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Marine Collagen, a New Star Ingredient?

Collagen is an essential element of our skin's structure. It is a protein found in our bodies, primarily in the skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, and teeth. It is also the most abundant protein in the skin, playing a crucial role in skin structure and elasticity. 

While collagen is naturally produced by our bodies, its production starts decreasing naturally from our twenties and is further affected by factors like sun exposure, smoking, or sugar consumption. As age goes by, we lose more collagen than we produce. By the age of 30, we start losing it more each year... By 45, collagen levels usually drop by 30%. This leads to less elastic, less soft skin that heals poorly and renews less effectively, resulting in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. 

To counter this loss, collagen-based products have gained significant popularity in recent years that shows no sign of slowing down. In essence, collagen now symbolizes vitality and youth. 


Collagen creams are widely spread in the cosmetics industry and are marketed as miracle solutions against skin aging effects. However, applying collagen topically has limitations. The size of collagen molecules makes it challenging for them to be absorbed by the epidermis and reach the dermis where collagen plays its structural role. On the other hand, hydrolyzed collagen, broken down into smaller fragments enzymatically, theoretically can reach the dermis. Yet, there isn't enough clinical evidence to support the idea that this would effectively lead to turn up collagen production. Several factors can explain the inefficacy of some collagen creams including: 

- The quality and low concentration of collagen used, 

- Product formulation: improper ingredient combination or formulation can hinder collagen penetration deep enough into the skin to provide its benefits. 

While the concept that beauty comes from within isn't new, a new trend has emerged recently: collagen as 'beauty food.' The benefits of collagen as a supplement in a drink or food are believed to be more effective in preserving skin than surface application. 

Sources of Collagen in Food 1 

According to Ashley Barrient, MEd, LPC, RD, LDN, a bariatric dietitian at Northwestern Medicine's Digestive Health Center in Chicago, the most common dietary source currently is bone broth popularized by the so-called paleo diet. The paleolithic diet encourages eating like ancient hunters and gatherers over 10,000 years ago - rich in fish, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, eggs, and nuts while excluding dairy products, grains, processed foods, coffee, alcohol, sugar, and salt.2 

In both humans and animals, collagen is concentrated in connective tissues like muscles. Therefore, any meat containing muscles or other connective tissues is a rich source of collagen. Fish, egg whites, and spirulina are other good animal and algal sources of collagen. 

The body doesn't absorb whole collagen molecules but breaks them down into amino acids used to synthesize its own collagen and other proteins. The necessary amino acids for collagen production can come from any protein source - bone broth cheese beans or quinoa. 


Collagen Supplementation 345 

Recent research has shown the beneficial effects of oral supplementation with certain types of collagens on joint and skin health - improving skin elasticity notably. There are over 25 types of collagens but about 90% in our bodies belong to types I, II, and III with types I and II being most common. 

For it to pass through the intestinal barrier and act on the skin effectively it's essential for collagen to be hydrolyzed into smaller molecules - peptides containing the same amino acids. 

Collagen can come from various sources: bovine porcine or marine (fish, shelfish). While bovine and porcine collagens have better integrity against temperature variations making them less bioavailable marine collagen is less heat-resistant than mammalian collagens but easier for digestion limiting amino acid losses. 

An analysis of 19 studies involving 1 125 participants (95% women) aged 20-70 showed that hydrolyzed collagen intake improved skin hydration elasticity and wrinkles compared to a placebo treatment 6. Effective doses varied across studies although most used 2.5 to 15 grams per day for 8 weeks or more.78

For our Complexe Pro-Age Integrale formulation, we selected Cartidyss® marine collagen peptides derived from type II collagen. Type I consists of 95% collagen peptides while Type II contains 70%! Although our skin is made up of 70% collagen it also contains molecules found in cartilage: chondroitin glucosamine hyaluronic acid which play a role in maintaining the complex matrix that is our skin. Thanks to its composition we can use Cartidyss marine collagen at a lower dose (500 mg per day) with demonstrated benefits from a clinical study.9 

We believe that the synergy between collagen peptides and other molecules: chondroitin , glucosamine and hyaluronic acid, explains its effect on skin at a lower dosage allowing us to combine other active ingredients such as wheat phytoceramides Ceramosides™ and our poplar bud extract rich in polyphenols enhancing its effectiveness in strengthening skin structure."




[1] Dietary Collagen — Should Consumers Believe the Hype?
By Jamie Santa Cruz
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 21, No. 3, P. 26

[2] Mc Master's University Blog - Optimal Ageing Portal for more information on the analysis of the benefits and risks of this diet

[3] Dietary Collagen — Should Consumers Believe the Hype?
By Jamie Santa Cruz
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 21, No. 3, P. 26



[6] Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis

[7] Significant Amounts of Functional Collagen Peptides Can Be Incorporated in the Diet While Maintaining Indispensable Amino Acid Balance

[8] Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis

[9] Oral Supplementation with Hydrolyzed Fish Cartilage Improves the Morphological and Structural Characteristics of the Skin: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study