If you had taken a stroll through the vitamins aisle in a pharmacy or supermarket, you may have noticed bottles of marine collagen supplements stacked up on the racks. Collagen is a type of protein that the human body produces in abundance to help in the building of skin, joints, bones, and muscles.
So, have you ever questioned the need for collagen supplements considering it’s produced naturally (that too in abundance) in our body? It’s because as we age, the net production of collagen reduces significantly. As a result, our body starts rationing the supply of collagen, causing an increased risk of brittle bones and poor skin complexion.
Luckily, today’s scientific advancements give people a choice to opt for collagen supplements to make up for the biological shortage of collagen. Even better, consumers have a wide array of collagen products to choose from—marine collagen, undenatured type II collagen, or hydrolyzed collagen.
What Is Marine Collagen?
As the name suggests, manufacturers derive marine collagen protein from sea animals. Most marine collagen products in the market come from fish scales, bones and skin. Hence, you can also refer to marine collagen as fish collagen peptides.
To extract collagen, the fish’s flesh is removed, and its skin is thoroughly cleansed. Then, the fish’s skin undergoes a hydrolysis process with acid and food-grade enzymes. This process helps manufacturers to procure fish collagen peptides and subsequently produce fish collagen supplements.
Marine collagen supplements have the advantage of containing high collagen levels and also absorbing well into the body. It’s also classified as Type I collagen, the predominant category of collagen in human bodies, allowing consumers to get the most benefits.
What Is The Difference Between Collagens And Marine Collagens?
The main difference between general collagen products and marine collagen is the source; one is obtained from sea life while the other is produced naturally in human bodies.
Apart from the obvious, fish collagen has better absorption compared to endogenous collagen. While endogenous collagen is an essential protein, its structure is not optimal for oral absorption.
Marine collagen, though, is made up of tiny particles that can easily absorb itself into our bodies. In fact, the absorption of fish collagens is 1.5 times faster than other collagen sources.
Bovine vs Marine Collagen
Bovine collagen, also known as grass-fed bovine collagen, comes from cows or cattle. Grass-fed bovine collagen contains high levels of Type I and Type III collagen. On the other hand, marine collagens only have Type I collagens; so what does this mean?
Our body has 28 types of collagen; however, only seven of them are essential to human health. Type I collagen is naturally found all over the body, whereas Type III collagen is in the skin, muscles, and blood vessels.
Since bovine collagen has both Type I and Type III collagen, it’s the preferred choice for some as it has a superior health profile and covers a broader range of health benefits. Nevertheless, fish collagen has the advantage of being the only pescetarian-friendly collagen supplement. Marine collagens consists of small particles, so it’s easier to absorb the body.
In short, bovine and marine collage each comes with their own list of pros and cons; the best type of collagen depends on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for cosmetic and “anti-ageing” effects, you may wish to take marine collagens. Or if you’re looking to maintain your general health (i.e. preserving gut and muscle health), go may opt for bovine collagen instead.
Is Marine Collagen Good For You?
Yes, marine collagens come with a bundle of health and cosmetic benefits. The most popular use of fish collagen peptides is for “anti-ageing” effects.
Marine collagen peptides are comprised of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline amino acids. These constituents promote the healing of skin cells and stimulate the production of natural collagen and fibroblasts, a biological cell that synthesizes collagen. This cascade of events will help maintain clear skin and improve nail and hair growth in the long run.
Additionally, fish collagen peptides promote bone and joint health. Although we still don’t understand the exact mechanism, researchers have proposed that fish collagen assists the absorption of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. In turn, these minerals stimulate osteoblasts, a type of cell that’s involved in bone synthesis and mineralization.
Moreover, many marine collagen products are co-formulated with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, or even fruit extracts. Therefore, you can effortlessly obtain a whole other range of benefits from just one type of supplement —isn’t that just so convenient and easy?
Does Marine Collagen Work? How Long Does It Take To Work?
All these health companies wouldn’t be investing their time and money into marine collagens for nothing, so marine collagen does work! In 2020, a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted to study the effect of hydrolyzed marine collagens on skin health.
The participants of this study were divided into two groups: treatment group (given 10 g of hydrolyzed marine collagen powder daily for 12 weeks) and control group (given placebo powder daily for 12 weeks). The progress was measured by assessing the participants’ skin wrinkles, elasticity, and self-reported appearances.
After 12 weeks of study, the researchers reported a 35% decline in wrinkle score amongst those treated with hydrolyzed marine collagen compared to that of placebo. Besides, the treatment group also recorded significant improvements in skin elasticity, firmness, radiance, and firmness compared to the control group.
Though this study suggests it takes 12 weeks to observe the full benefits of fish collagen, the actual time it takes to work varies from person to person. Having that said, marine collagens take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to show their effects when consumed regularly. Hence, it is crucial to keep in mind that marine collagens aren’t a one-time supplement but rather a long-term one.
What Are The Side Effects Of Marine Collagens?
Like any other complementary medications, marine collagen products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that marine collagen is not safe. As a nature-derived supplement, marine collagen has minimal side effects.
However, here are some unpleasant effects you may experience after consuming marine collagen supplements:
- Minor bloating
- Diarrhea or constipation
Also, remember to consult your doctor or pharmacist to get advice on when is the best time to take marine collagen supplements to avoid drug-drug interactions. They may advise you to space out the intake of fish collagen supplements from other vitamins or medications.
Should I Avoid Marine Collagens?
By and large, marine collagens provide more benefits than harm, but it does not apply to everyone. In some cases, it is better and safer to avoid fish collagen peptides altogether despite their favourable advantages.
If you’re allergic to fish or shellfish, marine collagens aren’t for you. Alternatively, you can try Collagen Hydrolysate, vertisol collagen, or bovine collagen.
Marine collagen products consist of seafood. So if you have any health conditions such as hyperthyroidism and therefore have restrictions on seafood foods, this collagen product isn’t for you either. Additionally, if you’re on a vegetarian or vegan diet, you may consider vegan collagen instead.
Pregnant or breastfeeding
As of now, there’s limited safety evidence on the use of marine collagen during pregnancy or breastfeeding. So, it’s better to avoid using fish collagen supplements during this time. Instead, you can take foods such as quinoa rice, spinach, or kale, which are both healthy and capable of stimulating collagen synthesis.
Collagen is an essential protein for our well-being, and, amazingly, we have discovered the technology to bottle collagen up into supplements.
Even so, you need to evaluate the ingredients of the collagen product to make an informed purchase of collagen supplements. The safest route to take is to consult your healthcare professional before commencing any supplements, especially if you are currently taking any medications or have any medical conditions.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional
- Chirp Internet. (2021). Nourished Life. Retrieved July 21, 2021, from Nourished Life website: https://www.nourishedlife.com.au/article/5084327/why-choose-marine-collagen.html
- Evans, M., Lewis, E. D., Zakaria, N., Pelipyagina, T., & Guthrie, N. (2020). A randomized, triple‐blind, placebo‐controlled, parallel study to evaluate the efficacy of a freshwater marine collagen on skin wrinkles and elasticity. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 20(3), 825–834. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.13676
- Kalumi Beauty. (2019). Collagen Peptides vs Marine Collagen, What’s The Difference? Retrieved July 21, 2021, from Kalumi website: https://kalumibeauty.com/blogs/in-the-glow/collagen-peptides-vs-marine-collagen-what-s-the-difference