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What is Marine Collagen?

What is Marine Collagen?
This article has been independently verified for accuracy by Dr Harshi Dhingra MD.


Collagen accounts for about one-third of the body’s protein mass, making up the tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones. As the most abundant protein found within the body, collagen provides structure and support, ensuring total body health.

Without adequate collagen, age-related changes, such as weak muscles, wrinkles, and joint pain, begin to occur more rapidly. While we can’t completely reverse time, we can slow it down. In fact, consuming collagen including marine collagen can play a crucial part in this fight against time.

So, what is marine collagen exactly? What does marine collagen do? Which is better—bovine or marine collagen? And how much should you take per day? In this article, we will answer all of these questions and more. Let’s take a look!

Where Does Marine Collagen Come From?

While bovine collagen is frequently sourced from cows, marine collagen comes from the skin, bones, and scales of a fish. Through processing, this collagen is made into a flavorless powder, which can be easily added to smoothies, coffee, sauces, and other recipes.

Surprisingly, the fish industry produces a large amount of waste, frequently as much as 25% of the total production. Most often, this food waste is discarded. However, it’s entirely possible to produce marine collagen from these sources, offering a more sustainable approach.


What is Marine Collagen Good For?

Marine collagen contains a good amount of glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline—amino acids that are essential for optimal health. These amino acids, along with the others contained in collagen, give way to various benefits, including the following:

1. Improved Skin Health

Studies show how marine collagen can improve the overall appearance and structure of the skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles and enhancing skin elasticity. A recent study even showed how participants experienced increased skin hydration, firmness, and radiance after taking marine collagen for just 12 weeks.

2. Enhanced Gut Health

While more research is needed, early studies indicate that marine collagen may benefit the gut lining and overall gut health. The amino acid glycine, in particular, helps manage inflammation in the gut, as well as overall gut lining health. Additionally, marine collagen and all hydrolysed collagen powders are easily digestible by the body, helping individuals with stomach and digestion conditions obtain adequate protein.

3. Reduced Joint Pain

Over time, the joints in the body face inevitable wear and tear. In many cases, this leads to osteoarthritis, where the cartilage at the end of the bones becomes worn down. As a result, many individuals experience varying degrees of joint pain and stiffness.

Yet, studies show how consumption of marine collagen reduces inflammatory and catabolic markers of osteoarthritis. In many ways, this could be interpreted that marine collagen can help slow the progress of osteoarthritis and potentially prevent symptoms altogether however, research shows that consumption of collagen from any source can have the same benefits.

Additionally, marine collagen may help reduce soreness post-exercise, with some studies showing how it enhances recovery.

4. Increased Bone Strength

In particular, menopausal and post-menopausal women experience decreased bone density and increased bone loss. Consuming collagen from any source, including marine collagen, can help prevent this by encouraging the body to maintain bone mass and lay down new bone. At the same time, it’s not only menopausal women that can benefit from this; Both men and women lose bone mass at similar rates after 65 to 70 years of age.

5. Improved Nail and Hair Health

Research indicates that regular consumption of collagen can help prevent brittle nails and enhance nail growth. On top of this, collagen can also help improve hair growth, which is often associated with the body’s collagen supply.

Are There Any Side Effects Taking Marine Collagen?

For most, taking marine collagen doesn’t come with any major side effects. Generally, it is considered safe for most people.

Those allergic to fish should certainly not consume marine collagen. If you take medication regularly, it may also be beneficial to check with your doctor to ensure that this type of collagen won’t interfere with the medication’s effects.

Can I Take Marine Collagen While Pregnant?

Individuals who are pregnant should take extra caution and potentially avoid this supplement.

So, why can’t you take marine collagen while pregnant? Surprisingly, it’s not that you can’t. Some women actually use marine collagen to help reduce stretch marks during and after pregnancy. However, doctors tend to use caution with this supplements during pregnancy because the immune system can become hypersensitive.

This increased hyper-sensitivity means that some women may develop fish allergies during this period. With marine collagen, this inevitably can pose some risks. Before adding any supplements to your regular regime when pregnant, it’s always a good idea to discuss your options with your doctor. They can help you determine a diet that works for you during your pregnancy and afterward.

What is Hydrolyzed Marine Collagen?

Hydrolyzed marine collagen is often a higher quality collagen. “Hydrolyzed” refers to the fact that the collagen has been broken down via hydrolysis (the use of water and enzymes). This process actually makes collagen peptides (from any source) more bioavailable, which can be beneficial for those with gut issues or inflammation since the body can absorb and use these peptides more easily.

Is Marine Collagen Better Than Bovine Collagen?

When it comes to the bioavailability of nutrients (which means how well your body can absorb the collagen peptides), hydrolyzed collagen, no matter what the type, is best. Studies support the use of both marine and bovine for a 360 approach to potential health benefits.

Selecting & Consuming Quality Marine Collagen

Generally, good-quality collagen (from any source, including marine) contains no fillers or additives. Added chemicals can actually interfere with good digestion and health, which isn’t many people’s goal when taking collagen supplementation.

Usually, checking for third-party verification regarding the facts above can validate the product’s claims.

So, how much marine collagen per day should you consume? In research studies, dosages range from 2.5 grams to 15 grams per day. It can further be inferred from these sources that collagen should be consumed over time, such as months or as part of an ongoing regime to notice health improvements.

You should further not rely on marine collagen as your only source of protein. Rather, it should complement other sources. Marine collagen only contains type I collagen, which contributes to the maintenance of skin, tendons, organs, and bone. While type 1 collagen accounts for about 90% of collagen in the body, variety is always important, especially considering that marine collagen doesn’t contain a complete amino acid profile.

Other sources of protein in your diet can include:

  • Bovine collagen
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Garlic
  • Leafy greens

A multi-collagen powder is usually best as they contains multiple types of collagen proteins to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Finally, Should You Take Marine Collagen?

The best way to determine this is to take a good look at your diet. Are you getting enough protein and collagen from the food you eat on a regular basis? Surprisingly, most people don’t.

All in all, any type of collagen can make a great addition to your diet, providing your body with the building blocks it needs to maintain and improve a variety of necessary body tissues. It’s also ultra-easy to add to your diet, flawlessly mixing into various recipes. With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why collagen has become one of the most popular supplements worldwide.

Neil Durrant
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