How long should you take marine collagen?
There are various benefits to your health and beauty that come from taking a daily marine collagen supplement. You may experience firmer skin, stronger hair and nails, more supple joints and even improved gut health. Collagen is the human body's most abundant protein, so trying to maintain its presence as long as possible is helpful throughout the body. But how long does it take for marine collagen supplements to work? And how long should you take marine collagen? Continue reading to learn more about marine collagen and when or if you should stop taking it.
What is marine collagen?
Marine collagen is collagen that is extracted from the scales and skin of fish. It is a food supplement you can take to help stimulate your body's natural collagen production by giving it the fuel it needs in the form of certain amino acids.
Collagen is a protein found everywhere in our bodies. As we age, the rate at which we produce collagen naturally starts to decline and eventually stops. This is one of the reasons why we end up with wrinkly skin, thinning hair and aching joints. The sooner you start taking marine collagen, the more you are likely to benefit from it.
Marine collagen supplements come in liquid, powder, pills and topical creams. They are made by extracting pure collagen from fish, then putting it through a process called hydrolysis to create collagen peptides. These smaller amino acid chains are easier for the human body to absorb and begin using to create collagen naturally. Collagen can also come from the bones of cows, pigs and chickens. However, marine collagen is generally considered to be the purest and most effective form.
What are the benefits of marine collagen supplements?
Taking a daily collagen supplement can yield many benefits for our bodies:
Collagen supplements have been demonstrated to improve the elasticity of skin, ensuring it is better hydrated and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles diminishes.
Hair and nails
Problems like brittle nails and split ends in hair may be helped by collagen supplements providing the nourishment your body needs to strengthen hair and nails.
Collagen helps with more than just our cosmetic routine. It has been shown to help with issues like joint pain and stiffness. It can also help with gut health and strengthen the immune system.
We can get some of the fuel we need to produce collagen from our diet, but a supplement ensures you get a consistent, bioavailable dose to see the true benefits. Once consumed, our digestive enzymes break down the protein into even smaller peptide chains and amino acids so that they can enter the bloodstream and begin to stimulate our bodies' natural collagen production.
How long does it take to see results from marine collagen?
Our bodies can begin to use the amino acids from collagen supplements pretty quickly. The amount of time it takes to start seeing the benefits generally depends on factors like:
The concentration of collagen we absorb into our bodies
Other lifestyle factors such as diet
If your body's collagen levels are very low when you begin, the benefits might come on quite quickly and appear fairly dramatic. If your starting collagen status was already quite high, the effect might not be so extreme. To see a difference in your skin, you may start seeing results in as little as 3 months. Some people have even noticed a difference at 4 wees, with significant changes to skin elasticity in 8-12 weeks. If it's joint pain you are targeting, you may have a longer wait to see improvements. The general guideline from studies suggests improvements in joint pain begin at around 24 weeks, as long as you are consistent in taking the supplement.
As with so many things, dosage plays a big role in the results. Your body requires a frequent supply of the collagen supplement as it is such an abundant protein throughout your anatomy. So if your current collagen levels are very low, a daily dose of 10 grams will probably yield results quite quickly. But if you are more sporadic in your intake, with a lower dose each time, it might take longer and the results may be less pronounced.
How long should you take marine collagen?
When considering this question, what it really comes down to is this: should I stop taking collagen supplements, and what happens if I do? Well, you will be relieved to hear that there are no known side effects of stopping your collagen supplements. We have seen that it can take anything from a few weeks up to a year to start seeing the results you want from the supplement. But if you decide to stop taking it then any health benefits you have experienced will start to fade away. Your body's synthesis of collagen is an ongoing process and it requires fuel to do this. As previously noted, your body's natural ability to create collagen by itself gradually declines. This is due to:
The decline starts in the early 20s and gradually accelerates so that, when you reach the 40s-50s, your body ceases making collagen naturally.
Exposure to ultraviolet light
Sunlight is a big factor in collagen degradation because of the damage from free radicals to your skin cells.
The stress hormone, cortisol, is another factor that reduces collagen levels in the body.
Smokers are likely to experience more collagen degradation than non-smokers
When your body is working with less collagen than before, you will see and feel the symptoms of ageing. Taking a marine collagen supplement stimulates the body's natural collagen production to help slow this process and restore some of the benefits of youth. When you stop taking collagen supplements, your body is once again deprived of that extra collagen that was benefitting it. As you might guess, the consequences of this are that the benefits you were experiencing will gradually vanish as your body's collagen content diminishes once again. The declines you may experience after stopping marine collagen include:
More visible signs of skin ageing
More joint discomfort
Increased hair fall
Loss of muscle mass
More nail breakage
Slower recovery after physical activity
Essentially, you are reverting back to how your body was before you ever took the supplement. Depending on how long you were taking the supplement, you may even find that your body's decline is greater than before due to your natural collagen supply getting scarcer with age.
Can the body become dependent on collagen supplements?
Some people may wonder if taking collagen supplements accelerates the decline of your body's natural ability to produce collagen independently. Science tells us that your body is already losing its ability to synthesise collagen as you get older, due to the internal and external factors listed above. It's a natural, biological process that happens to everyone. Collagen supplements do not remove your body's ability to synthesise collagen by itself. They simply supply it with the fuel it needs to do so. You may well experience reduced capacity to synthesise collagen after you stop taking collagen supplements, but this is natural and not due to taking the marine collagen.
How long should you take marine collagen?
The simple answer to this is that you should take it for as long as you can. To prolong the benefits you get from taking the supplement, the ideal approach is to continue taking them throughout your life. There are no known side effects to the supplement for most people (the only exception being people with allergies or who take the supplement incorrectly). So there is no physiological reason to discontinue the use of marine collagen. Continuing to take it as you get older may help your body keep up a degree of collagen production to slow the signs and symptoms of ageing. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, it might help you look and feel younger for longer, which is a very appealing prospect for many of us.
So how long should you take marine collagen?
As long as you possibly can. Give marine collagen a try and reap the benefits. Now that you know about the benefits you could experience, there's no reason not to try this outstanding protein. If you have not yet tried collagen supplements, there's no time like the present to give them a go. And if you are already taking them, there is no reason not to continue doing so. Marine collagen is very safe and exceptionally pure, particularly when it comes from wild-caught fish. Quality is important when it comes to collagen supplements, so be sure to do your homework about the ingredients and their source. With the right supplement, taken at the most appropriate dosage for your body, the benefits are fantastic and you will have no regrets.