Collagen supplements can help improve joint health, nourish your hair, skin and nails, and strengthen your bones. This long list of benefits has caused a spike in popularity for collagen products. But before you go shopping online, it’s important to know that not all collagen is created equal.
With so many protein powders, skincare serums and capsules to choose from, it leaves one question: Which collagen supplement is right for you? While most collagen powders are extracted from cattle, pigs or chicken, the marine collagen (collagen from fish) is growing in popularity.
Marine collagen has a number of unique health benefits, which you’ll learn about below. In addition, marine collagen can be consumed by individuals who can’t consume collagen from other sources (like pescatarians).
Below, we focus on marine collagen, or collagen extracted from fish. We explain how marine collagen is made, its unique health benefits and how to find high-quality marine collagen.
What Is Marine Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body. You can find collagen in your connective tissues, including your ligaments, joints, cartilage, and even your hair, skin, and nails. Unfortunately, your natural collagen production declines as you age — which is where collagen supplements come in .
Marine collagen is a dietary supplement made by extracting collagen from fish skin, bones and scales. You will typically find fish collagen in a tasteless, white powder, capsule or cold liquid form.
Marine collagen is composed of almost entirely type I collagen — the most common collagen found in the human body . While there are 20 different kinds of collagen reported, type I accounts for 90% of the collagen in humans. Type I collagen gives structure to connective tissue, including your bones, ligaments, tendons and even teeth.
Marine collagen is filled with amino acids, the building blocks of protein. There are 18 different amino acids found in marine collagen, including eight essential amino acids (i.e., your body doesn’t produce them on its own). Two of these amino acids, proline and glycine, are associated with numerous health benefits, including blood sugar regulation, muscle repair and cell metabolism .
What Are the Health Benefits of Marine Collagen?
A decline in collagen levels due to aging can have negative implications for the health of your joints, ligaments, hair and skin elasticity. Fortunately, supplementing with collagen — like marine collagen powder — is associated with the following health benefits.
Marine Collagen Can Improve Skin Health
Marine collagen is particularly high in hydroxyproline, an amino acid which helps stimulate skin cell production. In addition, type I collagen (found in marine collagen), helps accelerate your body’s usual collagen synthesis, helping the skin repair itself from sun exposure, dryness and pollutants. In fact, one study found that a mere eight weeks of collagen supplementation improved skin hydration, elasticity, density and overall appearance .
Marine Collagen Can Improve the Health of Your Hair
Marine collagen can lead to glowing, healthy hair — particularly as you age.
Collagen has been shown to regenerate dormant hair follicles, thereby stimulating hair growth and preventing hair loss . In addition, due to collagen’s antioxidant properties, marine collagen may help prevent your hair from greying.
Marine Collagen Can Improve Joint Health
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your joints. Supplementing with marine collagen can help strengthen and repair your joints (whether due to aging or physical activity). In fact, studies show that supplementing with collagen can help repair damage due to osteoarthritis — a degenerative joint disease .
Marine Collagen Can Help Improve Gut Health
Collagen supplements can help strengthen the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, optimising gut function.
Marine collagen has been shown to help alleviate symptoms and severity of various gut issues, including IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and leaky gut . Lastly, studies show collagen supplements help regulate stomach acid production, thereby aiding in digestion and preventing stomach ulcers .
Marine Collagen Can Aid in Muscle Repair and Recovery
Collagen is filled with amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Consuming collagen protein (i.e., amino acids) immediately following exercise helps your muscles repair and rebuild in a process known as protein synthesis.
In addition, studies show that collagen supplementation, in combination with resistance training, helps improve body composition and muscle strength.
Is Marine Collagen Right for Me?
We recommend consuming between 10-30 grams of collagen per day. Whichever type you choose depends on you and your lifestyle.
While bovine collagen (collagen that comes from cattle) is typically the most popular collagen, marine collagen offers a number of benefits. While typically more expensive than bovine collagen, marine collagen is suitable for pescetarians, can be easier to digest and is made from type I collagen, which comes with a number of health benefits.
Here’s how bovine collagen and marine collagen compare, to help you determine which supplement is right for you:
Suitable for pescatarians
Not suitable for pescatarians
Sustainable whitefish wild caught
Pasture raised and grass-fed in EU
Collagen type 1
Collagen type 1 and 3
Potentially easier to digest and low molecular weight
Larger molecular weight than marine
Similar in size to human collagen
Less similar to human collagen than marine collagen
Higher cost (for a good source)
Not suitable for those with shellfish or fish allergies or intolerances
How To Buy High-Quality Marine Collagen
Not all marine collagen supplements are created equal. When shopping for a high-quality product, keep the following things in mind:
Search for a marine collagen powder sourced from wild-caught fish. Farmed fish can have a negative impact on the environment, contributing to overfishing and damaged habitats .
Always search for a marine collagen supplement with one ingredient: collagen. Be wary of supplements in capsule or stick form, which could contain bulking agents or fillers (opt for a collagen powder instead). These additives can contain harmful allergens, including gluten and grains.
Some marine collagen powders are fortified with other nutrients, including vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. In some cases, these nutrients — particularly vitamin C — have been shown to increase collagen synthesis, which can assist with bone and tissue repair. With that being said, adding ingredients to collagen reduces purity, digestibility and bioavailability (absorption), and can open the door to harmful fillers, bulking agents and additives.
Type of Collagen
Marine collagen typically contains 100% type I collagen. If a marine collagen supplement contains different types of collagen (such as type II or type III) this could signal some collagen was used from other animal sources.
How It’s Made
There are a number of ways to produce (i.e., extract) collagen. Hydrolysis is considered the gold standard in extracting collagen, as hydrolysed marine collagen (also known as collagen peptides) is easier to absorb and digest . Other methods can contain harmful heat, solvents or contaminants that can be damaging to your digestive system.
Marine collagen supplements should always be batch-tested to find inconsistencies in quality. Routine lab testing helps ensure every batch is up to standard and contains a rich source of marine collagen, free of heavy metals, toxins, mycotoxins, dioxins, pesticides and microbes.
One key benefit of marine collagen is it’s environmentally sustainable. While it’s estimated that 60% of fish products are wasted by the fishing industry, marine collagen takes this matter and transforms it into a healthy, usable product .
Always search for marine collagen made through sustainable means. Whenever possible, search for products packaged without plastic, using recyclable materials.
Why Hunter & Gather Marine Collagen Peptides Is the Best Product on the Market
Collagen is the single most abundant protein found in the human body. Collagen can be extracted from the connective tissue of virtually any animal. While bovine collagen (collagen from cattle) is the most popular, a relatively new collagen — marine collagen — poses a number of benefits.
While slightly more expensive than bovine collagen, marine collagen offers a suitable option for those following a pescetarian diet. In addition, marine collagen is a sustainable product with a number of health benefits, benefiting your joint health, skincare and digestive health.
Hunter & Gather Marine Collagen Peptides are extracted from 100% wild-caught white fish. Gluten-free, grain-free, non-GMO and containing just one ingredient (marine collagen), it's one of the best options available in the world of collagen. Plus, it's shipped in compostable packaging, using recycled materials.
Ready to try Hunter & Gather Marine Collagen? Order yours today!
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It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
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