What Is Marine Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. You can find it in your:

  • Bones
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Organs
  • Blood vessels
  • Intestines
  • Tissue
  • Skin

Your body starts to make less collagen as you age, starting in your mid-20s. Poor diet can lower your levels, too. When your body doesn't make as much collagen, it can lead to things like:

Marine, or fish, collagen comes from the skin of fish. It can help you bring your levels up. You may already take supplements or use cosmetics with collagen in them. In most of these products, the collagen comes from pig and cow skins.

Recently, more people have been opting for fish collagen for a few different reasons.

Benefits

Like other sources of collagen, marine collagen may help delay some signs of aging, like wrinkles, joint issues, and weakness.

Besides the anti-aging benefits, fish collagen also provides an alternative to people who have issues about using other forms of collagen.

Those issues include:

Religious concerns. Some people aren’t able to use collagen made from pigs and cows because of their faiths.

Worry about disease. Some people worry that the proteins used in collagen products could link to mad cow disease.

Some also consider marine collagen a more sustainable alternative. The fishing industry often has a lot of unused raw materials from the fish they catch, including the fish skins where marine collagen comes from.

So fish collagen offers a more economic and environmentally friendly option for cosmetic companies. Instead of wasting fish skins, companies can use the excess materials to create skin care products.

Uses

You can use fish collagen as a supplement. It comes in powder, pill, or liquid forms. People also use creams made with it.

What the Science Says

Researchers are still studying the effectiveness of fish collagen as a supplement. Our stomach breaks down most things we eat before they’re absorbed into our bloodstream, so it’s unclear if our bodies are actually benefitting from collagen supplements or not.

While creams with fish collagen are becoming popular, doctors believe that other treatments like retinol, tretinoin, and vitamin C might provide more benefits. These creams can help your body make collagen. They can also undo the inflammation that can damage it.

It's important to note that supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so if you're thinking about using marine collagen, either as a supplement or a cream, talk with your doctor about it first to make sure it's right for you.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on March 17, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen.”

Cedars Sinai: “Collagen for Your Skin: Healthy or Hype.”

Marine Drugs: “Effect of Fish Collagen Hydrolysates on Type I Collagen mRNA Levels of Human Dermal Fibroblast Culture.”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Get Skin Care Tips In Your Inbox

Skin care and wellness tips to help you look and feel your best. Sign up for the Good Health newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.