Collagen’s popularity has grown enormously in recent years.
Collagen makes up eighty percent of human skin, and works together with the protein elastic, to keep our skin elastic and taut.
As our bodies age, natural collagen production slows, leading to wrinkles and lines.
Skin with less collagen is drier, and this effect is amplified by factors including sun exposure, cigarette smoke, and pollution.1
So it perhaps comes as no surprise that people are turning to collagen supplements, such as fish scale collagen, fish collagen powder or fish collagen peptide, in an attempt to improve the appearance of their skin.
What is collagen?
Collagen peptides (also known as hydrolysed collagen) are not quite the same as the collagen that occurs naturally in the body.
While collagen is the long chain of amino acids that makes up skin and connective tissue, collagen peptides are derived from that collagen, and are formed of much shorter chains of amino acids.2
Some small studies have shown that collagen peptides improve skin conditions such as skin moisture, elasticity, wrinkles, and roughness, and collagen has also been shown to increase skin hydration.3,4
Collagen supplements come in two main forms:
- bovine collagen (derived from cows)
- fish or marine collagen, derived from fish
For more detailed information about collagen peptides or hydrolysed collagen, read What is hydrolysed collagen?
Benefits and uses of fish collagen
Four of the key benefits and uses of fish collagen are:
1. Collagen can improve the overall health and appearance of skin
Collagen is what holds our skin tissue together. As we age, the amount of collagen our body naturally produces decreases, meaning that older skin is not as firm or hydrated as younger skin.5
2. Collagen can support joints
Cartilage is the tough flexible tissue between the surface of your joints, which allows bones to slide over one another.
It is thought that this link between taking collagen orally and healthy joints pain is due to the additional collagen accruing in cartilage and stimulating the body to produce more collagen in the problem areas.6
3. Collagen may support a healthy heart
Collagen makes up part of the structure of human arteries (which carry blood from your heart out into your body.)
When collagen is in short supply, arteries can lose their healthy structure.7
One study had adults take 16g of collagen a day for six months, and found a significant reduction in artery stiffness compared to measures taken before the study began.8
Although more studies are needed, collagen may have an impact on artery structure and therefore blood flow, alongside other health factors such as maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
4. Collagen may contribute to muscle growth
Which is the best fish collagen?
Vitamin C (which is required for normal collagen formation) is included with Holland & Barrett Marine Collagen with Vitamin C.
This type of hydrolysed fish collagen is suitable for pescatarians, and might be a good option to encourage collagen formation (as opposed to collagen replacement), since Vitamin C is included alongside the fish collagen.
Fish collagen powder’s benefits include its solubility. The powdered form can easily be mixed into smoothies or juices, for those who prefer to take their supplements in drinks rather than tablets.
Try unflavoured options such as Pretty Gorgeous Marine Collagen Unflavoured Powder with your healthy liquid breakfast.
The best collagen for you will depend on your body, so it is worth trying a few different types and comparing their effects.
As studies have shown, it can take up to twelve weeks for any effects to be apparent, so keep at it for a while before switching to a new brand.
To find out more about collagen, its benefits, and how much you should take, look at the article Collagen: benefits, dosage, side-effects.
Last updated: 8 February 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal, Regulatory Affairs
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.