Naturopath Melissa Briggs explains everything you need to know about marine collagen
We reached out to our friend and naturopath Melissa Briggs to talk about a key ingredient in Tonic One: ethically sourced marine collagen. In the article below, Melissa explains what marine collagen is, the benefits it provides and why its superior to other sources of collagen.
A fresh face can be spotted in any crowd. The plump and dewy complexion, we’re all after the same thing. We know that the most wonderful feeling is being happy in the skin you’re in, so it’s about implementing those small daily steps to achieve it. One of the best ways to wake up feeling radiant and ready is with a daily dose of collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is responsible for adding structure, stability and strength to widespread tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, hair, teeth, and skin. One of the areas of our bodies where it’s needed the most is the dermal layer of the skin.
The human skin is the largest organ in the body, covering approximately 1.5-2 square metres, but it’s also often one of the most neglected organs of the body. It acts as a physical barrier between you and the outside world, where it protects your inner workings from pathogens, chemicals, physical agents, and solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation throughout your life. And no matter your colour, age or shape it holds you together in one beautiful package.
Our skin is made up of three layers; the epidermis, which is the outermost layer, the dermis, which contains all the inner workings of the skin, and subcutaneous tissue, a layer of ‘fat’ that provides a protective cushion around your body. These three layers of the skin all play a role in creating essential physiological functions such as immune defence, free radical detoxifying enzymes, antioxidant molecules, thermoregulation, prevention of excessive water loss, production of Vitamin D, and metabolic mechanisms to sustain homeostasis – the ideal state of health.
As we age, the production of collagen (and elastin) decreases, particularly with exposure to the sun which is known as photo-aging. This often leads to thinning and brittle hair and nails, the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, reduced cartilage in joints and decreases in muscle tone. Although production is decreasing, it doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to healthy, supported skin.
Collagen peptides are easily obtained from animal sources, enjoyed within the diet. Some of the most common sources come from bovine, porcine, and marine organisms. Marine collagen, in particular, has advantages over animal sources due to the greater absorption from their low molecular weight, and very low levels of biological contaminants such as toxins and low inflammatory effects. Marine sources are also considered more structurally similar to human collagen structure.
Ethically sourced marine collagen is produced from the processing of deep-sea and freshwater fish. The collagen itself is derived from the scales and the skin, which is normally discarded and regarded as a byproduct of the industry. This process results in a tasteless, odourless powder of collagen peptides that are easily dissolved in water and absorbed into the human body.
Like many other proteins, collagen peptides are made of a range of amino acids – the building blocks of our bodies. When broken down, amino acids take on different vital functions. What’s important to understand is that there are three types of collagen, which are made of different amino acids and serve different functions within the body. Types 1 and 3 make up 90% of the body’s total collagen, which supports skin, muscular and bone health, and hair and nail growth and maintenance. The remaining 10% comes from Type 2 collagen, where the amino acids make up the fluid and function in the cartilage and joints.
Marine collagen is considered Type 1, and it carries 8 essential amino acids that the human body doesn’t have the ability to make itself – they have to be obtained through food. One of the amino acids, glycine, supports the immune system, aids in reducing inflammation, supports the central nervous system (by impacting cognition and mood), supports digestion and appetite, and may also support pain perception and sleep onset and quality. Proline, another amino acid derived from marine sources, is vital for the stimulation of collagen synthesis, meaning collagen cannot be produced without it. It also acts as an antioxidant, preventing long-term free radical damage.
As a Type 1 Collagen, marine sources are considered superior in almost every way. A tasteless, odourless addition to a daily glass of water will improve your collagen production, with happy, healthy skin being just the beginning.
Disclaimer: Marine collagen is not advised for those with a fish or crustacean allergy.
If enjoyed this article from Melissa, click here to read her article about four key nutrients to support a healthy thyroid.