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Marine Collagen: Health Benefits, Side Effects, and More

Last modified on February 13th, 2023

Marine collagen is a type of protein that comes from fish skin and is hypoallergenic. There are a number of benefits, which we’ll explore after ranking our picks for the best supplements made from marine sources.

Top Supplements Made From Marine-Derived Collagen

The following are our selections for the top-rated supplements based on factors such as customer reviews and the quality of the manufacturing process used to create each.

Amandean Wild-Caught Fish Marine Collagen

  • Hydrolyzed collagen peptides sourced from North Atlantic wide-caught fished
  • Enzymatically processed to ensure the peptides stay intact
  • Single-ingredient from a transparent source
  • Includes anti-aging amino acids to help support healthy, beautiful skin, nails, and hair
  • Hydrolyzed for maximum bioavailability
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Odorless, flavorless, and easy to mix
  • Helps promote strong bones and joints
  • Provides a good source of protein for paleo and keto diets
  • Recover from activity faster
  • Helps boost lean-muscle building
The benefits of marine collagen peptides include helping bone mineral density, reducing joint pain, and strengthening bone tissue. Some people prefer marine co

Vital Proteins Marine Collagen

  • Vital Protein is one of the best-rated brands for this product
  • 12 grams of collagen per serving
  • Sourced from wild-caught fish
  • Free of added sugar
  • No gluten or dairy
  • Can be used in both hot and cool liquids—soluble even in cold liquids
  • Supports healthy skin and hair
  • Joint support
Collagen peptide supplementation can have numerous health benefits for skin cells, collagen synthesis and the production of hyaluronic acid.

Sports Research Marine Collagen Peptides Powder

  • Helps replace the collagen that we start to lose at the age of 30
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Sustainably sourced from the skin of wild-caught fish
  • High in amino acids and proteins
  • Hydrolyzed so it’s easily absorbed and can dissolve in both hot and cold liquids
  • Includes a 90-day money-back guarantee
  • According to reviews, it helps reduce wrinkles and joint discomfort
  • No fishy taste
Collagen supplementation can help rebuild collagen fibers adn connective tissues.

Codeage Marine Collagen Powder

  • 100% wild-caught fish in the North Atlantic
  • Source of type 1 and 3 collagen
  • Includes 18 different amino acids
  • Pure collagen with no additives, sulfites, or preservatives
  • Hypoallergenic and hydrolyzed for more bioavailability and absorption
  • Made in a cGMP facility in the U.S.
  • Mixes into both hot and cold liquids
  • Reviews say the product helps their hair grow fast and strong
  • According to reviews, it’s completely tasteless
Marine collagen supplements help promote healthy skin and reduce signs of aging skin through the provision of individual amino acids. This marine collagen powder is one of the best for the health benefits.

Norcal Marine Collagen

  • Made from Norwegian wild cod
  • Instantly mixes
  • Only has one ingredient
  • Not farm raised
  • Sustainable fishing practices
  • Packed and tested in a GMP Certified facility in the U.S.
  • No flavor, according to customer reviews
Learn about the benefits of taking a marine collagen supplement including for skin health. Find out other important things to know before trying collagen peptides.

What Is Marine Collagen?

Marine collagen, also called marine collagen peptides, is a wonderful supplement, and it’s gotten a lot of buzz lately for its many benefits. It’s also called hydrolyzed fish collagen or just fish collagen.

This type of collagen comes from fish skin. The fish skins leftover from food production are taken and washed, then hydrolyzed by acid and an enzyme to make marine collagen peptides. These collagen peptides are easily digested and absorbed.

Many types of pure marine collagen peptides are made up of Types I and III collagen. Type I and III collagen are good for hair and nail health and growth, skin hydration, and elasticity. They also support joint health and bones.

Collagen is the protein that occurs most abundantly in our bodies, but each year we produce less and less of it, which is why it’s so common to see people taking it in supplement form.

As your natural collagen production declines and existing collagen breaks down, you can often see the effects on your skin and feel the effects on your bones and joints. If you have low levels of collagen, you may also find that you deal with digestive problems, an increased risk of chronic illness, and a weak immune system.

When you take a pure collagen supplement, your body breaks the collagen down into specific amino acids. There are 18 amino acids in pure collagen, each absorbed and used by your body. Of the nine amino acids considered essential, marine collagen contains eight.

Some amino acids most prevalent in collagen from marine sources include hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline.

What Are Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides?

When shopping for collagen supplements containing marine ingredients, you’ll often see the term hydrolyzed. So what does that mean?

Collagen is a group of fibrous proteins, but when we supplement from marine or bovine sources, the collagen has to be broken down so our bodies can use it. The broken-down version usable by our bodies is called hydrolyzed collagen or collagen hydrolysate. These products are created through hydrolysis, where water molecules break the chemical bonds.

Collagen is a protein made up of three amino acid chains. Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down into small protein chains. These chains are called collagen peptides.

All supplements that contain collagen are technically hydrolyzed, but they’re broken down at different degrees.

If collagen is entirely hydrolyzed, it’s easy to use because it dissolves in anything and is odorless and tasteless.

What Are the Benefits of Marine Collagen?

The benefits are primarily beauty-related, but other benefits include helping promote healthier joints and improving mobility.

Collagen is our body’s most abundant protein. Collagen is located in our blood vessels, skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is integral to maintaining our structural integrity.

Each year, however, we produce, on average, 1% less collagen, and most of us don’t get a lot of replacement from dietary sources.

That’s where marine collagen can be beneficial. The following are some specific benefits.

Absorbable and Bioavailable

One of the primary benefits, even over some other types of collagen supplements, is how bioavailable it is. Fish collagen has the lowest molecular weight among all types of collagen and the smallest particle size.

This means that when you take pure fish collagen, it can pass through the wall of the intestines and go into the bloodstream more easily, providing more nourishment, healing, and repair.

It’s absorbed as much as 1.5 times more efficiently than other collagen.

Type I Collagen

Pure fish collagen is primarily type I collagen. There are dozens of different types of collagen in our body, but type I is the most abundant.

Type I collagen is a key part of the health of much of our bodies, including our skin, bones, teeth, and muscles.

Skin Health and Appearance

When you read reviews for some of the top products, you’ll find that one of the areas people feel they’re most effective in is improving the appearance of their skin.

Over time as we age and our collagen production goes down, our faces look less smooth and plump. These are the results of aging skin.

A collagen supplement can help renew your skin’s vitality and reverse some signs of aging.

For example, it increases the cells in the skin that produce collagen.

Clinical trials looking at the benefits have found that when used as a supplement, study participants had fewer wrinkles and saw improvements in skin firmness and hydration.

Specific skin benefits include improved elasticity, more sebum production, and a boost of collagen density.

Gut Health

Gut health is a huge issue, and so many of us suffer from leaky gut without even realizing it. When you have leaky gut, foreign particles, and toxins can escape your gut lining and enter your bloodstream, resulting in increased inflammation and potentially autoimmune disease.

One benefit is that it promotes gut health and support, largely thanks to the amino acids it contains.

Glutamine and glycine are two specific amino acids that are believed to help the lining of the digestive tract.

Glycine is also great for reducing inflammation, which is good for inflammatory digestive or gut health issues.

Bone Health, Bone Mineral Density, and Bone Strength

There is an animal study that found pure marine collagen may help your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, as well as other minerals that are essential for bone strength. When your body can absorb these minerals, then it activates osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are bone cells that synthesize and mineralize your bones.

Improved Sleep Quality

Aside from healing your gut and promoting gut health, another benefit that comes from the amino acids is the ability to improve your sleep quality. In particular, glycine helps support good sleep quality.


Building lean muscle mass is important for men and women. Having lean muscle helps your body burn calories more effectively, and glycine, one of the amino acids in pure marine collagen, helps promote your body’s building of lean muscle mass.

Fish Collagen Peptides Are Environmentally Friendly

One of the perhaps unintended but no less valuable benefits is that marine collagen is eco-friendly. Around 60% of fish byproducts become waste, but marine-based supplements put them to use, so that doesn’t happen. Fish skin is incredibly beneficial for your health and rich in collagen; with these products, you’re helping reduce pollution simultaneously.

These collagen powders are more eco-friendly and are one of the primary reasons people prefer marine-sourced collagen over other types.

Blood Sugar Support

Because of the high levels of glycine in marine-sourced collagen, there are benefits of taking one of these supplements for blood sugar. Low glycine levels, an amino acid, are linked to impaired tolerance for glucose, which means that low glycine may lead to insulin resistance, and insulin resistance can lead to diabetes.

Weight Management

When you take a supplement, it can help you lose or maintain weight. Marine collagen doesn’t have carbs, fat, or sugar, but it can help you feel full for longer, suppressing your appetite.

Brain Health

Most of our brains feel like they could use a boost, and taking a supplement may help.

Since glycine makes up a big chunk of the amino acid in collagens, it may help your brain focus and calm down.

Thyroid Health

Many women and men struggle with thyroid issues. Collagen can help by balancing the proteins in your body. That can help your liver convert your thyroid hormone into active T3 because your blood cortisol levels are lowered.

Hair Growth

You may notice with regular collagen supplementation that you have more hair, and it’s healthier. Taking one of these supplements including fish collagen or one from a marine source, can provide you with essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must come from your diet or supplements and you can’t produce them alone. These amino acids create peptides that signal your hair to rejuvenate and repair itself.

Wound Healing

Fish-based collagen can be a compound that helps heal skin injuries, as shown in both in vitro and in vivo experiments.

Joint Health

Some studies show that taking a fish collagen supplement can improve osteoarthritis symptoms and reduce joint pain. Collagen helps maintain cartilage integrity, and cartilage is a tissue that protects your joints.

Researchers think supplemental collagen can accumulate in your cartilage, stimulating the tissues to make collagen. This can mean less pain, better joint support, and less inflammation.

Does Marine Collagen Have Any Side Effects?

Taking a collagen supplement tends to be side-effect-free for most people. The same is true of bovine collagen, which along with the benefits of collagen, is likely one of the reasons these supplements have become so popular.

In fact, many types are hypoallergenic and well-tolerated by even people with food intolerances or sensitivities. Always consult your doctor before taking a pure marine collagen supplement.

Some people have reported mild bloating when taking collagen supplements, but that’s about it.

Of course, you should not take a supplement if you have a fish allergy.

How to Choose the Best Marine Collagen Supplements

If you’re looking for the best supplement or any collagen protein supplement in general, the most important factors to consider are:

  • Is it made from wild-caught sources? This is important when choosing the best marine supplement because you want to be as eco-friendly as possible, and wild-caught, non-GMO fish mean your collagen will be sustainably produced.
  • Does the supplement have an odor or taste? These can be off-putting, so read the reviews carefully and ensure the product doesn’t smell or taste very fishy.
  • Look at the profile of amino acids, particularly glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.
  • Choose pure marine collagen without additives.

How Is Marine Collagen Different From Bovine Collagen?

Bovine collagen is another popular supplement, so how do marine vs. bovine collagen compare to one another?

The main difference is where these products are sourced from. Bovine collagen is from cowhides, and marine is from fish scales and skin.

Another difference when comparing marine vs. bovine collagen is that marine collagen is primarily Type I. Bovine collagen is usually a combination of Type I and III. Type III has similarities to Type I, and both are located in our skin and organs. Type III, like Type I, helps gut health and promotes skin elasticity.

If your biggest goal of taking a collagen supplement is to help your skin, then you probably want to take a  supplement sourced from fish.

There’s some evidence marine supplements are also more absorbable than bovine collagen.

Summing Up

If you don’t already include a marine collagen supplement in your routine, it might be time to start. The benefits are immense, and brands like Vital Proteins Marine Collagen offer great products. These benefits include improving the look and health of your skin, healing your gut, reducing inflammation, and helping you lose weight and build muscle.

Our Editorial Process

All of our reviews are completely unbiased. We have an in-depth review and ranking methodology for each of our products. We base our reviews on:

  • Peer-reviewed scientific studies and research
  • Real customer reviews
  • Our own experience using products
  • Price and availability

Whenever possible, we review and rank products that we actually use to provide a better understanding of what you can expect. 

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