Marine collagen: what is it used for?

Marine collagen: what is it used for?

Increasingly popular, marine collagen is almost fiercely imposing on social networks and in the windows of specialized stores. If it is presented as the anti-aging product par excellence, it would also be useful for relieving joint pain and promoting muscle recovery. So what is it really? We take stock with Emmanuelle Le Courtois, a naturopath specializing in supporting women.

Marine collagen is a protein found in the connective tissues and scales of fish, as well as other marine organisms. Since collagen can only come from animals, it is either of bovine origin or of marine origin.

The benefits of collagen

You should know that collagen is a structural protein naturally present in the human body. “It is a connective tissue that forms the basis of tendons, teeth, bones, blood vessel walls and cartilage.“, explains the naturopath. This protein present throughout the body provides structure and resistance, but also ensures good elasticity of the skin. Hence its importance in preserving the quality of the epidermis. However, the synthesis of collagen by the The body decreases with age, from the age of 25. This is the whole promise of marine collagen: relaunching the natural production of collagen.

The decrease in collagen synthesis affects skin quality and involves:

  • The sagging of the oval of the face;
  • An increase in the appearance of wrinkles;
  • Loss of skin firmness;
  • Loss of elasticity.

Marine collagen: for whom?

We often talk about the benefits of collagen in fighting the signs of skin aging, but this protein is also involved in wound healing and tissue repair.

Marine collagen for those who want to take care of their skin

In the majority of cases, marine collagen is used for aesthetic purposes, for its anti-aging effect and its ability to improve the overall appearance of the skin. “From a cosmetic point of view, we realized that collagen absorbed by the skin via creams was not as effective as collagen ingested in the form of food supplements. underlines Emmanuelle Le Courtois. Studies, including one published in 2021, have shown favorable results of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin elasticity and reduced wrinkles.

Marine collagen for those with joint problems

Marine collagen would also be indicated in cases of joint or cartilage problems, particularly in the elderly. However, although marine collagen can help ligaments and joints remain supple, many health professionals believe that it is not possible to recommend marine collagen against osteoarthritis at this time, due to a lack of rigorous studies. and independent on this subject. Medical advice is recommended, if you nevertheless wish to test this food supplement.

Muscle pain, tendons… Marine collagen for athletes

Marine collagen would also play an important role in sports recovery, by maintaining muscle mass. It would make you feel less tired after exercise and have less aches. It would also limit the risk of injuries, by ensuring the resistance and elasticity of the skin.

Marine collagen for pregnant women

During pregnancy, the skin and tendons tend to stretch a lot. Marine collagen then helps prevent stretch marks. According to Emmanuelle Le Courtois, marine collagen is very useful postpartum. “After giving birth, many things in the body need to rebuild and return to shape. Taking marine collagen at this time contributes to healing.” specifies the naturopath. “It also serves to prevent hair loss“, adds the specialist.

Marine or bovine collagen: which to choose?

A pioneer a few years ago, a famous American collagen brand used bovine collagen in its food supplements. Today, if the trend is towards marine collagen, it is because studies have shown that it is better absorbed by the body and that it is more antioxidant than bovine collagen.

Hydrolyzed marine collagen

Marine collagen is often hydrolyzed. That is, it is broken down into small pieces, called collagen peptides. “This form is preferred because the collagen peptides circulate better where the body needs them.“, specifies the naturopath.

Is it good to take marine collagen every day?

In naturopathy, Emmanuelle Le Courtois emphasizes that the administration of food supplements is done through courses. “However, studies have shown that at the end of the marine collagen treatment, the benefits on the skin disappeared 3 to 4 months later.“, notes the specialist.”This is where, from a cosmetic point of view, marine collagen has its limits.”she adds.

The naturopath would also like to point out that marine collagen cures are not miraculous. “Studies show that the benefits of collagen on the skin result more from a subjective feeling, rather than scientific data“, warns the expert.

To support occasional problems, such as postpartum or joint discomfort, Emmanuelle Le Courtois recommends collagen treatments lasting a few months. “From my point of view, I do not recommend taking food supplements for more than three months in a row.” she emphasizes.

Collagen: healthy lifestyle as important as food supplements

The body naturally produces collagen. This is why a healthy lifestyle helps support its production. Before taking food supplements, the naturopath first recommends adopting a healthy lifestyle. “There is no point in taking supplements if you don't have a healthy lifestyle to begin with.“, she explains.

But what exactly does adopting a healthy lifestyle entail? Emmanuelle Le Courtois explains that it is about limiting all sources of oxidative stress (excess free radicals), such as tobacco, alcohol and processed foods. Stress management in particular must be taken into account.

Natural collagen and oxidative stress

Indeed, collagen production is very sensitive to oxidative stress. “Smoking, excessive exposure to the sun, eating processed foods or experiencing frequent episodes of stress, creates oxidation in the body. Which hinders the production and synthesis of collagen”, specifies the naturopath.

Lack of protein also hinders collagen production. “Many women don't eat enough protein. However, it is possible to boost collagen production through diet with bone broths for example.“, she explains.

Is marine collagen effective?

As mentioned previously, marine collagen hydrolyzate is not miraculous for the skin. Although collagen is produced less and less by the body with age, having a healthy lifestyle to support its production is much more effective than using marine collagen, according to Emmanuelle Le Courtois.

The effects of marine collagen on wrinkles

From the moment menopause arrives, marine collagen will have limited effects on skin that dries out and loses its firmness. “There is a form of acceptance to develop with the effects of age”, underlines the naturopath. “Of course a cure from time to time doesn't do any harm, but it remains expensive. she adds.

The effects of marine collagen postpartum

On the other hand, the naturopath emphasizes the benefits of marine collagen in the postpartum period. Marine collagen treatments for 3 to 4 months after childbirth can be very useful in preventing hair loss, reducing stretch marks, and alleviating joint and ligament pain. Of course, taking it is done on a case-by-case basis, during a consultation with a naturopath or a specialized professional.

Marine collagen: how to recognize a good quality composition?

As the offer is extensive on the market, Emmanuelle Le Courtois advises to identify on the formula the origin of the collagen: marine or bovine. Depending on each person's sensitivities, this may be important. It is, however, important to keep in mind that hydrolyzed marine collagen is best absorbed by the body.

Marine collagen in powder, marine collagen in capsules… Regardless of the type of collagen used, you should pay attention to all the additives that the composition may contain: flavorings, sugar, etc. “In general, the more transparent the brand, the more it has nothing to hide. This applies to all food supplements. underlines the naturopath.

In the context of pregnancy and postpartum, Emmanuelle Le Courtois recommends food supplements specialized in the theme of maternity, with brands concerned with the health of babies and young mothers, such as Jolly Mama and Boome.

How many collagen capsules to take per day?

Marine collagen can be taken at any time of the day, as long as the recommended daily dose of 10 grams per day is respected. “Excessive consumption can be dangerous, because marine collagen remains an external protein that the body must assimilate and manage., warns the specialist. “However, studies show that postpartum, the dose may be higher“, adds the naturopath. At the recommended doses, there are no contraindications to consuming collagen. However, it is better to seek the advice of a…