Fish collagen is a protein extracted from fish that is mainly used as a cosmetic aid to decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Collagen makes up 30 percent of the protein in human bodies and can be found in the skin, joints, teeth, bones, tendons, and blood vessels. It makes up 70 percent of the protein in the skin and helps keep it elastic. Collagen also helps keep the joints fluid, and teeth and bones strong.
During a person's younger years, the body continually discards old collagen and creates new collagen. After the age of 25 or so, the body begins to lose its ability to create new collagen. The lack of new collagen leads to a host of aging symptoms, such as fine lines, wrinkles, arthritis, and joint problems. Medical collagen supplements, which are available as collagen creams, collagen injections, and collagen capsules, replenish the levels of collagen in the body and reduce the signs of aging.
For many years, animal collagen was used for collagen supplements, although it had many drawbacks. Human skin has a difficult time absorbing animal collagen, so collagen treatments had to be supplemented with a hypodermic injection treatment, which typically was expensive and carried the risk of infection. Animal collagen also has the potential to spread bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, thus posing another danger to humans.
Since BSE and other issues are found within animal collagen, scientists began looking for safer types of collagen. They discovered that fish collagen, which is extracted from fish skin and scales, is a non-toxic alternative. Even better, it is more readily absorbed by human skin than animal collagen.
Due to the variety of water temperatures and pressures in which fish live, fish collagen is resistant to physical and chemical damage. In addition, the extraction process for the collagen preserves its triple-helix structure, thus keeping polypeptides and amino acids intact. These proteins naturally complement collagen and make the resulting treatment more effective.
Fish collagen is most widely used in cosmetics. It typically moisturizes the skin and helps it appear firmer, smoother, and more elastic. Fish collagen can also be an effective treatment for arthritis-related pain and inflammation.
In addition to cosmetics and arthritis treatments, marine collagen is also effective as a diet supplement. It is easily digestible and dissolves without difficulty in water. Due to its restorative health benefits, fish collagen is often used in health food, health drinks, health supplies, and medication for intestinal illnesses.