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Last modified on November 16th, 2022
Marine collagen is a type of protein that comes from fish skin, and it’s hypoallergenic. There are a number of benefits of marine collagen, which we’ll explore, after ranking our picks for the top 7 best marine collagen supplements of 2020.
Top 7 Marine Collagen Supplements
The following are our selections for the top-rated marine collagen supplements, based on factors such as customer reviews and the quality of the manufacturing process used to create each.
- Marine 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
- Vital Protein Marine Collagen 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
- 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
- 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
- Made with premium wild-caught deep-sea fish from the Atlantic
- Uses only fish skin rather than fish scales
- Microparticle size helps improve absorption for the best results
- Gentle on the digestive system
- Sustainably-sourced fish are used to make this marine collagen
- Tasteless and odorless
- People say that it helps their skin look younger and improves hair growth and nail health
- 8Greens Marine Collagen supplement is a great way to get vital nutrition easily
- Includes marine collagen, biotin and 8 essential real greens including broccoli, kale, spinach, aloe, and green tea
- High in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Collagen peptides are made from wild-caught deep-sea cod
- Formula may replenish up to 70% of Type I collagen
- No sugar and only 10 calories
- Take it on the go with effervescent tablets that you can add to water
- Take it up to two times a day for beautiful skin, hair, and nails
- Pure hydrolysate with no added colors or flavors
- Tasteless and mixes easily with anything
- Includes pure Type I hydrolyzed collagen
- Created in France and packaged in California
- Can help strengthen the lining of the digestive tract and heal the gut
- Made from wild-caught fish from France
- Gluten and GMO-free
- According to reviews, this doesn’t have a fishy taste
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 the many benefits.
It comes from fish skin. The fish skins that are leftover from food production are taken and washed. They’re then hydrolyzed by acid and an enzyme to make marine collagen peptides. Marine 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, as well as 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 in 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 supplement, your body breaks the collagen down into specific amino acids. There are 18 amino acids in pure marine collagen, which are each absorbed and used by your body. Of the nine amino acids considered essential, this type of collagen contains eight of them.
Some of the amino acids most prevalent include hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline.
What Are the Benefits?
The benefits are primarily beauty-related, but there are also other benefits, such as 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 a supplement can be beneficial. The following are some of the specific benefits of marine collagen, such as Vital Proteins.
Absorbable and Bioavailable
One of the primary benefits, even over some other types of collagen supplements, is how bioavailable it is. This type of collagen has the lowest molecular weight among all types of collagen and the smallest particle size.
What this means is that when you take pure marine collagen, it can pass through the wall of the intestines and go into the bloodstream more easily, providing more nourishment, healing and repair.
It is absorbed as much as 1.5 times more efficiently than other collagen.
Type I Collagen
Pure marine 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 products, you’ll find that one of the areas people feel they’re most effective is improving the appearance of their skin.
Over time as we age and our collagen production goes down, that makes our faces look less smooth and plump.
Taking a collagen supplement can help renew the vitality of your skin.
For example, it increases the cells in the skin that produce collagen.
Clinical trials looking at the benefits of marine collagen have found that when it’s used as a supplement, study participants had fewer wrinkles and saw improvements in both skin firmness and hydration.
Specific skin benefits also include improved elasticity, more sebum production, and boosts in collagen density.
Gut health is a huge issue right now, 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. The result is increased inflammation and potentially autoimmune disease.
One of the benefits is the fact 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 any inflammatory digestive or gut health issue.
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.
It’s Environmentally Friendly
One of the perhaps unintended benefits but no less valuable is the fact that marine collagen is eco-friendly. Around 60% of fish byproducts become waste, but marine collagen puts them to use, so that doesn’t happen. Fish skin is incredibly beneficial for your health and rich in collagen, and with the use of these products, you’re helping reduce pollution at the same time.
Blood Sugar Support
Because of the high levels of glycine in pure marine collagen, there are benefits of taking one of these supplements for blood sugar. Low levels of glycine, an amino acid, are linked to impaired tolerance for glucose, which means that low glycine may lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes.
When you take a marine collagen 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.
Most of our brains feel like they could use a boost, and taking a marine collagen 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.
Many women and men struggle with thyroid issues. Collagen can help by balancing the proteins in your body. That can then help your liver convert your thyroid hormone into active T3 because your blood cortisol levels are being lowered.
Are There 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 of fish collagen are hypoallergenic and well-tolerated by even people with food intolerances or sensitivities. With that being said, 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, if you have a fish allergy, you should not take a fish-based supplement.
How to Choose the Best Supplement
If you’re looking for the best collagen supplement in general, the most important factors to consider are:
- Is it made from wild-caught sources? This is an important factor when choosing the best supplement because you want to be as eco-friendly as possible and wild-caught, non-GMO fish mean your collagen is going to be sustainably produced.
- Does it have an odor or taste? These can be off-putting, so read the reviews carefully and make sure the product doesn’t smell or taste very fishy.
- Look at the profile of amino acids and in particular glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.
- Look for a product free of additives.
Marine vs. Bovine Collagen
Bovine collagen is another popular type of 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 collagen is from fish scales and skin.
Another difference when comparing marine vs. bovine collagen is the fact 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 fish-based collagen.
There’s some evidence fish-based collagen is also more absorbable than bovine collagen.
If you don’t already include a marine collagen supplement in your routine, it might be time to start. Marine collagen benefits are immense and brands like Vital Proteins Marine Collagen offer great products. Marine collagen benefits include improving the look and health of your skin, healing your gut, reducing inflammation and helping you lose weight and build muscle.
The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about marine collagen.
Is Fish Collagen Better Than Bovine Collagen?
We’ve touched on some of the key differences between marine collagen and bovine collagen, but the primary differentiator is the source.
Marine collagen is sourced from fish. Bovine collagen comes from cows.
Since these types of collagen come from different animals, this also means they come from different environments.
Also, marine collagen is usually Type I. Bovine collagen, in most cases, is a combination of Type I and Type III.
If you have skin issues and that’s the primary reason you want to try a collagen supplement, it might be best for you to use marine collagen. While there are pros and cons of all collagen types, for glowing skin marine collagen is hands-down the best option.
What Are the Pros?
Some of the big perks of taking a fish-based collagen product include:
- It’s the most bioavailable type of collagen. There’s some evidence it may absorb as much as 1.5 times faster than other types.
- It’s a clean source of collagen. Pay particular attention to whether the fish used to make a product is wild-caught. That’s the best type.
- Your skin will benefit.
- It’s a good type of collagen to use if you’re interested in wound-healing.
- It’s more eco-friendly to use this type of collagen than bovine collagen, as long as the fish are ethically sourced.
- There’s no fishy smell or taste, or at least there shouldn’t be with a good product.
It should be pointed out that bovine collagen has its benefits as well. If your primary goal of taking collagen is to help with joint pain and mobility, grass-fed bovine collagen may be better for you.
How Should You Use It?
If you’re going to use marine collagen peptides, it’s a versatile product. It may help with absorption and bioavailability if you take it on an empty stomach, but you don’t have to. You can mix it with anything really, including soup, drinks, water or smoothies.
Many people prefer to take collagen either first thing in the morning or right before they go to bed.
If you take your collagen supplement with something warm, like warm water, it’s good for optimal absorption.
Is Marine Collagen Safe?
Some people worry that because of things like water toxin and pollutants and mercury, marine collagen peptides might not be safe. This is not something that we think is a big concern at this point.
Mercury builds up in the fast of fish. Collagen supplements are made from purified protein, so there’s minimal risk of mercury contamination.