Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice. All statements are merely the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to weight loss.
Every year more consumers are looking for supplements to aid in their weight loss goals. With more people from industrialized nations dealing with obesity due to modern conveniences and diet, the potential for a pill that melts off weight can seem enticing.
As we noted in our Drink2Shrink review and our review of dicyclomine 10 mg for weight loss, the majority of commercial weight loss supplements that we've reviewed have been severely lacking in clinical evidence.
Peptides are an increasingly popular category of weight loss supplement. In this article we'll analyze whether peptides are effective for weight loss, explain why we consider their use for this purpose to be unsafe, and examine whether collagen peptides can cause weight loss.
Can Peptides Cause Weight Loss?
Peptides are chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Generally proteins contain 50 or more amino acids, while peptides can contain as few as two.
A few specific peptides have been studied in clinical trials for their weight loss effects.
A medical review published in the Frontiers in Nutrition journal found that peptides from milk have an appetite suppressant effect, and could theoretically cause weight loss due to this effect.
MOTS-C is a peptide that has been shown in medical research to decrease fat accumulation in an animal study. It’s theorized to work by downregulating certain metabolic pathways that become dysfunctional in obese animals and people.
Ipamorelin is another peptide which has been used for weight loss because it’s a precursor of human growth hormone (HGH). We know from medical studies that exogenous HGH supplementation increases body fat loss, so users of ipamorelin figure that by taking the peptide they’ll reap the same benefits.
It is actually proven in medical research that ipamorelin causes release of HGH, but we cannot locate any studies proving ipamorelin to directly cause weight loss.
Overall we find the medical research on peptides for weight loss to be unconvincing. While there are some theoretical benefits, we have not come across any clinical trials with human participants clearly proving any peptide to cause weight loss, and to be safe for use over long durations of time.
Why Peptides for Weight Loss are Unsafe
Most peptides are only cleared for medical research, and don’t have nearly the same safety and toxicology studies that pharmaceutical drugs and many dietary supplements have.
A compound can be both effective but unsafe due to the unknown nature of the long-term risks associated with its ingestion.
It’s surprising to us that so many health sites online are touting the magical benefits of peptides for all types of health outcomes including weight loss, without linking to one single safety study in most cases.
We find it to be illogical to use peptides for weight loss given the lack of safety data on their use in human trials. There are many weight loss supplements as well as lifestyle modifications that are proven effective in clinical studies and which we would consider to be much safer options than peptides.
Do Collagen Peptides Cause Weight Loss?
Collagen peptides are one of the most popular dietary supplements, and for good reason. They're proven in medical studies to have significant benefits to skin, and are one of the most promising dietary supplements for anti-aging in our opinion, especially given their lack of side effects.
Collagen is a type of protein, so it's more of a food product than a dietary supplement.
While we do recommend collagen generally for skincare and joint health, we don't recommend collagen peptide supplementation for weight loss. We cannot identify any medical research suggesting that collagen is effective for weight loss. The vast majority of clinical trials on collagen relate to skin, joints or pain relief.
Our Weight Loss Supplement Recommendations
There exist several over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss supplements with significant clinical backing in terms of both efficacy and safety.
We recommend dietary fiber as a safe and effective weight loss supplement, especially when combined with caloric restriction.
A landmark medical study found that moderate caloric restriction (750 calories per day below baseline) combined with dietary fiber intake (a minimum of 20 grams per day) caused an average weight loss of 16.03 pounds over 6 months. That’s a pace of 32 pounds per year of weight loss in overweight individuals simply by adding fiber to a moderately-restricted-calorie diet.
The fiber supplement we recommend is SuperGut Fiber Mix. It contains a clean and effective formulation: a blend of three different types of unflavored dietary fiber and zero additive ingredients. It can be mixed into liquids or foods. Interested consumers can buy SuperGut fiber at this link.
We recommend using two fiber mixes per day, which provides 16 grams (g) of total fiber. Diet should provide the remaining fiber necessary to meet the 20 g minimum threshold.
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is another dietary supplement which has been shown in clinical trials to cause weight loss.
MCT oil is quickly absorbed by the body and increases metabolic rate, which causes fat loss. A meta-study on MCT oil documented weight loss of 1.12 pounds over 10 weeks. This equates to a potential annualized weight loss of 5.84 pounds with MCT oil supplementation.
We recommend Bulletproof MCT Oil as our top MCT oil product, because it has a clean and effective formulation. The only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts, and the product has no questionable additives. Interested consumers can buy Bulletproof MCT Oil at this link.
The effective dose range of MCT oil for weight loss (based on the medical review) is 1.7 g to 10 g per day. Bulletproof's MCT oil provides 14 g in one tablespoon, so around two-thirds of one tablespoon should be a maximally-effective dosage.