fish collagen


According to recent medical research, collagen is a hard fibrous protein made up of a specific amino-acids produced endogenously to provide support and strength and solve the health related problems associated with the depletion and the breakdown of the body’s collagen. As exogenous collagen is used for cosmetic as well as medical and pharmaceutical purposes, to help with repairing and healing of the body’s tissues [1]. It is the substance that makes up approximately 70% of the protein and holds the whole body together. It is present in the skin, muscles, tendons, and bones, where it arranges for structure, elasticity, and support [2]. There are different sources of collagen such as bovine, pork, fish and other animal sources. Among them, fish is the safest and environment friendly source of collagen. It helps to control environment pollution because it obtain from waste of fish processing [3].

advantages of fish collagen

Fish collagen is similar to naturally occurring collagen, so highly acceptable to our body. It is a highly absorbable collagen as compared to other animal source collagen. After penetration through skin epidermis, fish collagen fulfils the deficiency of body collagen and maintain the skin structure, elasticity and support. Fish Collagen is exceptional and very delicate because of its isolation method in its active and live natural form. It is less immunogenic, free of toxins, metabolically compatible and no quality control problems [3]. Fish collagen solves the problems associated with deficiencies of collagen in a natural way without any side effects [4].

Making fish collagen the most bioactive collagen for our bodies and in improving our bodies production of natural collagen.

Types of Collagen

There are several types of collagen present in our body, but more commonly found collagen is type 1 which cover approximately 90% of total collagen. Collagen is divided into several types as discussed below [5, 6].

  • Fibrillar (Type I, II, III, V, XI)

It is further divided into 5 types:

  1. Type I
  2. Type II
  3. Type III
  4. Type V
  5. Type XI
  • Non-fibrillar

It is further divided into several different types:

    1. Basement membrane collagen (Type IV)
    2. Short chain collagen (Type VIII, X)
    3. Fibril-Associated Collagens with (Type IX, XII, XIV, XVI, XIX).
    4. Membrane Associated Collagens (Type XIII, XVII)
  • Multiple Triple Helix (Type XV, XVIII)

The most abundant types of collagen are as follows:

  • Type I collagen:

The most abundant type of collagen is type I and it is found all over the body, but not in the cartilaginous type of tissues. Type I collagen is present in skin, organs, bones, vascular ligature and tendon. It is highly absorbable. A collagen obtain from fish skin is of Type-I collagen which is more absorbable and maintain skin integrity.

  • Type II collagen

This type of collagen is present in cartilaginous tissues. Beside this, it is also present in developing cornea and vitreous humor. It is less absorbable and less beneficial as compared to type I collagen.

Benefits of fish collagen

Fish collagen is of type-I nature. Among different types of collagen, a type I collagen, is of considerable quality. According to research, It is transparent, slightly opalescent and has a homogenous, gel-like consistency, with a characteristic smell [7]. Another reason for considering this source as a best is due to belief that “life originated from marine” [8]. There are several uses of fish collagen but scientifically approved uses of fish collagen are enlisted below:

  • Fish collagen for skin

According to Dr. Liow Tiong Sin, wrinkles, sagging pores or skin depressions, lines, and scars are formed on the skin because of collagen deficiency or collagen cells lose its consistency and elasticity. So, collagen can improve the wrinkles and lines and also fill out depressions. Fish collagen has anti-wrinkling and anti-aging effects because it also acts as a moisturizer and natural humectant.

Collagen obtained from animal source cannot be absorbed by the external layer of the skin because of its high molecular weight; they remain on the skin but fish collagen easily absorbed and distributed by the body due to low molecular weight [9, 10] and microbial attack [11]. According to research, fish collagen is a new, trendy and valuable component due to its composition and properties. It prevents hydration, maintain skin elasticity and reduce the skin wrinkles because of its greater absorption and distribution [12].

  • Fish collagen for heart

Collagen is not a main component of skin, it’s a main component of the cardiac skeleton too. Heart valves, septa of the heart chamber, atrioventricular septum and the interventricular septum have collagenous structure. Fish collagen is a new, trendy and valuable component due to its composition and properties. It can easily be absorbed by the external layer of the skin; they enter into systematic circulation and provides care inside the chamber and inside the blood vessels. So, fish collagen is beneficial for heart and blood vessels.

  • Fish collagen for bones and cartilage

Common concept is that type II collagen is obtain from cartilaginous tissues and beneficial for cartilage and bones. This concept is not scientifically approved. According to research, fish collagen provides support to cartilage and extracellular matrix covering the cartilage because of its systematic availability. Fish  collagen enhances the mechanical properties of cartilage and increases the process of healing. Fish collagen form a new layer on damage cartilage and repair the cartilage.

Several studies reported that collagen also stimulates the production of synovial fluid and increases the mobility of joints by increasing the activity of cartilage cells because of its amino acids. So, collagen not only increases the process of cartilage healing but also decrease the pain and aches and improve the painless joint mobility [13, 14].

  • Fish collagen for wounds

According to Singh et al., collagen is essential for skin tissues and boost the process of wound healing. Deterioration of wound can lead towards amputation. Collagen can avoid this deterioration by closure when it is made available to the wound bed. Collagen can attract new skin cells that promote the process of healing and enhance the process of growth. It is also useful in wound dressing because of its resistance against bacteria that keep the wound sterile [1, 15].  Type I collagen is the most abundant structural component and helps in wound healing.

Fish collagen is more beneficial for wound healing because it is a Type-I collagen.

Fish collagen dressings are useful in the following types of wound [1]:

  1. Sites of skin donation and grafts
  2. Exuding wounds
  3. Chronic and non-healing wounds
  4. Second-degree burns
  5. Granulating wounds
  6. Full-thickness and partial wounds
  7. Necrotic wounds
  • Fish collagen for Liver

Fish collagen cleanses your liver that increases the metabolism and avoid toxicities. It also helps in the removal of chemicals and unnecessary substances from the body. That’s because of glycine, which is an essential component of fish collagen [2, 16]. Fish collagen is also beneficial for liver health because of its protective effect. It is more beneficial in diabetic patients. A study conducted by a chinses scientists confirmed the efficacy of fish collagen in diabetic alloxan-induced diabetic rats [17].

  • Fish collagen for dark circles

With the passage of time, our skin loses collagen and fat which make our skin thinner under the eyes and reduce the flow of blood vessels. Because of this, dark circles start appearing under our eyes. Thin skin is more vulnerable to skin damage that speeds up the process of damage, especially breaking down of collagen under eyes [18, 19].

dark circles under eyes

According to Lesley Reynolds use of collagen maintains the collagen level and reduce the pigmentation to clear the dark circles. It decreases the deposition of fats and maintains the blood flow. It also reduces the dryness, dullness and wrinkle formation [18]. According to Rima Chowdhury, fish collagen is beneficial for dark circles, dryness and dullness under the eye and even for puffiness [20].

  • Fish collagen for age spots

Age spots also known as liver spots are formed because of the natural aging process, decrease a level of elasticity and collagen. According to research, use of collagen can decrease the signs of age spots not only by covering the loss of collagen but also by improving the elasticity of the skin. Collagen also maintains the thickness of the skin and blood flow that decrease the signs of aging by improving the glow of skin [21, 22].

  • Fish collagen for puffy eyes

The appearance of puffiness and swelling under the eye is known as bags or puffy eyes. There are several causes of puffy eyes. It may be because of the breakdown of collagen and elastin. According to research, use of collagen is beneficial in this condition [20, 23].

  • Fish collagen for hairs?

Collagen is necessary for healthy hair because it provides the protection from the damaging effects of UV rays and strengthens the hair structure. Besides this, collagen helps in the binding of an appropriate quantity of water and coating of collagen avoid the evaporation of water that protects the hair from drying [24].

  • Fish collagen for skin burns?

Collagen increases the process of tissue and cell regeneration. It also encourages the organization and deposition of newly formed tissues and fibers. According to Onkar Singh et al., skin is severely damaged in case of burns and collagen is beneficial in skin burns because it replaces the burnt skin with new skin [15, 25].

  • Fish collagen for muscles?

As collagen is the most abundant protein, it is also present in the muscles. So, use of collagen is beneficial in muscle growth and repair the muscle damage. Collagen is beneficial in any type of muscle injuries because it increases the process of healing [26, 27].

Different sources of collagen

There are several sources of collagen like:

  1. Fish collagen/Marine collagen
  2. Bovine collagen
  3. Porcine collagen
  4. Chick collagen
  5. Horse collagen
  6. Rabbit collagen

Among them, the most commonly known collagen sources are fish, bovine, porcine and chicken.

  • Fish collagen / Marine collagen

Fish collagen or marine collagen is a type of collagen extracted from the skin and scales of the fish that has increased ability to absorb through the human skin and intestine than other forms of collagen. Fish collagen or marine collagen is resistant to the chemical as well as physical changes because of the living habit of fish like the variety of water temperatures and pressures [28].

The fish has a lower number of crosslinkers because the body temperature of fish is lower as compared to animal [7, 29]. Therefore, fish collagen has greater absorption properties as compared to animal collagen. Greater absorption means greater systematic effects. According to Sripriya et al., fish collagen is absorbed up to 1.5 times more efficiently as compared to animal collagen, meaning that it has superior bioavailability over other sources. Fish collagen is mostly obtained by the process of lyophilization that maintains the triple-helix structure of the collagen. So, fish collage is like a natural collagen and make the resulting treatment more effective [28].

A high amount of collagen is present in fish. Zhang et al. analyzed different sources of collagen to check yielded quantity and type of collagen. According to his report, a high content of collagen is present in fish scales, skin and bone [30]. Besides this, fish collagen has a very high amount of hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline. These specific amino acids are playing many essential roles in our body. According to research, fish collagen is seven times more superior to animal collagen when broken down by molecular weight. Collagen is absorbed through the intestine when it breaks down into peptides by enzymatic action. So, we can say that fish collagen is seven times more capable of absorbing than animal collagen [31].

In immunogenic response to collagen, the body considered collagen or metabolites (especially telopeptides) of collagen as a foreign matter and starts humoral and cell-mediated responses. This process decreases the effect of collagen and starts allergic or hypersensitivity reactions [32]. Fish collagen is mostly used in cosmetics to maintain the skin integrity, moisture level, firmness and to decrease the appearance of skin wrinkles and acne. It is also usable in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also effective as a dietary supplement because it is easily soluble in water and digestible [28].

Fish collagen is the best alternative of animal collagen as it is free from risk of transmitting diseases like BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy), and FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease) [33]. Different studies confirm the safe alternative use of fish collagen. Besides this, fish collagen is easily available and free from dietary constraint [3].

  • Bovine collagen

Bovine collagen is a type of collagen obtained from the skin, bones, muscles and tendons of cows. Bovine collagen is mostly obtained from the hydrolyzate process, which is not as active as fish collagen. It is cheaper than collagen obtained from the marine source. It is increasingly used in the cosmetic industry because of its cost-effectiveness [34]. Bovine collagen has the potential to spread mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Beside this, it is also associated with allergic reactions like shortness of breath, chest pain, skin irritation, hives, lumps and scar formation [35].

According to research, bovine collagen is less digestible and not a permanent solution to solve the problem of collagen deterioration or loss. Bovine collagen is mostly used as the injectable form because of its poor absorption through the digestive system [36].

  • Porcine collagen

Bovine collagen is a type of collagen obtained from the skin and bones of pigs. It is also obtained through hydrolyzate process. It is similar to human collagen and it does not cause any type of rejection or allergic reaction in humans. But, we cannot neglect the risk of zoonosis (diseases spread through pigs) or contamination. Besides this, there is a religious constraints. The collagen obtained from the porcine source is not acceptable for Muslim community because in Islam it is a major sin to use pork or pork related materials [37].  

  • Chicken Collagen

Chicken is also a best source of collagen. It is increasingly used in the Chinese industry because of its cost-effectiveness It is obtained from the skin of chicken which is a byproduct derived from chicken meat processing. The collagen obtained from the chicken is of type-II in nature. This type of collagen is present in cartilaginous tissues and beneficial for building cartilage [38]. It is widely used for various purposes in different industries. One of the main drawback is that chicken collagen is mostly obtained from the hydrolyzate process, which is not as active as fish collagen. Therefore, it is widely considered to control hypertension [39].

What does fish collagen do?

Fish collagen replace or fulfil the deficiency of collagen in our body. Collagen is commonly present in the skin, ligaments, connective tissues and bones within the body, providing strength and support to various body structures of the body, maintain elasticity of the skin and protects the skin from environmental toxins, pathogens, microbes and cancerous cells by preventing absorption and spreading because of its thick and fibrous structure. Collagen protein is the cement that holds bladder, kidney, heart, blood vessels, muscle tissues and digestive tract cells and tissues together [40].

Collagen is even the major component of the extracellular matrix, where it forms a complex network of macromolecules and provide physical support to body tissues. Beside this, collagen is also present in the middle layer of the skin commonly known as the dermis. In dermal layer, it forms a network of fibers upon which new cell can grow. It also maintains the thickness and integrity of the skin [1].

Acceptable collagen for all communities

The collagen obtained from the animal source is not acceptable for most of the communities. The collagen obtained from the porcine source is not acceptable for Muslim community because in Islam it is a major sin to use pork or pork related materials [37]. In Hind religion, cows are thought to be sacred. They worshiped the cow and avoid to eat its products [41]. So, there are religious constrains in use of collagen obtained from bovine or porcine source. The fish is commonly used both in Hindu and Muslim communities. Therefore fish collagen can be used with any religious or ethical barriers.



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