Diving Deep into Marine Collagen: The Secret Weapon Against Aging

Diving Deep into Marine Collagen: The Secret Weapon Against Aging

In the UK we are a nation of consumers hungry for the latest youthful ageing trend, with the healthy-ageing product market valued in 2020 at £1.4 billion and projected to grow. This trend reflects an ageing population and increasing demand for products that claim to reduce the signs of ageing. 

However, despite the popularity of Botox and dermal fillers, which command a collective spend of hundreds of millions of pounds annually, there’s been an equally strong surge of interest in nutraceuticals, or functional food supplements, that promote healthy ageing. 

One booming area is collagen supplementation: in fact the global collagen market is forecast to reach 2.5 - 3 billion US dollars by 2030. Embraced mainly by US and European consumers, collagen supplements are fast becoming a popular alternative to invasive beauty treatments due to their proven benefits to skin health as well as joints and mobility, bones and gut health

While bovine collagen remains the most popular choice, marine collagen is emerging as a solid contender, offering similar benefits and an alternative for those motivated by religious, ethical and environmental concerns. Let’s take a closer look at marine collagen’s nutritional and functional profile:

What is Marine Collagen?

Marine collagen is a type of collagen protein derived from fish, shellfish and other invertebrates, and made using the discarded parts of the fish, such as the scales or skin. Often derived from white fish such as cod or snapper, it is an ethical and sustainable form of protein because it is sourced from byproducts of the fishing industry that would otherwise be discarded. 

Marine collagen is extracted from the skin or scales of the fish using a process called hydrolysis, which is a complex multi-step process using water, heat and enzymes. This process breaks down the protein into smaller peptide chains, creating a smaller particle size that can be absorbed through the gut wall and fully utilised by the body to build muscle, repair tissue, and restore plumpness to the skin. 

Once the collagen has been hydrolysed, it is filtered and sterilised to remove contaminants or impurities and then thoroughly dried and transformed into a powder, ready to be incorporated into collagen powders and capsules for supplementation. 

What’s the advantage of consuming Marine Collagen?

The advantage of using marine collagen is its abundance in type 1 collagen, which is the dominant type in the human body, comprising over 90% of total collagen, and found in our skin, hair and nails, and connective tissue. Marine collagen differs from bovine collagen, another popular source of collagen supplementation in that it mainly comprises type 1, rather than type 1 and 3 collagen. It also has excellent bioavailability because of its low molecular weight.

  • One study from 2019 suggests: ‘Marine collagen has attracted wide scientific and industrial interest due to its water solubility, safety, biocompatibility, high biodegradability, low immunogenicity [and] easy extractability.’

Marine Collagen presents a credible alternative to bovine sources for those who may wish to avoid meat for religious, environmental or ethical reasons. It presents similar benefits to human health as bovine collagen, including promoting skin hydration, elasticity and youthful texture, as well as benefits to bone support and a healthy gut lining. 

The Role of Collagen in the Body

Collagen plays a vital role in the body in several key ways, from protecting the lining of the gut from harmful invaders, to cushioning joints, building muscle, repairing tissues and healing wounds. But since type 1 collagen is the major protein building block in the human body, let’s take a deeper look at the specific jobs it does:

Spotlight on Type 1 Collagen:

  • Supports the skin: type 1 collagen provides structural support and strength in the dermis layer of the skin.
  • Organic matrix of bones: type 1 collagen provides a scaffolding for mineral composition and contributes to strength and flexibility.
  • Cartilage: type 1 collagen is found in the gel-like discs in the vertebrae of our spines, and in the meniscus of our knees, providing stability and cushioning. 
  • Teeth: type 1 collagen is a key compound found in the dentin that lies underneath the enamel layer of teeth, providing the structural framework. 

It also plays a key role in the flexibility and strength of tendon and ligaments, as well as connective tissue elsewhere in the body that requires tensile strength and structural support. 

As we age, our collagen production declines by approximately 1% every year. This has a potentially detrimental effect on the body’s ability to maintain the structure and strength of its tissues. This decline in collagen can lead to deterioration of the body’s physical functions, which is why a collagen supplement rich in type 1 can be helpful in slowing this ageing process. 

Marine Collagen and Skin Health

As previously mentioned, marine collagen is a sustainable, ethical and environmentally conscious form of collagen rich in the type 1 collagen most abundant in the human body. It has become an increasingly popular choice amongst consumers who wish to support the repair, renewal and youthful texture and appearance of their skin. 

So how does marine collagen support better skin health?

Improved elasticity: one study found that a formula containing marine collagen peptides and plant-derived antioxidants showed a marked improvement in skin elasticity and sebum production (which declines as skin ages, leaving skin drier and more prone to fine lines and wrinkles).

Improved hydration: one study offering a test group a formula comprising marine collagen peptides, biotin, vitamin C and other nutrients observed marked improvement in skin hydration, density, and decreased roughness compared to the control group over a 12-week period.

Radiance and firmness: One study using hydrolysed marine collagen on a group of women aged between 45 - 60 years found that in addition to significant improvements in elasticity and hydration, after 12 weeks study subjects showed a statistically significant improvement in radiance, firmness and overall skin score, by up to 25% compared to placebo. 

To sum up, marine collagen, rich in the type 1 collagen that predominates in the human body, presents a credible alternative to topical beauty treatments for ageing skin. 

Beyond Skin Deep: Marine Collagen's Impact on Age-Related Conditions

Marine collagen’s benefits go beyond skin deep, however, which is why you might want to know how taking marine collagen can positively influence other key signs of ageing, helping you to maintain youthfulness and vitality for longer : 

  • Joint health and osteoarthritis: taking marine collagen can help with maintaining joint lubrication and cartilage integrity, potentially easing the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other joint-related issues. The ingestion of hydrolysed collagen has been shown to stimulate chondrocytes (cells in healthy cartilage) to produce cartilage matrix, and to ‘provide improvement in some measures of pain and function in some men and women with OA or other arthritic conditions.’

  • Improved bone density: type 1 collagen plays an important role in bone regeneration, since it is capable of increasing bone mineral density, mineral metabolism and the maturation and activity of bone cells, otherwise known as osteoblasts. This makes it an important ally in the prevention of age-related bone density loss and conditions such as osteoporosis. 

  • Gut health and digestion: collagen can support gut health and aid in building and repairing the gut lining which in certain chronic, inflammatory digestive diseases can become inflamed and ‘leaky’. One study into marine collagen showed a decrease in TNF-alpha expression (an inflammatory cytokine) and improvement in the integrity of the epithelial layer of the gut, which has positive implications for overall wellbeing, immune function and inflammation levels.
  • Hair and nails: Along with keratin, collagen makes up the proteins that promote growth and reduce brittleness in hair and nails. One study into marine collagen peptides found that supplementation promoted hair growth both in vitro and in vivo and increased the expression of hair growth factors.

  • Cardiovascular health: marine collagen peptides may contribute to cardiovascular health by supporting arterial stiffness and overall heart health, which is a significant concern as we age. Some studies have found consumption of collagen is associated with decreased fat mass, lower LDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, which are all markers associated with cardiovascular disease. 

  • Muscle mass and weight management: Muscle mass declines with age– a condition called sarcopenia. Collagen is a valuable source of anti-inflammatory amino acids that can support muscle repair and growth, particularly when coupled with strength training exercises. This in turn can positively influence markers that contribute to obesity. One study demonstrated that a combination of resistance exercise and collagen peptide supplementation resulted in a significant improvement in muscular strength as well as muscle mass and a corresponding decrease in fat mass compared to placebo.

    Read more here about how collagen can support your fitness journey and your recovery:
  • Cognitive health and mood improvement: Marine collagen is rich in the amino acid glycine, which has anti-inflammatory benefits to support cognitive functions and mood. Glycine is an amino acid that plays a nootropic role in the central nervous system and neurotransmission through stimulating dopamine. In one study, healthy participants took collagen supplementation for four weeks and performed significantly better in word list memory tests and other tests that measured cognitive function.

Choosing the Right Marine Collagen Supplement

Now you know about all the amazing ways marine collagen can benefit your health as you get older, let’s take a look at some of the considerations to bear in mind when choosing a suitable marine collagen supplement for your needs. 

How has it been sourced? Most marine collagen is sourced as a byproduct of the existing fishing industry, from discarded catch including the skin and scales of the fish. However it is also important to ascertain whether the fish itself is from farmed or wild sources. Most marine collagen supplements on the market use farmed fish, which may be treated in various ways. 

Farmed: Treated with antibiotics/Poor omega 3: omega 6 ratio/Fish feed contaminated with PCBs

Wild: No antibiotic use/Higher omega 3: omega 6 ratio/Natural diet 

What types of fish or shellfish have been used? Planet Paleo only uses pollock for its range of wild-caught Marine Collagen supplements. 

If you have a shellfish allergy, have you made sure that the product is shellfish free? Planet Paleo’s Marine Collagen is free from shellfish and made in a facility that is also shellfish free. 

Good to Know

Not only does Planet Paleo exclusively use wild-caught white fish from sustainably managed fisheries, its entire Marine Collagen range is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, which means it meets rigorous standards of sustainability and environmental protection. Planet Paleo is proud to be the only producer in the UK of a fully MSC-certified range of collagen products. 

Incorporating Marine Collagen into Your Daily Routine

Finally once you have your marine collagen, how should you use it? Marine collagen is hydrolysed, meaning it mixes well into smoothies, juices, tea and coffee, and even recipes like these Banana Breakfast pancakes. They’re gluten free, high in protein and fibre, and only use the natural sugars from fruit, so make a great addition to a healthy breakfast or snack. Give them a try!

You will need:

  • 3 ripe medium bananas
  • 3 tblsp gram flour
  • 3 tblsp buckwheat flour
  • 3 tblsp Planet Paleo Marine Collagen peptides
  • Half a can of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 handfuls of raisins (optional)
  • 2 tblsp chia or flax seeds (optional, for extra fibre)
  • 2 free range eggs OR ½ tsp of xanthan gum

Mash the bananas and slowly pour in the coconut milk and the eggs. Mix carefully and then stir in the dry ingredients. Add the seeds and raisins last. Heat the oven to 180C (fan) and pour onto a baking sheet in a flat tray. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until brown on top and cooked all the way through. Cool and then cut into squares, which can be stored in the fridge and toasted when you need them!


To sum up, marine collagen makes a great, healthy, high-protein addition to your daily routine, delivering solid benefits not just to skin, nails and hair, but other physical and cognitive functions associated with ageing. It’s easy to get these benefits by using just one to two tablespoons of marine collagen a day. You can shop our Marine Collagen here.