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Collagen is an abundant protein found in land and marine animals that has gained attention over the last 20 years. This supplement has been promoted to support muscle, joint, and gut health as well as decrease the appearance of wrinkles, increase shine in hair, and strengthen nails. Through various in vivo mouse studies, collagen ingestion has been shown to spike plasma and dermal levels of the amino acids abundant in collagen. However, the mechanism of action of ingested collagen is still unknown. The optimal dosing and different sources are additional areas of conjecture and learning. In this article, we review the known differences between animal and marine collagen sources and discuss whether the type of collagen ingested matters.
Ingestion of collagen peptides have been touted to promote youthful skin, stronger and shinier nails and hair, as well as improve joint and gut health. Due to these advertised benefits, sales of these products have skyrocketed by about 30% throughout 2017-2018 and Americans are expected to spend up to $122 million dollars on collagen-containing products in 2018. The scientific community has mirrored consumer interest with hundreds of new articles continuing to follow this trend on a cellular and clinical level. Articles containing the keywords “marine fish proteins” have increased from less than 50 articles per year in 1995, to up to 200 articles per year in 2015. Despite not having FDA-approval, the interest and consumption in these products have only grown.