Top 7 Health Benefits of Consuming Marine Collagen

The ocean

Marine collagen has gained popularity in the health and wellness industry as a clean and sustainable alternative to other forms of collagen, and numerous studies have legitimized its efficacy. However, you might still be confused about whether this nutrient is right for you. What are the health benefits and what does the research say? Keep reading to learn more!

The Importance of Collagen 

As the body’s principal protein found in skin, bones, cartilage and connective tissues, collagen is vital to the health of our body. However, our levels of this building block begin to decline each year as we age, starting at approximately age 20 (1). Luckily, marine collagen has been shown to be an effective way to replenish this nutrient with age. Studies show that large amounts of collagen peptides are found in the bloodstream following the ingestion of marine collagen (2). These collagen peptides are then converted to the specific amino acids needed to produce collagen, which is distributed throughout the body. From our joints and bones to our skin, hair and nails, many of our body’s tissues rely on collagen for optimal health. 

So what are the specific health benefits of consuming marine collagen exactly? Let’s dive in. 

Top 7 Health Benefits of Marine Collagen

1. RADIANT SKIN 

As the body’s largest organ, the skin can be a good indicator of overall health and clear, radiant skin helps us to put our best face forward (quite literally!). Studies have shown that regular consumption of marine collagen can be an effective way to improve skin appearance and health, while a lack of collagen can contribute to dryness and wrinkles (3)(4). Collagen is especially useful in the prevention of dry skin because of its ability to improve the skin’s moisture barrier. One clinical study showed that collagen was effective in boosting the hydration, density, elasticity and structure of the skin (5).

Research has also shown that hydrolyzed collagen supplementation is effective in reducing wrinkles by helping the body to produce its own collagen (6). In one study, 69 women aged 35-55 years experienced a significant reduction in eye wrinkles after consuming hydrolyzed collagen for 8 weeks (7).

Radiant Skin

Cellulite is a normal and healthy feature of many women (and sometimes even men’s) bodies. However, if it is something you are concerned about, regular consumption of collagen can help to minimize the appearance of cellulite. In a 6-month study, 105 women ages 24-50 years old saw a significant decrease in cellulite after ingesting collagen daily (8).

2. HEALTHIER HAIR 

Research shows that marine collagen may benefit hair health and growth. Who doesn’t want a thicker, more luscious head of hair? Collagen is abundant in the amino acid proline, which is needed for the production of keratin, the structural building block of hair and nails. Keritin's function is to smooth the hair cuticle to give it a healthy and shiny appearance and to produce new hair follicles that are required for growth.

Beautiful Hair

Research shows that oxidative stress caused by environmental and lifestyle factorssuch as pollution, smoking, poor dietary choices and alcoholcan have a negative effect on hair follicles, which determine hair growth, texture and thickness (9). The consumption of marine collagen may help to improve follicle health, as it has been shown to reduce oxidative stress by promoting radical-scavenging activity (10). Collagen consumption could also improve hair pigment, as oxidative stress has been linked to hair greying (10).

3. STRONGER NAILS 

Regular collagen consumption could help to grow and strengthen your nails by providing a rich source of the amino acids needed to produce keratin, the structural building block of nails. Adequate amounts of keratin in the body can help to keep nails strong and healthy. In a clinical study, 25 participants experienced increased nail growth, improved brittle nails and a decrease in the frequency of broken nails after ingesting collagen peptides for 24 weeks (11).

4. HEALTHIER JOINTS

Physical activity is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, but a lifetime of movement can take a toll on our joints as we age. Fortunately, research shows that the consumption of hydrolyzed collagen can have a protective effect on joints and can even regenerate cartilage (12)(13). According to Health Canada, consuming hydrolyzed collagen daily can help to reduce joint pain relating to osteoarthritis (14). It is understood that collagen's positive effect on joint pain is associated with its high glycine content, which has been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis (15). In one clinical study, 97 athletes showed an improvement in joint pain after consuming collagen for 24 weeks (16).

Healthy Joints

5. STRONGER BONES 

Maintaining strong bones as we age is crucial to the prevention of osteoporosis. Bones are primarily made of collagen, which provides them with structure and support. Research has shown that the consumption of collagen has a positive influence on bone composition, strength and bone mineral density (17), and positive therapeutic effect on osteoporosis (18). In a study of 66 postmenopausal women, daily intake of specific collagen peptides was shown to increase the bone mineral density of the spine and femoral neck, a bone that connects the hip and thigh (19).

6. MUSCLE REPAIR & GROWTH

If your goal is to build or maintain muscle mass, marine collagen could be a helpful supplement to mix into your fitness routine. Research has shown that marine collagen can help to enhance muscle mass and strength, following resistance strength training (20). In a research study, 53 elderly men with sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) experienced a significant increase in muscle strength after 3 months of supplementing with collagen peptides (21).

Strong Bones

7. A HEALTHIER HEART 

A study of 31 healthy adults found that consuming 16 g of collagen daily for six months could contribute to the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease by reducing artery stiffness and the level of low-density lipoproteins throughout the body (22). Research has shown that arterial stiffness is a predictor of cardiovascular disease because it is challenging for the heart to pump blood throughout the body once the arteries have lost their flexibility (23). Low-density lipoproteins (otherwise known as 'bad' cholesterol) can cause cardiovascular issues as it carries cholesterol from the liver to the arteries, creating a build-up of plaque in the arterial wall. This build-up is known as atherosclerosis, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

Is marine collagen right for me?

Now that you know everything that marine collagen has to offer, you are probably eager to reap the benefits! That being said, it’s always important to consider your specific health needs when making dietary changes. Although there are no known drawbacks to supplementing with collagen, it is recommended that you consult your main healthcare provider before consuming marine collagen if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have liver or kidney disease or have been instructed to follow a low protein diet.

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  • Proksch, E, et al. (2013) Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study
  • Ganceviciene, R, et al. (2012) Skin anti-aging strategies.
  • Asserin, J. (2015) The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials.
  • Proksch, E, et al. (2013) Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis.
  • Schunck, et al. (2015) Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology, Journal of Medicinal Food.
  • Trüeb, RM. (2015) The impact of oxidative stress on hair.
  • M, Seiberg. (2013) Age-induced hair greying - the multiple effects of oxidative stress.
  • Abedin, Z, et al. (2014) Biochemical and radical-scavenging properties of sea cucumber (Stichopus vastus) collagen hydrolysates.
  • Anat, J. (2009) Structure and functions of keratin proteins in simple, stratified, keratinized and cornified epithelia.
  • Cosmet Dermatol, J. (2017) Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails.
  • Anat, J. (2009) Structure and functions of keratin proteins in simple, stratified, keratinized and cornified epithelia.
  • Porfírio, E, Fanaro, GB. (2015) Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review.
  • Bello A.E. (2006) Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature, Current Medical Research Opinions.
  • De Paz-Lugo, P, et al. (2018). High glycine concentration increases collagen synthesis by articular chondrocytes in vitro: acute glycine deficiency could be an important cause of osteoarthritis.
  • Clark, K L. (2008) 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.
  • Moskowitz R.W. (2000) Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease, Seminars Arthritis Rheum.
  • De Paz-Lugo, P. (2018) Increasing glycine in the diet may well be a strategy for helping cartilage regeneration by enhancing collagen synthesis.
  • Porfírio, E, Fanaro, GB. (2015) Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review.
  • Health Canada. (2020) Multiple Ingredient Join Health Products, Drug and Health Products.
  • De Paz-Lugo, P, et al. (2018). High glycine concentration increases collagen synthesis by articular chondrocytes in vitro: acute glycine deficiency could be an important cause of osteoarthritis.
  • Clark, K L. (2008) 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.
  • König, D. (2018) Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study.
  • Porfírio, E, Fanaro, GB. (2015) Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review.
  • L Elam, M, et al. (2014) A calcium-collagen chelate dietary supplement attenuates bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteopenia: a randomized controlled trial.
  • Viguet-Carrin, S. (2005) The Role of Collagen in Bone Strength.
  • Oertzen-Hagemann, V, et al. (2019) Effects of 12 Weeks of Hypertrophy Resistance Exercise Training Combined with Collagen Peptide Supplementation on the Skeletal Muscle Proteome in Recreationally Active Men.
  • Nutr, Br J. (2015) Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomized controlled trial.
  • Atheroscler Thromb, J. (2017) Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy Humans.
  • Bonarjee, V.S.V. (2008) Arterial Stiffness: A Prognostic Marker in Coronary Heart Disease. Available Methods and Clinical Application.
  • Rimes, J. (2018) Guide to Nutritional Symptomatology.

Cat Binette

Registered Holistic Nutritionist

As an Ottawa-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Cat spends her time working in clinics, supporting clients one-on-one, running nutrition and culinary workshops, and delivering corporate presentations. Returning to the school where she obtained her diploma in Natural Nutrition, Cat is currently pursuing her passion and talent for teaching as an educator at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. A lifelong learner, Cat has practiced many trades throughout her career, including engineering, international development, and working as a doula, but her greatest passion is reserved for holistic health and nutrition.

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