Marine collagen: the secret weapon for midlife and menopause
Marine collagen can help reduce all the signs of ageing, which is very helpful for
midlife and menopause. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Collagen has become quite the buzzword in both the health and beauty industries with many
advocating for its benefits. Marine collagen comes from fish – primarily their skin and scales – and it
is lauded for its high bioavailability and ability to help our bodies withstand the signs of ageing. As
such, it has become a popular choice as a supplement for people in midlife and women going
But just what is all the hype with collagen? Can it really help with the challenges of this stage of life?
Read on to get some honest answers.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein that is extremely abundant in the human body (and the bodies of many other
animals). It provides structure to tissues and is a key component of our bones, skin, ligaments,
tendons and cartilage. Our bodies synthesise collagen naturally to help keep skin firm, bones dense
and joints supple, among other things. As you can imagine, its presence is very important for both
our health and cosmetic considerations, but the levels of collagen in our bodies decline as we get
The different types:
There have been as many as 28 types of collagen identified, differing in the way their molecules are
assembled and the role they play in the body. One common feature of all collagen fibrils is that they
have at least one triple helix structure.
Though there are many types, the main types of collagen are as follows:
● Type I: this is the collagen that is most abundant in marine collagen supplements, and it
makes up 90% of the collagen in our bodies. Its dense structure makes it ideal for our skin,
bones, ligaments and tendons.
● Type II: this collagen type is mostly found in elastic cartilage that provides support for joints.
● Type III: this is primarily located in our muscles, arteries and organs.
● Type IV: this is found in the various layers of our skin.
● Type V: helps provide structure to tissues and cells in the corneas, some layers of the skin
and also the hair and even the placenta.
How do I know if my collagen levels are low?
Everyone’s collagen levels deplete as they age, but most people should continue to produce enough
for their bodies to function correctly. However, when your collagen levels are low, you will likely find
that the following signs materialise in your body:
● Wrinkles and fine lines in the skin
● Unexplained stiffness and discomfort in the joints
● Weaker bones more prone to fractures
● Slow recovery from exercise and injury
● Brittle nails
● Thin, lifeless hair
● Gastrointestinal issues
With lower levels of collagen in the body, the structures it supports begin to diminish. Since the
protein is so abundant in our bodies, the effects can be felt virtually everywhere.
What causes collagen depletion?
The main cause of lower collagen levels in our bodies is age. Collagen production begins to decrease
as early as our twenties, but it is after you turn 30 that this becomes more pronounced. People often
start noticing the effects of this the further they get into their thirties, and the signs become
increasingly pronounced as we enter midlife and beyond.
There are, however, other factors that can make collagen depletion worse. These include:
● Loss of oestrogen during menopause
● Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun
● Poor diet choices
● Air pollution
● Bad habits like smoking, drinking or using recreational drugs
Genetics also play a role in the rate of collagen depletion, but it happens to us all eventually.
What foods are high in collagen?
If you are after a food that is rich in actual collagen, the go-to option is bone broth. This is made by
cooking bones in water for several hours, causing collagen molecules that are abundant in the bone
to be released into the liquid. However, it’s important to understand that the collagen molecules
that are released have a high molecular weight, meaning it is difficult for your digestive system to
absorb them into your bloodstream.
Other foods that can help with collagen production include:
● Eggs: they contain the amino acids glycine and proline, which are some of the building blocks
● Meat: collagen is most abundant in skin, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. These are not
popular for eating but you will get many of the components of collagen from red meat.
● Fish: again, the collagen is mostly in parts we don’t usually eat (skin and scales) but you will
get some of the amino acids from the meat.
● Spirulina: for a plant-based option, spirulina is very high in amino acids and provides some of
the building blocks required to produce collagen.
It can also be helpful to eat foods that contain other nutrients that facilitate good health in the cells
and tissues. Vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, antioxidants and virtually every other nutrient is
required, so it’s important to get lots of variety and healthy foods in your diet to promote good
Why is it beneficial and to who?
It is beneficial to try and maintain the highest possible levels of collagen in your body because it is so
important for healthy function throughout your anatomy. Everyone can benefit from working to
maintain their collagen, but the benefits will be felt most keenly by people in midlife and beyond.
People who suffer from conditions like eczema, acne or arthritis, or those who exercise regularly or
suffer from stress, may also experience improvements from boosting their collagen levels.
Here’s a breakdown by age group:
● 20s: collagen can help maintain hair and nail health, reduce breakouts on the skin, prevent
stretch marks, improve gut health and promote workout recovery.
● 30s: collagen may help reduce the early signs of ageing whilst providing all the benefits for
people in their 20s.
● 40s: this is when collagen becomes more important. The signs of ageing can be minimised,
including skin, joints and more. If you enter perimenopause during this decade, it can help
with the symptoms you experience.
● 50s: collagen can help maintain bone and joint health whilst keeping the impact of ageing on
your skin, hair and nails to a minimum. It may help reduce the symptoms associated with
oestrogen and testosterone decline. It may also help with injury recovery, weight loss and
● 60+: this is when your collagen is at its lowest and you need to do all you can to maintain the
best possible health in the tissues of your body.
Why take a supplement?
A marine collagen supplement is a very powerful way to fuel your body with the building blocks it
needs to produce collagen naturally. As previously mentioned, the collagen molecules you might get
into your body through bone broth are large and difficult for the body to absorb. Any other collagen
building blocks you get from your diet are usually incomplete and unable to consistently deliver
everything your body needs for continuous collagen synthesis.
Marine collagen supplements like Kollo contain are extracted from fish, which is Type I collagen (the
most abundant in our bodies). It has a very similar molecular structure to the collagen in our bodies
and is highly bioavailable. This is increased by the pure collagen molecules being broken down
through a process called hydrolysis. The result is smaller amino acid chains called collagen peptides
(or hydrolysed collagen) which have a low molecular weight and are very easy for our bodies to
When taken in the form of a daily collagen supplement, collagen peptides provide our bodies with
everything they need to produce that all-important collagen. It starts fast and can be continuously
produced thanks to the regularity of the dosage you get from your supplement, so you will get
maximum benefit from increased collagen levels in your body.
How much and how often?
Different physical benefits of collagen supplements come from different dosages taken regularly. A
good benchmark is to consistently take 10 grams of high grade marine collagen, every single day.
This covers a broad spectrum of bodily requirements to reap the benefits for your skin, joints, bones, hair, nails, gut and more.
Are there any negative side effects?
There are not really any significant side effects associated with collagen supplements. It’s important
to note that marine collagen comes from fish, so if you have a known allergy to seafood or
crustaceans then it might be better to try a different form of collagen-like bovine or porcine.
A few studies have found that a tiny minority of people report a bad taste in the mouth after taking
marine collagen, while fewer still have reported minor digestive upset and bloating. But they are far
from the norm – collagen is far more likely to improve digestion than disrupt it.
How do I know if it is working?
You should be able to see and feel the benefits when they come into play. It usually takes at least
two months to start experiencing the benefits (longer for improvements to bone density) so be
persistent and patient. You should begin to notice some benefits to your skin, nails and your energy
levels after the first two months, and more benefits for your joints after a few more months.
When is the right time to start taking marine collagen?
As collagen levels can begin to decline in your twenties, you can start taking collagen supplements as
early as you like. We have already listed some of the benefits you may experience from starting
early, but you are likely to experience the most benefits from midlife onwards. This applies to both
men and women, but its benefits in midlife might be felt most potently by women going through
Middle age is when a number of issues associated with collagen depletion become more
pronounced. This can start in your forties or fifties, and will include things like:
● Fine lines and wrinkles
● Sagging skin
● Thinning hair
● Brittle nails
● Discomfort in joints
● Loss of bone density
When women enter menopause, the loss of collagen can accelerate quite drastically. In fact, women
in the first 5 years of menopause may lose up to 30% of their collagen production capabilities. This is
mainly due to the reduction in oestrogen, and the consequences can include accelerated signs of
ageing as well as things associated specifically with menopause, such as hot flushes.
Collagen supplements can help reduce the development of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin
elasticity, reduce inflammation that causes joint discomfort, promote healthy hair and nails, keep
our bone density high and generally boost energy levels. Evidence indicates that women going
through menopause who take collagen supplements have a less stressful experience. Similarly, those
same benefits for skin, hair, bones and joints can be helpful for men as they enter middle age and beyond.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of collagen listen to Collagen to 5 K where Liz & Michelle chat with Jenni Falconer, Smooth FM breakfast show presenter, host of RunPod and founder of Kollo Health.
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