Marine collagen is often used as a supplement to support the aging process, accompanied by decreased collagen production in your body. Collagen is the building block of skin, organs, hair, and bones.
Marine collagen is derived from fish scales, skin, and bones.
Marine collagen peptides, also known as marine collagen hydrolysate, are broken down into an easily digestible form.
Marine collagen is claimed to slow aging and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body, but the evidence supporting these claims is still limited.
There are very few side effects and the supplements are considered safe.
Collagen is not considered an essential protein, meaning that the body can synthesize it from other amino acids, and we do not need to obtain it from our diet to survive. However, collagen is a crucial protein that plays a structural role in the body, particularly in the skin, bones, cartilage, and connective tissue. When you consume marine collagen peptides, they are broken down into amino acids and distributed to the protein-deficient places in your body.
What is marine collagen?
Marine collagen is a supplement derived from fish scales, skin, and bones. Many people prefer marine-derived collagen over bovine-derived collagen because it’s more environmentally sustainable.
In addition, marine collagen is believed to support healthy skin and hair as you age, and there are a number of other health benefits, but the evidence supporting these claims is still limited.
Should you try marine collagen?
Factors such as exposure to UV rays, smoking, alcohol consumption, and a high-sugar diet reduce collagen production. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider collagen supplementation to reduce signs of aging and keep pace with natural collagen production in your body. Marine collagen is perfectly safe to incorporate as a supplement if you want to help prevent wrinkles and support your body as you age.
Supplements often come in a tasteless powder to be mixed into water, tea, coffee, or smoothies. Capsules are also available. If you have an allergy to fish, don’t take marine collagen. Instead, look for bovine-derived collagen.
Health benefits of marine collagen
Marine collagen has been suggested to slow the aging process, working on skin, hair, bones, and muscle mass. Most of the evidence comes from preclinical in vitro studies or studies in mice, while the evidence in humans is limited to a few studies of small sample sizes and short durations.
Collagen is an antioxidant, which means it works to neutralize free radicals in your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that develop as a result of living in the world. For example, environmental pollution, industrial chemicals, smoke, and alcohol can all increase free radicals in your body, causing oxidative stress. Antioxidants prevent and neutralize free radicals, preventing them from affecting your skin or leading to disease.
Several studies have indicated that collagen peptides moisturize skin, improve elasticity, and reduce wrinkles and roughness in the skin. Additionally, marine collagen helps skin cells adhere to each other, strengthening plasticity and breaking down into amino acids necessary for wound healing.
One review of 11 studies found that marine collagen supplements may improve skin hydration and elasticity, but noted that the quality of the evidence was low and further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Promotes hair growth
Just like free radicals damage your skin, they also hinder hair follicles. More research is needed to understand the relationship between collagen and hair, but many experts believe that it has to do with the protein keratin.
Keratin makes up the majority of your hair. Collagen contains a large amount of glycine and proline, both of which are the main components of keratin. By incorporating proline into your diet, you might stimulate hair follicles, promoting hair growth and preventing hair from thinning and graying.
Supports bone and joint health
Researchers have found that collagen increases bone density, supports joint health, and prevents bone degeneration. A study following postmenopausal women at risk for decreased collagen production found that collagen peptides significantly increased bone mineral density. Collagen accumulates in cartilage, the rubbery tissue between your joints. When collagen declines, the cartilage wears away, and joints rub together, causing pain, inflammation, and sometimes osteoarthritis.
Helps build muscle mass
Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass and muscular function. One study gave collagen peptides to a sample of elderly men as they underwent three months of resistance training. Compared to the placebo group, subjects who took collagen saw greater improvements in muscle strength and higher rates of fat loss.
Good for your gut
Collagen is anti-inflammatory. Therefore, when it enters your bloodstream, it reduces the inflammatory response of your cells. However, when your gut is inflamed, it can create a domino effect of inflammation throughout the body. Collagen contains amino acids that replenish the lining of your digestive tract, which prevents inflammation.
Taking marine collagen peptides might soothe stomach problems and lead to better digestion and less bloating.
What’s the difference between collagen and marine collagen?
When shopping for collagen supplements, you may see many descriptive terms, including collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, marine collagen hydrolysate, and simply collagen. As a result, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about what product will work best for you.
Marine collagen vs. collagen peptides
Collagen is a protein that our tissues can’t directly absorb. Therefore, it must be broken down into smaller forms. Collagen peptides go through a process called hydrolysis, where the collagen is broken down into amino acids, which our bodies can easily absorb. You may also see “marine collagen hydrolysate” or “hydrolyzed marine collagen” on the label.
Marine collagen vs. bovine
Collagen is traditionally derived from bovine (cow). On the other hand, marine collagen is derived from fish. There is little difference between the two, but many people prefer to use marine collagen for religious or dietary reasons. Furthermore, it is also more environmentally friendly to purchase marine collagen, which is made from parts of the fish that would otherwise be discarded.
Side effects of marine collagen
Marine collagen is safe to use, with rare cases of reported side effects. If you’re allergic to fish, you will have an allergic reaction to marine collagen — which is derived from fish.
Other reported side effects include:
- Increased calcium levels
- May increase the risk of bleeding
- May interact with certain medications such as blood thinners
Marine collagen peptides show promise in supporting the aging process and having an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. However, more research is needed to determine whether the effects seen in animals will translate to improved health outcomes for humans.
Does marine collagen make you gain weight?
No. Collagen has not been reported to cause weight gain. Some studies indicate that, combined with resistance training, it increases muscle mass and decreases fat mass.
Is it ok to take marine collagen every day?
Yes. Most recommendations are 1–2 scoops of marine collagen powder daily, with expected results visible within eight weeks. Follow the instructions on the package.
Is marine collagen better than biotin?
Biotin is a B vitamin that is also known for supporting healthy skin and hair, but it serves a different function than collagen. There’s no evidence that one is better than the other, but there is more evidence to support that marine collagen supplements have anti-aging benefits.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Collagen.
- Nutrients. Diet and Skin Aging—From The Perspective of Food Nutrition.
- ScienceDirect. Keratin.
- JMIR Formative Research. Effect of a Daily Collagen Peptide Supplement on Digestive Symptoms in Health Women: 2-Phase Mixed Methods Study.