What Is Marine Collagen?

marine collagen

As our understanding of health and wellness expands, we continue to discover the incredible benefits of naturally sourced supplements. Among these, marine collagen has recently surged to the forefront of the health world for its numerous benefits. 

This article will delve deep into marine collagen, its health benefits, how it is extracted, and the science behind its function in the human body.

What Is Marine Collagen?

Marine collagen is a specific type of collagen protein derived from sea life, mainly fish, shellfish, and jellyfish. The extraction process usually involves using the scales or skin of the fish.

The collagen derived from marine sources is rich in type I collagen. This type of collagen is the most abundant in our bodies, playing a crucial role in maintaining the health and elasticity of skin, hair, nails, and bones.

Marine collagen is appreciated for its potential health benefits when used as a dietary supplement. These may include promoting skin hydration and elasticity, enhancing joint health, strengthening bones, and supporting gut health.

Marine collagen is a sustainable alternative for those avoiding beef or chicken due to religious, ethical, or dietary reasons. It's sourced predominantly from byproducts of the fishing industry that would otherwise be discarded, making it an environmentally conscious choice, earning it popularity among green consumers.

Marine Collagen Source

Marine collagen is sourced primarily from fish skin, scales, and bones. Certain types of fish, such as cod and snapper, are more commonly used due to their high collagen content. 

In addition to fish, other marine sources include shellfish and jellyfish. These sources are usually byproducts of the food industry that would otherwise be discarded, making marine collagen a sustainable option that contributes to waste reduction.

The extraction process of marine collagen is complex and carefully regulated to ensure the purity and safety of the final product. It begins with hydrolysis, where the fish byproducts are subjected to water, heat, and enzymes to break down the complex collagen protein into smaller peptide chains. This results in hydrolyzed collagen, which has a much smaller molecular size and is easier for our bodies to absorb.

After hydrolysis, the product undergoes rigorous filtration and sterilisation to remove any potential impurities or contaminants. This is followed by a drying process, where the hydrolysed collagen is transformed into a powdered form. This powder is then ready to be packaged and incorporated into various health and beauty products, from dietary supplements to skin creams.

By using marine byproducts and following meticulous processing methods, marine collagen presents an effective and sustainable way to utilise resources that would otherwise go to waste, all while providing potential health benefits to consumers.

How Does Marine Collagen Work?

Marine collagen, once ingested, undergoes a process known as hydrolysis in the digestive system, breaking it down into smaller peptides that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, these collagen peptides travel throughout the body, promoting cellular health and protein synthesis in various tissues, notably the skin, joints, and bones.

The hydroxyproline-rich amino acid profile of marine collagen is key to its efficacy. Hydroxyproline plays a significant role in collagen stability and is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and texture. It also signals to the cells that the body needs new collagen, thus triggering increased collagen production.

Health Benefits of Marine Collagen

With its high bioavailability and unique amino acid profile, marine collagen holds considerable potential for various health benefits. Below we discuss four of the most prominent health benefits of marine collagen.

Marine Collagen Can Enhance Your Skin Health

One of the most recognized benefits of marine collagen is its capacity to promote skin health. The high concentration of type I collagen, beneficial for skin elasticity and hydration, aids in maintaining a youthful appearance and reducing signs of ageing.

Boosting Bone & Joint Health

Marine collagen may also play a pivotal role in supporting joint health. It provides essential proteins for maintaining joint structure and function, potentially reducing joint pain and discomfort.

The benefits of marine collagen extend to bone health as well. Given that collagen is a crucial part of our bone structure, supplementation with marine collagen, known for its high bioavailability, may improve bone strength and density.

Marine Collagen Can Improve Your Gut Health & Digestion

Marine collagen is also associated with potential benefits for the digestive system. It helps maintain a healthy gut lining by supplying the amino acids necessary for its repair and regeneration, potentially mitigating issues like 'leaky gut' syndrome.

Marine Collagen Can Promote Healthy Hair

Marine collagen could also contribute to hair health. Rich in the amino acids necessary for keratin production, the primary protein that makes up our hair, marine collagen can promote hair growth and strength. 

How To Take Marine Collagen

Marine collagen is readily available in various forms to suit different preferences, the most common being powders and capsules.

Powdered marine collagen is incredibly versatile and can easily be added to various foods and drinks. You can stir it into your morning coffee, blend it into a smoothie, mix it into soups, or even incorporate it into baking recipes. 

Marine collagen capsules provide a convenient alternative for those who prefer a more straightforward approach. They can be taken with a glass of water like any other supplement.

Dosage and frequency of use can depend on your individual needs and the specific product's instructions. However, a common recommendation is up to 10 grams of marine collagen daily. Some people may start with a smaller dose and gradually increase as tolerated. It's worth noting that collagen is a protein, and, like any protein supplement, it's best consumed with or after a meal to maximize absorption.

Potential Side Effects of Marine Collagen

While marine collagen is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, some sensitive individuals may experience minor side effects. These can include feelings of fullness, a lingering taste in the mouth, or minor digestive issues like bloating or changes in bowel habits. These side effects are typically mild and may diminish as the body adjusts to the supplement.

People with allergies to fish or shellfish should exercise caution when considering marine collagen, as it is primarily sourced from fish. An allergic reaction could occur from mild symptoms like rashes and itching to more severe, potentially life-threatening conditions such as anaphylaxis. If you have a shellfish allergy, you can still benefit from a marine collagen supplement that is shellfish free. Planet Paleo’s MSC-certified Marine Collagen range is free from shellfish and made in a shellfish-free processing facility. 

While marine collagen is a beneficial supplement for many, it's essential to consider your health needs and circumstances. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is advisable to obtain guidance from a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement. 

Marine Collagen vs Other Collagen Types

While marine collagen is a popular choice for supplementation, it is just one type among several available in the market. Other common sources include bovine (cow) and plant-based (vegan) collagens. Understanding how these differ is essential to make an informed decision that aligns with your dietary preferences and health goals.

Marine Collagen vs Bovine Collagen

Both marine and bovine collagens are rich sources of type I collagen, essential for skin, hair, and bone health. However, there are key differences between them.

Marine collagen is derived from fish whilst bovine collagen is sourced from cows. For this reason, people with fish or shellfish allergies must avoid marine collagen.

Bovine collagen also contains type I collagen but is a significant source of type III collagen. This type is beneficial for skin health and the formation of blood vessels and tissues within organs. Bovine collagen is typically more suitable for individuals seeking a broader range of collagen types and those who prefer a non-marine source.

Marine Collagen vs Vegan Collagen

Vegan collagen, a plant-based alternative, is a relatively new entry to the collagen market. Unlike marine or bovine collagen, vegan collagen can either be made from collagen-building cofactors that promote the body's collagen production, or from special bacterial strains that ferment amino acids to form the chief building blocks of collagen protein. This represents an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, or those with dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming animal products.

Marine Collagen Sustainability & Environmental Impact

Marine Collagen's sustainability hinges on its sourcing and production practices. A significant amount of marine collagen is derived from fish scales, a byproduct of the fishing industry, thereby reducing waste and promoting a circular economy. However, these fish must be caught sustainably to protect marine ecosystems from overfishing.

The extraction process of marine collagen, typically involving heat and chemical treatments, can contribute to environmental degradation. Manufacturers striving for sustainable practices are exploring more eco-friendly extraction techniques to mitigate these impacts.

While marine collagen can offer an eco-friendlier alternative to other animal-derived collagens, its environmental footprint depends on responsible sourcing and production practices. Conscious consumerism, prioritising products from companies with firm commitments to sustainability, can support a more environmentally responsible marine collagen industry. Planet Paleo is the only collagen company in the entire world to have a Marine Stewardship Council-certified Marine Collagen range. Read here for more information on Planet Paleo's sustainability initiatives.

Should You Take Marine Collagen?

Marine collagen, sourced mainly from fish scales, offers numerous health benefits, including improved skin health, joint support, enhanced gut health, and hair vitality.

Sustainability is a key consideration, with marine collagen's impact dependent on sourcing and processing practices. The industry faces challenges regarding overfishing and the environmental footprint of collagen extraction, calling for more sustainable methods.

Potential side effects of marine collagen are generally mild, but it's crucial for individuals with specific health conditions or allergies to consult their doctor before starting a new supplement routine. 

Future research and developments in marine collagen will likely focus on solidifying its health benefits, improving the sustainability of production, and creating even more effective supplements. 

Are you looking to improve your overall health and well-being? Explore Planet Paleo's full range of Marine Collagen Supplements.