So you’ve heard of marine collagen and you’re wondering what it is and if the hype around it is worth it?
In this guide, I will explain everything – what is marine collagen and what are its benefits for the skin, nails, joints and gut. I will also share what sets it apart from the other types and how it is better.
We’ll talk about whether it really helps or it is just hype (according to science). Are there any benefits to collagen powder, capsules or pills (and which ones to choose) for women and men?
All this in plain language for everyday folks.
To make everything crystal clear, let’s start from the beginning…
What is collagen and what does it do?
Collagen is a type of protein that interconnects the cells throughout the body. It holds the bones, organs, tissues, joints, etc. together.
In short, collagen holds the body together.
If you are in a cheap horror movie and your collagen suddenly disappears, you will become something resembling a liquid. Ugh.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body – over 30%! Over 75% of the skin is also collagen (it is very popular with its benefits for the skin). The building blocks of the connective tissue – bones, tendons, ligaments, etc. are also collagen.
Fun fact: The name “collagen” comes from the Greek κόλλα (kólla), meaning “glue”.
What is marine collagen and where does it come from?
According to the source, there are several types of collagen:
- Bovine collagen (derived from cows, the most common and affordable type);
- Porcine collagen (from pigs);
- Chicken collagen (you can guess it – from chickens);
- Marine (fish) collagen (derived from fish, we will discuss this one in the article);
Marine collagen is derived from the skin and scales of cold-water fish (like herring, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, etc.) and is therefore called “marine”.
And yes, marine collagen and fish collagen are the same thing.
Fun fact: As a matter of fact, skin and scales are a waste, but some marketing genius thought of extracting collagen from them and made a lot of money.
What are collagen peptides and what is “hydrolyzed marine collagen”?
Well, it’s the same thing.
The collagen molecule is very large and difficult to absorb. In order to be absorbed, the collagen goes through a process called “hydrolysis”. Simply put, after the process, the marine collagen molecule shrinks.
This reduced (and easy to absorb) collagen is called “collagen peptides” or “hydrolyzed marine collagen”. It’s the same thing.
You should buy hydrolyzed marine collagen, otherwise, you’re wasting your money.
Fun fact: That’s why the face creams with collagen work only on the skin surface. In fact, their purpose is to moisturize, not to replenish the perished collagen. Even the molecule of the hydrolyzed collagen is too large to penetrate the outer layer of the skin. You have to either put it directly into the skin (for example by injecting it) or use a supplement such as a collagen powder.
Does marine collagen actually work?
Straight to the question…
- Does drinking marine collagen work?
- Is marine collagen good for you?
- Does taking collagen actually improve your skin?
- Does collagen really help?
- Does collagen make your breasts bigger (sadly, no)?
Research and customer reviews (far more important to me) show that marine collagen can really help you have beautiful skin and healthy joints
It is certainly not a scam, but it is also not a magic potion.
- Smooths, tightens and rejuvenates the skin (women and men);
- Smooths wrinkles, even in old age;
- Slows down the aging of your skin;
All the things you’re secretly craving for.
Some even share that collagen cleanses the skin from acne, scars and other skin conditions. Sadly, there’s no evidence of that.
Collagen has benefits for the skin and joints, but maybe not in the way you imagine. Here are 2 surprising theories on how marine collagen actually works…
Theory 1 (mainstream theory)
You pour collagen into your tea while scrolling through your newsfeed.
You swallow. Collagen peptides are carried from the stomach through the blood to the dermis. From there they begin to support the beautiful appearance of the skin. Sounds logical, simple and cool.
Unfortunately, this may not be the case…
Theory 2 (seems more likely)
You swallow the collagen powder.
The body detects elevated levels of collagen in the blood. It activates an alarm that there is a breakdown and accelerates the production of:
- Fresh collagen;
- Hyaluronic acid;
The things that make you pretty.
In a way, you are tricking the body to take matters into its own hands and straighten your skin. Honestly, more research is needed on the subject.
Whatever it is, the important thing to realize is that you have to put collagen in your stomach to get results!
Okay, now to the main part of the article – the benefits of marine collagen…
5 (some clinically proven) benefits of marine collagen
You might be wondering…
Is marine collagen good for you? Does pure marine collagen have any benefits? What is marine collagen good for? Does taking collagen (capsules, powder, liquid) improve the skin? Nails? Hair?
Does it work...?
Now we’ll talk about just that. We are starting with benefit number 1…
Benefit 1: Marine collagen supports youthful and attractive skin
I know what intrigues you – does collagen really provide healthy skin?
Yes, marine collagen can bring you back to youth. At least for a while.
See the results of this study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8176521/
- Participants in the VWC (a hydrolyzed collagen brand) group showed a 24% greater reduction in wrinkles on the right side of the face than those on placebo;
- During week 12, participants in the VWC group reported greater percentages of improvement in overall skin score (9%), wrinkles (15%), elasticity (23%), hydration (14%), radiance (22%), and firmness 25%) vs those using placebo;
- After 12 weeks, participants who had received a supplement with marine collagen had a significant 35% reduction in wrinkle score (P = .035) compared to their baseline;
- A planned subgroup analysis based on age showed that women at the age of 45‐54 had a significant 20% and 10% improvement in cheek skin elasticity from their baseline week 6 (P = .016) and 12 (P = .022), respectively;
Here is more research on the topic…
OK, but what makes marine collagen peptides so beneficial for beautiful skin?
Well, let’s start from afar – what are the types of collagen good at.
We have 4 types of collagen (okay, okay there are actually 28, but 90% – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/ of the collagen in the body is type I, II, III or V)…
Collagen type I – The king of the skin, over 90% of the collagen in the skin is type I
Fish collagen is mainly type I and is therefore considered the most effective type of collagen for rejuvenating and beautifying the skin, hair and nails.
It is also a structural component of the bones, skin, tendons, cartilage, teeth, and other connective tissues.
Fun fact: Type I collagen is stronger than steel — on a gram-for-gram basis. It is made of fibers that are densely packed, which makes it insanely strong. This means it is ideal for the parts of the body that are under the biggest pressure – bones, skin, tendons, cartilage, teeth, and other connective tissues.
Collagen type II – The king of cartilage, about 50% of the building blocks of connective tissue – bones, tendons, ligaments, etc. is made up of type 2
Type II is a substance much smoother than glass (with a low level of friction) that does not crumble or break even under severe pressure.
Perfect for cushioning the joints!
Note: If you think about it, the body has an extremely sophisticated design. Do you know how difficult it is to produce a surface smoother than glass even with modern technology?
Bovine collagen and bone broth are considered the best sources of type II collagen. It is taken as a supplement for heavy-duty joints, spinal disks and eye support.
Collagen type III – 15% of the collagen in the skin and 10% of the total collagen components in the cartilage is type III
In the skin, type III and I go hand in hand.
It is also found in the intestines, muscles and blood vessels (especially the aorta). It improves skin elasticity. Supports gut health.
The best sources of type III collagen are fish, beef and bone broth.
Collagen type V
Type V is more about internal health than the skin (which makes it harder to market).
It builds up cell membranes and the placenta tissue. It is most commonly found in multi-collagen supplements.
The bottom line is that out of all the types of collagen, type I (marine collagen) is the best choice for smooth and youthful-looking skin.
Oh, and by the way, if you are looking for a supplement, get a combination of type I (preferably marine collagen) and type III. You will both beautify the skin and strengthen the joints and gut!
If it is with added vitamin C (helps collagen synthesis) and hyaluronic acid, it’s even better.
Product promo: We happen to have one just like that. Browse – https://synthc.com/buy-hydrolysed-marine-collagen-peptides-powder-orange-flavour-uk
Hydrolyzed. A combination of collagen types I and III. Reinforced with vitamin C, B group vitamins and hyaluronic acid. Fresh orange flavor. Made in the UK according to GMP/ISO standards. Free Shipping.
Benefit 2: Marine collagen is the fastest absorbed and bioavailable collagen for humans
Marine collagen is less than 2000 Daltons in molecular weight and is absorbed 150% more efficiently than other types of collagen!
Its smaller particle travels faster to the dermis providing you with beautiful skin sooner.
Now, don’t get me wrong. All types of collagen help the skin. However, the marine one has an advantage – it contains more type I collagen and its particle is easier to absorb.
Benefit 3: Marine collagen can strengthen and beautify your nails
Cracked or chipped nails? Peeling? Roughness?
Nail polish and acrylic nail glue can cause you to have nail problems later. And as a man, I honestly like clean and natural nails, which have no nail polish on them 😉 The only one who cares if your bag and nails are the same color are you and the other women.
According to this study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28786550/), 25 participants took 2.5 g of bioactive collagen peptides once a day for 24 weeks.
The results are… interesting:
- Treatment with bioactive collagen peptides promoted a 12% increase in nail growth rate;
- 42% decrease in the frequency of broken nails;
- 64% of participants achieved a global clinical improvement in brittle nails;
- 88% of participants experienced an improvement 4 weeks post-treatment;
- 80% of participants say that BCP has improved the appearance of their nails and that they are completely satisfied with the treatment;
Before you dash to the store…
Further research is needed. So far I have found only 1-2 studies. The control group is only 25 people. It is not mentioned whether there is also a change in the diet or lifestyle. After all, the lack of certain vitamins destroys the nails.
Benefit 4: Marine collagen can eliminate joint pain
As I said earlier, over 55-60% (source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445147/#:~:text=one%27s%20body%20weight.-, Collagens, the% 20dry% 20weight% 20of% 20cartilage) of cartilage (dry weight) is collagen.
According to this study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2764342/), collagen can help alleviate joint pain when:
- Climbing stairs;
- Walking on a flat surface;
- Staying in bed (my favorite), etc.;
I’ve talked to people at the gym.
Most people take collagen supplements to restore their joints after exercise. Our joints are the shock absorbers of the body. Each step, exercise with a barbell, etc. affects them.
Pro tip: If you do cardio, be sure to get high-quality and comfortable running shoes. Something from Nike or Adidas. If you are running with bad shoes, you are torturing yourself and are literally melting your joints. Watch this AthleanX video on how to run faster without pain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=entUXhcgt3c
Benefit 5: Marine collagen is a sustainable, pescatarian-friendly and an eco product
- “Green” and sustainable origin. Unlike cows, fish reproduce in a much faster, cheaper and environmentally friendly way. In addition, marine collagen is extracted from fish scales and skin that would otherwise be discarded, making it way more sustainable.
- Pescatarian-friendly. If you want to avoid products from grazing animals for religious or moral reasons, fish collagen is the perfect option. Of course, that is if you are not vegan or allergic to fish.
Marine collagen will definitely satisfy your urge to protect the planet.
Frequently asked questions about marine collagen
1. Is marine collagen effective or is it just hype and placebo?
Collagen definitely has an effect. Although I think the placebo also plays a role.
Mind over matter.
In almost all studies on the benefits of hydrolyzed marine collagen/peptides (for skin, nails, hair, joints, etc.), people are divided into 2 control groups:
- One uses real collagen (marine, bovine, porcine, etc.);
- The other uses a placebo;
Those taking real collagen get results. Those on the placebo – not so much.
2. After how long will I feel the results of marine collagen?
10 gr. of collagen powder per day x 12 weeks = desired results.
Almost all the tests I shared above are conducted for 10-12 weeks and most often the results are noticed then.
However, the important thing to realize is that it does not happen in a day or two. Be patient, disciplined and wait at least 30-40 days for the first visible benefits of collagen.
3. Does marine collagen make you gain weight?
1 g of marine collagen = 4 calories.
One scoop is 10-12 g, which is 45-48 calories. So you are unlikely to gain weight. You should better pay attention to those pizzas, cold beers and cakes.
Useful fat loss tip: Eat protein and healthy fats to lose weight. Protein satiates. This leaves you with no appetite for fast carbs, chocolate or processed fats – the biggest culprits for excess weight and clogged arteries.
Google “high protein diet” or “keto diet”. Thank me later.
4. Which is more effective – collagen capsules or powder?
The carrier is irrelevant. The dose is important.
To feel the result you need to take 10-12 g of marine collagen per day for 10-12 weeks.
On average, one capsule contains 300-600 mg. In one dose of powder – 10-15 g. You choose whether you want to take 15-20 capsules a day (lol) or a scoop of collagen mixed in fresh juice.
Product promo: Looking for collagen powder or capsules? Browse our collagen supplements here
5. Can collagen reverse aging? Is collagen anti-aging?
Collagen loss is an unpleasant part of aging. And aging is irreversible.
Marine collagen (as a powder/pill supplement) can restore (to some extent) the elasticity and beauty of the skin, but it cannot stop the processes of disintegration.
Sooner or later everything perishes…
Fun fact: it’s not that people aren’t working on it. Startups like Altos Labs (Jeff Bezos invests in them) are working to stop or at least significantly slow down aging. I was interested in the topic (I am already 30 and this thought is slowly starting to bother me) and it is believed that there will be a breakthrough much sooner than people think.
6. Does marine collagen (pills, powder) provide any benefits for men?
The benefits are the same for men and women – it helps the skin, hair, nails, gut, etc. The cause of sagging skin, wrinkles, blemishes, etc. is the same for both genders – the reduction of collagen with age.
It’s just that women focus more on their appearance so collagen is considered a more “feminine” supplement. If you are a man and you want to feel rejuvenated, definitely try marine collagen for 10-12 weeks.
7. What stops collagen production and robs me of my deserved beauty?
Smoking. Drinking. Insomnia. Lack of vitamin C. Crash diets. Direct (UV) sunlight. Stress.
Read the part “How to increase the effect of collagen supplements through your diet and sport?” in my article “The 10 best collagen supplements in the UK [2022 Edition]”.
I have explained things there in much more detail.
8. Is there vegan collagen?
Collagen is a protein found only in animals. It can’t be vegan.
I will just leave this quote from www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/vegan-collagen…
There are currently no vegan collagen supplements available to consumers. At the moment only the self-proclaimed collagen-boosting vegan products are commercially available. These products supposedly enhance the body’s ability to produce collagen, but there is a lack of scientific research to support their use.
Final thoughts on marine collagen
I think I’ve answered most of your questions.
Yes, marine collagen is good for rejuvenating the skin, nails, hair, etc. If you sense the crushing feeling that you are getting old, you can invest in collagen powder or pills to slow down the clock.
Even in old age.
If you think I’ve missed something, please leave a comment. I will answer your question as soon as possible.