Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s found in our tendons, ligaments, skin, muscles, bones, and blood vessels—and it plays a vital role in maintaining our overall structural integrity. Unfortunately, our bodies produce about 1% less collagen with each passing year, and we’re consuming far less of it from natural sources than we used to. That is why is a good idea to include a collagen supplement in your diet.
So what is marine collagen?
There is a minimum of 16 different collagen types found in the human body, but 90% of these collagen proteins are types 1, 2, and 3. Each of these individual types of collagen has a slightly different function in the body and originate from different sources. Much of the marine collagen (or sometimes called fish collagen) sold today is derived from fish like cod or snapper, specifically the skin and scales of these fish. Marine Collagen has the greatest abundance of type 1 collagen. Type 1 collagen peptides are the most abundant collagen in the human body; Type I is the building block for beautiful skin, flexible connective tissues and strong bones.
Where do the fish in marine collagen come from?
Marine collagen can come from two different sources: wild-caught fish and aquaculture fish. Wild-caught fish are caught by fishermen in their natural environment, such as oceans, rivers and lakes. Aquaculture fish are sourced from farm-raised populations, such as cultivated fishery installations. Fish farmers can play a role in the rearing process to enhance production. Wild-caught and farm-raised sources are complementary. Balancing the two sources and treating them with equal respect can help us to feed the world.
How is it made?
It begins with a natural process of extracting gelatin from the raw material (skin and scales of fish), which contains native collagen. Once the collagen protein is removed, it’s broken down into smaller units of protein (or collagen peptides) through a process called hydrolysis (why you’ll also hear these referred to as hydrolysed collagen). These smaller bits make it so marine collagen peptides easily dissolve in hot or cold liquids, which makes it great for adding to your morning coffee, smoothie, or oatmeal. And yes, it’s odorless and tasteless.
What are the benefits of taking marine collagen?
- Promotes healthy skin & anti-ageing effects
Animal research has found that consuming marine collagen maintains dermal thickness on mice by promoting the number and activity of skin fibroblasts, or cells in the dermis that produce collagen and other fibers—and research on humans seems to confirm this effect.* In one study, women who took a supplement containing hydrolysed Type I collagen derived from tilapia had better supported skin with diminished appearance of lines, photo-aging, and better maintained moisture levels.*
- Antioxidant Protection
Marine collagen contains several amino acids: lysine, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Proline and glycine play important antioxidant roles by protecting against free radicals that cause cell damage. Hydroxyproline is made into glycine and it may help regulate a cell’s oxidative state. Preclinical studies show that marine collagen protects against oxidative skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light (sunlight).
- Promotes healthy bone growth & strength
In cell culture, ingesting marine collagen increases collagen synthesis and helps incorporate minerals into the bone matrix. In addition, marine collagen supplementation significantly increases the size and mineral density of femur bones. Bone strength depends not only on the quantity of bone tissue but also on the quality, which is altered by its geometry, shape, mineral content and composition, and its collagen microstructure. In cell culture, marine collagen improves collagen quality while supplementation in animals significantly increases bone mineral density and toughness.
- Improves Protein Intake and Body Composition
Optimal dietary protein intake beneficially impacts weight management, lean body mass, muscle repair, and immune function, among other benefits. It is also essential to maximize athletic performance by helping to build muscle and improve workout performance and recovery. Marine collagen is a pure protein with no fat or carbohydrate to dilute its impact. In addition, the protein building block, proline, more than any other amino acid, is needed for whole body protein synthesis. Therefore, marine collagen’s proline content can help increase lean body mass.