Collagen products are hitting the beauty and health industry hard because of how beneficial collagen is for the entire body. From skin to nails to joints and tendons, collagen is the most important and abundant protein found in the body. The importance of collagen is nothing new even though it was only discovered in the mid-1900s.
There are a few different sources of collagen including bovine, chicken, and pigs, but fish collagen is the most popular, due to its incredibly high concentration of type I collagen and its extraordinary bioavailability. If you are not sure what this all means, don’t stress, we’ll explain it all below! Keep reading to find out more about fish collagen powder, its incredible health benefits, and why you need Approved Science® Collagen Powder today!
Why Do We Need Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that serves as one of the most essential building blocks for our connective tissues, bones, blood vessels, skin, teeth, and corneas. The triple helix amino acid chains are sturdy fibers that form the body’s scaffolding and glue it all together. Without collagen, we would quite literally fall apart.
Our cells are able to produce collagen naturally from the foods we eat. Scientists have identified over 28 different types of collagen but the four most abundant types are I, II, III, and IV. Let’s take a closer look at the role each plays in our body:
- Type I: This is the most abundant type and accounts for about 90% of the collagen in the body. These tightly coiled fibers are what gives the muscles, tendons, skin, cartilage, and teeth its structure.
- Type II: This type of collagen is not packed as densely as type I and is commonly found in the cartilage between joints.
- Type III: This type is found in the same cells, organs, and muscles where type I is present. The fine mesh-like fibers are what give vital organs like the liver, bone marrow, and spleen their structure.
- Type IV: This type of collagen is present in the basal lamina and provides the skin cells with support.
The body does a good job of producing collagen from the protein and vitamin C in our diets. However, the body’s ability to produce enough collagen starts to decline with age. In our mid-thirties is usually when we start to notice that our skin isn’t as tight and supple as it used to be and our bones become more prone to degenerative bone disorders.
Supplementing with pure collagen powder helps to keep the collagen in the body at an optimum level, which ultimately helps restore the integrity of our skin, muscles, arteries and other vital cells and organs.
The Different Sources Of Pure Collagen Powder
There are a few different sources of collagen on the market, but like most things in life, not all are created equal. Hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptide supplements and powders are made from the connective tissues of mammals and aquatic animals.
The tiny molecular bonds are extracted from the connective tissues and pulverized to create a fine powder which is either sold as a pure collagen powder or encapsulated in pills. The main sources of collagen include:
- Fish and marine animals
Bovine and fish collagen powder are among the most widely available and safest forms of supplements on the market. In theory, porcine collagen should be the best option because humans share a very similar skin structure with pigs. However, taking porcine collagen supplements can be risky because of the conditions in which most animals are kept and the limited amount of research available. The same goes for hydrolyzed chicken collagen. Birds are extremely susceptible to aviary diseases, and these microscopic pathogens can still be present in the final collagen product.
Bovine vs Fish Collagen Powder: Which Is Better?
There is no doubt that the collagen found in both fish and bovine is extremely beneficial for us. Bovine is rich in type I and III collagen, which is essential for repairing the bones, skin, tendons, and muscles. Fish collagen powder is rich in type I collagen, which is a vital component of connective tissue, blood vessels, and the skin. However, there are a few things that set these two apart. The difference between bovine and fish collagen affects both your health and the planet.
Collagen peptides are usually extracted from the hides of cattle once their meat has been harvested for food which is what makes this type of collagen easy to source, inexpensive, and widely available.
While the cowhides may not go to waste and it enables us to get our hands on a much cheaper source of the essential protein we need, it has a very negative impact on our environment. A staggering 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions (1) such as methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide are caused by livestock production.
Another downside to bovine sourced collagen is its bioavailability. Even though the peptides have been hydrolyzed or broken down into much smaller particles, it is not easily absorbed by the body.
Marine collagen is derived from a few different species including starfish, prawns, sea urchins, and most often, from fish. The peptides are extracted from the scales, bones, and skin, which usually go to waste. In fact, over 11.7 million tons of these unused parts are discarded during the harvesting process. What would otherwise be a huge strain on our environment has now become a precious source of protein. Therefore, fish collagen powder is a more sustainable choice than bovine collagen. Not to mention the significantly reduced number of greenhouse gases emitted from farming fish. This is due to the fact that fishing doesn’t require feeding or upkeep of livestock or large amounts of farmland.
Saving the planet is not the only reason for choosing collagen derived from fish. Studies (2) have concluded that fish collagen is more than 1.5 times more bioavailable than any of its counterparts. The smaller molecular size and weight enables the body to easily absorb the collagen through the intestinal barrier. From there it is absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated throughout the body. The cells can then start to synthesize the collagen and use it in the skin, bones, joints, tendons and other essential organs and tissues.
Unfortunately, bovine collagen does not offer the same bioavailability, making it less effective and efficient. Fish collagen powder is certainly the best contender when it comes to sourcing the most effective type of collagen peptides.
Does The Type Of Fish Matter?
There are a lot of concerns regarding the consumption of both mammals and aquatic animals due to the conditions they are bred and farmed in. Due to water pollution, fish and shellfish contain high amounts of methylmercury – an organic form of mercury. When we eat fish and other seafood products, we are also exposed to this toxin. Unfortunately, this problem cannot be avoided altogether, but the good news is that the amount of mercury varies depending on the species of fish and where it has been caught.
Larger breeds such as tuna, northern pike, and mackerel have a higher concentration of mercury because they feed on smaller fish who also have small concentrations of mercury in their bodies. These mercury levels from the water and fish they eat begin to accumulate to potentially dangerous levels. Thanks to all the pollution, the mercury content in our waters is on the rise.
In one study (3), researchers found that at least one-third of the marine life caught in New Jersey had high mercury levels of around 0.5ppm (parts per million), which is enough to pose a few health risks when eaten regularly.
Another problem when it comes to aquaculture is the unregulated use of antibiotics in the fish farming industry. Nevertheless, fish still forms a part of a healthy diet due to its high omega 3 and protein content. This is why making wise choices about the type of fish in your supplements and diet is important.
Salmon, which only contains 0.022 ppm of mercury, and Trout, which only contains 0.071 ppm are good choices if you want to increase your omega 3 intake. However, when it comes to pure collagen powder, wild Alaskan pollock is the best choice. It only contains 0.031 ppm of mercury and is abundant in types I and III collagen. This type of collagen is also rich in glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline – three essential amino acids that stimulate collagen synthesis within the cells of the skin, bones, and joints.
Fish Collagen Powder Benefits
There is a lot more to collagen than what we read in beauty magazines and product adverts. Reversing the signs of aging is a remarkable property of this fibrous protein, but there is so much more to gain by taking a high-quality marine collagen powder. Let’s take a closer look at what the research says.
Improved Skin Health
As we age, collagen levels visibly drop. Skin becomes looser, wrinkles get deeper, and thigh dimples are much more predominant. Rubbing collagen-rich cream on your skin is usually not going to do much to reverse these telltale signs of aging. The only way to see results is to ingest collagen peptides.
Research (4) has shown that the type I collagen found in fish collagen powder helps to reduce wrinkles, improve elasticity, and enhance skin hydration. The hydrolyzed peptides are transported in the bloodstream and distributed to the dermis where they are then bound to receptors in the fibroblasts membrane that stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, elastin, and collagen. This process helps to restore the integrity of the skin structure, which as a result, slows down aging caused by photodamage, smoking, and other environmental factors.
As we age, our bone density starts to decline, making us more susceptible to degenerative bone disorders like osteoporosis. Multiple studies have found that marine collagen has a positive effect on curbing inflammation associated with osteoporosis and encourages bone regeneration and healing by improving bone mineral density and stimulating bone tissue engineering.
In one review published in 2013 (5), researchers found that supplementing with marine collagen increased the level of hydroxylysine-aldehyde which is type I collagen in the bone. It also accelerated the process of bone mineralization, which is when calcium phosphate nanocrystals start to accumulate in the bone matrix, thus leading to stronger, healthier bones.
One of the most interesting benefits of fish collagen powder is its ability to combat certain pathogens; More specifically, Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is found in the nose and on the skin and is responsible for staph infections – a highly contagious infection that can cause blisters, boils, and food poisoning, but can be fatal in some cases.
One study (6) concluded that the antimicrobial peptide found in fish collagen known as collagencin inhibited the growth of the Staph bacteria entirely. This is especially promising for improving food safety and our defense against the harmful pathogen.
Improved Sleep Quality
As we mentioned before, fish collagen powder is abundant in glycine. While glycine comes with a few benefits on its own, like improving antioxidant activity and protecting the liver from alcohol-induced liver damage, it is also a safe and natural alternative to prescription sleeping tablets. The amino acid has shown a positive effect on cognitive function and sleep cycles.
Research has suggested that glycine induces a calming effect on the body by lowering the core body temperature which helps you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for longer.
In one study (7), individuals who suffer from sleep disorders took glycine before bed. The results showed that participants fell asleep quicker and enjoyed improved sleep quality. The participants also experienced a significant reduction in fatigue and daytime sleepiness as well as an improvement in psychomotor vigilance.
Accelerates Wound Healing
Collagen is an essential component of wound healing. When we cut or scrape ourselves, collagen distributes various cells like the keratinocytes and fibroblasts to the affected area. Together with these cells, collagen helps to promote new tissue growth. The more collagen type I present, the quicker the wounds heal.
While it was previously thought that collagen only acts as the scaffolding for the skin, research (8) shows that it actually controls various cell functions. In fact, collagen plays an important role in every process during wound healing including inflammation, hemostasis, and proliferation.
Supports Gut Health
There are so many factors that impact our gut health. From stress to a poor diet, the sensitive lining in our intestines is always at risk of damage. The intestinal lining enables nutrients and water to be transported into the bloodstream via small gaps known as tight junctions. These tight junctions also block harmful toxins and bacteria from entering into the bloodstream. When the tight junctions are ‘loose’ or not functioning correctly, intestinal permeability increases. This means that bacteria and other harmful pathogens are able to escape the intestines and enter the bloodstream. When this occurs it is called Leaky Gut and can in some cases lead to Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease.
The high glutamine and glycine content found in fish collagen powder helps to reduce inflammation (9) associated with these types of gut disorders and aids in rebuilding and regenerating the intestinal walls. Additionally, research (10) has revealed that collagen derived from Alaskan pollock skin prevents further breakdown of the protein found in tight junctions.
Boosts Workout And Recovery
Marine collagen is a great way to fuel performance, build muscle mass and speed up recovery time after a vigorous workout. Glycine is one of the amino acids used by the body to produce creatine, a natural substance that gives your muscles the energy they need during high-intensity training like weight lifting and sprinting. The various mechanisms of creatine in the body also help to increase the size of the muscles.
After intense workouts, collagen helps the muscles to recover due to its high content of proline. Proline is a potent antioxidant that promotes tissue repair and cellular regeneration and helps to curb inflammation in the joints.
Does Fish Collagen Powder Have Side Effects?
Much like bovine collagen, fish collagen powder does not cause any adverse or significant side effects. Marine collagen does not pose a risk to your health if the source has a low mercury content, like wild Alaskan Pollock. In some cases there have been reports of digestive discomfort and bloating, however, it is not common amongst most users. With that being said, if you have a fish or shellfish allergy it is vital that you avoid taking any form of fish collagen. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements if you have allergies, underlying medical conditions, or you take medication.
Fish Collagen Powder: The Ultimate Collagen Source
From curbing aging to boosting workouts and strengthening the bones, your body will thank you for investing in a high-quality marine collagen supplement. If you’re ready to optimize your health with a science-backed pure collagen powder that comes with a money-back guarantee and no other ‘fishy’ additives, then Approved Science® Collagen is the answer!
2 thoughts on “A Guide To Fish Collagen Powder And Why It Is Making Waves”
There are many fish based collagen products on the market. How would we know which ones are using the Alaskan pollock which sounds like the most desirable?
Thanks for writing. You’re right, Wild Alaskan Pollock is the superior choice for a collagen product. While I can’t tell you about other brands, Approved Science® Collagen Powder is sourced from Wild Alaskan Pollock for maximum benefits. Try it using this link for 10% off your next container!