If you’re reading this, you probably already know that collagen is the protein that binds tissues in all fish and animals, including humans. In fact, it is the basis of our connective tissues—including our skin, tendons, ligaments and cartilage.
Sadly for us, however, collagen begins to break down as we age. After about age twenty, our bodies simply don’t replace collagen at the same rate. In fact, our bodies produce an enzyme called collagenase that destroys collagen.
In light of this, it makes intuitive sense that ingesting collagen, such as marine collagen supplements, would help to sustain a higher quantity of collagen within our bodies—thus supporting our bones, tendons, joints and skin.
But do collagen supplements work?
Well, there are a number of studies that say yes—not to mention thousands of personal accounts. But before we get into them, let’s review why you would want to take fish collagen supplements —or any other collagen—to begin with.
Why Supplement With Collagen?
Collagen supplements support the body’s natural process. Collagen is essential for maintaining and repairing our bones, tendons and joints. We also need collagen to maintain youthful, hydrated skin.
Our bodies actually produce collagen on their own, primarily out of the amino acids proline, glycine and lysine. However, as mentioned, our bodies stop producing collagen as efficiently after around age twenty.
That’s where supplementation can make a big difference in supporting our skin health. You see, collagen in concentrated in fish skin and animal ligaments. So, when we eat fish collagen supplements or bovine collagen supplements, we are ingesting a wide variety of amino acids, which our bodies use to make collagen.
The more collagen the better, because it can help plump our skin, diminish wrinkles and lines, and give us an overall fresh skin look. It can also possibly help diminish joint pain and arthritis and support overall healthy aging.
How Do Collagen Supplements Work?
Well we know the more collagen our bodies make, the better—but do collagen supplements work? While there are not a ton of studies looking into the efficacy of collagen supplements as of yet, there are several that show very promising results.
These studies have shown that skin does in fact become more elastic with continued use, bones become denser and the overall hydration of the body is improved.
For example, in one study, 75 women, aged 35 or older, were split up into two groups. Over the course of 12 weeks, one group was given 2.5 grams of collagen peptides (combined with vitamin C, biotin and several other nutrients), while the other group was given a placebo. The group given the collagen peptides had significantly improved skin hydration, elasticity and skin density as compared to the placebo group.
Similarly, in another study, some participants were given 1000mg of a low molecular weight collagen while others were given a placebo. Skin hydration and elasticity was significantly higher in the group receiving collagen after 12 weeks than in the placebo group.
In yet another study, in which researchers looked specifically at eye wrinkles, 114 women age 45-65 were given either 2.5 g of a bioactive collagen peptide or a placebo. The women who were receiving the collagen once again showed significant reduction in wrinkles as compared to the placebo group.
These studies indicate that collagen can indeed improve skin through plumping and minimizing lines.
There are also several studies, such as this one, that indicate that collagen can also help to ease arthritis and joint pain. Given this evidence, it does seem that collagen supplements do indeed work.
How to Get the Most Out Of Your Collagen Supplement
When choosing a collagen supplement, there are few things to consider to ensure you’re getting the most out of your supplement.
For one thing, you want to find high quality collagen that allows for maximum absorption. Collagen peptides, such as marine collagen peptides powder, work really well with our digestion because they are comprised of shorter chains of amino acids—thus making them more easily absorbed into the body than other types of collagen.
You’ll also want to consider that collagen supplementation is a long game commitment. Remember collagenase? That pesky enzyme that destroys collagen? Well—your body will continue to produce that forever. Therefore, you’ll want to continue taking your marine collagen supplements forever, too, to counteract the effects. Taking collagen supplements can’t hurt you. Just be sure to take the appropriate dose as recommended on your supplements.
What Else Can You Do to Improve Your Collagen?
In addition to supplementing with collagen such as marine collagen peptides powder, there are other things you can do to support healthy skin and joints.
As mentioned before, the body uses amino acids to produce collagen.
These amino acids come from proteins. Therefore, being sure to incorporate plenty of protein from fish, eggs or beans into your diet will be helpful for maintaining beautiful skin and healthy tendons and joints.
Vitamin C is also essential for collagen production, so be sure you get plenty of fruit and vegetables that are high in this nutrient.
Furthermore, you can incorporate natural sources of collagen into your diet! Eat plenty of bone broth, and always eat your fish skin!
Should You Supplement?
Collagen supplementation certainly won’t hurt you and could very well help.
There is evidence that collagen supplementation supports healthy, youthful skin. Supplementing may help your body maintain strong levels of collagen, thus helping to hydrate your entire body and plump your skin.
If you choose to supplement with collagen, just remember that healthy skin and body also requires a healthy diet that includes lots of vegetables and protein.