Collagen is a simple protein found in the connective tissue. Among other places, it is found in the lens of the eye. It is also the most abundant protein constituting almost 25% of all protein content in mammals. The strength of fascia, bone, cartilage, tendons and ligaments in the body is attributed to collagen and its flexible strength.
Collagen has been in use for cosmetic and burn-related surgery for a long time. It is used as an aid for reconstructing bones in cosmetic, dental, orthopedic and other types of surgery. Recently, it is being marketed aggressively as a weight loss solution. The hard-sell campaign has tried to touch the nerve of obese patients who struggle to keep pace with workouts and find it difficult to adhere to strict and bland diets.
The USP (Unique Selling Point) of collagen weight loss products is that it helps you lose weight while you sleep. An analytical study of these claims has yet to state unequivocally that this miracle cures obesity. We all know that obesity requires natural weight loss solutions such as regular exercise, herbal weight loss remedies, and in extreme and unavoidable circumstances, weight loss medications.
It is claimed that oral ingestion of collagen affects lean muscle and thus burns calories while one sleeps. It has been established that administration of complete proteins can increase collagen content in connective tissue when it is combined with muscle enlargement. It is, however, not clear how ingestion of oral collagen can affect lean body mass.
Most collagen-related weight loss products provide explicit instructions that it needs to be taken on an empty stomach. Eating for about 3 hours before and after the oral administration is not recommended. If you think about it, six hours of no food intake is almost akin to starving. And one wonders whether the weight loss is a result of these long stretches of not eating or due to the collagen product itself.
Medical literature enumerates 28 types of collagen. Collagen weight loss products contain hydrolyzed collagen. If collagen is hydrolyzed partially, it breaks up into globular random coils producing gelatin. The main ingredient of fruit-flavored dessert (trade mark Jell-O) is made from a commercially prepared collagen gelatin powder. Without prejudice, when you read the promotional material, it actually sounds as if Jell-O could cure you of obesity.
Collagen has been used as a weight loss diet supplement as early as 1970’s when hydrolyzed collagen was touted as a miracle weight loss supplement, but it did not produce positive results in treating obesity. It is highly recommended that we understand the basic properties of collagen and remove doubts about it being a marketing gimmick before accepting it as a cure for obesity.