Marine Collagen Peptides, Are the Beauty Benefits Worth it? A Registered Dietitian Explains

Marine collagen peptides and powders aren’t just a trend. They’re backed by science and have been found to provide benefits for your skin, hair, joints, and more. Read on to learn more and discover what we think are the best marine collagen supplements.

Image of school of fish swimming in the deep blue ocean. Fish are a source for marine collagen peptides, powders and supplements.

If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about marine collagen, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re passionate about collagen. We’ve covered everything from our favorite collagen picks, in one of our most read guides, the best collagen supplements powders and peptides, written by a dietician. We’ve even answered the question: do collagen supplements work on wrinkles and sagging skin? And what about the different collagen types? Is there a best one? And where does your collagen powder really come from? And if you’re vegan we have you covered with our guide to vegan collagen supplements. All of these are important questions you want answers to, so we’ve done the homework.

As more and more research emerges, we’re learning that compared to other types of collagen, marine collagen peptide powders are more bioavailable and friendlier to the environment. And this is all while doing great things for your skin health, joints, and hair—it’s basically the fountain of youth, in powder form. You can enjoy it in delicious and healthy drinks such as our Almond Hot Cocoa With Collagen or Mint Chocolate Shake With Spinach & Collagen Powder (watch the video to see how easy it is to make!). Probably one of the easiest hacks is to add collagen in your coffee in the mornings. 

Why are we so passionate about collagen? Because the science doesn’t lie, collagen production starts slowing as early as 18 years old. By age 40, we’re losing collagen at a rate of 1% a year affecting our skin, joints, hair, muscles, gut and more (it’s the largest protein form in the body!).

Be sure to speak to a qualified healthcare professional before consuming any product.

CONTENTS

  1. What is Marine Collagen?
  2. Does Marine Collagen Contain Type I or II Collagen?
  3. What’s the Best Way to Take Marine Collagen?
  4. Here’s What Hydrolyzed Collagen Is
  5. Do Marine Collagen Peptides Work?
  6. Marine Collagen Benefits
  7. Collagen’s Unique Amino Acid Profile
  8. Are Marine Collagen Peptides Better than Bovine Collagen?
  9. What’s the Best Marine Collagen? Here Are Our Favorites
  10. The Bottom Line on Marine Collagen Peptides

In this post, we’ll walk you through the emerging science and potential benefits of marine collagen. We’ll also compare marine collagen peptides to bovine collagen (which is what most collagen powder on the market is sourced from) and answer your biggest questions about marine collagen. Read on to find out what’s on sale too!

4 Best Marine Collagen Picks
Dr. Nigma Talib’s Beauty Cocktail Collagen Powder + Natural Berry Hydration Powder
Crushed Tonic’s Marine Collagen Powder Sachets
Crushed Tonic’s Marine Collagen Powder Tubbie
Bonus: Dr. Nigma Talib’s Super Vitamin C Cocktail to support collagen production (read on to learn more)

What is Marine Collagen?

Marine collagen is exactly what it sounds like: a source of collagen that comes from pure marine sources. The collagen mostly comes from the skin and scales of various fish and other sea life, like seaweed and sponges. Don’t get grossed out—it doesn’t smell fishy at all, we promise.

But what the heck is collagen to begin with, you say? Collagen is an important protein present in your skin, bones, tendons, intestines, muscles, and other tissues in your body. It’s the most abundant protein in your body, providing structure and helping your body function. Without collagen, everything from your cheeks to your knees would be as dry and inflexible as a piece of chalk. (Like a skeleton… AKA, you’d be dead).

Does Marine Collagen Contain Type I or II Collagen?

Woman wearing flippers and snorkel gear, swimming with large fish which is a source of marine collagen peptides.

There are actually 28 types of collagen in our bodies, each of which plays a different role. Collagen type I is the form we’ll focus on the most in this article, because it’s found in your bones, skin, and connective tissue, and is the dominant form found throughout the body.1 We’ll also look at collagen type II, another form of collagen found in your joints.2

The collagen types don’t matter as much as people think, as they all contain the amino acids we need to build a strong body. When you consume specific collagen types, it does not target specific parts of the body, for example your nails. The collagen is broken down into amino acids that can be absorbed by your body and supports the whole body.

Many marine collagen supplements contain both collagen type I and type II. Since collagen itself is not widely found in food (although you may be able to support your body’s collagen production through food), many people choose to supplement collagen for the benefits, which we’ll go over in the next section.

Your body makes collagen on its own, but supplementing what your body makes with marine sources can be helpful. This is because our bodies produce less and less collagen as we age (one more thing to worry about with each birthday), so using a marine collagen supplement can help your body supply all of the protein it needs to continue supporting your skin, joints, bones, nails, and more. You can’t stop age-related changes (yet), but you might be able to slow time down using supplements like marine collagen peptides.

What’s the Best Way to Take Marine Collagen?

We’ve found that the best way to take marine collagen is in a powder form that you can add to food or liquids. Hydrolyzed marine collagen powders, like our favorite matcha and coffee flavors from Crushed Tonic, can be easily mixed into your preferred foods or drinks for an on-the-go beauty boost. Collagen margarita, anyone? Or double-up the health benefits by adding Dr. Nigma’s Beauty Cocktail Marine Collagen Powder to your morning smoothie or juice — the bright berry flavor pairs perfectly.

To learn more about marine collagen, it’s helpful to look at what marine collagen actually does to understand its potential benefits.

Here’s What Hydrolyzed Collagen Is

Most of the marine collagen supplements you’ll see on the market today are hydrolyzed. This means the collagen has been pre-broken down for you, making it easier for your body to digest, absorb, and use the important nutrients inside.

Do Marine Collagen Peptides Work?

Beauty Cocktail's marine collagen powder + natural berry hydration powder by Dr. Nigma Talib.
Supplementing with marine collagen powder is an easy and versatile way to get in this vital supplement.

You may see these hydrolyzed collagen supplements described as marine collagen powders or marine collagen peptides on the label. Of course, the product in the container matters even more than the label—remember what they say, beauty is on the inside!

If you’ve checked out our shop, you probably already noticed that we carry our absolute favorite collagen powders, including vegan collagen support for those who stay away from animal products. We believe in these powders and the science that backs them up—marine collagen powders and peptides have been linked to several health and beauty benefits, including for your skin, joints, and nails.

Marine Collagen Benefits

Image of woman with glowing skin showing marine collagen benefits.

One of the (few) good things to come out of the pandemic was the realization that self-care is imperative. And for many people, self-care involves skin care. As it should! The skincare industry is booming, and much of it is centered around the idea of “beauty from within,” an approach to your skin’s health that involves nutrition and what you put into—and on—your body.3 Although research on marine collagen is still emerging, many of the studies do involve skin care.

Dry, Wrinkled Skin

One such study looked at the effects of oral marine collagen peptides on dry, wrinkled skin.4 After 8 weeks of supplementation with marine collagen peptides, participants were found to have significant increases in skin hydration, with the dermis layer of the skin appearing stronger, denser, and with better bounce back. The study also noted that marine collagen improved the density and structure of the dermis, a layer of the skin deep below the surface. Sounds a bit like a superpower… We’re pretty sure all those Marvel heroes use marine collagen on the daily.

Another human trial using marine collagen peptides had similar positive results. It found that study participants using marine collagen had significant wrinkle reductions of 35% after 12 weeks when compared to the placebo group.5 Researchers also found that those who used the hydrolyzed marine collagen had improved skin elasticity. Another recent 12-week study found that marine collagen specifically reduced wrinkles under the eyes, around the nose and mouth, and on the forehead.6

Joint Health

Woman jogging up colorful stairs without joint pain thanks to marine collagen supplements.

As if collagen losses in aging skin weren’t enough, you also lose collagen in your joints as the years go by. Less collagen in your joints can contribute to joint pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility. If your bucket list is only getting longer as you get older, you’re going to want to make sure you’re doing everything possible to stay active and mobile for the rest of your long life.

Collagen type II is found in the joints, so it makes sense that various types of hydrolyzed collagen type II (like from chickens) have been found to alleviate joint discomfort in adults.7 Because marine collagen also contains collagen type II, it is thought to be another option for joint pain relief.

The knees are a common place to experience joint discomfort. And if you’re an athlete, you may begin experiencing joint pain from the physical demands long before your body slows down on collagen production. Fortunately, marine collagen has been linked to improvements in joint discomfort in the knees of young adult athletes.

In a study from 2021, young, active adults aged 18 to 30 took marine collagen supplements daily for 12 weeks.8 Both male and female participants found that their knee pain was significantly reduced at the end of the study, affirming that marine collagen peptides can be helpful in this area.

Hair and Nails

Woman in the wind in front of the ocean with long hair blowing that is healthy because she supplements with marine collagen powder.

Your luscious locks aren’t looking so luscious these days? There’s hope—your hair may benefit from marine collagen peptides.

As a protein, collagen is made up of many amino acids, or protein building blocks. Some of the amino acids found in marine collagen, like glycine and proline, are also found in keratin, the protein that is needed for your hair to grow and remain healthy. The theory is that the amino acids from collagen supplements can be used to make more keratin for your hair.

Even though the jury is still out when it comes to marine collagen benefits for hair, a more definitive benefit has been proved for your claws—er, nails. A small trial involving women with brittle nails found that supplementing with collagen peptides for 6 months led to longer and stronger nails, with less breakage.9

Bone Health

Woman in athletic clothing stretches in front of a sun-dappled orange wall; she takes the best marine collagen to support her bone health.

Researchers are continuing to learn new ways that marine collagen may be beneficial for human health.

A recent review reported that marine collagen may be used for wound healing and bone regeneration.10 The review points out that marine collagen peptides have a low molecular weight, which makes them more absorbable in the body, which improves wound healing.

The same review also referenced studies on marine collagen’s ability to aid in bone regeneration.11 Researchers found that marine collagen peptides increase the absorption of calcium and zinc, two nutrients vital to bone health. Rats treated with marine collagen peptides had denser, stronger bones at the end of one study discussed in the review.

Although there haven’t been many marine collagen trials on humans, we can still learn about potential benefits for ourselves from animal and lab studies.

Collagen’s Unique Amino Acid Profile

Vibrant purple and orange juice or smoothie that contains marine collagen supplements.
Marine collagen, bovine collagen, and other collagen sources contain more of the amino acids proline and glycine compared to other amino acid-containing foods and supplements.

All collagens, no matter the source, have a unique amino acid profile.12

Marine collagen, bovine collagen, and other collagen sources contain more of the amino acids proline and glycine compared to other amino acid-containing foods and supplements. But even more unique is that collagen, unlike other amino acid supplements, naturally contains hydroxyproline. Hydroxyproline is an amino acid that is almost exclusively found in collagen—only a few other protein sources contain it!

And why should you care about hydroxyproline? Hydroxyproline is especially important because it is used to make collagen stronger.13 The addition of oxygen and hydrogen (also known as a hydroxyl group) to the amino acid proline yields hydroxyproline, the more stable cousin of proline.14 These factors make this amino acid a stand-out component of your collagen powder.

Are Marine Collagen Peptides Better than Bovine Collagen?

Woman wearing bikini standing in blue water considering marine collagen benefits.

While bovine collagen has its own list of potential benefits for your health, marine collagen may be the better option. This is especially true if you’re planning on using marine collagen for beauty purposes.

Marine collagen is mostly made up of type I collagen, the type of collagen found in your skin and other connective tissue.15 And while bovine collagen has some type I collagen, marine sources tend to have more.

Basically, if you want better skin hydration, fewer wrinkles, and increased skin elasticity, then you need type I collagen. And since marine collagen has more type I collagen, it makes it the better choice for your skincare routine.

Marine Collagen is More Bioavailable

Marine collagen gets another point on the scoresheet for bioavailability. Due to its smaller molecular weight compared to bovine collagen, marine collagen is easier for your body to absorb.16 This means more collagen actually enters your body and can then be used where you need it most.

And if sustainability is important to you, then marine collagen is the best choice. The methods of sourcing marine collagen have less of an environmental impact compared to bovine collagen.17 Marine collagen is sourced from parts of the fish that are usually discarded, like the skin, scales, and bones. Using these parts for collagen powders makes better use of fish skins that have already been caught, while also cutting down on waste.18

What’s the Best Marine Collagen? Here Are Our Favorites

We love marine collagen so much we decided to sell it in the Organic Authority store. Chose from a few different flavors, including berry, and coffee, either in stick packs (perfect for travel, to stash in your purse, or gym bag) or tubbies.

Marine collagen powder sachets in coffee flavor by Crushed Tonic
We have a major crush on Crushed Tonic’s Coffee marine collagen powder sachets.

Your morning coffee just got a beauty boost. Start your day with a heaping dose of invigorating focus in the form of a latte, mocha, or any way you take your coffee.

Each sachet contains 10g of marine collagen and 10g of protein, along with 2.5g of 100% pure medium-roast Arabica Colombian instant coffee, known for its well-balanced, smooth-bodied rich taste and sweet caramel-cocoa aroma. Crushed Tonic’s marine collagen protein peptides is flavored with organic superfoods. 

This convenient, portable superfood powder travels light — take it in your gym bag, purse, or travel bag and enjoy the beauty benefits of collagen, no matter where your day takes you.

Sale Alert! Save 30% on Crushed Tonic’s marine collagen.

Marine collagen benefits in a convenient canister of coffee collagen powder by Crushed Tonic.
Crushed Tonic’s Marine Collagen Coffee Tubbie delivers all the marine collagen benefits in coffee form and deserves a place of honor at your coffee bar. 

Court your inner barista and give your beauty routine a kickstart with Crushed Tonic’s Marine Collagen Coffee. This unique blend of instant coffee and collagen delivers both a caffeine boost and beauty benefits in every sip. The collagen peptides (sustainably sourced) are clinically proven to support healthy skin and hair.

Colombian roast instant coffee for a smooth, well-balanced flavor with a rich aroma of sweet caramel and cocoa is paired with 10g of collagen and 10g of protein in every serving. You’ll feel energized and focused while also nourishing your beauty from within.

Sale Alert! Save 30% on Crushed Tonic’s marine collagen.

Beauty Cocktail's marine collagen powder + natural berry hydration powder by Dr. Nigma Talib.
Beauty Cocktail Marine Collagen Powder is formulated by a naturopathic doctor.

Dr. Nigma Talib’s Beauty Cocktail Collagen Powder + Natural Berry Hydration Powder is designed to nourish your body and support your overall health. Formulated by a naturopathic doctor, this berry-flavored cocktail is packed with vital nutrients, including electrolytes, branched-chain amino acids, and probiotics.

This drink mix supports feelings of collagen production while fostering your immunity with its content of polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamin C. Dr. Nigma prioritizes bioavailability in her formulations, so you can feel confident that your body is getting exceptional nourishing ingredients.

The Beauty Cocktail is vegan-friendly and free from artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors. With its traceable, third-party tested ingredients, you can be sure you’re only getting the best in your glass. So raise a glass to good health and feel “high on life” with Dr. Nigma’s powerful recipe.

Super Vitamin C Cocktail, by Dr. Nigma Talib complements vegan collage powders perfectly.

What’s Vitamin C doing in collagen product recommendations? Vitamin C and collagen are besties in the skincare world. Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient that helps to support collagen.19 It’s a win-win situation.

With its innovative PureWay-C, a clinically proven highly absorbable form of Vitamin C, Super Vitamin C Cocktail’s liposomal formula offers a powerhouse super-nutrient boost. Combined with the antioxidant power of Dr. Nigma’s VitaBerry® Superfruit Blend and essential immune-supporting ingredients like zinc and phosphatidylcholine, this concoction is a one-stop-shop for total body support.

Luxuriate in the glow of radiant skin with every delicious sip. Cheers to your health with Dr. Nigma’s Super Vitamin C Cocktail!

The Bottom Line on Marine Collagen Peptides

Man looking at a tropical waterfall, his strong build is supplemented by marine collagen powder.
Marine collagen powder has been linked to fewer wrinkles, better skin hydration and elasticity, reduced joint discomfort, wound healing, and healthier hair and nails.

Marine collagen peptides and powders are gaining popularity. Research is still developing, but what we do know about the benefits of marine collagen is certainly promising.

Marine collagen powder has been linked to fewer wrinkles, better skin hydration and elasticity, reduced joint discomfort, wound healing, and healthier hair and nails. Both the collagen types and amino acids found in marine collagen make it a candidate for a beauty product staple. To top it off, marine collagen is the more sustainable choice compared to other types of collagen. 

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P.S. Have you checked out Organic Authority’s nutrition and wellness shop? We’re here to meet your needs and help you take control of your health. Shop supplements for energy, sleep, inner beauty for skin support, clean protein, pantry items, and more. Shop The Organic Authority Shop now.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/type-i-collagen#:~:text=Type%20I%20collagen%20is%20the%20most%20abundant%20collagen%20and%20is,component%20of%20the%20interstitial%20membrane.
  2. https://examine.com/supplements/type-ii-collagen/
  3. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/News/Promotional-Features/Beauty-from-within-and-beyond-Exploring-the-modern-consumer-through-the-lens-of-clinical-research
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.12174
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8308696/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7915677/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28786550/
  8. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/20/1/61/htm
  9. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/20/1/61/htm
  10. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/17/8/467/htm
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8176521/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230273/
  13. https://www.bionity.com/en/encyclopedia/Hydroxyproline.html#:%7e:text=Hydroxyproline%20is%20a%20major%20component,collagen%20by%20forming%20hydrogen%20bonds.
  14. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/hydroxyproline
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4278207/
  16. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2021/09/01/Hydrolyzed-fish-cartilage-may-boost-skin-from-within-says-RCT
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230273/
  18. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/20/1/61/htm
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/

*Affiliate disclosure: Our team researches far and wide to find the best options for marine collagen. If you make a purchase after clicking our links, Organic Authority may earn a commission, which goes a long way to support the good work our team does and reduces the number of ads we serve (as well as our Valrhona Chocolate habit.) 

Brittany is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a master's degree in clinical nutrition. After working in the clinical... More about Brittany Lubeck, MS, RDN, Fact Checker + Medically Reviewed

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