Collagen Peptide Supplements and Cellulite

What is the research behind taking collagen supplements for cellulite?

Woman with healthy legs
Credits: "Misty Pittman at Unsplash.com"
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Cellulite is the irregular deposit of fat and collagen beneath the skin that creates the appearance of dimples and lumps on the arms, buttocks, and thighs. Cellulite affects 85-95% of women, so if  you struggle with cellulite, you are by no means alone. Fortunately, the high demand for cellulite solutions has driven a number of research studies.

One potential cellulite treatment that has sparked researchers’ interest is collagen supplements. Research suggests that collagen peptides may improve skin moisture, elasticity, and overall appearance. Given these initial findings, a research team decided to run a study to test how daily ingestion of collagen peptide supplements affected cellulite on participants’ thighs.[1]

The research team recruited 195 normal weight and overweight women with moderate thigh cellulite to participate in this study. The women were randomly split into two groups; one group consumed 2.5 grams of bioactive collagen peptides per day for 6 months, while the other group received placebos that looked just like the collagen supplements but did not contain collagen. The study was run as a double-blind experiment, which means that neither the researchers nor the participants knew who was taking the collagen supplements or the placebos.  

The results showed that both normal and overweight women who ingested the collagen peptides for 6 months had a reduced appearance of cellulite, as compared to the placebo, or control, group. The research group also used an ultrasound-based imaging technology to measure how the participants’ skin density changed with the treatments. The group that that took the collagen supplements had an increase in the density of their skin’s dermal layer. The dermal layer is what gives the skin its "substance," and a dense dermis can potentially mask cellulite. However, when looking closely at the numbers, the difference between the collagen treatment group and the placebo group was only a 2% increase in dermal density. The study found no side effects with the use of collagen peptide supplements. 

So, what does all of this mean? The results of the study show that taking collagen peptide supplements may improve the appearance of cellulite, but the improvement may be slight and modest after 6 months. Therefore, if you want to treat your cellulite, collagen supplements are promising but are not going to be a quick fix. Also keep in mind the long-term benefits and effects of collagen peptide supplements remain unknown, as the study only evaluated women out to 6 months. 

Want to learn more about cellulite? Check out this article on shockwave therapy as a potential cellulite therapy.

Statistical Significance: Yes

Clinical Significance: Not known

 

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References

1. Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S, et al. Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology. J Med Food.2015;18(12):1340-1348; PMID: 26561784 Link to research.