The question of whether you should take two supplements together is always an excellent one because nutrients never work alone in the body. Some supplements complement each other perfectly, like the way vitamin C helps you absorb iron for example. But others (like calcium and iron) jockey for position on the same metabolic pathways, meaning taking one pretty much ‘cancels out’ the good effect of the other.
And then there’s fish oil and marine collagen supplements. One is a protein powder rich in amino acids, the other a golden oil bursting with omega-3. But does that make them a dynamic duo, working together to keep your skin looking healthy? Or will one undermine the good work done by the other?
Can I take collagen and fish oil together?
You can and you should, particularly if you want to look after your skin as you age. Both collagen and omega-3 fish oil offer intriguing skin benefits on their own. But together they’re a match made in supplement heaven, providing your skin with a whole range of different nutrients it may not be getting from your daily diet.
What is the difference between collagen powder and fish oil?
Collagen powder is made from the connective tissue, joints, skin and bones of animals. It’s often derived from pigs or cows, but in the case of a marine collagen powder such as Skinful, the collagen comes from the skin of fish. The fish skin is treated in a process known as ‘hydrolyzing’, which uses enzymes and high pressure steam to ‘snip’ the long collagen fibrils into shorter chains of amino acids that can be easily absorbed by our bodies.
Omega-3 fish oil is made from the body of oily fish like mackerel and sardines. The raw oil is purified and concentrated to give you the maximum amount of active ingredients in the minimum amount of oil. But some manufacturers (like us at Bare Biology) go the extra mile. Our Life & Soul liquid fish oil is not only highly concentrated, but is also in the natural triglyceride form, meaning it’s even easier for your body to absorb the omega-3 it contains.
What are collagen and fish oil good for?
Collagen powder contains the amino acids proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline (among others). These are the building blocks your fibroblasts need to make new collagen, but are in short supply in normal diets (because we don’t eat lots of animal hide or gristly bits). People generally take collagen to support the health of their skin, although it is sometimes taken for joints, muscles, hair and gut health.
Fish oil contains high amounts of the active ingredients EPA and DHA. These are essential for good health, but have been crowded out of our diets by the number of omega-6 fats we eat. EPA (which stands for eicosapentaenoic acid) keeps our cells nourished, while DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is most famous for the role it plays in the brain, where it’s used to form much of the structural material of our grey matter, from cell membranes to neurons.
People take omega-3 fish oil for all sorts of reasons and the European Food Safety Authority approve the claim that it can maintain the health of our hearts, eyes and brains. But omega-3 is also taken for the skin. That’s because it’s incorporated into cell membranes in the top layer of skin (the epidermis), forming a protective web around skin cells, helping to stop moisture being lost and giving skin a healthy appearance.
Do collagen and fish oil do the same things to the skin?
Yes and no. Collagen and fish oil are complementary, yet they work in very different ways.
Collagen powder and skin:
Your body makes its own collagen from the amino acids proline, glycine and hydroxyproline. All of these amino acids come from the food we eat, but we don’t eat enough of them. There’s also the problem that we start to make less collagen as we age.
Collagen powder is brimming with these amino acids. When you put a scoop in your tea, the collagen peptides are quickly absorbed by the small intestine and circulated into your bloodstream.
Fish oil and skin:
Each skin cell has two layers of fat that make up the cell wall. Called the phospholipid bilayer, this layer incorporates dietary fat and is responsible for giving skin its plump, healthy appearance.
But as we age, this membrane becomes thinner and less sticky. As these thinner skin cells reach the surface, they form less of a protective barrier. Skin can lose moisture and elasticity, and this in turn leads to the formation of wrinkles.
Eating healthy fats such as omega-3 supports this important layer, helping it hold onto water, leading to a softer complexion.
Can you take fish oil and collagen for hair growth?
There’s less research on the effects of fish oil and hair, but omega-3 is good for general health (an essential component of good hair) and can also help regulate the oils that keep your scalp healthy.
There’s also no clear evidence that eating collagen for hair growth will give you a mane to rival Rapunzel’s. But taking a collagen supplement will give your body plenty of proline, an important building block for healthy hair.
Does collagen powder contain any omega-3?
No. While collagen powder supplements contain all the amino acids we need to make our own collagen, they contain no omega-3, EPA or DHA at all.
Is it safe to take collagen and fish oil together?
It’s perfectly safe to take the two together and one won’t ‘cancel out’ the effects of the other. Omega-3 is pretty much pure fat and collagen is protein, so they do not share the same metabolic pathways. They don’t compete for the same enzymes when it comes to digestion, meaning they can both be fully metabolised, taken up by the bloodstream and absorbed by our cells.
Both are generally well tolerated by the body. However, some people have been known to experience mild side effects, ranging from a feeling of fullness with collagen to indigestion with fish oil. If you get any side effects, it may be worth taking collagen and fish oil separately, starting with a lower dose and building up.
Most people don’t experience any side effects. If you’re one of them, there are plenty of tasty recipes to try that incorporate both ingredients, from hummus to smoothies. Time to experiment!
Finally, are there any similarities between Bare Biology’s Skinful collagen powder and Life & Soul fish oil?
While marine collagen powder and fish oil work in their own different ways, there are a few important qualities that our hero products, Skinful and Life & Soul, have in common. For starters both come from wild, fresh sustainable sources and we get each batch third-party tested so you know they’re free from metals and toxins.
But the most important factor they share is their high bioavailability. We’ve gone the extra mile to ensure both Skinful and Life & Soul can be absorbed with maximum efficiency by the body.
Skinful contains marine type I collagen peptides, the closest match to our skin’s chemical make-up, with an incredibly low molecular weight. Life & Soul is not only highly concentrated, but we’ve turned it back into its natural triglyceride form so its highly absorbable.
Why not go ahead and try this dynamic duo for yourself?