In this article:
- What is marine collagen and how it benefits your health
- Marine collagen and the health of your skin
- Marine collagen & skin conditions
- Marine collagen for skin and nails
- How to choose your marine collagen supplement
Before we dive into its benefits, first, let's get a baseline of collagen's role in the body and what exactly marine collagen supplements are. Collagen is one of the most fundamental building blocks of the body. There are many types of collagen, but the most prevalent by far is called Type I collagen. Type I collagen is rich in amino acids glycine, proline, and glutamine, which all serve their own unique functions in the body. The benefits of collagen are far reaching - literally - from the health of your hair and all throughout your body including bone health, the tissues in your blood vessels, and the health of your gut.
If you're shopping for collagen powder, you're likely to come across the phrase "collagen peptides". Simply put, hydrolyzed collagen peptides are just the more broken down form of collagen that can more easily enter the bloodstream upon digestion. They have been hydrolyzed into small peptides which are readily bioavailable in humans.
Marine collagen, aka fish collagen, is, you guessed it, derived from fish! Marine collagen is extracted from fish skin and scales of wild caught fish. These parts of the fish often go un-eaten and unused, making it a more sustainable keto, paleo, and gluten free supplement that can easily be incorporated into almost any diet. Compared to another popular type of collagen, grass-fed bovine collagen (usually found in bone broth), marine is richer in type I and is more bioavailable or effectively absorbed by the body. Unlike bovine collagen, marine collagen is made up almost entirely of type 1 collagen which have been hydrolyzed down into smaller peptide molecules. For good reason, marine collagen is a popular choice for anybody who wishes to restore their skin’s elasticity and improve signs of aging as their body's collagen production slows.
The short answer to this question is YES! Since collagen is responsible for keeping the connective tissues and skin healthy, plump, and bright, marine collagen is essentially the fountain of youth in powdered form. Unlike a lot of tall claims out there, the health and beauty benefits of marine collagen are backed by science.
When collagen levels drop, fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, cellulite, and uneven skin tone and texture increase. In addition to our body's natural slow down of collagen synthesis, free radicals caused by ultraviolet light can also cause skin cells to become damaged. Marine collagen, in particular, is loaded with the amino acid glycine, which is often referred to as the ‘anti-aging amino’. Glycine, in turn, helps to increase the production of even more collagen in the body to speed up cell regeneration and slow signs of aging.
Oral intake of marine collagen peptides has been found to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by ramping up elastin and collagen synthesis. The effects are extremely long-lasting and can be noticed even four weeks after supplementation! Collagen also helps to fight free radicals by protecting the skin from oxidation, which can cause dark spots and unevenness. Collagen benefits not only your skin's elasticity, but it also does wonders to restore skin hydration. Just by mixing a little marine collagen powder into your morning coffee or breakfast, you can help to improve the appearance of any and all of the following signs of aging:
Marine collagen is so effective at restoring your skin's health that it can even be used in the management of serious skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Rosacea is characterized by red and inflamed skin that is thought to be caused by connective tissue damage. Highly bioavailable marine collagen is absorbed and distributed efficiently into the dermis, the deepest layer of the skin, to repair damaged connective tissues and stimulate the production of new collagen and elastin in the skin. Marine collagen's hydrating benefits can also help to alleviate dry, scaly, and inflamed skin brought about by eczema and psoriasis. Collagen can also be used to manage wounds and scars that are left from injuries and skin conditions.
Marine collagen is a great addition to your entire beauty routine, not just skincare.
Whereas collagen is the main protein found in the skin, keratin is the most abundant and important protein in the hair. Both keratin and collagen are heavily reliant on amino acid proline. Thus, by taking a collagen supplement it provides a necessary protein to spur more hair growth. Additionally, the same free-radical fighting power that protects the skin can be used to fight damage done to the hair follicles. This helps to prevent more grays from sprouting and less hair falling out by strengthening the dermis which contains the root of each individual hair. When looking at the overall benefits of marine collagen vs. biotin for healthy hair, collagen beats biotin at almost every turn!
Marine collagen has also been found to minimize hair loss and allow new, healthier, and shinier hair to grow in for women that experience postpartum hair loss. It can also be used to help people suffering from more serious conditions that cause hair loss, like alopecia, to help manage excessive hair loss and promote hair regrowth by incorporating collagen into their diets. The benefits are not limited to just women, however, as men with thinning hair and receding hairlines can also benefit from marine collagen.
When it comes to your entire beauty routine, compared to skin and hair, your nails are likely to be more of an afterthought. That's no problem with marine collagen! Decreased vitamin and collagen levels can leave nails brittle and soft. Not only that, nail polish and acrylic nail glue that's used to improve the appearance of nails actually causes more damage in the long run. Studies have demonstrated that collagen can increase nail growth, improve brittle nails, and lessen the frequency of broken nails.
With hundreds of collagen supplements and protein powders on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one. Collagen is virtually side effect free and has been deemed safe by the food and drug administration, but there are a couple of factors you should look out for to make sure you're getting the most effective supplement on the market. Firstly, collagen peptide powders are the most effective and bioavailable method of supplementing your collagen levels. Look for powders that are unflavored so they can easily be added to smoothies, oats, eggs, or your favorite hot drinks like coffee or tea to make your supplement routine hassle-free. Steer clear of added preservatives or artificial flavoring whenever you can, and look for products labeled "non-gmo" to ensure that you're getting 100% natural, clean ingredients. Your diet doesn't have to limit your collagen usage, either. There are plenty of marine collagen supplements that are keto and paleo friendly, as well as gluten-free. Pescatarians also opt for marine collagen over bovine to fit their nutrition preferences. Lastly, make sure marine collagen is extracted from wild caught fish, rather than farmed fish. Not only does this reduce the risk of diseases that can be spread by farmed fish, it's a much more sustainable option.