What is collagen and what does eating it give you?
“Collagen is one of the main building blocks of skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles and blood vessels,” explains Taylor Wallace, Ph.D., a food scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. There are 28 types of collagen in the body. Research shows that we naturally lose collagen due to aging and other factors, so the idea that we could replace this lost collagen from external sources seems plausible.
âBecause collagen is part of the supportive structures of the skin, its absence can contribute to wrinkles and sagging skin,â explains Melina Jampolis, MD, a board-certified physician and nutrition specialist in Valley Village, Calif., and author of Spice up, live long.
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What are the health benefits of marine collagen?
While collagen treatments made their debut in skin care, the protein is not well suited for topical applications because it is too large to penetrate the skin, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. This is why some formulations use peptides from collagen, or hydrolyzed collagen, which has been partially broken down.
This is similar to what happens when you eat collagen. The protein is broken down into amino acids that circulate in your blood, and some experts believe that these circulating collagen byproducts may signal the skin to speed up the production of new collagen, says Dr. Zeichner. It is still not clear if this is accurate and how effective it is.
A review published in March 2020 in Nutrients discovered that collagen peptides act as antioxidants to soothe harmful free radicals and inflammation (both associated with chronic disease and aging) in skin cells. In another small study, 50 women aged 45 to 60 took 10 grams (g) of a marine collagen powder supplement for 12 weeks and had a 35% reduction in wrinkles compared to a group who took took a placebo powder, as has been reported in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in March 2021. Measurements of skin elasticity, hydration and firmness also improved.
In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 120 people took a supplement containing hydrolyzed fish collagen, vitamins, antioxidants, and compounds like glucosamine and had an increase in skin elasticity. by 40 percent compared to a placebo, as well as a self-reported 43 percent reduction in joint pain and improved joint mobility of 39 percent, according to a article published in September 2018 in Nutritional research. It’s unclear whether fish collagen alone was responsible for these results. Currently, there is a lack of human trials analyzing the potential benefits of marine collagen on joint health or arthritis.
What is the difference between collagen and marine collagen?
The collagen you hear about packaged in collagen powders and supplements is traditionally made from bovine (cow) sources, while marine collagen comes from fish. “A lot of people try to move away from animal products like red meat, and they know fish is healthier, so it appears to be a better source of collagen for the consumer than cow skin and bones. or pork, âsays Dr. Jampolis.
However, the question of whether marine collagen is actually healthier is still a source of debate. At the chemical level, there is little difference between the two. âThe collagen molecules themselves are structurally similar, regardless of the source from which they are derived,â says Zeichner.
There is some evidence that different sources of ingestible collagen can act on different types of collagen in the body (remember there are 28 types). Bovine collagen has been shown to increase collagen types 1 and 3, the main types that make up the skin, says Dr. Wallace. Marine collagen increases types 1 and 2, the types found in cartilage, in the structures of your eyes and in the spinal discs, according to a review published in April 2020 in Marine drugs.
Because marine collagen supplements are a newer type of product than cattle, there is less research on them and a need for longer-term clinical studies. âI would like to see a direct comparison of marine collagen versus bovine collagen to specifically recommend one versus the other,â says Jampolis.
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What are the other benefits of marine collagen?
Marine collagen, however, has other known benefits. It is notably a much more sustainable source of protein than the other types. A article published in April 2020 in Marine drugs note: âMarine organisms and their waste can be a sustainable and ecological source of collagen. “
The article also points out that marine collagen may appeal to people who limit their diet to meat for religious, cultural or moral reasons. Several major religions restrict the consumption of pork and beef, for example, and people who follow a vegetarian diet may not wish to consume animal products but are fine with eating fish.
In addition, the Marine drugs The document points out that some people avoid collagen from animal sources for fear that it could potentially transmit diseases, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.
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Does marine collagen have any side effects?
If you are allergic to fish, you should absolutely not take marine collagen. Also, since collagen is a protein, you should consider it a protein supplement. Depending on the brand, two balls can contain 11 g of protein. If you have severe kidney disease and your doctor has recommended that you limit protein, then you will need to count the grams of protein consumed from marine collagen powders or capsules, Jampolis explains.
How long does it take for marine collagen to work?
It’s natural to want to see the benefits of any supplement or diet change right away, but you’ll have to wait awhile. With regular consumption, Jampolis says you can see skin benefits in 8 to 12 weeks, enough time for the skin to heal and turn over.
If you want to try marine collagen, follow the label directions for dosage. Also, it’s always best to talk to your doctor first before taking a supplement to make sure it’s safe for your individual health concerns. Look for trusted brands that use wild fish and are third-party verified, ensuring that what you take is free of contaminants and contains the ingredients listed.
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Does marine collagen make you fat?
No. Two scoops – 12 g or half an ounce – is 45 calories. While consuming too much of anything can cause you to gain weight, adding marine collagen in amounts normally consumed is unlikely to cause weight gain, Jampolis explains.
The basics on marine collagen
Marine collagen supplements differ from eating fresh fish. You will find collagen in the skin, bones, head, scales, fins and entrails of fish, as well as in the cartilage of fish, notes one. review published in September 2020 in the journal Materials. These are the parts that you usually don’t eat unless you eat whole small fish (like sardines, anchovies, or mackerel). In this case, you will be consuming higher amounts of collagen than eating a regular fish fillet, Wallace explains.
Overall, a varied diet filled with whole foods is the best way to absorb a range of nutrients that will support healthy skin and joints. âIt’s not clear whether collagen supplements are superior to a well-balanced diet with adequate protein,â Zeichner says.
If you’re looking to maximize your collagen intake and cost isn’t a factor – these supplements can be expensive – consider adding marine collagen to your current diet. Supplements may offer a higher dose. They are available as a powder that you mix with a liquid, such as a smoothie or coffee, or as capsules. Make sure you choose hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which are already broken down, making them easily digested by the body, Jampolis explains. And compare the amount of collagen peptides in a serving of capsules versus powder, as they may differ.