, bones, teeth and hair,” explains Amy Myers, MD, author of The Autoimmune Solution. Collagen plays a role helping cells turn blood sugar and fat into energy. And it’s a raw material we use “to heal injuries, build stronger muscles and upgrade worn-out cells,” Dr. Myers explains.

Luckily, our bodies make our own collagen from amino acids in protein we eat. But there’s a hitch. After age 35, many people start to experience a decline in levels of enzymes that pull amino acids from our food. So by age 60, “over half of your body’s collagen has been depleted,” says Dr. Myers. Hormones, diet, sun exposure and lifestyle choices can all slow down our collagen production further. That can lead to symptoms like thinning skin, reduced mobility, body aches and digestive troubles.

How collagen supplements can help

While most younger people can get enough collagen from eating protein, as the levels of certain enzymes dwindle with age, collagen supplements may help our bodies better absorb the nutrient. Options made with hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides, contain a special form of the protein that may help mature bodies absorb more readily. That’s because it’s undergone a process called hydrolysis, which breaks it down into smaller peptides that are easier to digest. “Once collagen peptides are in the bloodstream, the body can rebuild them into full-chain collagen,” Dr. Myers says.

Top collagen brands can cost as little as $1 per serving at warehouse stores — a bargain compared to most protein. “And collagen powder doesn’t have a taste, so you can add it to just about anything.” Whether you put it in coffee or get creative with dips and oats, your body will thank you.

What collagen can do for your health

No matter the collagen supplement you use, you’ll likely see the following benefits:

1. Collagen promotes healthy hair, skin and nails

One study found a daily dose of collagen can increase hair thickness by up to 30% in 12 weeks. And Canadian researchers found that when women took collagen every day, they reduced wrinkles by 35% in 12 weeks compared to those given a placebo. Plus, collagen has also been shown to help reverse brittle nails, helping them grow longer.

2. Collagen helps ward off heart disease and osteoarthritis

Another test showed adding collagen to meals makes arteries less stiff, lowering blood pressure and slashing risk of heart issues. One more: Osteoarthritis sufferers get so much relief from collagen supplements, scientists theorize the supplement turbo­charges the body’s ability to restore cartilage. (Click through to learn how olive oil and lemon juice can protect your heart, too.)

3. Collagen builds muscle and boosts metabolism

And then there’s all the flab that suddenly gets firm. Collagen supplements are very good at boosting muscle growth — and muscle is not only strong and jiggle-free, it increases metabolism, notes Dr. Myers. In a German study, adults given collagen daily built 45% more lean muscle and lost 155% more fat and than a no-collagen group. 

Click through for more on the health benefits of collagen for women.

The next-generation of collagen supplements

There’s more good news. Scientists have begun studying a next-generation type of collagen supplement made from fish, an alternative to traditional supplements made from beef. Early tests show taking marine collagen allows folks to shed about 12 times more weight than those not taking marine collagen with minimal effort. “Marine collagen supplements spur the body to make a different type of collagen than beef-based supplements,” says Dr. Myers. And the type seems to be particularly good at improving blood-sugar control, metabolism and inflammation. (Click through for more benefits of marine collagen.)

How to use collagen for weight loss

If you’ve ever noticed that meals with lots of protein reduce hunger, that’s because they contain nutrients that increase satiety. A study from the University of Washington School of Medicine found upping protein intake helped subjects feel fuller and eat less. While this study wasn’t focused on collagen specifically, it suggests that supplementing your diet with collagen could positively affect weight loss.

“Women tell me every day how much they love collagen,” says Dr. Myers, who recommends 10 to 15 grams daily. “It’s such a great tool to lose weight and optimize health at any age.” According to Dutch research, collagen can help control hunger about 44% better than traditional protein powders.

Collagen for weight loss success story: Kathy McLean, 70

When Kathy McLean’s doctor told her she needed diabetes medication, the retired Texas nurse asked for a few months to make changes on her own. “I joined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time,” she recalls. To her surprise, it seemed quite a bit easier than usual. One key difference? Collagen. “I’d read it could make my hair and nails stronger, so I was adding it to the two cups of coffee I drink every morning. I realized it let me go about 5 hours without getting hungry, which was huge for me because my main problem was that I ate too much, even if I was eating healthy,” she recalls. “It also seemed to boost my metabolism and give me a little more energy. That helped too.”

Kathy, a fan of the collagen-kissed coffee smoothie at, was able to stay on track 98% of the time. She steadily lost 51 pounds, reversed her diabetes, got off a blood-pressure medication and lowered her triglycerides by 213 points. “Plus, my hair grows fast, my nails grow strong and my skin is softer. At 70 years old, I can’t believe how big a difference collagen made!”

Collagen for weight loss before and after: Mary Jo Liccar, 61

Before and after photos of Mary Jo Liccar who lost 109 lbs using collagen for weight loss
Tim Klein, Getty

For most of Mary Jo Liccar’s life, she dieted in hopes of fitting in cuter clothes. “But as a senior, I started to think about my health,” shares the Illinois grandmother, 61. So she tested diet strategies from the internet, this time focusing on how she felt rather than the scale. “The easiest thing I did was add collagen to my coffee every morning.” Even drizzled with sugar-free caramel, it kept her satisfied for hours—and made eating less totally stress-free.

Within two weeks, her energy was way up, her joints felt better and she was shedding up to a pound a day. Mary Jo kept at it, experimenting with marine collagen and adding it to things like smoothies, oatmeal and yogurt. Her thinning hair began to grow thicker, her nails got stronger, her skin smoother, her high cholesterol normalized. All told, she lost 109 pounds. “I am extremely healthy—and extremely grateful!” (Click through to learn more about how Mary Jo used proffee for weight loss.)

How to use collagen for weight loss

Dr. Myers says we can all benefit from collagen. Just stir about 2 Tbs. daily into any food or beverage you like. We’ve got fun ideas for you, below. You can even try this collagen ice cream recipe!

Brand options to try include Dr. Myer’s Spectrum 5 Collagen or Vital Proteins Marine Collagen. And click through for more of our favorite collagen powders for women.

To speed results, aim to build most meals with unprocessed and lower-carb ingredients and consume calories in a shorter window, such as 11 am to 7 pm daily.

RELATED: 3 Collagen-Spiked Lattes That Turn Back The Clock

1. Pumpkin Pancakes

Plate of pumpkin pancakes made with collagen powder for weight loss

Mix ⅓ cup each collagen, pumpkin puree and vanilla protein powder, 1 egg, 1 tsp. baking powder and ⅛ tsp. spice. Cook in butter.

2. Drinking Chocolate

Mug of drinking chocolate made with collagen powder

Gently heat 1 cup nut milk and ¼ cup coconut cream. Stir in ¼ cup sugar-free chocolate chips and 1–2 Tbs. collagen until smooth.

3. Boosted Guacamole

Bowl of guacamole made with collagen powder on a plate with pork rinds

Mix in 1–2 Tbs. collagen per ½ cup of your favorite guacamole; serve with low-carb chips or pork rinds.

4. Autumn Sparkler

Glass of sparkling cranberry drink made with collagen for weight loss

Make healthy simple syrup by heating 2 servings unflavored collagen peptides, 2½ Tbs. stevia or any healthy sweetener to taste, pinch of salt and 2 sprigs rosemary in 1 cup water; stir, pressing herbs to release oils, until collagen is dissolved. Chill. For each drink, mix about 1–2 Tbs. syrup, 2 Tbs. pomegranate or cranberry juice and 6 oz. unsweetened orange fizzy water over ice. Garnish with fruit and rosemary. Serves 10–12

Want to get even more benefits from collagen? Click through:

Crow’s Feet Remedies: Dermatologists on How to Prevent and Treat the Stubborn Wrinkles

16 Best Collagen Supplements for Youthful Skin

Discover What Those Nail Dents Reveal About Your Health

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.